Category Archives: African-Americans

The Obama’s Attend Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Phoenix Awards Dinner

Posted by: Audiegrl

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama arrive at the annual Phoenix Awards Dinner sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation at the Washington Convention Center, on September 18, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Pool/Getty Images North America)


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First Lady Michelle Obama Speaks to Congressional Black Caucus About Let’s Move!

Posted by: Audiegrl

The Congressional Black Caucus was formed in 1969 when the 13 black members of the U.S. House of Representatives joined together to strengthen their efforts to address the legislative concerns of black and minority citizens. African-American representatives had increased in number from six in 1966 to nine, following the 1969 elections. Those members believed that a black caucus in Congress, speaking with a single voice, would provide political influence and visibility far beyond their numbers.

The Caucus received its first national recognition when its members met with former President Richard Nixon in March, 1971 and presented him a list of 60 recommendations for governmental action on domestic and foreign issues. The President’s response, considered inadequate by the Caucus, further strengthened their efforts to work together in Congress.

Today, there are 41 members of the Congressional Black Caucus representing many of the largest and most populated urban centers in the country, together with some of the most expansive and rural congressional districts in the nation. These members, now as in the past, have been called upon to work as advocates for America’s varied constituent interests–developing an ever-expanding CBC legislative agenda — as well as addressing the concerns of their own particular districts.

The visions and goals of the original 13 members, “to promote the public welfare through legislation designed to meet the needs of millions of neglected citizens,” have been reaffirmed through the legislative and political successes of the Caucus. The CBC has been involved in legislative initiatives ranging from full employment to welfare reform, South African apartheid and international human rights, from minority business development to expanded educational opportunities. Most noteworthy is the CBC alternative budget which the Caucus has produced continually for over 16 years. Historically, the CBC alternative budget policies depart significantly from administration budget recommendations as the Caucus seeks to preserve a national commitment to fair treatment for urban and rural America, the elderly, students, small businessmen and women, middle and low income wage earners, the economically disadvantaged and a new world order.

In the thirty-nine years since its founding, Caucus members have been successful in rising to strategic positions on House Committees to affect needed changes in federal policies. Senator Barack Obama marked the first member elected President of the United State. Never afraid to tackle the most serious social issues, CBC members are regularly referred to as the “conscience of Congress.”

Remarks by the First Lady at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Legislative Conference

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President Obama to Historically Black Colleges and Universities: “You’ve Got a Partner in Me

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by Katelyn Sabochik

President Barack Obama is videoed by an attendee with an iPhone as he delivers remarks at the Historically Blacks Colleges and Universities (HCBUs) reception in the White House on September 13, 2010 in Washington, DC. In his remarks Obama promised to the presidents of HCBUs to improve graduation rates and prepare as many students as possible for the challenges of the 21st century workplace. (Photo by Pool/Getty Images North America)

This morning, President Obama hosted a reception for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) at the White House in honor of National HBCU Week. HBCU’s have played a crucial role in the American higher education system.  As President Obama said in his remarks, HBCU’s have “made it possible for millions of people to achieve their dreams and gave so many young people a chance they never thought they’d have — a chance that nobody else would give them.”

In his remarks President Obama reflected on the history of HBCU’s as well as the critical role they will play in meeting his goal of having the highest proportion of college graduates by 2020:

We cannot reach that goal without HBCUs.  We can’t get there — (applause) — we can’t get there unless all of you are improving your graduation rates.  We can’t get there unless all of you are continuing to make the dream of a college education a reality for more students.  We want to help you do that in every way that we can.  Already, we’ve eliminated billions of dollars of unnecessary subsidies to banks and financial institutions so that that money could go directly to your students.  And that is incredibly important.  (Applause.)  And as a consequence of that, we’re making it possible for millions of more students to attend colleges and universities and community colleges all across the country.

The President also reiterated the Administration’s commitment to HBCU’s.  In February, the President re-established the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

We also want to keep strengthening HBCUs, which is why we’re investing $850 million in these institutions over the next 10 years.  (Applause.)  And as I said in February, strengthening your institutions isn’t just a task for our advisory board or for the Department of Education; it’s a job for the entire federal government.  And I expect all agencies to support this mission.

