• Martin Luther King Jr. addressing the audience at the March on Washington (Wikimedia Commons)

    Did MLK Improvise in the ‘Dream’ Speech?

    Looking at his prepared speech at the March on Washington, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. balked when he reached this mouthful of a sentence: “And so today, let us go back to our communities as members of the international association for the advancement of creative dissatisfaction.” Instead, he transformed his speech into a sermon. Continue reading

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  • In front of 170 W 130 St., March on Washington, Bayard Rustin, Deputy Director, and Cleveland Robinson, Chairman of Administrative Committee (left to right). World Telegram & Sun photo by O. Fernandez. (Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division)

    Who Designed the March on Washington?

    If you had been a bus captain en route to the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in August 1963, you would have known who its organizing genius was, and you wouldn’t have been surprised to see his picture on the cover of Life magazine a week later. Yet of all the leaders of the civil rights movement, Bayard Rustin lived and worked in the deepest shadows, not because he was a closeted gay man, but because he wasn’t trying to hide who he was. That, combined with his former ties to the Community Party, was considered to be a liability. Continue reading

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  • Thurgood Marshall in 1957

    What Was the Civil Rights Movement?

    A silly question, right? I thought so, too, until I learned that in the year 2010, only 2 percent of 12th graders received full credit in identifying the following quote on the National Assessment of Educational Progress U.S. History Exam: ” … Separate education facilities are inherently unequal.” The 12,000 students tested didn’t need to come up with the name Brown v. Board of Education, mind you — just know it had something to do with 1.) segregation 2.) in the nation’s schools — yet a stunning 73 percent either skipped it or received an “inappropriate” score. Continue reading

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  • Texas Juneteenth Day Celebration, 1900

    What Is Juneteenth?

    When a general announced in Texas that slaves were free, he had no idea that, in establishing the Union Army’s authority over the people of Texas, he was also establishing the basis for a holiday, “Juneteenth” (“June” plus “nineteenth”), today the most popular annual celebration of emancipation from slavery in the United States. Continue reading

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  • Jackie Robinson

    Was Jackie Robinson Court-Martialed?

    Robinson’s struggle for equality began in the Army, before he integrated baseball in 1947. Lt. Jack Roosevelt Robinson was actually court-martialed in 1944! Court-martials are military courts, usually consisting of a panel of commissioned officers who conduct a criminal trial. There are three types of courts-martial: Summary Court-Martial, Special Court-Martial and General Court-Martial. Robinson faced a General Court-Martial. Continue reading

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