FBI agents are looking into a neo-Nazi Web site, which has listed the home addresses and phone numbers of the six black teenagers charged
in the beating of a white schoolmate in Jena, La., a bureau spokeswoman said last night.
The Thursday posting on the site that lists the information also encourages readers to "get in touch, and let them know
justice is coming."
The FBI is investigating to see whether the posting violates federal laws, special agent Sheila Thorne said from New Orleans.
Deputies had already stepped up patrols around the six families' homes "to keep reporters away," LaSalle Parish Sheriff Carl Smith said last night. Smith added that he did not think the posting was "any kind of viable threat," but that
his officers would remain vigilant.
Parish officials have not encouraged the families to leave their homes, the sheriff said, "because we don't want to make
people feel like they're living under siege."
Also yesterday, a judge denied a request to release Mychal Bell, the only teenager still jailed.
LaSalle Parish District Judge J.P. Mauffray declined a defense motion for a writ of habeas corpus that sought to have Bell,
17, released, family members and court sources told the Chicago Tribune. A second judge also turned down a defense motion seeking to remove Mauffray from the case.
Bell is the only one to have been tried so far in the December altercation. He was convicted as an adult of aggravated
second-degree battery, which could have led to 15 years in prison. But his conviction was dismissed by a state appeals court,
which said he could not be tried as an adult because he was 16 at the time of the beating.
And in nearby Alexandria, La., a man was charged with inciting a riot and driving while intoxicated after police allegedly found hangman's nooses
dangling from the rear of his pickup truck.
Jeremiah Munsen, 18, who is white, had driven the truck near a bus station past a crowd of people who had attended a civil
rights march earlier in the day in Jena, Alexandria Police Chief Daren Coutee said. A 16-year-old passenger in the truck was
also arrested; officers are not releasing his name because of his age, Coutee said.
Protesters highlight US race row
Thousands of civil rights protesters have held a march in the small US town of Jena, Louisiana, against what they say
is continuing racism in the state.
The march was in support of six black teenagers charged with attempted murder after the beating of a white classmate.
All but one of the six have since had their charges reduced to assault. On the day of the march a court ordered a hearing
into the sixth man's detention.
The alleged attack followed incidents between school pupils in summer.
In one incident, three nooses were hung from a tree after a black student had asked whether he was allowed to sit in the
shade, an area where white students traditionally congregated.
Thousands of activists dressed in black converged on Jena, gathering at the local courthouse and marching along the main
Protesters arrived in buses and cars from cities as far away as New York, Atlanta and Los Angeles.
"I came because enough is enough. I am tired of the way the courts have been treating African-Americans historically",
Doug Martin, a computer analyst from New Orleans, told Reuters news agency.
Speaking ahead of the march, civil rights campaigner Rev Al Sharpton said: "This is the most blatant example of disparity
in the justice system that we've seen.
"You can't have two standards of justice. We didn't bring race in it, those that hung the nooses brought the race into
District Attorney Reed Walters said on Wednesday: "It is not and never has been about race. It is about finding justice
for an innocent victim and holding people accountable for their actions."
Montgomery Finds Racial Slur Offends, No Matter the Context
Montgomery County educators are replacing a lesson that called for students to read about and discuss a racial epithet against African Americans
as a precursor to reading "To Kill a Mockingbird" in ninth-grade English classes.
The lesson, called "Questionable Words," focused on two reading selections, an essay and a poem, each dealing with the
epithet and how the author was hurt by its use. Curriculum officials reexamined the lesson after an African American student
told the school board in the fall that the class had upset her.
"What we heard from enough community members and some teachers is that it's sensitive, it's emotionally charged," said
Betsy Brown, curriculum director for Montgomery schools. "And if we have a lesson that could be misused and cause real hurt to a few or to a whole classroom of kids, then
maybe we need to change it."
The complaint from Maya Jean-Baptiste, a 15-year-old at Quince Orchard High School in Gaithersburg, marks a departure from the usual protest of racially insensitive language in classroom literature. Most often, someone seeks
to ban a book; Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" is a perennial target. In this case, the student objected to an introductory lesson
whose purpose was to prepare her for the racist language in the book.
Maya said she walked into English class one day in the fall to find the desks arranged in a semicircle. The teacher passed
out copies of an essay called "The Meaning of a Word," by the African American writer Gloria Naylor, which recounted the first
time the author heard a young classmate use the "N-word." Maya's class was preparing to read Harper Lee's coming-of-age saga.
The teacher, who is white, read aloud from the essay and asked students to mark the word each time it appeared. She imitated
stereotypical African American body language and elocution, Maya told board members, "moving her neck and pointing her finger."
"She has a different style of teaching things," Maya said, "and we knew she was a little over the top on some lessons.
But this was not a lesson to be over the top about."
An official of the county NAACP accompanied Maya to a school board meeting in November and asked that the board "immediately abstain" from teaching the lesson.
School system officials would not say whether the teacher was reprimanded.
The Montgomery school system's decision comes at a time of heightened attention to racial insensitivity, largely after
talk-show host Don Imus made racist and sexist comments about a college women's basketball team in a broadcast in the spring. On Monday in Detroit, NAACP leaders had a mock funeral for the "N-word" and other racial epithets, symbolically retiring them from use. Delegates
to the group's annual convention marched through downtown with a ceremonial pine coffin and a bouquet of artificial black
roses, according to the Associated Press.
Each year brings fresh attempts by parents and civic groups to challenge racially insensitive literature in the public
schools. The most common target, education leaders say, is not Naylor's provocative essay, which isn't widely taught in high
schools, or even Lee's novel, but rather "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." Both books are standard fare in high school
English classes. Twain's book, peppered with epithets, is considered more inflammatory.
National Cathedral School, an Episcopal institution for girls in the District, made national headlines 12 years ago when
it pulled the Twain book from its shelves. The book was reintroduced in an elective, upper-grade course and is widely taught
in the school today. More than a decade earlier, a black administrator at Fairfax County's Mark Twain Intermediate School led a nationally publicized effort to remove the book. It failed.
Education scholars recommend that teachers prepare students for books such as "To Kill a Mockingbird" with historical images
and writings that explain the time and place in which the works are set. This can -- and should -- be done without dwelling
on racial slurs or reading inflammatory material aloud, said Jocelyn A. Chadwick, a Twain scholar and former Harvard University professor who works in the education division of Discovery Communications.
"All of those speeches, those texts, those novels are placed into a contextual period, and students have to understand
the period before reading the text," Chadwick said in a telephone interview. Undue focus on epithets, she said in a subsequent
e-mail, "unnecessarily stresses students."
Approaches to racially charged literature vary among local school systems.
D.C. parents may opt not to have their children read Lee's book, which is taught after a preparatory lesson on Jim Crow,
civil rights and the justice system, according to John White, a spokesman for the school system. "Huckleberry Finn" is not taught in the school system. Arlington students read "Mockingbird" and "Huckleberry Finn," prefaced by lessons on epithets and "why the words are no longer used,"
said Linda Erdos, a spokeswoman for the school system.
The Twain book is taught, although not required, in Fairfax high schools. Instructional materials call for students to "examine the cultural and political impact of language" in books
of that era.
Montgomery students read "Mockingbird" two years before "Huckleberry Finn." In the past three years, they have prepared
for Lee's book by reading Naylor's essay and the poem "Incident," by Harlem Renaissance figure Countee Cullen.
After Maya's complaint, Montgomery curriculum officials surveyed teachers and students on the lesson. Some students "expressed,
in hindsight, some discomfort and some concerns" about the selections, Brown said, but most deemed it worthwhile. She noted
that the lesson, as written, did not call for teachers or students to read aloud Naylor's essay. No complaints arose at other
"It's about the word," Brown said, "but it's not actually going through the essay and reading the word aloud again and
An alternative lesson, to be taught in the fall, replaces the essay and the poem with a piece by the Harvard scholar Henry
Louis Gates Jr. called "What's in a Name," which tells of the disparaging treatment of his father by a white man, who refers
to all black men as "George."
Students also will study a pair of Library of Congress photographs depicting the Jim Crow era: a girl drinking at a segregated fountain and a man entering the "colored-only" section
of a theater.
It's "an easier lesson to use," Brown said, and it accomplishes the same goal of preparing students for the book they are
about to read.
Justice Dept. Reshapes Its Civil Rights Mission
— In recent years, the Bush administration has recast the federal government’s role in civil rights by aggressively
pursuing religion-oriented cases while significantly diminishing its involvement in the traditional area of race.
Rabbi Joseph Korf, left, and Arthur Eckstein, outside the synagogue in Hollywood, Fla., which a federal lawsuit
forced local officials to permit.
The federal government intervened in 2004 to permit the Rev. J. B. Barton to resume talks at a center for
the elderly in Balch Springs, Tex.
Paralleling concerns of many conservative groups, the Justice Department has successfully argued in a number of cases that
government agencies, employers or private organizations have improperly suppressed religious expression in situations that
the Constitution’s drafters did not mean to restrict.
The shift at the Justice Department has significantly altered the government’s civil rights mission, said Brian K.
Landsberg, a law professor at the University of the Pacific and a former Justice Department lawyer under both Republican and
“Not until recently has anyone in the department considered religious discrimination such a high priority,”
Professor Landsberg said. “No one had ever considered it to be of the same magnitude as race or national origin.”
Cynthia Magnuson, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department, said in a statement that the agency had “worked diligently
to enforce the federal laws that prohibit discrimination based on religion.”
The changes are evident in a variety of actions:
¶Intervening in federal court cases on behalf of religion-based groups like the Salvation Army that assert they have the right to discriminate in hiring in favor of people who share their beliefs even though they are
running charitable programs with federal money.
¶Supporting groups that want to send home religious literature with schoolchildren; in one case, the government helped
win the right of a group in Massachusetts to distribute candy canes as part of a religious message that the red stripes represented
the blood of Christ.
¶Vigorously enforcing a law enacted by Congress in 2000 that allows churches and other places of worship to be free of
some local zoning restrictions. The division has brought more than two dozen lawsuits on behalf of churches, synagogues and
¶Taking on far fewer hate crimes and cases in which local law enforcement officers may have violated someone’s civil
rights. The resources for these traditional cases have instead been used to investigate trafficking cases, typically involving
foreign women used in the sex trade, a favored issue of the religious right.
¶Sharply reducing the complex lawsuits that challenge voting plans that might dilute the strength of black voters. The
department initiated only one such case through the early part of this year, compared with eight in a comparable period in
the Clinton administration.
Along with its changed civil rights mission, the department has also tried to overhaul the roster of government lawyers
who deal with civil rights. The agency has transferred or demoted some experienced civil rights litigators while bringing
in lawyers, including graduates of religious-affiliated law schools and some people vocal about their faith, who favor the
new priorities. That has created some unease, with some career lawyers disdainfully referring to the newcomers as “holy
The department’s emphasis has been embraced by some groups representing Muslims, Jews and especially Christian conservatives,
who have long complained that the federal government ignored their grievances about discrimination.
“We live in a society that is becoming more religiously diverse, even by the hour,” said Kevin Seamus Hasson,
who founded the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty 12 years ago. “So it’s entirely appropriate and slightly overdue
that the Justice Department is paying more attention to the various frictions that increasing religious diversity is causing
in the society.”
Combating racism remains an important mission, Mr. Hasson said, but one that has changed over the years. “We can
now deal with the problems of racism more effectively on a more local level,” he argued. “We don’t always
need the federal government to come riding over the hill.”
Some religious figures, though, are more wary about the changes at the Justice Department. Robert Edgar, president of the
National Council of Churches, a liberal-leaning group, agreed that it was important to take on issues like religious discrimination
and human trafficking.
But the problems of race and poverty in America “still require the highest caliber of attention,” said Mr.
Edgar, who cited the flawed government response to New Orleans and its mostly poor, black population after Hurricane Katrina.
He said he was distrustful of the Justice Department’s leadership to make appropriate decisions as to the nation’s
civil rights priorities.
A New Mission
Some critics say that many of the Justice Department’s religious-oriented initiatives are outside its mandate from
Congress. While statutes prohibit religious discrimination in areas like employment and housing, no laws address some of the
issues in which the department has become involved.