Now, none of this is going to be easy.  I know — I’m sure you know that.  As leaders of these institutions, you are up against enormous challenges, especially during an economic crisis like the one that we are going through.  But we all have to try. We have to try.  We have to remain determined.  We have to persevere.

That’s what the first founders of HBCUs did.  They knew that even if they succeeded, that inequality would persist for a very, very long time.  They knew that the barriers in our laws, the barriers in our hearts would not vanish overnight.  But they also recognized a larger and distinctly American truth, and that is that the right education might one day allow us to overcome barriers, to let every child fulfill their God-given potential.  They recognized, as Frederick Douglass once put it, that education means emancipation.  And they recognized that education is how America and its people might fulfill our promise.

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First Lady Michelle Obama Hosts Dance Workshop With Students At The White House

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by Kori Schulman

First Lady Michelle Obama embraces Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Artistic Director Judith Jamison during the first White House Dance Series in the East Room of the White House September 7, 2010 in Washington, DC. The dance event was a tribute Jamison, a famous modern dancer, choreographer and muse to Alvin Ailey. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images North America)


While the economy remains the President’s central focus, which he will discuss again tomorrow in Cleveland, the First Lady continues to celebrate America’s cultural heritage amongst her many other issues, from military families to tackling childhood obesity. First Lady Michelle Obama kicked off the White House Music Series more than a year ago with The Jazz Studio, describing it as an event that “exemplifies what I think the White House, the People’s House, should be about. This is a place to honor America’s past, celebrate its present and create its future. And that’s why all of you all are here today. It’s about you, the future.” Today, Mrs. Obama will welcome dance students and world-renowned dancers for the Administration’s first event celebrating dance. Featuring American dance from ballet to hip hop.

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The White House Dance Series: A Tribute to Judith Jamison honors Jamison for her outstanding career as an American dancer, choreographer, and Artistic Director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for the past 20 years.

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First Lady Michelle Obama Calls On NAACP to Join Let’s Move!

Posted by: Audiegrl

Eddie Gehman/Obama Foodorama~After more than a year of unprecedented activity that has shifted the national conversation about food, First Lady Michelle Obama made even more history on Monday morning, when she spoke at the 101st NAACP National Convention.

More than 4,000 delegates and attendees listened as Mrs. Obama described childhood obesity as a racial issue that overwhelmingly effects African Americans, which requires the immediate attention of the nation’s oldest civil rights organization. Changing the health status of children in the African American community is critical to continuing the work of the organization, Mrs. Obama said, as she called for a new version of the idea of food justice.

Mrs. Obama, clad in a polka dot dress and green kitten heels, received a huge ovation as she walked on to the dramatically lit and flag-loaded stage. The crowd rose to its feet, including some high profile attendees in the front row: Julian Bond, actors Blair Underwood, and Louis Gossett, Jr, local politicos and officials. NAACP president and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous watched Mrs. Obama with a sleeping child in his arms.

Much more @ Obama Foodorama

“It is my honor to welcome First Lady Michelle Obama to our annual convention to discuss her views on ways to tackle an epidemic that is plaguing our nation’s young people,” said NAACP Chairman Roslyn M. Brock. “She is a commanding figure who will ensure that this issue is at the forefront of our nation’s health agenda.”

“We are elated to have First Lady Michelle Obama joining us to celebrate our 101st year,” said NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous. “Providing affordable health care coverage and ensuring the well-being of all Americans is a priority for both the NAACP and the Obama Administration. Michelle Obama’s visionary leadership in confronting the problem of child hood obesity is to be applauded. At our convention, we will unveil health care and advocacy solutions to help solve the critical health problems that are plaguing our communities,” said Jealous. “The First Lady’s contributions to that important discussion will be invaluable in realizing our vision of an America that ensures that all people have the tools needed to live a healthy life.”

“We are absolutely thrilled to have the First Lady address our convention,” said NAACP Vice Chairman Leon W. Russell. “She was invited to discuss childhood obesity, an issue of importance to our members, and we are pleased she accepted our invitation.”

