Thursday, January 31, 2013

2013 Marks 50th Anniversary of 8 Huge Moments in Civil Rights

Lauren Victoria Burke

Lauren Victoria Burke

3 days ago
2013 Marks 50th Anniversary of 8 Huge Moments in Civil Rights

This year will mark the fifty year anniversary of several major turning points in the civil rights movement. Many of the events below are sure to be recognized with marches, rallies and other silver anniversary celebrations and remembrances.

Fifty years ago, 1963 started with the infamous incident of Alabama Governor George Wallace’s inaugural address where he proclaimed, ”segregation now, segregation tomorrow, and segregation forever.” That same summer, Martin Luther King, Jr. galvanized an audience of thousands on the national mall with his most famous speech, “I Have a Dream.”

Here are eight turning points in civil rights that occurred fifty years ago:

1. April 3: Students in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference kick off the Birmingham campaign against segregation with sit-ins at lunch counters.

2. April 16: Martin Luther King writes the famous Letter from Birmingham Jail after he, Ralph Abernathy and Fred Shuttlesworth are arrested for “parading without a permit.” King’s open letter to members of the clergy powerfully outlined why Blacks could no longer wait from justice and was published in May of 1963 in the The New York Post Sunday Magazine. King later published the letter as the book Why We Can’t Wait.

3. May: During protests in Alabama, Commissioner of Public Safety Bull Connor uses police dogs and fire hoses on Black protesters — many of them children and teens. The footage would go around the nation and the world and become a major turning point in the civil rights movement.

4. Jun 11: In Alabama, federal troops force Governor George Wallace to allow Black students to enter the University of Alabama after he stands in the schoolhouse door and delivers a speech on states rights to uphold segregation. Two Black students, Vivian Malone and James Hood entered the school after President Kennedy federalized the Alabama National Guard. Federal marshals led by Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach made Wallace step aside. Malone would become the first African American to graduate from the University of Alabama in history.
5. June 11: President Kennedy delivers a live speech on civil rights. He promises a Civil Rights Bill with “the kind of equality of treatment that we would want for ourselves.”

6. Jun 12: NAACP field director for Mississippi, Medgar Evers, 37, is shot to death in front of his home by by Byron De La Beckwith, who was acquitted twice for the murder before being convicted in 1994.
7. August 28: Over 300,000 Blacks and Whites gather at the Lincoln Memorial to hear speeches against racism; among them is Martin Luther King Jr’s I Have a Dream speech. Though the speech was only 17 minutes, it has become one of the most famous in American history.

8. September 15: On a Sunday morning before services, the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama is bombed, killing four girls: Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley and Denise McNair — and injuring 22 others. The church reopens on June 7, 1964 after $300,000 in donations were received. Four members of the Ku Klux Klan, Thomas Blanton (convicted in 2001 of the murders and currently in prison), Bobby Cherry (convicted in 2002, died in prison in 2004) and Robert Chambliss (convicted in 1977, died in jail in 1985) are responsible.

William “Mo” Cowan: For First Time in History, Two Blacks to Serve in Senate

Lauren Victoria Burke

2 days ago
William “Mo” Cowan: For First Time in History, Two Blacks to Serve in Senate

There has never been two African Americans serving in the United States Senate at the same time in American history.  Today at 11 a.m., Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick will announce that his former chief of staff, William “Mo” Cowan, will take the place of departing Senator John Kerry.  Kerry became the Secretary of State this week. Cowan will serve along with Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina and there will be a total of 44 African American members of Congress after Cowan is sworn-in.
Cowan will become only the eighth African American U.S. Senator in U.S. history.
“He grew up in a largely segregated tobacco town in rural North Carolina, the son of a machinist and a seamstress. As a boy, he watched the Ku Klux Klan burn a cross in town, march on his high school, and hand out literature on Main Street,” wrote Michael Levenson of Cowan in a profile in the Boston Globe in 2010.
“Governor Patrick knows firsthand the power of opening doors and creating access. Today, he has opened the door for a talented accomplished young leader to represent the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” said Sandra Timmons, who is President of A Better Chance in New York in reaction to Gov. Patrick’s selection of Cowan.

Though Cowan is a historic pick as he joins the Senate, he may serve in the institution for a very short time.  The special election for Kerry’s Senate seat is on June 25.  The rumor is that Gov. Patrick requested that the person selected not run for the seat. But that’s just a rumor. You never know what can happen in politics.

Sarai Sierra, Staten Island mom missing in Turkey, was to meet man she knew online day she vanished: reports

33-year-old mother of two disappeared on Jan. 21. Special task force in Istanbul is looking through ‘thousands of hours’ of video captures on hundreds of security cameras to determine what happened to her.

Sierra, a 33 year-old mother of two, has been missing since Jan. 21, when she was due to return home.


Sarai Sierra, a 33 year-old mother of two, has been missing since Jan. 21, when she was due to return home.

ANKARA, Turkey — A special Turkish police task force looking for a missing New York City woman was sifting through “thousands of hours” of video recovered from about 500 security cameras in downtown Istanbul, Turkey’s state-run agency reported Thursday.
Sarai Sierra, a 33-year old mother of two, who was vacationing alone in Istanbul, has been missing since Jan. 21, when she was due to board her flight back home.



Video captured via CCTV shows Sarai Sierra eating alone at restaurant in the Beyoglu district of Istanbul.

A police official told The Associated Press that police were still trying to locate a man who had exchanged online messages with Sierra in Istanbul. Turkish news reports say Sierra had made arrangements to meet the man on a bridge she planned to take photographs of, on the day she disappeared, but it was not known if the meeting had taken place.
The state-run Anadolu said 28 police officers were assigned to scan security camera images from around the Taksim neighborhood, where she stayed in a hostel and around the nearby Galata Bridge she planned to visit.




Members of the Istanbul-based Association For Families With Lost Relatives hand out flyers.

Sierra left for Istanbul on Jan. 7 to explore her photography hobby and made a side trip to Amsterdam, Netherlands, and Munich, Germany.
Anadolu said Turkish authorities had also requested information from Germany and the Netherlands on her trips there. They were also seeking information from the U.S. about her bank account activities and mobile phone calls, it said.



Sarai Sierra is shown in an undated family photo.

On Thursday, a Turkish missing persons association joined the search, handing out flyers with photos of Sierra and urging anyone with information to call police. The group was driving a bus covered in posters of her through areas she had gone to, including Galata Bridge, a tourist destination she last told her family she would visit.
Sierra’s husband, Steven, and brother, David Jimemez, travelled to Istanbul to help in the search. Sierra’s children are 9 and 11.



A Turkish mother shows a picture of her missing son as the members of the Istanbul-based Association For Families With Lost Relatives hand out flyers with photos of Sarai Sierra.

In New York, Sierra’s sister told the AP that Steven Sierra and Jimenez were “still getting information” on her disappearance.
“We’re just praying and hoping for her return,” Christina Jimenez said. “We love her and we thank everyone for their prayers that has supported us.”
Jimenez said she could not speak about the investigation.
Sierra had planned to go on the trip with a friend, but ended up going by herself when the friend couldn’t make it.
Police on Thursday released new security camera footage of Sierra going through security checks at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport on her way to Amsterdam. She is seen alone, wearing jeans, a gray top and a gray hat.