“They are engaging in freewheeling social engineering,” said Ayesha Khan, counsel for Americans United for
Separation of Church and State, and “using the power of the federal government to put in place an ideological, not constitutional
The department declined to make available for interviews Assistant Attorney General Wan J. Kim, who heads the civil rights
division, or Eric Treene, who holds the newly created position of special counsel for religious discrimination.
Ms. Magnuson, the Justice Department spokeswoman, said it was justified in devoting so much attention to the issue because
Congress has demonstrated its interest by including religion in the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 and enacting the 2000
law involving zoning restrictions, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.
Ms. Magnuson also said the department had not diminished its interest in enforcing racial and national origin discrimination
cases. The changes at the Justice Department began under Attorney General John Ashcroft, but have accelerated under Alberto R. Gonzales, his successor.
Mr. Gonzales has increasingly cited his agency’s record on behalf of religious causes as among his most important
accomplishments, often noting the successful intervention in cases on behalf of people who had suffered discrimination for
wearing Muslim head coverings. In speeches, he routinely says that religious freedom is the nation’s “first freedom
because our founders saw fit to place it first in the Bill of Rights.”
President Bush has also talked of the department’s religion-related activities in appearances before religious conservatives,
an important element of his support. Aside from any political benefit of satisfying conservative groups, the Justice Department’s
shift has brought a more subtle dividend: a defense to the criticism leveled at past Republican administrations that they
were half-hearted about civil rights enforcement.
The Bush administration has avoided that problem by changing the civil rights mission to something its Justice Department
can take on with enthusiasm.
The department has prevailed in many, if not most of the cases in which it has become involved. It has, in effect, duplicated
in the religious arena its past success in cases involving race and national origin.
At the same time, the department has sharply reduced its efforts to combat voting rights plans that may dilute black electoral
Ms. Magnuson, the department spokeswoman, said that the civil rights division had brought more voting rights lawsuits under
Mr. Bush than had been brought in the Clinton administration.
But an examination of the Justice Department’s Web site listing of the cases brought through early 2007 shows that
many of them involved a different part of the law, one that requires voting materials be available in languages other than
English in places with high concentrations of Asian and Hispanic voters.
Joseph D. Rich, who recently stepped down as head of the voting rights section after a 37-year career at Justice, said
that only the federal government had the resources to bring voting dilution cases, while private groups have been able to
bring the language cases. The civil rights division also brought the first case ever on behalf of white voters, alleging in
2005 that a black political leader in Noxubee County, Miss., was intimidating whites at the polls.
The shift in priorities at the criminal section of the civil rights division has been especially stark. The criminal section
— which previously had mostly focused on hate crimes or lawsuits against police officers who may have violated someone’s
civil rights — began taking on human trafficking cases that had previously been handled elsewhere.
During Mr. Bush’s second term, the section brought dozens of cases against people charged under a new law with bringing
women into the country to work in brothels. The new employees with religious backgrounds were enthusiastic about such cases,
seeing them akin to combating slavery, a former career lawyer in the division said.
Pursuing trafficking cases, rather than those involving hate crimes or police abuse, was seen as important to moving ahead
in the department, current and former career officials said. They added that political appointees in supervisory positions
frequently vetoed proposed hate crime investigations or questioned them to death.
“You only needed for that to happen a few times and people got the message they shouldn’t be eager to send
up such cases,” said one lawyer who would talk only on condition of anonymity.
Rigel C. Oliveri, a law professor at the University of Missouri who worked in the civil rights division during the Clinton and early Bush years, said it became increasingly frustrating
to bring what she said were worthy civil rights cases, because the political appointees would not act on them. “It was
like a black hole,” she said.
Whatever cases may have been slowed or ignored, some religious leaders said they were grateful for actions the department
The Rev. N. J. L’Heureux, the executive director of the Queens Federation of Churches in New York, said the department
had helped several Christian, Muslim and Jewish congregations deal with local governments trying to block houses of worship
in neighborhoods. In Hollywood, Fla., for example, the department successfully sued the city for denying a permit to an Orthodox
Sometimes, Mr. L’Heureux said, an inquiry from Mr. Treene, the special religious affairs counsel, had been enough
to encourage local governments to drop their resistance. The civil rights division favorably resolved 16 of 26 zoning investigations
simply by expressing interest in them, according to the Justice Department.
Kareem W. Shora, the executive director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, said that Mr. Treene had also
intervened in cases the group brought to him about Arab prison inmates having access to prayer opportunities.
In so-called equal-access cases, the department has mostly won court rulings allowing religious organizations like the
Child Evangelism Fellowship to have the same access to public school students as nonreligious groups, a principle generally
approved by a divided Supreme Court in 2001.
In the candy cane case, for example, school officials in Westfield, Mass., had suspended students for handing out candy
canes with religious messages, saying it was disruptive and lurid. The students said that the “J” shape represented
Jesus and the red stripes his blood, the white his purity. In a pending case from San Diego, the government defended the city’s
campground lease to the Boy Scouts, which had been challenged because of the group’s religious tenets. The department has also challenged so-called Blaine
amendments, which are state constitutional provisions enforcing separation of church and state more rigidly than does the
United States Constitution. The federal government sued because the amendments could impede Mr. Bush’s religion-based
initiative, which provides money to religious groups for social programs.
Reshaping the Staff
As it has reoriented its priorities, the department has also tried to remake the cast of government lawyers who enforce
civil rights. A number of career lawyers who served as section heads or deputies in the civil rights division have been replaced.
In Congressional testimony in March, Mr. Rich said seven managers had been removed or marginalized for what he characterized
as political reasons or perceived disloyalty. Department officials acknowledge the changes, but dispute the reasons.
In addition, Mr. Ashcroft arranged for the agency’s senior political appointees to take over the decades-old system
used to hire recent law school graduates for entry-level career jobs that are supposed to be nonpartisan.
Under the system, known as the honors program, nonpolitical career lawyers had screened applicants. Those selected were
almost exclusively graduates of top-ranked law schools and often had had prestigious judicial clerkships or other relevant
Monica M. Goodling, a former senior aide to Mr. Gonzales, testified to a House committee last month that she had improperly used politics to
hire some people as assistant federal prosecutors and for other civil service jobs, a possible violation of federal employment
But the pattern of hiring on an ideological basis was more widespread than what Ms. Goodling described, according to interviews
and department statistics.
Figures provided by the department show that from 2003 through 2006, there was a notable increase of hirings from religious-affiliated
institutions like Regent University and Ave Maria University. The department hired eight from those two schools in that period,
compared to 50 from Harvard and 13 from Yale.
Several career lawyers said that some political appointees favored the religious-oriented employees, intervening to steer
$1,000 to $4,000 annual merit bonuses to them.
Ms. Oliveri and several other law professors said placement officers and faculty at their schools found that graduates
seeking work at the Justice Department had a better chance by cleansing their résumés of liberal affiliations while emphasizing
ties to the Federalist Society, a Washington conservative group, or membership in a religious fellowship.
Ms. Oliveri recalled that when she was hired in 2000 by the Justice Department, she was impressed by the accomplishments
of her peers. But once the political appointees controlled the hiring, she said, “The change in the quality of people
who were chosen was very pronounced.”
When the front office sent around the résumés of those newly hired for the honors program, she said, “It was obvious
what they had: conservative and religious bona fides.”
Senate Majority Leader Backs D.C. Voting-Rights Bill
Reid praised the city's representatives for their advocacy of the bill, "which I look forward to bringing to the Senate
floor." He gave no date when that might occur.
He also praised Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) for shepherding the legislation through the Senate. Lieberman told those at the meeting that the bill will come
to a vote next Wednesday in his Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
If it passes, the measure then goes to the Senate floor. The bill has already passed the House of Representatives.
"We had a great meeting. We talked about strategy. We got the full commitment from the majority leader of the Senate to
have a vote on it soon. I wouldn't be surprised if it was as early as July," said Fenty (D).
The bill would add two seats to the House. One would go to the heavily Democratic District, and the other would go to the
state next in line to expand its delegation. Currently, that state is Utah, a Republican bastion.
The District has never had a full voting member in Congress.
Mrs. Obama sees campaign role as wife
WAUKEE, Iowa - Who is Sen. Barack Obama's closest adviser? Not his wife, says Michelle Obama. "We have
very separate professional relationships, which is, I think, healthy," Michelle Obama said Monday during her fourth visit
to Iowa to campaign for her husband's bid for the Democratic nomination for president.
"There is so much work we need to do as a family and as a couple. We talk about our work, we talk about
what we do, but he makes his decisions on his own and I try to be supportive," she said.
Democratic candidate John Edwards and Republican candidate Rudy Giuliani are among the White House
hopefuls who have described their wives as close advisers. Asked if she considered herself her husband's chief adviser, Michelle
Obama replied, "No, I consider myself his wife."
Meeting and connecting with people A Harvard-trained lawyer like her husband, she
said her main role in the campaign is to offer a personal view of her husband, an Illinois senator.
"I'm really trying to make sure people understand who Barack is from the person who knows him best,
giving people a sense of who we are," she said.
Michelle Obama said she and her husband have outgoing personalities that mesh well with campaigning
in key early states, where grass-roots and up-close appearances are key.
"I love coming to Iowa and New Hampshire," she said. "We have the kind of personalities where we really
enjoy meeting people and connecting with people."
She acknowledged, though, that the race is in its early phase.
"It hasn't really been stressful for me yet because I really enjoy it," she said. "Who knows how, when
this thing really speeds up, how I'll feel."
Their young children, ages 8 and 5, limit her campaign activity, she said.
Obama on Clinton’s War Views
In polite but direct remarks, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois took on the Clintons over Iraq this morning, delivering
the sort of punch that might always tempt the famous bare knuckles of Clinton operatives. But, by mid-afternoon today, the
Clinton camp was responding coolly.
On MSNBC this morning, Mr. Obama had this exchange with reporter David Gregory:
Mr. Gregory: “Bill Clinton has been interviewed the last couple of days about his global warming initiative, and
one of the things he said last night is that there really isn’t any difference between you and Senator Clinton in terms
of your voting records on Iraq. Do you think that is about right?”
Mr. Obama: “Well, I suppose that’s true if you leave out the fact that she authorized it and supported it and
I said it was a bad idea. You know, that’s a fairly major difference.”
Mr. Gregory: “And to you, I gather this becomes a fundamental question of judgment, does it not?”
Mr. Obama: “Well, it does. I think very highly of Senator Clinton. I think she is a wonderful senator from New York,
but — and I think very highly of Bill Clinton, but I think that it is fair to say that we had a fundamentally different
opinion on the wisdom of this war. And I don’t think we can revise history when it comes to that.”
Mr. Obama has repeatedly made the point that he opposed the Iraq war as far back as the fall of 2002, when Mrs. Clinton
was voting in the Senate to authorize military action in Iraq. But, until his remarks this morning, Mr. Obama has not been
quite so direct in challenging President Clinton’s assertion — made mostly at private fundraisers this spring
— that Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton have the same fundamental positions on Iraq today.
Mr. Obama’s initial response to Mr. Gregory’s first question was also interesting, in that Mr. Obama acknowledged
that he and Mrs. Clinton had roughly similar voting records on Iraq in the Senate. (Then, of course, Mr. Obama got to the meat of the matter for many Democrats — where the two candidates stood on the
war in 2002 and 2003, when it arguably mattered more).
The Clinton camp, meanwhile, has not pounced on Mr. Obama’s latest remarks — a noteworthy choice, given that
some of her supporters worry that her campaign overreacts to the Obama threat at times.
Asked about Mr. Obama’s comments, all that Mrs. Clinton’s communications director, Howard Wolfson, would say
was, “Senator Clinton is focused on uniting Democrats and ending the war.”
Indictment In Landmark Civil Rights Slay
(AP) A 73-year-old retired state trooper was indicted Wednesday in the 1965 shooting death
of a black man, a killing that set in motion the historic civil rights protests in Selma and led to passage of the Voting
District Attorney Michael Jackson said a grand jury returned an indictment in the case. He would not identify the person
charged or specify the offense until the indictment is served, which could take a few days. But a lawyer for former Trooper
James Bonard Fowler said he had been informed that the retired lawman had been charged.
It took the grand jury only two hours to return the indictment in the slaying of 26-year-old Jimmie Lee Jackson, who was
shot by Fowler during a civil rights protest that turned into a club-swinging melee.