Widely labeled as a national epidemic, increasing childhood obesity rates have been a problem for decades but efforts to address the issue has been insufficient. In a commitment to tackle this issue, the President established a Task Force on Childhood Obesity to develop an action plan to solve the problem of obesity among the nation’s children within a generation, and the Administration has undertaken a comprehensive campaign led by the First Lady.

Strategies resulting from the task force report include updating child nutrition policies by utilizing the best available scientific information, ensuring access to healthy, affordable food in schools and communities, increasing physical activity and empowering parents and caregivers with the information and tools they need to make good choices for themselves and their families.

The recently launched Let’s Move! campaign aims to bring together community leaders, teachers, doctors, nurses, and parents in a national effort to tackle childhood obesity. Let’s Move! will push for healthier food in schools, encourage children to be more physically active, and help make healthy, affordable food available in every part of the nation.

“As the host city for this year’s convention it is exciting to have the First Lady attend our annual convention,” said NAACP Kansas City Branch President Anita L. Russell. “The First Lady’s presence will benefit the convention as well as Kansas City as a whole.”

Remarks by the First Lady to the NAACP National Convention in Kansas City, Missouri

*All photos courtesy of Obama Foodorama

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Legendary Singer and Activist Lena Horne Dies at 92

Posted by: TheLCster

AP~Lena Horne, the enchanting jazz singer and actress known for her plaintive, signature song “Stormy Weather” and for her triumph over the bigotry that allowed her to entertain white audiences but not socialize with them, has died. She was 92.

Horne died Sunday at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, said hospital spokeswoman Gloria Chin, who would not release details.

“Her timeless legacy will forever be celebrated as part of the fabric of American popular music, and our deepest sympathies go out to her family, friends, and fans worldwide as we all mourn the loss of one of music’s signature voices,” Neil Portnow, president and CEO of the Recording Academy, said Monday in a statement.

Horne, whose striking beauty often overshadowed her talent and artistry, was remarkably candid about the underlying reason for her success: “I was unique in that I was a kind of black that white people could accept,” she once said. “I was their daydream. I had the worst kind of acceptance because it was never for how great I was or what I contributed. It was because of the way I looked.”

“I knew her from the time I was born, and whenever I needed anything she was there. She was funny, sophisticated and truly one of a kind. We lost an original. Thank you Lena,” Liza Minnelli said Monday. Her father, director Vincente Minnelli, brought Horne to Hollywood to star in “Cabin in the Sky,” in 1943.

In the 1940s, Horne was one of the first black performers hired to sing with a major white band, to play the Copacabana nightclub in New York City and when she signed with MGM, she was among a handful of black actors to have a contract with a major Hollywood studio.

In 1943, MGM Studios loaned her to 20th Century-Fox to play the role of Selina Rogers in the all-black movie musical “Stormy Weather.” Her rendition of the title song became a major hit and her most famous tune.

Horne had an impressive musical range, from blues and jazz to the sophistication of Rodgers and Hart in such songs as “The Lady Is a Tramp” and “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered.” In 1942’s “Panama Hattie,” her first movie with MGM, she sang Cole Porter’s “Just One of Those Things,” winning critical acclaim.

In her first big Broadway success, as the star of “Jamaica” in 1957, reviewer Richard Watts Jr. called her “one of the incomparable performers of our time.” Songwriter Buddy de Sylva dubbed her “the best female singer of songs.”

“It’s just a great loss,” said Janet Jackson Monday. “She brought much joy into everyone’s lives – even the younger generations, younger than myself. She was such a great talent. She opened up such doors for artists like myself.”

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Statement by President Obama and First Lady Michelle on the Passing of Lena Horne

“Michelle and I were deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Lena Horne – one of our nation’s most cherished entertainers. Over the years, she warmed the hearts of countless Americans with her beautiful voice and dramatic performances on screen. From the time her grandmother signed her up for an NAACP membership as a child, she worked tirelessly to further the cause of justice and equality. In 1940, she became the first African American performer to tour with an all white band. And while entertaining soldiers during World War II, she refused to perform for segregated audiences – a principled struggle she continued well after the troops returned home. Michelle and I offer our condolences to all those who knew and loved Lena , and we join all Americans in appreciating the joy she brought to our lives and the progress she forged for our country.”

