Related Content: Civil Rights

Gwen’s Take | Happy 100th Birthday, Rosa Parks

Gwen's Take

We know instinctively that not everything we come to believe as history is true. But we want it to be.

We want to believe that a timid seamstress sat down on a city bus in December, 1955 and refused to give up her seat to a white man because she was just too tired.

We want to believe that she was a solitary heroine who single-handedly desegregated public transportation in Montgomery, Alabama overnight.

And we want to believe that she spent the rest of her days comfortably, secure in the knowledge that her meek, nonviolent approach to injustice made all the difference.

“The Best Medicine I Know”

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Exactly 48 years ago this week, the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act passed the Senate, after overcoming the longest filibuster in history. Nearly 100 years after the Civil War ended, the bill at last promised to deliver legal equality for all Americans, and though it aroused enormous controversy and sliced straight into the nation’s original sin, it won lopsided approval by a vote of 73 to 27, with overwhelming Republican support.

An Idea Whose Time Has Come

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It doesn’t really matter whether the substance of what Joe Biden said last Sunday about gay marriage was so very different from what his boss, Barack Obama, had said about the subject in the past (and there’s good evidence that it was not). What matters is the way that Biden said he was “absolutely comfortable” with same-sex marriage, which made what Obama had said before—that his own views were “evolving”—look too cute by half.

Dems' Elections Chief: Gay Marriage Will Have Little Impact

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The House Democrats' top campaign strategist said President Obama's declaration that gay Americans should be able to marry will have little ripple effect on races this November.

The Big Straddle: Why Compromise Can Be Hazardous to One’s Political Health

Gwen's Take

“There’s nothing in the middle of the road but yellow stripes and dead armadillos.”

Jim Hightower, a committed liberal and former Texas Agriculture Commissioner, liked to say this so much that he finally used it as a title for a book.

I was reminded of this tart assessment this week as I watched two skilled politicians attempt to negotiate a growing chasm opening under their feet. One of them, Indiana GOP Sen. Richard Lugar, slipped and fell. The other, President Obama, appeared to leap nimbly to the other side of the sinkhole just before it swallowed him up.

Obama’s Gay Marriage Turnabout Forced Public by Biden

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At a fundraiser with gay activists in New York last June, the day before state legislators passed a same-sex marriage law, President Barack Obama considered the choice they were making. He concluded he’d almost certainly have voted “yes” too. Conversations with staff, family, friends and supporters also moved him in that direction.

Obama’s Gay-Marriage Stance Brings Uncertain Political Fallout

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President Obama hoped that announcing his change of heart in favor of same-sex marriage would put the issue to rest as a topic in his bid for re-election. The immediate result, however, was that both sides seized upon it as an opportunity to energize their bases.

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President Barack Obama (CNN, File Photo)

The Audacity of Evolution

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Joe Biden has such power over evolution he might make an amoeba get up and walk. Three days ago the vice president announced on Meet the Press that he supported same-sex couples getting married. Wednesday, President Obama announced that after a many-year evolution on the issue, he believed the same thing. The first African-American president became the first ever to announce his support for same-sex marriage. This is a landmark civil rights moment that happened awfully fast.

U.S. to Aid Gay Rights Abroad, Obama and Clinton Say

On The Radar

The Obama administration announced on Tuesday that the United States would use all the tools of American diplomacy, including the potent enticement of foreign aid, to promote gay rights around the world. In a memorandum issued by President Obama in Washington and in a speech by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton here, the administration vowed to actively combat efforts by other nations that criminalize homosexual conduct, abuse gay men, lesbians, bisexuals or transgendered people, or ignore abuse against them.

PBS NewsHour: Obama, Civil Rights Leaders Formally Dedicate MLK Memorial

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 Tens of thousands of people gathered Sunday in Washington to formally dedicate the National Mall's newest destination, a memorial honoring the life of civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. Gwen Ifill reports.