The case was little-known as a civil rights-era cold case, but it has had major historical consequences.
Fowler contended he fired in self-defense after Jackson grabbed his gun from its holster. Calls to his home were not immediately
"I think somebody is trying to rewrite history, and I don't think it's fair to this trooper," said Fowler's attorney,
George Beck. Beck said he was not told what Fowler had been charged with, but he said the district attorney had been talking
about a murder charge, "so I assume that's what he got."
The indictment is the latest in a series of civil rights-era cases across the South that have been resurrected for prosecution
after lying dormant for decades. In recent years, prosecutors have won convictions in the 1963 Birmingham church bombing that
killed four black girls and in the 1964 killings of three civil rights volunteers near Philadelphia, Miss.
In light of those cases, people in Alabama began to call for a new examination of Jackson's death. Michael Jackson, who
was elected in 2004 as the first black district attorney in the Selma and Marion district and is no relation to Jimmie Lee
Jackson, said he acted on these calls.
Jimmie Lee Jackson's daughter, Cordelia Heard Billingsley of Marion, who was 4 at the time of the killing, said: "We'll
finally know what happened. My grandchildren have asked me questions, and I couldn't give them answers."
She said if not for the district attorney's election, "it would still have been swept under the rug."
Some of those who were in Marion on the night of the shooting are dead, as are two FBI agents who originally investigated
Jackson's death. News reporters were also beaten and cameras destroyed during the melee, with no pictures left of what happened.
The district attorney, however, said he had "strong witnesses."
Willie Martin, 74, who was at the 1965 rally that ended in violence and appeared before the grand jury, said he was glad
to see action taken after 42 years. "They kept it smothered down. We didn't have nobody to represent us back then," he said.
Fowler was among a contingent of law officers sent to Marion on the night of Feb. 18, 1965. According to witnesses, about
500 people were marching from a church toward the city jail to protest the jailing of a civil rights worker when the street
lights went out. Troopers contended the crowd refused orders to disperse. Soon law officers began swinging billy clubs, with
A group of protesters ran into Mack's Cafe, pursued by troopers. The cafe operator said 82-year-old Cager Lee was clubbed
to the floor along with his daughter, Viola Jackson, whose son, Jimmie Lee Jackson, was shot trying to help them. He died
two days later.
The shooting galvanized civil rights activists who had not been getting any national media attention in their efforts
to register blacks to vote in Selma, said Taylor Branch, the Pulitzer-Prize winning author of "Parting the Waters" and other
books about the civil rights movement.
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. arrived to preach Jackson's funeral, and in reaction to the killing, black civil rights
demonstrators set out on March 7, 1965, on a march from Selma to Montgomery. They were routed by club-swinging officers at
the Edmund Pettus Bridge at Selma, an attack known as "Bloody Sunday."
National news coverage of the attack, including images of terrified marchers being beaten amid clouds of tear gas, made
Selma the center of the civil rights movement. King, who was not present on Bloody Sunday, arrived to lead a weeklong Selma-to-Montgomery
march later in the month.
Those events prompted Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which transformed the political makeup of the South
by ending various segregationist practices that prevented blacks from voting.
The retired trooper was not asked to testify before the grand jury. All of the witnesses who appeared before the panel
Wednesday are black, and none witnessed the shooting. But Vera Jenkins Booker, the night supervising nurse at the Selma hospital
where Jackson died, said the patient told her what happened.
"He said, 'I was trying to help my grandfather and my mother and the state trooper shot me.' He didn't give any name,"
Booker told reporters after her grand jury appearance.
House Votes To Expand Hate Crimes Law
(AP) Just hours after the White House issued a veto threat Thursday, the House voted to add gender and sexual
orientation to the categories covered by federal hate crimes law.
The House legislation, passed 237-180, also makes
it easier for federal law enforcement to take part in or assist local prosecutions involving bias-motivated attacks. Similar
legislation is also moving through the Senate, setting the stage for another veto showdown with President Bush.
is an important vote of conscience, of a statement of what America is, a society that understands that we accept differences,"
said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md.
Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., the only openly gay man in the House, presided
over the chamber as the final vote was taken.
The vote came after fierce lobbying from civil rights groups, who have
been pushing for years for added protections against hate crimes, and social conservatives, who say the bill threatens the
right to express moral opposition to homosexuality and singles out groups of citizens for special protection.
White House, in a statement warning of a veto, said state and local criminal laws already cover the new crimes defined under
the bill, and there was "no persuasive demonstration of any need to federalize such a potentially large range of violent crime
It also noted that the bill leaves other classes, such as the elderly, the military and police officers,
without similar special status.
"Our criminal justice system has been built on the ideal of equal justice for all,"
said Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, top Republican on the Judiciary Committee. "Under this bill justice will no longer be equal,
but depend on the race, sex, sexual orientation, disability or status of the victim."
Republicans, in a parliamentary
move that would have effectively killed the bill, tried to add seniors and the military to those qualifying for hate crimes
protection. It was defeated on a mainly party-line vote.
Hate crimes under current federal law apply to acts of violence
against individuals on the basis of race, religion, color, or national original. Federal prosecutors have jurisdiction only
if the victim is engaged in a specific federally protected activity such as voting.
The House bill would extend the
hate crimes category to include sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or disability and give federal authorities greater
leeway to participate in hate crimes investigations. It approves $10 million over the next two years to help local law enforcement
officials cover the cost of hate crime prosecutions.
Federal investigators could step in if local authorities are
unwilling or unable to act. The Human Rights Campaign, the country's largest gay rights group, said this federal intervention
could have made a difference in the case of Brandon Teena, the young Nebraska transsexual depicted in the movie "Boys Don't
Cry" who was raped after two friends discovered that he was biologically female and then murdered when local police did not
arrest those responsible.
But Dr. James C. Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, warned that the true intent of
the bill was "to muzzle people of faith who dare to express their moral and biblical concerns about homosexuality." If you
read the Bible in a certain way, he told his broadcast listeners, "you may be guilty of committing a 'thought crime.'"
does not impinge on public speech or writing in any way," countered Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., pointing
out that the bill explicitly reaffirms First Amendment and free speech rights.
Conyers said in a statement that state
and local authorities will continue to prosecute the overwhelming majority of such cases and the bill requires the attorney
general or another high-ranking Justice Department official to approve any federal prosecutions.
The legislation restates
already-enacted penalties. Those using guns to commit crimes defined under the bill face prison terms of up to 10 years. Crimes
involving kidnapping or sexual assault or resulting in death can bring life terms.
The Judiciary Committee cited FBI
figures that there have been more than 113,000 hate crimes since 1991, including 7,163 in 1995. It said that racially motivated
bias accounted for 55 percent of those incidents, religious bias for 17 percent, sexual orientation bias for 14 percent and
ethnicity bias for 14 percent.
Clinton praises Rutgers women for ‘bravery’
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. - Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton met Friday with Rutgers
women’s basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer, and later proclaimed that Rutgers “has a chance to be the leader
of this teachable moment” on standing up to discrimination and marginalization.
The New York senator and Democratic front-runner asked people across the nation to take what she called
“the Rutgers pledge.”
“Will you be willing to speak up and say, ‘Enough is enough,’ when women or minorities
or the powerless are marginalized or degraded?” Clinton said in her speech to about 700 people at a university forum
on women and public leadership.
The event celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Eagleton Institute of Politics and the 35th anniversary
of the institute’s Center for American Women and Politics.
Referring to Stringer and her players, Clinton said, “They are living, human markers of our progress
in this country, how far we have come, and how much farther we have to go together.”
“She and her players have shown us the difference between bravery and bravado,” Clinton
Clinton said she met Friday morning with Stringer, as well as assistant women’s basketball coach
A Rutgers athletics spokeswoman did not immediately return an Associated Press call for comment on
how the meeting went.
The Rutgers basketball team were the object of an on-air slur by nationally syndicated radio talk show
host Don Imus that resulted in his firing.
Shortly after the Rutgers event, Clinton is to head to New York City to speak at a convention of the
Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network.
Clinton was originally scheduled to speak at Rutgers on Monday, but the appearance was postponed after
a fierce spring storm caused flooding in the New Brunswick area.
Rutgers Players Criticize Imus's Remarks
Members of the Rutgers University women's basketball team today strongly criticized talk show host Don Imus for making
what they said were "despicable" racist and sexist remarks about the players.
But they agreed to a face-to-face meeting with the shock jock nonetheless, hoping, some team members said, that the controversy
will raise racial consciousness across the United States.
"This has scarred me for life," Matee Ajavon, a junior guard from Newark, said of Imus's comments, which have renewed a
national debate on race relations and the role media figures can play in dividing and unifying people.
But the attention given to the controversy will bring attention to racism, which is "something serious that we really need
to get across to the nation," said Ajavon, one of eight black members of the team.
The athletes told reporters at a news conference on Rutgers' main campus in Piscataway, N.J., that they will meet with
Imus so he can explain why he called them "nappy-headed hos" a day after they played for the NCAA championship last week.
"To utter such despicable words is not right," said C. Vivian Stringer, the team's head coach. "These young ladies before
you are valedictorians, future doctors, musical prodigies. These young ladies are the best this nation has to offer."
But Imus's comments underscore "there's time for change," said Stringer, who is black. "You see, because it is not about
these young women. . . . It's not about the Rutgers women's basketball team. It's about women. Are women hos? Think
about that. Would you have wanted your daughter to have been called that?"
Most of the questions at the news conference were handled by the team's captain, Essence Carson, a junior from Paterson,
N.J., who is a straight-A student and an accomplished pianist.
"I would like to express our team's great anger," Carson said.
Even so, "we have agreed to have a meeting with Mr. Don Imus . . . a private meeting at an undisclosed location in the
near future," Carson said, adding, "A lot of positive things could come from this."
Team members used words such as disgusting and reprehensible to describe Imus' on-air comments, made while he was discussing
Rutgers' loss to Tennessee in the NCAA title game.
Rutgers, a state university that has more than 50,000 students on three campuses, reached the finals as a decided underdog
-- a team that lost by 40 points in one early-season game.
But instead of coming home to celebrate an almost-Cinderella season, the Rutgers team faced "racist and sexist remarks
that are deplorable, despicable and abominable and unconscionable," Stringer said.
"We have all been physically, mentally and emotionally spent, so hurt by the remarks that were uttered by Mr. Imus. But
we also understood a long time ago that, you know, no one can make you feel inferior unless you allow them."
The appearance of Stringer and her 10 athletes came a day after Imus' employers suspended him from his broadcast for two
weeks, beginning next week.
Earlier this morning, Imus turned his broadcast into a debate over his controversial remarks. University and state of New
Jersey officials have all condemned his remarks.
Guests on his show and others alternately chastised and vouched for the disc jockey, agreeing that his comments were deplorable
but noting his history of charity work and suggesting that the tone of his barb-laden broadcast could be changed for the better.
Imus said he sought a meeting with the team to apologize in person, but he acknowledged on his show today that he did not
expect them to accept.
As anger over the comments began to build, CBS Radio, which syndicates the show "Imus in the Morning," and MSNBC, which
televises the show, suspended Imus for two weeks in an effort to quell protests by black leaders including the Rev. Al Sharpton
and Rev. Jesse Jackson.
But, with the punishment delayed so that a planned telethon could proceed, Imus's show today became a combination of self
defense and continuing mea culpa.
CBS Radio Chairman and Chief Executive Joel Hollander gave an emotional recounting of how Imus supported him when his young
daughter died and helped Hollander establish a foundation to combat Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Imus has "a heart as big as anyone," Hollander said.
Commentator Jeff Greenfield suggested that part of the blame rests with the fact that politicians and political analysts
have let Imus's "sophomoric" remarks pass without challenge for so many years.
"The fact that nobody called you off the air . . . suggests maybe there is an enormous disconnect," Greenfield said, and
chastised Imus for not following through on what were characterized as longstanding plans to bring more black and minority
guests on the show. "Those of us who do the show have a responsibility to say the rules are different now."
Still, Greenfield said he hoped the suspension did not dilute Imus' wit and general approach.
"I hope you don't come back with a show devoid of the vinegar," Greenfield said. "Nobody wants a show where you return
with a chorus of kumbaya."
Comedian Bill Maher told Imus his comment "was lame, was wrong," but also criticized Sharpton and Jackson for stoking what
he called "all this fake outrage."