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First Lady Michelle Obama to Speak at University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff 2010 Commencement

Posted by: Audiegrl

First Lady Michelle Obama will be the keynote speaker for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff’s (UAPB) 2010 Spring Commencement exercise on Saturday, May 8 at 3 p.m. The university announced today that the event will be broadcast live on UAPB Channel 24 and streamed online via www.uapb.edu.

History of the University

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) is a historically Black university located in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Founded in 1873, it is the oldest HBCU and the second oldest public institution in the state in Arkansas (after the University of Arkansas).

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, was founded in 1873 as the Branch Normal College; it was nominally part of the “normal” (education) department of Arkansas Industrial University, later the University of Arkansas, but was operated separately due to segregation. It later became a land-grant college under the 1890 amendments to Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act, which required states which did not open their land-grant university to all races to establish a separate land-grant university for each race. The school severed its ties with the University of Arkansas and became Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical & Normal (AM&N) College in 1927; it moved to its current campus location in 1929. The school re-joined what is now the University of Arkansas System in 1972, this time as a full-fledged campus, gaining its current name and university status in the process.

Since 1988, the university has gained recognition as a leading research institution in aquaculture studies, offering the state’s only comprehensive program in this field, and supporting a growing regional industry throughout the Mid-South (according to the school, aquaculture is a $167 million industry in Arkansas alone and approximately $1.2 billion in the Mississippi Delta region).

The Examiner notes that,  this month, President Obama, the First Lady, and officials from throughout the Administration will deliver commencement addresses to Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the nation.  In total, eleven HBCUs will receive commencement addresses from Obama Administration officials this year.

Other officials participating in graduation ceremonies include Secretary Robert Gates, Department of Defense (Morehouse College)Secretary Arne Duncan, Department of Education (Xavier University), Administrator Charles Bolden, NASA (Huston-Tillotson University), Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President (Morgan State University)Melody Barnes, Director, White House Domestic Policy Council (Virginia Union University), and Ambassador Susan Rice, United Nations (Spellman College). In addition, John Wilson, Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, is scheduled to speak to Wilberforce University, Wiley College, and Harris-Stowe State University.

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The Obama’s and Mourners Attend Funeral and Unseen Footage: Dr. Dorothy I. Height with President Obama and First Lady Michelle at the White House

Posted by: Audiegrl

Dr. Dorothy I. Height, 1912 - 2010, RIP

Watch never-before-seen video of President Obama, First Lady Michelle and “the godmother of the Civil Rights Movement,” Dr. Dorothy Height, during a January intergenerational reflection on the civil rights movement at the White House. She recounts here her memories of meeting one 15 year-old Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. Height passed away on April 20, 2010 at the age of 98.

Also, please check out our memorial page to Dr. Height.

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Dorothy Height Funeral: President Obama Honors ‘Godmother’ Of Civil Rights Movement

President Barack Obama speaks at the funeral service of civil rights leader Dorothy Height April 29, 2010 in Washington, DC. Height led the National Council of Negro Women and marched with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images North America)

AP~President Barack Obama on Thursday eulogized Dorothy Height as a history-making figure in the civil rights movement whose quiet perseverance produced gains in “a righteous cause.”

Speaking to hundreds of mourners in the stately Washington National Cathedral, Obama recounted Height’s commitment to the cause during decades of work, mostly behind the scenes while the movement’s male leaders earned more attention and fame.

“She never cared about who got the credit,” the president said. “What she cared about was the cause. The cause of justice, the cause of equality, the cause of opportunity, freedom’s cause.”

His 13-minute tribute often drew gentle laughter as Obama remembered Height’s doggedness and energy. Height, who died last week at age 98, led the National Council of Negro Women for decades and marched with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Height visited the Obama White House 21 times, the president said. He noted that she was determined to attend a meeting of African-American leaders on unemployment last winter even though she was in a wheelchair and a blizzard was approaching.

She wouldn’t allow “just a bunch of men” to control the meeting, Obama said. When Height’s attendance became impossible because cars could not reach her snow-choked driveway, he said, she still sent a message with her ideas.

