The power of August in civil rights history


Some of the most important moments in civil rights history have happened in August.

In August 1955, 14-year-old Emmett Till was killed in Mississippi by a group of White men for allegedly whistling at a White woman. His photo, in an open casket, showed the world the racist brutality that was happening here in the United States. 

In August 1963, the original March on Washington happened, with 250,000 Americans in Washington, D.C., to demand greater freedoms. The march elevated a couple of young Black men – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and future Congressman John Lewis – to national prominence.

After the Black wave celebrations…now what?

November 14, 2018 by Stephenetta (isis) Harmon

Last week’s 2018 midterm elections signaled an increase in diversity and voter participation across the country. An estimated 113 million people across the country voted, setting a new midterm record for voter turnout. Nearly 48 percent of eligible voters hit the polls this midterm, with nearly two-thirds of eligible voters in Minnesota taking to the polls.

While politicians across the country aimed for blue and red to color the 2018 midterm elections, it was decidedly Black and pink waves that impacted the landscape. And Black voters showed up and showed out across the country, even helping to push historically red states and seats closer towards the blue line.

Black Votes Matter MN issues call for Black Community to vote Nov. 2, 4, 6

October 31, 2018 by MSR News Online

Black Votes Matter MN has issued a call-to-action for the Black community to vote on Friday, November 2, Sunday, November 4, and on Election Day, Tuesday, November 6. Voters are encouraged to descend on the polls at select early voting locations around the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

In partnership with the Council of Minnesotans of African Heritage (CMAH), ACLU Minneapolis and NAACP Minneapolis, the coalition is hoping to increase voter turnout in the African American community, where voting has been historically low.

Sister Spokesman: “Heart Awareness for the Mind, Body and Soul”

February 9, 2015 by MSR News Online

Another spirited Sister Spokesman got underway on Saturday, Feb. 7 at Summit Academy OIC in Minneapolis. The theme of the event was “Heart Awareness for the Mind, Body and Soul,” in celebration of Heart Awareness Month.

Attendees packed the house to listen to panelists share their expertise on everything from stress management to the importance of healthy eating and exercise. “Sister Spokesman is wonderful for addressing the needs of the whole woman — physical, spiritual and mental,” said attendee, Marcia Barnes.

Conversations with Al McFarlane 1703 "Political and Civic Engagement"

SERIES: Conversations with Al McFarlane

Does the DFL adequately represent communities of color? How does the system really work?  Al McFarlane hosts a challenging and thought provoking conversation about Black voters, engagement and party loyalty.  

Hollies Winston Chair of the African American Caucus 
Keith Downey Chair of Republican party
Susan Brower State Demographer
Anika Robbins Black Votes Matter

Voter Guide: Hennepin County Attorney

October 6, 2018 by Southwest Journal

The race for Hennepin County Attorney offers a challenger focused on second chances and an incumbent focused on deep experience.

The DFL-endorsed challenger, Mark Haase, said he grew up getting into trouble by shoplifting, damaging property and smoking marijuana before school in sixth grade. When good people intervened, he said he went on to attend college and enter the Coast Guard.

“I thought that I had pulled myself up by my bootstraps,” he said. “…If my skin had been a different color, things might have turned out differently.”

The next Hennepin County Attorney will control the criminal justice system for 1.2 million people

October 16, 2018 by TC Daily Planet

This piece is part of Twin Cities Daily Planet’s series covering the 2018 elections season. Every year we’re moving towards a possibility of a more diverse legislature. And with it, we hope comes increased opportunities for communities historically shut out of political processes and power to imagine and enact policies to create a Minnesota that benefits all its constituents.

“The prosecutor is single-handedly the most powerful person in the courtroom,” said Elizer Darris, ACLU Campaign for Smart Justice organizer. Darris is spearheading doorknocking about the role of prosecutors, elected officials known in some states as district attorneys and here in Minnesota as county attorneys. He’s focusing on Hennepin County neighborhoods with historical disinvestment – and low voter engagement.

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