"It was a bad joke. . . . It was real creepy. . . . After that, move on. You will lose some black listeners. That should
be your punishment," Maher said.
In a later interview on CNN, Jackson said he was worried that a developing "sympathy movement" seemed to focus more on
Imus's career than on the damage done to the college students he insulted.
Imus appeared on NBC's "Today" show this morning. Host Matt Lauer asked the radio star if he could really clean up his
act as he promised and Imus responded, "Well, perhaps I can't" but then said, "I have a history of keeping my word."
The comments were not enough to appease Lauer's colleague, "Today" show weatherman Al Roker, who wrote on his blog this
morning that Imus and his producer, Bernard McGurk, should be fired. Noting that he was once a fan of Imus and praising Imus
for his charitable works, Roker said, "After watching and listening to him this morning during an interview with Matt Lauer,
Don Imus doesn't get it. Maybe it's being stuck in a studio for 35 years or being stuck in the 1980s. Either way, it's obvious
that he needs to move on."
Some guests, including former Baltimore Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken Jr., have cancelled appearances on Imus's show following
the controversy. But Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), whose presidential candidacy has been backed by Imus on the air, said he would still appear, the Associated Press
"He has apologized," McCain said, according to the AP. "He said that he is deeply sorry. I'm a great believer in redemption."
Staff writer Lexie Verdon contributed to this story.
Media outlets suspend Imus show
Talk show host Don Imus apologized again Monday for calling the Rutgers University women's basketball
team a bunch of "nappy-headed hos" last week, but critics continued to press for his firing.
And his two major outlets, CBS Radio, which syndicates his morning show, and MSNBC, which simulcasts
it, said Monday they're suspending the shock jock for two weeks starting April 16. NBC News said in a statement that Imus
has professed "profound regret" and said its future relationship with the entertainer would be determined by his behavior.
"What I did was repugnant and repulsive and horrible," Imus said during an appearance on activist Al
Sharpton's radio program Monday afternoon. Sharpton told Imus he "ought to be fired."
Imus also apologized at length again Monday morning on his nationally syndicated radio program for the
remarks he made Wednesday about the team members.
"Here's what I have learned: that you can't make fun of everybody, because some people don't deserve
it," he told listeners.
"I'm sorry I did that. I'm embarrassed that I did that. I did a bad thing, but I'm a good person," he
The latest apologies came as the outcry continued over Imus' remarks. As Sharpton called for Imus' firing,
Jesse Jackson planned a protest in Chicago, and an NAACP official also called for the broadcaster's resignation or firing.
"Our agenda is to try to be funny, and sometimes we go too far — and sometimes we go way too far,"
he told Sharpton.
Imus' trademark is take-no-prisoners humor, and fans say part of his appeal is that he is an equal-opportunity
offender. But he has drawn controversy for comparing former NBC News correspondent Gwen Ifill to a "cleaning woman" and referring
to Illinois Sen. Barack Obama as "that colored fellow."
The Rutgers comments were made Wednesday as Imus was speaking with producer Bernard McGuirk about the
NCAA women's title game between Rutgers and Tennessee. McGuirk referred to the largely black Rutgers players as "some hardcore
hos." "That's some nappy-headed hos there, I'm going to tell you that," Imus said.
On his show Monday, Imus said he hoped to meet the Rutgers players, their parents and coaches. "It's
not going to be easy, but I'm not looking for it to be easy," he said.
Later, on Sharpton's program, he repeated that request. "Let's see if they'll forgive me, if there's
something I can do to begin to build something positive out of this," he said.
"What do you think the consequences should be? Is an apology enough?" Bryan Monroe, president of the
National Association of Black Journalists, asked Imus on Sharpton's program. "Probably not," Imus responded.
Jackson said his RainbowPUSH Coalition planned to protest in Chicago outside the offices of NBC, which
owns MSNBC. Jackson said protests were being planned across the country.
James E. Harris, president of the New Jersey chapter of the National Association for the Advancement
of Colored People, demanded Sunday that Imus "resign or be terminated immediately."
Imus, 66, is a member of the National Broadcasters Hall of Fame. His program is syndicated to more than
70 stations. Imus also draws regular high-profile guests from the political, media and literary worlds.
The Rutgers team, which includes eight black women, had lost the day before in the NCAA women's championship
game. Imus was speaking Wednesday with McGuirk about the game when the exchange began on Imus in the Morning, which is broadcast
to millions of people on more than 70 stations and MSNBC.
Allison Gollust, a spokeswoman for MSNBC, said the network considers Imus' comments "deplorable" and
is reviewing the matter.
Karen Mateo, a spokeswoman for CBS Radio, said the company was "disappointed" in Imus' actions and characterized
his comments as "completely inappropriate."
Family hears FBI report on 1955 racial slaying
CHICAGO, Illinois (AP) -- More than half a century after 14-year-old Emmett Till was brutally murdered in Mississippi
for whistling at a white woman, his family sat down with federal investigators.
They discussed the final autopsy on the boy's exhumed body and heard about the investigation.
The report released Thursday found that Till died of a gunshot wound to the head. He also had broken wrist bones and skull
and leg fractures.
When his body was pulled from the Tallahatchie River in the summer of 1955, the report said, "the crown of his head was
just crushed out ... and a piece of his skull just fell out."
The report also set out a timeline constructed from witness statements, and it said a third man had given a deathbed confession.
Roy Bryant, the white woman's husband, and his half-brother, J.W. Milam, were charged in Till's death shortly after the
killing but were acquitted by an all-white jury. Both men, now deceased, later confessed in a 1956 interview with Look magazine.
According to the new report, Leslie Milam, a relative of the two men, also confessed before he died.
"We just wanted the truth," said Ollie Gordon, Till's cousin and one of half a dozen family members who reviewed the report
with federal investigators on Thursday. "Just knowing the truth has been comforting to the family."
The FBI reopened the Till case in 2004 and exhumed the boy's body in 2005, but it decided last year not to press charges.
The case was turned over to local prosecutors, with the FBI suggesting a closer look at Bryant's wife, Carolyn Bryant Donham,
A Mississippi grand jury ruled late last month that there was insufficient evidence to indict her, essentially closing
the book on the case.
"We felt that since the investigation took so long and the results as they were, we would sit face-to-face with the family
to answer any questions," said Joyce Chiles, the chief prosecutor on the case.
Till's cousin, Simeon Wright, was with the teenager the night he was kidnapped from an uncle's home in Money, Mississippi,
and he had pressed for a further investigation.
"From what I saw, I think they had enough evidence to indict," Wright said Thursday. "Every last person up to now has gotten
away with murder."
In 1955, nearly 100,000 people filed past Till's open casket during a four-day public viewing in the boy's hometown of
Chicago, Illinois. A graphic photo of his face appeared in Jet magazine, and that image stoked national outrage and fueled
the civil rights movement.
Till's mother, who had wanted her son's casket open to expose the brutality of racism to the world, died in 2003. She was
buried next to him.
Obama, Clinton mark infamous civil rights clash
SELMA, Alabama (CNN) -- The top two Democratic presidential contenders fought Sunday for the
support of African-American voters in a place infamous for a bloody clash between voting rights protesters and police.
Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama spoke on the 42nd anniversary of the 1965 Selma voting rights
march, a turning point in the civil rights movement that led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act.
On that day, police, enforcing Gov. George Wallace's ban on demonstrations, attacked more than 500
protesters with tear gas and batons as they marched from Selma to Montgomery.
After their speeches, Obama and Clinton greeted each other at a rally re-enacting part of the march
across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, one of the leaders of the Selma march, said the competition for black voters
between the senators is "a very difficult position to be in, but it's a good position to be in."
"We have choices," Lewis said.
Speaking separately at two traditionally African American churches, Clinton and Obama each portrayed
themselves as beneficiaries of the bloody march and of the civil rights movement in general. Obama, of Illinois, described
how his African father met his mother, a white woman from Kansas.
"They looked at each other and they decided, 'We know that, in the world as it has been, it might not
be possible for us to get together and have a child, but something is stirring across the country because of what happened
in Selma, Alabama, because some folks are willing to march across the bridge. And so they got together, and Barack Obama Jr.
"So don't tell me I don't have a claim on Selma, Alabama," Obama said. "Don't tell me I'm not coming
home when I come to Selma, Alabama. I'm here because somebody marched for our freedom. I'm here because y'all sacrificed for
me. I stand on the shoulders of this."
Clinton: 'I'm grateful to all of you'
In her remarks minutes later, Clinton, of New York, mentioned her rival Obama.
"The Voting Rights Act gave more Americans from every corner of our nation the chance to live out their
dreams. And it is the gift that keeps on giving," Clinton said. "Today it is giving Sen. Obama the chance to run for president
of the United States. And by its logic and spirit, it is giving the same chance to Gov. Bill Richardson, a Hispanic, and,
yes, it is giving me that chance, too."
She added, "I know where my chance came from, and I am grateful to all of you who gave it to me."
Clinton also mentioned her husband, former President Bill Clinton, arguably the most popular white
politician among African-Americans -- and a major asset in courting black voters. He made the trip to Selma with her and the
former president was inducted into the Voting Rights Hall of Fame.
"In 2000, my husband said here that those who walked across the bridge made it possible for the South
to grow and prosper," Sen. Clinton said. "And for two sons of the South, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, to be elected presidents
of the United States."
How can we sleep while 46 million of our fellow Americans do not have health insurance?" Clinton asked
her audience. She also complained about "too few jobs and too few wage increases and too much debt."
"How can we shrug our shoulders and say this is not about me when too many of our children are ill-prepared
in school for college and unable to afford it if they wish to attend?"
Obama attacks poverty, inequality
Obama did not mention Sen. Clinton in his remarks at Brown Chapel A.M.E. And as he tackled a litany
of issues such as health care insurance, victims of Hurricane Katrina and racial equality, he did not mention the Iraq war.
"We've got too many children in poverty in this country," Obama said," and everybody should be ashamed."
Obama also mentioned, "the disparity in terms of how people are treated in this country continues.
It has gotten better, and we should never deny that it's gotten better, but we shouldn't forget that better is not good enough,
that until we've got absolute equality in this country in terms off people being treated on the basis of their color or their
gender that that is something that we've got to continue to work on."
On health care, he said "we've got 46 million people uninsured in this country despite spending more
money on health care than any nation on Earth. Makes no sense."
Obama: My ancestors owned slaves
Obama also told listeners Sunday that his ancestors on his mother's side included a slave-owner, an
acknowledgement that confirmed a recent media report. He called it part of the United States' "tortured, tangled history."
The Baltimore Sun reported Friday that "forebears of his white mother owned slaves, according to genealogical
research and census records."
The paper pointed to records noted in an ancestry report compiled by William Addams Reitwiesner, a
researcher at the Library of Congress, who posted information on his own Web site, wargs.com.
"The following material on the immediate ancestry of Barack Obama should not be considered either exhaustive
or authoritative, but rather as a first draft," Reitwiesner says on the Web site.
Obama, at a "unity breakfast" meeting before speaking at a church to commemorate the historic 1965
Selma voting rights march, said some people "have noted now" that his mother's "great, great, great great grandfather had
actually owned a slave, as if that was a surprise. That's no surprise... in America... that's part of our tortured, tangled
Clinton 'has a very strong card'
Sen. Clinton's association with her husband is a powerful political tool, according to one expert.
"There is no white politician in America who is more popular in the African-American community than
Bill Clinton," said Jamal Simmons, a Democratic strategist. "So she has a very strong card to play."
The results of one recent poll suggest that card is one she may need. An ABC News-Washington Post survey,
taken last month, found that Obama was the choice of 44 percent of black Democrats, compared to 33 percent for Sen. Clinton,
with a sampling error of plus or minus 8 percentage points. That was a marked shift from the beginning of the year, when she
led Obama 60 percent to 20 percent.
However, the poll found that the New York senator's favorable rating among black voters was 85 percent,
compared to 70 percent for Obama, although his favorability has climbed 16 points since the beginning of the year.
Simmons said that while black voters have a great deal of loyalty to Bill Clinton, "the question is
whether that loyalty transfers to Hillary Clinton, and that's really the test she'll have to meet."
FBI Revisits Civil Rights Cold Cases
(CBS/AP) The FBI has reopened investigations of about a dozen decades-old suspicious deaths, officials said Tuesday
amid a Justice Department focus on cracking unsolved cases from the nation's civil rights era.