Noting Height’s trademark attire, Obama said, “we loved those hats she wore like a crown. Regal.”

He cited her role in desegregating the YWCA and in leading the National Council of Negro Women with “vision and energy, vision and class.” He said her name should be associated with great leaders such as King and W.E.B. DuBois.

“She too deserves a place in our history books,” Obama said. “She too deserves a place of honor in America’s memory.”

He urged Americans to honor Height’s memory by serving their country and making it better. “We can all be drum majors for a righteous cause,” the president said.

Others were spoke at the service included poet and author Maya Angelou and former Labor Secretary Alexis Herman. Opera singer Denyce Graves performed for the audience, which included First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.


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Remembering Dr. Dorothy I. Height

Written by Valerie Jarrett

Dr. Dorothy Height with Oprah

Dr. Dorothy I. Height was grace personified. She displayed a quiet strength. She vigorously defended the Constitution and fought for equal rights, women’s rights, and human rights for citizens of our country and for people the world over.

Today we said our final goodbyes to this extraordinary woman, and the President of the United States paid tribute to her during the final service. It is more than fitting that this should be the case.

Even in what would be the final year of her life, Dr. Height pressed the National Council of Negro Women to stay in the fight for health care, to make sure that working families had the support they needed to survive during these challenging economic times, and to continue inspiring young girls and women to reach their highest aspirations. Dr. Height visited the White House 21 times since President Obama’s Inauguration. Indeed, when invited to the White House in February to meet with the President and a group of Civil Rights leaders, only the worst blizzard in Washington in 100 years could keep her away.

On another occasion, Dr. Height joined us on Martin Luther King Day when a group of African American seniors and young children met with the President and Mrs. Obama for a moment of reflection on the road traveled by African Americans in our country. She told us of the first time she met Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a teenager and the promise he conveyed even then. Later the group joined the President in the Oval Office to review an original copy of the Emancipation Proclamation hung that very day.

During Women’s History Month this year, President Obama recognized Dr. Height for her life’s work by including her in the proclamation declaring the annual celebration of the contributions women have made in shaping our democracy. She joined us at the White House for what would be one of her final visits to honor women from all walks of life, many of whom had been inspired by her noble acts.

I believe Dr. Height had what Dr. King called “long life and longevity” because she was selfless in her service and lived to uplift her neighbor, whether they lived next door or half way around the world. In one of her final interviews just over a month ago, Dr. Height was asked what advice she would offer to teenage girls trying to find their way. She offered a very basic yet profound charge: find a purpose.

Dr. Height’s purpose was to open doors that had been closed for far too long. Upon reflection on receiving the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004 when she was well into her nineties, and when many of us would have thought a good rest was long overdue, Dr. Height said, “I felt pleased and proud, but also challenged to see what more I could do.”

In her honor, we all should be willing to challenge ourselves to see what more we can do every single day.

Valerie Jarrett is Senior Advisor to the President.

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Special 44-D Tribute ~ Dr. Dorothy I. Height, Founding Matriarch of Civil Rights Movement, Dies at 98
“She was a dynamic woman with a resilient spirit, who was a role model for women and men of all faiths, races and perspectives. For her, it wasn’t about the many years of her life, but what she did with them”

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Dr. Dorothy I. Height, Founding Matriarch of Civil Rights Movement, Dies at 98

Posted by: BuellBoy and Audiegrl

Washington Post/Bart Barnes~Dr. Dorothy I. Height, 98, a founding matriarch of the American civil rights movement whose crusade for racial justice and gender equality spanned more than six decades, died early Tuesday morning of natural causes, a spokesperson for the National Council of Negro Women said.

Ms. Height was among the coalition of African American leaders who pushed civil rights to the center of the American political stage after World War II, and she was a key figure in the struggles for school desegregation, voting rights, employment opportunities and public accommodations in the 1950s and 1960s.

She died at 3:41 a.m. at Howard University Hospital, a spokesman there said.

Ms. Height was president of the National Council of Negro Women for 40 years, relinquishing the title in 1997. The 4 million-member advocacy group consists of 34 national and 250 community-based organizations. It was founded in 1935 by educator Mary McLeod Bethune, who was one of Ms. Height’s mentors.