The high-priority cases,
which FBI Director Robert S. Mueller described as numbering between 10 and 12, are among an estimated 100 that investigators
nationwide are looking at as possible civil rights-related murders.
The murder of Oneal Moore is one such case. A
black deputy sheriff in Louisiana, Moore was shot in his truck while on a routine patrol in June of 1965, reports CBS News
correspondent Bob Orr. The killers have never been caught.
"You would think that being a person in law enforcement,
that that would have been a priority for law enforcement to find the person who was responsible," said Moore’s brother,
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales acknowledged that many of the cases may be far beyond the boundaries
of what the federal government can legally prosecute. But they "remain on our radar," he said.
"Much time has passed
on these crimes," Gonzales told reporters in Washington. "The wounds they left are deep, and still many of them have not healed.
But we are committed to re-examining these cases and doing all we can to bring justice to the criminals who may have avoided
punishment for so long."
Addressing civil rights violators, Gonzales said: "You have not gotten away with anything
— we are still on your trail."
Officials declined to release details about which cases have been reopened, or
where, but said that nearly all are located in 14 states in the South. Investigators later confirmed, for example, that the
unsolved 1946 lynching of four sharecroppers on the Moore's Ford Bridge near Monroe, Ga., was among those being investigated.
But they declined to comment on whether another high-profile case was being included — that of Maceo Snipes,
a black World War II veteran who in 1946 was shot in the back by four white men a day after he voted for the first time. No
one was ever arrested in the killing, which happened in rural Georgia, about 90 miles south of Atlanta, and there is no evidence
that a criminal probe in the case was ever opened.
The FBI's announcement came the same day that a grand jury looking
into the 1955 slaying of Emmett Till — the black Chicago teenager who was killed in Mississippi after supposedly whistling
at a white woman — refused to indict the woman.
The decision all but closes the books on a crime that helped give rise to the civil rights movement.
Many of the FBI's cases are also included on a list of 76 homicides suspected of being racially motivated that was
compiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center, based in Montgomery, Ala. Center president Richard Cohen said the government's
renewed focus on the cold cases could help uncover what he called "a few burning embers."
"There are a lot of stones
to turn over," Cohen said. "I think it would be wrong to give families false hope, but I think it would be right to say that
people still care."
Mueller said the FBI began re-examining its old case files more than a year ago amid of spate
of civil rights cases that investigators and prosecutors successfully solved.
Most recently, the Justice Department
brought kidnapping and conspiracy charges last month against James Ford Seale, 71, in the 1964 abductions and murders of Charles
Eddie Moore and Henry Hezekiah Dee in southwest Mississippi. Seale has pleaded not guilty and is due for trial in April.
Rice: Obama candidacy signals progress
Secretary of state calls it a sign that blacks have ‘come a very long way’
WASHINGTON - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice finds Democratic presidential
candidate Barack Obama appealing and says it won’t be much longer before race isn’t a barrier to becoming president.
Obama is a top-tier contender among Democrats and his wide support early in the
2008 race “just shows that we’ve come a very long way,” Rice said Sunday. She and the Illinois senator are
“I do think we’ve come a long way in overcoming stereotypes, role stereotypes
about African-Americans. I will say race is still a factor. When a person walks into a room, I still think people still see
race,” Rice said.
“But it’s less and less of a barrier to believing that that person
can be your doctor or your lawyer or a professor in your university or the CEO of a company. And it will not be long, I think,
before it’s no longer a barrier to being president of the United States,” Rice said.
Rice, a Republican, has said repeatedly she will not run for president despite
high popularity ratings and measurable support in opinion polls.
She noted that if she were to continue as secretary of state through the end of
President Bush’s term in January 2009, “we will not have had a white male secretary of state for 12 years —
a white woman, black man and a black woman. That says something about how far our country has come, even though we can’t
deceive ourselves. Race is still a factor in this country.”
Her most recent predecessors at the State Department were Colin Powell and Madeleine
Albright. Powell was secretary of state from 2001 to 2005; Albright from 1997 to 2001.
Rice discussed race in the United States when asked about Obama’s candidacy.
Obama, a first-term senator, is considered among the early front-runners for the Democratic nomination with Sen. Hillary Rodham
Clinton of New York and 2004 vice presidential nominee John Edwards.
Rice noted that Obama is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where
the secretary often testifies.
“I think he’s very appealing and a great person. He’s on my committee.
And we’ve always had good exchanges. I think he’s an extraordinary person,” she said.
Rice declined to say whether she thought he had enough experience, especially in
foreign policy, to be president.
“Oh, I’m not going to make that choice. The American people are going
to make that choice,” she said.
Rice was interviewed on “Fox News Sunday.”
MLK streets traverse nation's past, future
ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Four decades after the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination,
the streets, avenues, boulevards and highways that bear his name remain crossroads of the nation's past and future.
In Atlanta, not far from where King grew up and preached at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Martin Luther
King Jr. Drive winds through the heart of the city. For 10 miles, the road dedicated in King's name in 1976 stretches past
homes, schools, restaurants, liquor stores, strip malls, churches, barbershops, a roller-skating rink, boarded-up government
flats and a gated apartment community, all the way to the city's downtown and its golden-domed Georgia Capitol building.
Pauline Moore, 84, moved with her family in 1940 into the first house built on the south side of what
was then called Hunter Street. The family built a second and then a third house and raised chickens, hogs and other animals
Blacks lived on one side of the nearby railroad tracks, whites on the other, said Moore, who still
owns two of the houses.
Moore described a close-knit black community in the 1940s that sustained itself economically and socially.
The area's blacks had their own churches, theater, mortuary, USO club, nightclubs and more, she said.
"During that time there were just certain places you could go, certain places you could live, and it
was just different," she said.
"But after Martin Luther King broke down the barrier, everything changed."
Around the nation
At least 777 streets are named for King in the United States, each with its own history and character,
said Matthew Mitchelson, a University of Georgia geographer who has researched roads named for the late civil rights leader.
They range from MLK Circle in Tupelo, Mississippi, at one-tenth of a mile, to MLK Boulevard in Tampa,
Florida, at 14 miles.
Eighty-five percent of them are in the South, where King did most of his work and where African-American
populations are more concentrated.
"The dominant stereotype is that these are crime-ridden, low-income areas that are just full of blight,"
But the stereotype doesn't hold up, according to his study in the March 2007 issue of Social Science
"In terms of employment, Martin Luther King streets are actually much more vibrant than streets in
general," providing addresses for more jobs on average than even Main streets, Mitchelson said in an interview.
A main reason for this difference is the prevalence of schools and government offices on MLK streets.
"Statistically, it's off the charts," he said.
Although Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard is a clear dividing line between black and nonblack populations
in El Paso, Texas, Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Cincinnati, Ohio, connects six neighborhoods that are by turns majority
white, majority black, or nearly equally populated, according to the Web site Cincinnatihome.org.
Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Seattle, Washington, winds through miles of diverse populations and hosts
a growing number of businesses, more than 30 percent of them owned by Asian-Americans, according to The Seattle Times.
In Atlanta, the street's residential population is overwhelmingly black, census figures show. Before
the King name in 1976, segments of the street had been called Gordon Road, for a Confederate general; Hunter Street, for one
of the largest slave owners in the area; and Mozely Drive, for a businessman who donated land for a park that he insisted
be made off-limits to blacks, said Derek Alderman, a cultural geographer at East Carolina University in North Carolina.
"Their names were replaced with King's, signaling a symbolic act" of exchanging one legacy for the
other, Alderman said.
And while some of those streets reinforce the stereotypes, others are debunking them.
"People are making a significant effort to redevelop these streets that bear King's name," he said.
Just east of longtime resident Moore's house and past a block dotted with historical markers celebrating
black business achievements of Moore's era and civil rights achievements of King's day, stands a Tyvek-wrapped frame of a
complex of condominiums and town homes. The development creates mixed emotions in the neighborhood.
"A lot of people who live here aren't really going to be able to afford to live in those," said Altisha
Lewis, 19, a student at Clark Atlanta University, one of five historically black colleges, including King alma mater Morehouse
College, in the neighborhood.
Lewis said she fears the upscale development will lead to the razing of family homes and student housing
and the closing of small, black-owned businesses.
Developer Steven Brock, known for building in parts of Atlanta where others fail or won't try, said
he's working with the Atlanta Housing Authority and no one was displaced by the project. He's building on formerly abandoned
property, he said.
"It's a great project, it's a great part of the city," he said. "It is socially challenged, but it's
a project that's enhancing the quality of life for people in the area."
Tracy Gates, owner of the 60-year-old Busy Bee Café across the street from the site, welcomes the construction.
"I think development is good in any area of the inner city that is blighted, because if they didn't
come, people wouldn't come to this area," she said.
"I think it's a great opportunity for the area ... because it changes the whole landscape," she said.
Societies as well as streets are bound to evolve, Pauline Moore said with a shrug.
"Time brings about a change."
Measure to ban gay nuptials advances
Legislators vote to allow proposed measure on 2008 ballot
BOSTON - Lawmakers in Massachusetts, the only state where gay marriage is legal,
voted Tuesday to allow a proposed constitutional amendment to move forward that would effectively ban the practice.
Within two hours, they voted to reconsider, but then voted again to uphold their
Sixty-one lawmakers voted in favor of advancing the measure, which would appear
on the ballot in 2008 and declare marriage to be only between a man and a woman. The proposal still needs approval of the
next legislative session.
After the initial vote, gay marriage proponents called for an hour recess.
They returned and voted 117-75 to reconsider the vote after a scolding from one
of the Legislature’s most outspoken gay marriage opponents.
Lawmakers later considered the issue a third time, voting 62-134 to advance the
amendment to the legislative session.
If it makes it on the ballot and residents approve it, the amendment would leave
Massachusetts’ existing same-sex marriages intact but ban any new ones.
For next governor, a ‘question of conscience’ Calling
it a “question of conscience,” Gov.-elect Deval Patrick had urged lawmakers not to vote on it Tuesday, which would
have effectively killed it.
“I believe that adults should be free to choose whom they wish to love and
to marry,” Patrick said shortly before lawmakers were to meet for the final day of their session.
Outside the Statehouse, crowds of gay marriage supporters and opponents waved signs
as legislators began arriving.
The amendment’s backers had collected 170,000 signatures to get the amendment
on the 2008 ballot, but it still needed the Legislature’s approval.
Last fall, the Legislature angered the amendment’s backers and the governor
when it recessed without voting on the issue. Senate President Robert Travaglini didn’t immediately say if he would
force a vote Tuesday.
A vote to adjourn the joint constitutional convention without taking up the amendment
would kill the measure and put supporters of a ban back to square one.
Patrick, a supporter of gay couples’ right to marriage, met with House Speaker
Salvatore DiMasi to lobby against taking an up or down vote on the amendment, which would leave Massachusetts’ existing
same-sex marriages intact but ban any more.
“Above all, this is a question of conscience,” Patrick, a Democrat,
said in a statement. “Using the initiative process to give a minority fewer freedoms than the majority, and to inject
the state into fundamentally private affairs, is a dangerous precedent, and an unworthy one for this commonwealth.”
8,000 couples wed since 2003 ruling About 8,000 same-sex couples
have wed in Massachusetts since the Supreme Judicial Court ruled in 2003 that the state constitution guarantees gays the right
to marry. A few other states offer civil unions with similar rights for gay couples, but only Massachusetts allows gay marriage.
Backers of the amendment gathered at the foot of the Statehouse steps Tuesday with
signs reading “Let the People Vote.” Many argued it should be up to the people, not the courts, to define something
as important as marriage.
“Legislators are sent to Beacon Hill to vote on a matter, not to not vote
on a matter,” said amendment backer Paul Ferro, 30, of Norton.
Supporters of gay marriage, who held their own rally across Beacon Street, said
the civil rights of a minority should not be put to a popular vote. “Let the people marry,” read one retort.
Some lawmakers have said they wouldn’t vote on the amendment issue because
the ballot question would write discrimination into the constitution.
Gay Civil Unions Legalized In New Jersey
(AP) New Jersey Gov. Jon S. Corzine on Thursday signed a civil unions law giving gay couples all the rights and
responsibilities — but not the title — of marriage.