As a civil rights activist, Ms. Height participated in protests in Harlem during the 1930s. In the 1940s, she lobbied first lady Eleanor Roosevelt on behalf of civil rights causes. And in the 1950s, she prodded President Dwight D. Eisenhower to move more aggressively on school desegregation issues. In 1994, Bill Clinton awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

In the turmoil of the civil rights struggles in the 1960s, Ms. Height helped orchestrate strategy with movement leaders including the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Roy Wilkins, A. Philip Randolph, Whitney Young, James Farmer, Bayard Rustin and John Lewis, who later served as a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Georgia.

Ms. Height was arguably the most influential woman at the top levels of civil rights leadership, but she never drew the major media attention that conferred celebrity and instant recognition on some of the other civil rights leaders of her time.

In this Aug. 28, 1963 photo, Dorothy Height, right, listens as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., gestures during his I Have a Dream speech as he addresses thousands of civil rights supporters gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

In August 1963, Ms. Height was on the platform with King when he delivered his “I Have A Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial. But she would say later that she was disappointed that no one advocating women’s rights spoke that day at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Less than a month later, at King’s request, she went to Birmingham, Ala., to minister to the families of four black girls who had died in a church bombing linked to the racial strife that had engulfed the city.

“At every major effort for social progressive change, Dorothy Height has been there,” Lewis said in 1997 when Ms. Height announced her retirement as president of the National Council of Negro Women.

Early Champion for Women’s Rights

As a champion of social justice, Ms. Height was best known during the early years of her career for her struggles to overcome racial prejudice.

Dr. Height watches President John F. Kennedy sign the Equal Pay Act on June 10, 1963 in a ceremony at the White House. The bill was aimed at assuring women of paychecks equal to those of men doing the same work.

She was also energetic in her efforts to overcome gender bias, and much of that work predated the women’s rights movement. When President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act in 1963, Ms. Height was among those invited to the White House to witness the ceremony. She returned to the White House in 1998 for a ceremony marking the 35th anniversary of that legislation to hear Clinton urge passage of additional laws aimed at equalizing pay for men and women.

“Dorothy Height deserves credit for helping black women understand that you had to be feminist at the same time you were African . . . that you had to play more than one role in the empowerment of black people,” Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) once said.

As president of the National Council of Negro Women, Ms. Height was instrumental in organizing and sponsoring programs that emphasized self-help and self-reliance.

In 2003 President Bush presented Dr. Dorothy Height with the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor. Dr. Height is recognized as one of the preeminent social and civil rights activists of the 20th century. Mayor Anthony Williams attended the ceremony. Senator Hillary Clinton, former Labor Secretary Alexis Herman, Senator Carl Levin and Representative Diane Watson were also present.

Those included nutrition, child care, housing and career counseling. In response to a public TV program, “The Vanishing Black Family,” Ms. Height helped create and organize the Black Family Reunion Celebration, which has been held on the Mall and in cities across the country annually since 1985. The gatherings are intended to honor the traditions, strength and history of African American families while seeking solutions to such social problems as teen pregnancy and drug abuse.

“The reunion is as important today as some of our marches were in the past,” Ms. Height said in 1992.

In 1995, Ms. Height was among the few women to speak at the Million Man March on the Mall, which was led by Louis Farrakhan, the chief minister of the Nation of Islam. “I am here because you are here,” she declared. Two years later, at 85, she sat at the podium all day, in the whipping wind and chill rain, at the Million Woman March in Philadelphia.

Open Wide the Freedom Gates: A Memoir by Dr. Dorothy I. Height“She was a dynamic woman with a resilient spirit, who was a role model for women and men of all faiths, races and perspectives. For her, it wasn’t about the many years of her life, but what she did with them,” said former U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexis M. Herman, a close friend who has been running day-to-day operations at the National Council.

Herman called Ms. Height “a national treasure who lived life abundantly. She will be greatly missed, not only by those of us who knew her well, but by the countless beneficiaries of her enduring legacy.”

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Dorothy I. Height Congressional Medal

President George W. Bush presented the congressional gold medal to Dr. Dorothy I. Height in 2003. The medal honored her for a lifetime of work helping people exercise their civil rights. She was president of the National Council of Negro Women from 1958 until she retired in 1998. She worked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders throughout the 1960s. She also received the Citizens Medal Award from President Ronald Reagan in 1989 and the Medal of Freedom from President Bill Clinton in 1994.

The congressional gold medal was awarded to Dr. Height in recognition of “her many contributions to the Nation.” The medal is inscribed with her words: “We African-American women seldom do just what we want to do, but always do what we have to do. I am grateful to have been in a time and place where I could be a part of what was needed.”

The Godmother of the Civil Rights Movement

Dr. Dorothy I. Height, 1912 - 2010, RIP

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle joined the rest of the nation in mourning Dr. Dorothy Height:

“Michelle and I were deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Dorothy Height – the godmother of the Civil Rights Movement and a hero to so many Americans. Ever since she was denied entrance to college because the incoming class had already met its quota of two African American women, Dr. Height devoted her life to those struggling for equality. She led the National Council of Negro Women for 40 years, and served as the only woman at the highest level of the Civil Rights Movement – witnessing every march and milestone along the way. And even in the final weeks of her life – a time when anyone else would have enjoyed their well-earned rest – Dr. Height continued her fight to make our nation a more open and inclusive place for people of every race, gender, background and faith. Michelle and I offer our condolences to all those who knew and loved Dr. Height – and all those whose lives she touched.~President Barack Obama

First Lady Michelle Obama greets Dr. Dorothy Height following her remarks on health care legislation at the White House complex September 18, 2009 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images North America)


President Barack Obama kisses Dr. Dorothy Height during a meeting on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. President Obama met with a group of African American seniors and their grandchildren on the legacy of the civil rights movement January 18, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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The 2008 video above, is one of a series of videos of civil rights leaders discussing the importance of Brown v. Board of Education and its impact on the country, focusing on the progress America has made, and the challenges we still face to truly realize the dream of Brown by providing a quality education for all.

For more information, visit RealizeTheDream.org

Watch never-before-seen video of President Obama and “the godmother of the Civil Rights Movement,” Dr. Dorothy Height, during a January intergenerational reflection on the civil rights movement at the White House. She recounts here her memories of meeting one 15 year-old Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. Height passed away on April 20, 2010 at the age of 98.

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Wednesdays in Misssissippi~a documentary film

In the summer of 1964 a quiet revolution began in Mississippi when a group of Black and White women reached across the chasm of race, class, geography, and religion to end segregation in America. This quiet revolution was called “Wednesdays in Mississippi.” The story of these brave women has never been told. It is a story of courage, danger, and transformation. The one hour documentary film WEDNESDAYS IN MISSISSIPPI will finally tell their story.

The only civil rights project run by a national women’s organization, “Wednesdays in Mississippi” (WIMS) was the brainchild of National Council of Negro Women President, Dorothy Height and her close friend, Polly Cowan. Their plan brought Black and White women from Northern cities like Boston, New York, and Chicago into Mississippi in 1964 during Freedom Summer.

Each week, both interracial and interfaith teams of women known as “Wednesdays Women” traveled to Mississippi on Tuesdays. On Wednesdays, the women brought supplies and much needed support to small rural communities. There, local Black citizens and young civil rights workers from the North faced daily violence and constant harassment as they worked side by side to end legalized segregation. The women experienced first hand the devastating results of racial injustice, but also witnessed the hope and promise of change.

However, it was on Thursdays that the quiet revolution took root. This was when the “Wednesdays Women” put on their white gloves and pearls and secretly met with Black and White Mississippi women. In living rooms over tea and cookies the Southern women openly discussed their fears and suspicions about the civil rights movement. Many, for the first time, voiced their support for change. At that time in Mississippi, mixing with outsiders had dire consequences. Yet the women came, they listened and their hearts and minds began to open. Their clandestine meetings became the catalyst for great change.