The law makes New Jersey the third in the nation to
institute civil unions and the fifth to offer same-sex couples some version of marriage. Connecticut and Vermont allow civil
unions for gay couples. Massachusetts allows gay couples to marry; California has domestic partnerships that bring full marriage
"We must recognize that many gay and lesbian couples in New Jersey are in committed relationships and deserve
the same benefits and rights as every other family in this state," Corzine said. About 150 people attended the bill signing.
The New Jersey law takes effect Feb. 19. Same-sex couples seeking civil unions will have to wait for three days for
a ceremony to take place after registering their plans with local officials. That is the same waiting period for couples seeking
Once joined in civil union, gay couples will enjoy adoption, inheritance, hospital visitation,
medical decision-making and alimony rights and the right not to testify against a partner in court.
"I believe very
fundamentally in equal protection under the law and this legislation is about meeting that basic responsibility and honoring
the commitments that individuals have made to each other," said Corzine, a Democrat.
The law passed the Legislature
on Dec. 14 in response to an October state Supreme Court order that gay couples be granted the same rights as married couples.
The court gave lawmakers six months to act but left it to them to decide whether to call it unions "marriage" or another term.
Gay couples have welcomed the new law, but argue not calling it "marriage" creates a different, inferior institution.
Social conservative groups and some lawmakers opposed the measure, reasoning it brings gay relationships too close
to marriage, but it easily passed the Legislature.
"It's same-sex marriage without the title," said John Tomicki,
president of the New Jersey Coalition to Preserve and Protect Marriage. "It uproots the cardinal values of our culture."
said opponents would push for a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex unions in New Jersey, no matter what they're
"Let the voters decide that marriage is defined as a union of one man and one woman," Tomicki said.
who control the Legislature have said they have no plans to consider such a proposal.
High court weighs race in assigning schools
Kennedy joins court's conservatives skeptical of integration programs
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court on Monday wrestled with voluntary integration plans in public schools,
asking whether programs in Louisville, Ky., and Seattle are acceptable moves toward student diversity or other names for illegal
Justice Anthony Kennedy, who could hold the decisive vote, joined his conservative
colleagues in expressing deep skepticism about the programs.
The Seattle district seems to be telling its high school students who are subject
to the plan that “everybody can get a meal,” but that only certain people can get “dessert,” Kennedy
said. He was referring to the fact that some students did not get assigned to the schools they preferred based on their race.
About Louisville’s system-wide assignment plan, Kennedy said, “It’s
a troubling case.”
The court’s four liberal justices indicated they see no constitutional problem
with school districts that factor in a student’s race in an effort to have individual school populations approximate
the racial makeup of the entire system. Federal appeals courts have upheld both programs.
In Louisville, the school system spent 25 years under a federal court order to
desegregate its system. The school board decided to keep much of the court-ordered plan in place to prevent schools from re-segregating.
“What’s constitutionally required one day is constitutionally prohibited
the next day? That’s very odd,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said.
Francis Mellen Jr., representing the Louisville schools, called the plan a success
story that enjoys broad community support, including among parents of white and black students.
Question from Kennedy Still, Kennedy wanted to know that even
assuming the school board’s good faith, can it assign students “based on the color of an individual child’s
The justices and lawyers arguing the cases referred repeatedly to a 2003 Supreme
Court ruling that permitted the limited consideration of race to attain a diverse student body on the college level.
Chief Justice John Roberts expressed concern about making school assignments “based
on skin color” and not “any other factor.”
Attorney Michael Madden, representing the Seattle school district, said race is
but one factor, that it is relied on only in some instances and then only at the end of a lengthy process.
Madden drew a distinction between the Seattle school program and the subject of
the court’s 2003 decision, which narrowly approved the University of Michigan law school affirmative action admissions
“This is not like being denied admission to a state’s flagship university,”
Madden told Roberts. The Seattle students are “not being denied admission, they are being redistributed.”
Parents in Louisville, Ky., and Seattle are challenging school assignment plans
that factor in a student’s race in an effort to have individual school populations approximate the racial makeup of
the entire system. Federal appeals courts have upheld both programs.
Brisk wind, brisk demonstrations Amid the oral arguments, pro-affirmative
action demonstrators bearing “Fight For Equality” placards marched on the sidewalk in front of the Supreme Court
in a brisk wind. A parent-teachers group from Chicago and several civil rights groups were among those sponsoring the demonstration.
Demonstrators chanted “Equal education, not segregation” and “We
won’t go to the back of the bus, integration is a must.” Some held signs that read “Stop racism now.”
Among the crowd were representatives of the National Organization for Women, the NAACP and students from Howard University.
Though outnumbered, there were some in the crowd from the other side.
“Regardless of how well-motivated, allowing the state to engineer racial
mixing only creates racial stereotypes and increases racial tension,” said Terry Pell, president of the Center for Individual
Rights, a public interest law firm. “The court needs to put an end to state-mandated tinkering with race.”
The school policies in contention are designed to keep schools from segregating
along the same lines as neighborhoods. In Seattle, only high school students are affected. Louisville’s plan applies
“The plan has prevented the resegregation that inevitably would result from
the community’s segregated housing patterns and that most likely would produce many schools that might be perceived
as ’failing,”’ the Seattle school district said in its brief to the high court.
The Bush administration has taken the side of the parents who are suing the school
districts, much as it intervened on behalf of college and graduate students who challenged affirmative action policies before
the Supreme Court in 2003.
In 2003, the court upheld race-conscious admissions in higher education in a 5-4
opinion by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
The cases are Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District
No. 1, 05-908; and Meredith v. Jefferson County Board of Education, 05-915.
Funeral Held For NYC Shooting Victim
(AP) Hundreds of mourners paid their last respects to the man killed on his wedding day by a barrage of 50 police
bullets, attending a funeral in the same church where he was to be married to his high school sweetheart.
Friday evening for Sean Bell, 23, took place in a Queens neighborhood seething over what residents view as rampant mistreatment
of blacks by police. Bell and two companions were unarmed.
"They took his life, but we can't let them take his legacy,"
the Rev. Al Sharpton said, repeatedly greeted with cheers and "Amens" from the overflow crowd. "We must give Sean a legacy.
A legacy of justice, a legacy of fairness. We don't hate cops, we don't hate race, we hate wrong."
Bell was killed
and his two friends wounded after a bachelor party early Saturday at a strip club. It is still not clear what prompted officers
to open fire on Bell's vehicle, but police apparently feared one man in the group was about to get a gun.
officers who fired their guns included two blacks, two whites and one Hispanic.
The Rev. Lester Williams had been
preparing to lead Bell and his fiancee through their vows last week, but instead delivered the eulogy. He stressed the importance
of forgiveness and urged the congregation to remain calm despite the outrage over the shooting.
"I am angry as hell,
but our anger must not cause us to sin," he said.
"Ask not for whom the bell tolls. The bell tolls for Sean. The bells
are ringing outrage," he added.
Earlier Friday, hundreds of mourners at Bell's wake filed past the open casket at
the Community Church of Christ.
"It's sad for a young brother like that," said Joseph Barry, 20, of Brooklyn, who
attended junior high school with Bell. "It's ridiculous. ... Justice needs to be done, and justice also needs to be served."
Several people outside the church held up signs reading "Justice for Sean Bell." Blue police barricades stretched
for about two blocks in anticipation of a large crowd.
Prior to the wake, the relatives of two survivors from the
weekend shooting also pleaded for calm.
"Please, let's respect this day, and don't cause no problems," said Denise
Ford, the mother of shooting victim Trent Benefield. "We don't need no more trouble."
Benefield was in stable condition
Friday. The third victim, Joseph Guzman, remained in intensive care in critical condition.
N.Y. mayor meets with dead groom's family
NEW YORK (CNN) -- New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg met Tuesday with the family of a man shot and killed by police early
Saturday in an incident that has sparked community outrage and could lead to a federal investigation.
Sean Bell, 23,
was shot to death by police officers outside a Queens nightclub hours before he was to be married to the mother of his two
Two others -- 31-year-old Joseph Guzman and 23-year-old Trent Benefield -- were seriously wounded in the incident.
told reporters he met for an hour with Bell's family and fiancee to express his condolences and discuss the investigation
of the incident.
Community leaders have demanded to know why NYPD officers fired as many as 50 rounds -- one officer
alone fired 31 shots -- at the unarmed group of men as they were leaving Bell's bachelor party early Saturday morning.
are obviously feeling a terrible pain, and the one thing that they would like the mayor to say is the one thing the mayor
can't say -- that there is nothing the mayor can do to bring back their son or their fiance," Bloomberg said of Bell's
Bell was pronounced dead Saturday at Jamaica Hospital in Queens. An autopsy showed he was struck four times
in the neck and torso.
As of Tuesday, Guzman remained in critical condition after being shot at least 11 times, and
Benefield was in stable condition with three bullet wounds, said a representative of Mary Immaculate Hospital in Queens where
the two are being treated.
All five police officers involved in the shooting were placed on administrative leave Sunday
pending an investigation by the Queens district attorney, Richard A. Brown.
Bloomberg said Brown's office was investigating
the incident diligently and trying to determine whether a grand jury should be involved.
"District Attorney Brown
is the one who now has responsibility for trying to ascertain what happened," Bloomberg said.
claims that the incident was racially motivated, citing an NYPD policy against ethnic profiling.
Many black leaders
have said the victims, all African-American, were unjustly targeted because of their race.
"There's no evidence
that race had anything to do with it," Bloomberg said. "The police officers were as diverse as the people in the
Federal law enforcement officials said the Justice Department was nearing the formal opening of a federal
civil rights investigation into the fatal shooting.
Justice Department officials acknowledged the matter remained under
review and that federal authorities in Washington and New York continued to monitor events in the aftermath of the shooting.
declined to confirm that a decision to formally investigate the case could be announced as early as Tuesday or Wednesday.
officials asking not to be identified said they expected the Justice Department "very soon" to request agents for
the federal probe.
"Until that happens, this investigation is completely in the hands of the Queens district attorney,"
said one FBI official.
The Justice Department's Civil Rights Division frequently investigates cases in which law enforcement
actions taken against members of minority groups prompt complaints of police violations of federal civil rights statutes.
In King's Honor, A Dream Achieved
Two presidents, a renowned poet and lions of the civil rights movement joined thousands gathered on
the Mall yesterday to mark the spot where a memorial will be built to honor Martin Luther King Jr., the visionary pastor who
beseeched the nation to live up to its principles and earned a place in the pantheon of American history.
Ground was broken for a memorial to the slain civil rights leader to be built along the edge of the
Tidal Basin, midway between monuments to Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln. It will be the first on the Mall honoring an
African American and the first that does not memorialize a president or a war hero.
Ignoring the gloomy weather, people wearing dapper hats and winter coats came by Metro, by bus, by
limousine. Fathers brought sons to impart a history lesson. Celebrities waved and smiled. And dignitaries spoke of a movement
sparked by a man trying to be a good minister.
President Bush said the memorial will give King his "rightful place among the great Americans honored
on our Mall." He said King's message of justice and liberty "continues to inspire millions across the world" and was not silenced
even when he was felled by an assassin's bullet.
"Dr. King was on this earth just 39 years," the president said, but his ideas are "eternal."
The crowd of several thousand attending the ceremonial groundbreaking gave a standing ovation to former
president Bill Clinton, who signed the bill authorizing the monument on the prestigious piece of land tucked in the Tidal
Basin's famous ring of cherry trees.
"It belongs here," said Clinton, basking in the crowd's enthusiasm. Jefferson "told us we were all
created equal," and Lincoln abolished slavery; but both "left much undone," Clinton said.
He added that contemporary lessons could be learned from King's legacy of nonviolence. "Civil disobedience
works better than suicide bombing," he said. And the memorial to King reminds people that "the time is always ripe to do right."
Clinton and Bush were joined by talk show host Oprah Winfrey, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), poet Maya
Angelou, three of King's children and designer Tommy Hilfiger, among others.
On her way to the stage, gingerly stepping around the edges of mud puddles, Winfrey said she came to
the event because "I've lived the dream."
On stage, she elaborated: "It is because of Dr. King that I stand, that I have a voice to be heard,"
Winfrey said. "I do not take that for granted. Not for one breath. . . . Because he was the seed of the free, I get to be
King's children said they hoped the memorial would be a place where millions of children would come
to learn about their father's work and the beginnings of the civil rights movement.