In 1965, the Southern women invited the Northern women back to Mississippi. This groundbreaking alliance between Black and White women from the North and South continued until 1967. Working together, the women started economic, health and educational programs, including the well known Fannie Lou Hamer Daycare center, which continues to thrive today.

The film, WEDNESDAYS IN MISSISSIPPI will show how the lives of these women were enriched and transformed by doing what Dorothy Height called, “women’s work…the work of making connections and building community.” At last, the legacy of these courageous women will be shared.

Film information courtesy of Wednesdays in Mississippi

Learn more about the film, how you can show your support it, and about the filmmakers.

Learn more about Wednesdays in Mississippi: Civil Rights as Women’s Work: An Exhibit Website


President Obama, First Lady Michelle and Mourners Attend Dr. Dorothy I. Height Funeral on April 29, 2010

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Filed under African-Americans, Civil Rights Movement, Uncategorized, Women's Issues

University of Washington Survey Finds That Racial Attitudes Influence the Tea Party Movement

Posted by: BuellBoy



The tea party movement has gotten much attention in recent months, but aside from decrying big government and excessive spending, who are the supporters and what else do they appear to believe?

Many believed that the election of Barack Obama brought to a close the long, painful, and ugly history of race and racism in the United States. But as the incident with Henry Louis Gates last summer, and the more recent shenanigans with Tea Party activists suggest, racial divisions remain. Which is closer to the truth?

A recent survey directed by University of Washington political scientist, Christopher Parker, finds that America is definitely not beyond race. For instance, the Tea Party, the incipient movement that claims to be committed to reigning in what they perceive as big government, appears to be motivated by more than partisanship and ideology.

Approximately 45 % whites either strongly or somewhat approve of the movement. Of those, only 35% believe blacks to be hardworking, only 45 % believe blacks are intelligent, and only 41% think that blacks are trustworthy. Perceptions of Latinos aren’t much different. While 50% of white tea party supporters believe Latinos to be hardworking, only 39% think them intelligent, and at 37%, fewer tea party supporters believe Latinos to be trustworthy.

The survey shows among whites, southerners are 12 percent more likely to support the tea party than whites in other parts of the U.S., and that conservatives are 28 percent more likely than liberals to support the group.

The tea party is not just about politics and size of government. The data suggests it may also be about race,”said Christopher Parker, a UW assistant professor of political science who directed the survey.

It found that those who are racially resentful, who believe the U.S. government has done too much to support blacks, are 36 percent more likely to support the tea party than those who are not.

Indeed, strong support for the tea party movement results in a 45 percent decline in support for health care reform compared with those who oppose the tea party. “While it’s clear that the tea party in one sense is about limited government, it’s also clear from the data that people who want limited government don’t want certain services for certain kinds of people. Those services include health care,”Parker said.

Parker directed the 2010 Multi-State Survey of Race and Politics, a broad look at race relations and politics in contemporary America. The survey reached 1,015 residents of Nevada, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, North Carolina, Georgia and California. All were battleground states in the 2008 presidential election with the exception of California, which was included in the survey to represent the West Coast.

The survey found that 30 percent of respondents had never heard of the tea party, but among those who had, 32 percent strongly approved of it. In that group, 56 percent of Republicans strongly approved, 31 percent of independents strongly approved and 5 percent of Democrats strongly approved.

Preliminary analysis also reveals race affects the ways in which blacks and whites perceive the president, his policies, and how he’s handling his job. To illustrate, 75% of blacks have confidence in the president; 58% of whites share this appraisal. Likewise, where 90% of blacks think the president is doing a good job on the economy, 55% of whites agree with this appraisal. And the most recent hot-button issue, health care reform, received support from 86% of blacks versus only 36% among whites.

Are we in a post-racial society? Our survey indicates a resounding no,”Parker said.

Conducted by telephone from Feb. 8 to March 15, the survey reached 494 whites, 380 blacks, 77 Latinos and 64 members of other races. The sampling error margin is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. The Washington Institute for the Study of Ethnicity, Race and Sexuality and the UW Department of Political Science paid for the survey. It was conducted by the UW’s Center for Survey Research.

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Filed under African-Americans, Barack Obama, Hispanic/Latino/Latina, Presidents, Racism, Tea Party Protestors