"Our father just wanted to be a great pastor," said Bernice King, his youngest child. "Little did he
know, he became a great pastor to a nation."
The memorial is scheduled to open in 2008, though fundraising is still underway and the day's ceremonies
did not mark an official beginning of construction. Organizers have raised about two-thirds of the $100 million needed to
develop the four-acre site, which will include a sculpted likeness of King and references to many of his most memorable speeches,
including the famous "I Have a Dream" oratory on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
Some in the audience remembered the sweltering August day in 1963 when King made that speech a half-mile
away. The young men who marched with King are now well into their 60s and 70s. Organizers have been pushing for a monument
for more than 20 years and want participants in the movement to witness its completion, said Harry E. Johnson Sr., president
of the Washington, D.C. Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation.
That opportunity slipped away for King's widow, Coretta Scott King, who died in January.
Lawrence Guyot is a 67-year-old District resident who worked with King in Mississippi. He said that
anyone who lived through the mayhem and strife of the 1960s and said that they had envisioned such a memorial back then was
"telling a lie."
Perhaps little Dontae Ryan II, 3, will tell others someday that he, too, witnessed history. Dontae
watched cartoons on a portable DVD player as his father, Dontae Ryan I, listened to three of King's children speak yesterday.
Ryan attended along with hundreds of other members of Alpha Phi Alpha, the fraternity that King belonged to and that has shepherded
the effort for a memorial for two decades.
"He might not remember that he was here," Ryan said of his son. "But I can show him the pictures. I
think it was necessary to be here, as an Alpha and as a black man."
Beritu Haile-Selassie, 54, came to the Mall and stood outside the security gates holding a handmade
poster to King that read "You dared to dream! Thank you!"
And that message -- to dream -- endures. Civil rights stalwarts Andrew Young and Jesse L. Jackson teared
up recalling the man they had walked alongside to help tear down the walls of segregation. As the shovels dug into the ground,
Young turned to audience members and urged them: "Keep turning the dirt. Keep turning the dirt."
King Memorial Ceremony Under Way in D.C.
Groundbreaking Ceremony for Martin Luther King Junior Memorial Under Way in Washington
WASHINGTON - The National Mall in Washington will get its first monument to an African
American, Martin Luther King Junior.
Ordinary and no-so-ordinary Americans took part in the groundbreaking Monday, including Oprah Winfrey,
poet-novelist Maya Angelou and former President Bill Clinton.
They're among those who've been working for more than a decade to bring the monument about.
The four-acre site along the Tidal Basin is not far from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, where King
gave his "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963.
Project organizers have raised more than $65 million toward the $100 million cost of building and maintaining
the King Memorial. They hope to have it completed by the spring of 2008.
Tougher race hate laws considered
The government is considering whether race hate laws should be revised
after BNP leader Nick Griffin was cleared of charges relating to speeches he made.
A jury decided speeches by Mr Griffin and party activist Mark Collett in 2004 had not incited racial
Home Secretary John Reid said he would consult ministers after Gordon Brown and the Lord Chancellor,
Lord Falconer, called for current laws to be reviewed.
But Lib Dem MP Evan Harris said tighter laws could be counter-productive.
Mr Griffin, 46 and from Powys, had denied at a retrial two charges of using words or behaviour intended
to stir up racial hatred .
Mr Collett, 26 and from Leicestershire, was cleared of four similar charges.
The pair were charged in 2005 in the wake of the secretly filmed BBC documentary The Secret Agent,
which had been broadcast a year earlier.
The Leeds Crown Court jury heard extracts from a speech Mr Griffin made in the Reservoir Tavern in
Keighley, West Yorkshire, on 19 January 2004, in which he described Islam as a "wicked, vicious faith" and said Muslims were
turning Britain into a "multi-racial hell hole".
Mr Collett addressed the audience by saying: "Let's show these ethnics the door in 2004."
A Home Office spokesman said Mr Reid would "think carefully and take time to study and reflect on this
[court] judgement and its implications, including taking soundings from his ministerial colleagues".
But the minister believed the "poisonous politics of race" could be defeated only by argument, politics
and community engagement, the spokesman added.
Legislation banning the use of threatening words to incite religious hatred came into force earlier
Any preaching of religious or racial hatred will offend
mainstream opinion in this country Chancellor Gordon Brown
"Parliament has only recently discussed and decided on new laws in this area," the spokesman said.
"But obviously we want to make sure legislation is effective and even-handed."
In the wake of the BNP pair's acquittals, Chancellor Mr Brown said: "Any preaching of religious or
racial hatred will offend mainstream opinion in this country.
"We have got to do whatever we can to root it out from whatever quarter it comes.
"And if that means we have got to look at the laws again, we will have to do so."
Lord Falconer later told BBC Radio 4's Any Questions? that the government had to show young Muslims,
without compromising freedom, that Britain was not anti-Islamic.
Muslims had been offended by Mr Griffin's remarks and must be reassured the law would protect them,
Freedom of speech should not be an excuse for people to insult an entire community, Lord Falconer added.
But Dr Harris, who is on the influential joint select committee on human rights, said: "Although I
am disappointed these members of a racist party were not successfully prosecuted for race hate given their attacks on Asians
and asylum seekers, Parliament must resist the temptation for more restrictions on freedom of expression."
He added that extending restrictions "can be counter-productive by either creating extremist martyrs
or being impossible to enforce".
Dr Harris argued there were "enough laws to deal with speech which actually incites to violence or
other criminal offences, or which uses threatening language".
"There must be room in a free society to allow even offensive criticism of religions and their followers,"
After the not guilty verdicts, Mr Griffin said: "What has just happened shows Tony Blair and the government
toadies at the BBC that they can take our taxes but they cannot take our hearts, they cannot take our tongues and they cannot
take our freedom."
In a statement, the BBC said its job was to bring matters of public interest to general attention.
"In this case the matters raised in The Secret Agent were seen by a large section of the public and
caused widespread concern," it read.
Atlanta, Morehouse College welcome home Martin Luther King papers
ATLANTA, Georgia (AP) -- The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s 78th birthday in January will feature
a gift to the city: the first public viewing of more than 10,000 of his documents, notes and other personal items.
Pieces of the King Collection -- from a term paper he wrote as a student at Atlanta's Morehouse College
to a draft of his "I Have A Dream" speech -- will be on display at the Atlanta History Center.
This summer, Mayor Shirley Franklin led the effort to acquire the papers from the New York offices
of Sotheby's auction house, which had planned a public sale.
"The Martin Luther King Jr. Collection is home," a beaming Franklin said Monday.
The collection includes handwritten versions of King's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," his famous
"I Have a Dream" speech, delivered at the 1963 March on Washington, and his acceptance speech for the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize.
After years in the basement of the King family home, the documents, books, and other items in the collection
were moved to Sotheby's nearly a decade ago. Sotheby's tried to sell the collection, but previous negotiations fell through.
It put them back on the market after King's widow, Coretta Scott King, died in February.
The mayor pulled off the 11th-hour deal to buy the papers in June for $32 million with the help of
more than 50 corporate, government and private donors.
Morehouse College owns the papers. Archivists have been organizing the collection, including hundreds
of books with scribble-filled margins and numerous sermons and writings.
"It was here that he was introduced to the ideas that would form the basis for his philosophy on nonviolence,"
said Morehouse College President Walter Massey. "Because of the pivotal role of Morehouse ... we believe there is no better
place in the world for these papers to reside."
King's nephew, Isaac Newton Farris, represented the King family at Monday's announcement.
"This was truly my Aunt Coretta's initial vision, for the papers to be housed here," he said.
Condi Rice Recalls Racial Bigotry
One of America's foremost leaders in the war on terror had her first brush with terrorism while
still a young girl living in Birmingham, Ala.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice tells Katie Couric about
losing a friend when bigots bombed a black Baptist church near her house. This intimate profile is to be broadcast Sunday,
Sept. 24, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.
"Denise McNair was my little friend from kindergarten," Rice says of one of the four young
girls who died when the 16th Street Baptist church was bombed in September 1963. "These were innocent children; this was homegrown
terrorism. I know a little bit of what it's like to have somebody try to terrorize a community."
There were other
bombings during the civil rights movement, acts of racism her parents could not shield her from as they did other facts of
the Jim Crow South.
"My parents were determined to try to shield me from some of those humiliations. So I can remember
very well that if it meant drinking at a black water fountain, it was just, 'We'll just wait until we get home.' They simply
were not going to let me face that," Rice tells Couric.
Parents in her tight-knit community were also not going
to let the segregation, the treatment of demonstrators — the overall stigma of being black in the South — affect
the self-esteem of their children, says Rice.
"I can't tell you how hard parents worked to make sure that you understood
that racism, and Jim Crow and all of that was not about you, it was about them," she tells Couric. "It was their problem
… and don't ever think of yourself as a victim. … You have control of your life no matter what they try to do
The heights she reached in academia, in music — she is an accomplished pianist — and government,
she attributes to a drive forged in overcoming the Jim Crow milieu under the guidance of her parents and other members of
"And it was also a support structure, teachers, community, growing up in Birmingham, where they really
had all of us convinced … that we might not be able to go to Woolworth's for a hamburger, but we could be president
of the United States if we wanted to be," Rice tells Couric.
Couric's profile of Rice includes rare
access to the secretary of state's Washington apartment, where she demonstrates her piano prowess and shows family pictures.
Bush Signs Voting Rights Act Extension
Bush Signs Voting Rights Act Extension in Ceremony That Aims to Capture Political Momentum
WASHINGTON - President Bush on Thursday
signed legislation extending for 25 years the Voting Rights Act, the historic 1965 law which opened polls to millions of black
Americans by outlawing racist voting practices in the South. "Congress has reaffirmed its belief that all men are created
equal," he declared.
Bush signed the bill amid fanfare and before an South Lawn audience that included members of Congress,
civil rights leaders and family members of civil rights leaders of the recent past. It was one of a series of high-profile
ceremonies the president is holding to sign popular bills into law.
The Republican controlled Congress, eager to improve its standing with minorities ahead of the November
elections, pushed the bill through even though key provisions were not set to expire until next year.
"The right of ordinary men and women to determine their own political future lies at the heart of the
American experiment," Bush said. He said the Voting Rights Act proposed and signed by then-President Lyndon Johnson in 1965
"broke the segregationist lock on the voting box."
With the Republican Party's majority status in Congress in jeopardy and Bush's approval ratings low,
the White House has turned to the South Lawn to provide a high-profile backdrop for signing popular bills into law.
Later in the day, Bush is to sign another bill sure to resonate with voters in this congressional election
year: legislation establishing a national Internet database designed to let law enforcement and communities know where convicted
sex offenders live and work.
By contrast, Bush chose to exercise the first veto of his 5 1/2 years as president in privacy last
week, no audience, no cameras, no reporters. The bill he vetoed would have expanded federally funded research of embryonic
stem cells, which is opposed by social conservatives but has wide support among the rest of the public.
White House officials said an open ceremony to veto a bill seemed inappropriate, although other presidents
have done just that. Forty minutes after the Oval Office veto, Bush gave a major address on the issue in the East Room, open
to the press and surrounded by families who have "adopted" leftover frozen embryos and used them to bear children.
In May, Bush took to the South Lawn to sign into law a bill that extended $70 billion
in previously passed tax cuts. That package was also seen by Republicans as an opportunity to boost the popularity of the
president and the Republican-controlled Congress
The South Lawn is hardly a common venue for presidential bill-signings, which usually occur in an office
building next to the White House or, for particularly important legislation, in the East Room. The majestic backyard of the
White House is typically reserved for pomp-filled welcoming ceremonies for foreign leaders or large social affairs like the
annual Easter egg roll.
On Wednesday, workers scurried to get the expanse of lawn ready for the Voting Rights Act signing,
setting up water stations and a large stage for Bush and the bill's primary supporters.
The list of some of the 600 expected guests reads like a who's-who of prominent black leaders and civil
rights veterans: the Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson; friends and relatives of Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks;
Dorothy Height, the longtime chairwoman of the National Council of Negro Women; and National Urban League head Marc Morial.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, despite its rocky history with Bush, was sending several representatives,
including current president Bruce Gordon, chairman Julian Bond and former head Benjamin Hooks.
The White House also anticipated heavy participation from Capitol Hill, where a long line of lawmakers
were looking for a chance to share the spotlight.
At NAACP, Bush Tries to Mend Rift Applause
and Boos Punctuate Speech, His First to Group as President
After shunning the NAACP for five years, President Bush made an effort yesterday to warm up their frosty
relationship with a speech that mixed folksy humor, frank talk about political disagreements, and promises to build stronger
ties between his administration and black America.
The 33-minute speech at the group's annual convention drew rounds of thunderous applause, such as when
the president acknowledged that his political party wrote off the black vote and when he vowed to sign a bill to renew the
Voting Rights Act.
At other times, the audience groaned, such as when Bush said his family is committed to civil rights.
People booed sharply when he praised charter schools. Two men were quickly hustled out of the hall by Secret Service agents
for heckling Bush about the Iraq war.
Beginning his speech, Bush broke the ice, thanking NAACP president and chief executive Bruce S. Gordon
for his introduction and cracking a joke. "I thought he was going to say, 'It's about time you showed up' " at a convention,
Bush said. "And I'm glad I did."
Bush touted programs that he said have the potential to help more black people gain economic success,
including those that promote home ownership, faith-based community service, repeal of the estate tax and education reform.
But much of the speech focused on glorifying achievements and framing goals.
"I've come to celebrate the heroism of the civil rights movement and the accomplishments of the NAACP,"
Slavery and segregation are "a stain we have not yet wiped clean," he said. Black founding fathers
who believed in America in spite of discrimination and lynchings are too often overlooked, he said.
With the speech, Bush avoided becoming the first president since Warren G. Harding to snub the nation's
oldest and largest civil rights organization over his entire presidency. He thanked NAACP Chairman Julian Bond for inviting
him, even though Bond once referred to the Republican far right as "the Taliban wing," a remark that helped fuel the estrangement.
Bush also thanked Gordon, who took charge of the NAACP last year from Kweisi Mfume, a former Democratic
congressman from Maryland, and who had not played a role in the verbal sniping that led to the bad blood.
Even though candidate George W. Bush addressed the convention in 2000, the feud started a couple of
months later, when the NAACP ran television commercials featuring the daughter of James Byrd Jr., a black man who was dragged
to death behind a pickup truck in Texas in 1998, She criticized Bush's failure as Texas governor to sign hate crime legislation.
It was heightened when the NAACP charged that Republicans in Florida stole the 2000 election turning black voters away from
Gordon, a former executive for Verizon, approached Bush in the Oval Office shortly after his election.
The Rev. Benjamin Hooks, a former NAACP president, said he and Bond also lobbied the president.
"That's why I'm here today," Bush said. "We want an America that's constantly renewing itself, rising
above differences and healing old wounds."
Old wounds often heal slowly, said Jesse Jackson, who was in the audience. Under Bush, he said, the
Justice Department approved voting changes in Southern states that previous administrations rejected. For example, it upheld
a Georgia law that requires voters to get a state-issued identification card, even though some civil rights leaders said many
older black residents lacked the proper documents and the ability to get the card. A federal judge issued an injunction against
the law, calling it a throwback to Jim Crow.
Three years ago, the Bush administration submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court strongly challenging
the University of Michigan's use of affirmative action to admit students to its undergraduate and law schools. The court ruled
that race-conscious admissions were lawful to achieve student diversity, as long as each student's case was individually weighed.
But those issues were fought on battlefields that seemed far away from the touchy-feely atmosphere
at the downtown Washington Convention Center.
"I think this was a good day," Gordon said of the president's visit. "He said exactly what he should
Douglas Mayers, an NAACP delegate from New York, said he agreed with everything Bush said. "It was
a fantastic speech," he said.
Other views were mixed. The Rev. Ezekiel Holley, a delegate from Dawson, Ga., said the speech, especially
the voting rights comments, was welcome. But it was late, he said. "It should have been done four years ago. I'm still disappointed."
Bush Addressing N.A.A.C.P. Convention
WASHINGTON (AP) -- For five years in a row, President Bush has declined invitations
to address the annual NAACP convention. This year, with the Senate poised to renew the 1965 Voting Rights Act, Bush said yes.
The White House says Bush wants to address the National Association for the Advancement of Colored
People on Thursday to show his commitment to civil rights.
''The president has had five years to prepare for this speech,'' Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, past chairman
of the Congressional Black Democratic Caucus, said Wednesday. ''I hope that this time, he makes it worth the wait.''
Democrats have called on Bush to use his appearance to renew the Voting Rights Act. ''He could sign it right here
on this stage,'' Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., told the NAACP on Wednesday, eliciting cheers from the audience.
The House voted overwhelmingly last week to extend provisions of the landmark civil rights act that
President Johnson signed after violence erupted in the South over voting rights for blacks. The Senate is expected to pass
it on Thursday, although probably not before Bush's midmorning appearance at the NAACP.
Every president for the past several decades has spoken to the Baltimore-based group. Until now, Bush,
who received 11 percent of the black vote in 2004, had been the exception. His appearance comes in a critical midterm election
year, when Republicans fear losing control of Congress.
White House press secretary Tony Snow said that while there are political differences, the NAACP's
new leader, Bruce Gordon, has good relations with Bush. Gordon has met with Bush three times in the year he's headed the civil
rights group. That compares to one meeting Bush had with Gordon's predecessor, Kweisi Mfume, a former Democratic congressman.
''It is clear that in this nation, racism and discrimination are legally unacceptable, but there are
also residues of the past that we have to address,'' Snow said in previewing the speech. ''We have to find ways to make sure
that the road to opportunity is clear for one and all.''
Snow denied claims that this was Bush's way of atoning for the government's slow response to Hurricane
Katrina. The Rev. Jesse Jackson and some black elected officials alleged that indifference to black suffering and racial injustice was
to blame for the sluggish reaction to the disaster. In September 2005, Bush's top advisers met with black leaders to discuss
''I think the president wants to make his voice heard,'' Snow said about Bush's speech. ''He has an
important role to play not only in making the case for civil rights but, maybe more importantly, the case for unity.''
Cummings, D-Md., said as the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches, Bush needs to explain
what he plans to do to help the thousands of families in the Gulf Coast region who remain homeless and jobless.
He said the president also needs to address other issues of concern to blacks, including access to
health care and the minimum wage, which has remained at $5.15 for nearly a decade.
''If the tax cuts are working, why then -- at 9 percent -- is the unemployment rate in the African
American community nearly double the national rate?'' Cummings asked.
Democrats press Bush on Voting Rights Act
'He could sign it right here on this stage,' Clinton tells NAACP
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Two Democrats called on President Bush to use his rare
appearance before the NAACP's annual conference to renew the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act, arguing that such a step would
ensure a basic right for minorities.
Signing the legislation, however, would require Bush to pressure the Republican-controlled Senate to
act quickly in passing the renewal that the House approved last week. A Senate committee passed the bill Wednesday, and the
president is scheduled to address the NAACP on Thursday after rejecting the civil rights group's invitations for five straight
"He could sign it right here on this stage," Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York told the NAACP
on Wednesday, eliciting cheers from the audience.
Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, appearing with Clinton and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts on
a voting rights panel, seconded Clinton's suggestion but warned: "Don't be bamboozled."
"You don't just talk the talk, but you also walk the walk," Obama said. "Ultimately laws are only as
good as the people who are enforcing them."
Clinton, perceived as the Democratic front-runner among White House hopefuls, and Obama, a rising star
often mentioned in presidential talk, focused on an issue that the party hopes will energize a core Democratic constituency.
In recent years, Republicans have tried to chip away at Democrats' long dominance of the black vote;
John Kerry captured nearly 90 percent of the vote in 2004. Democrats have fought back to keep a critical part of their base.
With midterm elections less than four months away, Democrats have criticized the Bush administration,
accusing the Justice Department of lax oversight of the Voting Rights Act. Republican divisions over renewal of the act have
given the Democrats another issue to highlight.
Some conservative Republicans, mostly from Southern states, objected to federal oversight in their
states and said the renewal, as written, unfairly punishes states that have overcome their racist pasts.
The crowd at the NAACP meeting gave Clinton and Obama warm receptions. Some attendees stood and applauded,
and many cheered when the two senators were introduced. A group gathered before the stage to take pictures of the two and
At one point, a handful of people chanted "Run, Hillary, run," an apparent reference to 2008.
Bush, in a Shift, May Speak at N.A.A.C.P. Convention
The decision to accept the invitation was made after lobbying by N.A.A.C.P. officials and in a week
when conservative House Republicans forced a delay in the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act.
Even though the House ultimately passed the reauthorization, the delay was criticized by civil rights
leaders and stirred concern among some Republicans over reactions.
Mr. Bush was the first president in 80 years to go a full term without appearing before a convention
of the N.A.A.C.P. He has had quarrelsome relations with the organization and its leaders from the moment he took office, and
he was unhappy with what aides considered its unfair criticism of his record.
The White House declined comment on Friday on a potential appearance.
“We’ve not made any announcement,” a spokeswoman, Jeannie Mamo, said.
N.A.A.C.P. officials said they had not been notified of any decision but were optimistic that Mr. Bush
would appear on Wednesday, the final day of the convention.
The president is scheduled to return from Russia on Monday night.
“I am hopeful that he will attend,” the N.A.A.C.P. president, Bruce S. Gordon, said. “I
expect him to be back in the country in time to address us.
“This is not a calendar issue. I think given the timing of the voting rights activity, this would
be the perfect time for him to attend.”
Last year, Ken Mehlman, the Republican National Committee chairman, attended the group’s convention after Mr. Bush declined to go. Mr. Mehlman used the forum
to apologize for Republicans’ using racially polarizing politics for political gain.
“I am here today as the Republican chairman to tell you we were wrong,” he said at the
House passes Voting Rights Act renewal
Southern conservative efforts on amendments fail
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The House voted Thursday to renew the 1965 Voting
Rights Act, rejecting efforts by Southern conservatives to relax federal oversight of their states in a debate haunted by
the ghosts of the civil rights movement.
The 390-33 vote sends the measure to the Senate. The act bans discrimination
in voting, including through poll taxes and literacy tests, and requires some states, mostly in the South, to clear proposed
changes in voting procedures with the Justice Department.
Southern conservatives had complained that the act punishes
their states for racist voting histories they say they've overcome.
"By passing this rewrite of the Voting Rights
Act, Congress is declaring from on high that states with voting problems 40 years ago can simply never be forgiven,"
said Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, a Georgia Republican and one of several lawmakers pressing for changes to the law to ease its
requirements on Southern states.
The House overwhelmingly rejected amendments that would have shortened the renewal
period from 25 years to a decade and would have struck its requirement that ballots in some states be printed in several languages.
of the law as written called the amendments "poison pills" designed to kill the renewal because if any were adopted
by the full House, the underlying renewal might have failed.
Supporters used stark images and emotional language to
make clear that the pain of racial struggle -- and racist voting practices -- still stings.
Georgia Democratic Rep.
John Lewis displayed photos of civil rights activists, including himself, who were beaten by Alabama state troopers in 1965
as they marched from Selma to Montgomery in support of voting rights.
"I have a concussion. I almost died. I gave
blood; some of my colleagues gave their very lives," Lewis shouted from the House floor, while the Rev. Jesse Jackson,
another veteran of the civil rights movement, looked on from the gallery.
"Yes, we've made some progress; we have
come a distance," Lewis added. "The sad truth is, discrimination still exists. That's why we still need the Voting
Rights Act, and we must not go back to the dark past."
The very debate over changes to the act is testament to
the influence of Southern conservatives, even over their own GOP leaders, who had hoped to pass the renewal as a fresh appeal
for support from minorities on Election Day.
With rare bipartisan support among leaders of the House and Senate, the
renewal was widely expected to sail through Congress and on to the White House for President Bush's signature.
leaders, however, were forced to cancel a House vote last month when conservatives rebelled during a closed meeting against
provisions they contended singled out Southern states for federal oversight despite civil rights progress they had made in
Unable to satisfy the dissenters and eager to pass the bill this week, Republican leaders announced late
Wednesday they would allow the House to consider amendments, none of which passed.
The amendment that would have extended
the act for a decade, rather than the 25 years in the bill, was rejected 288-134. The proposal to strike requirements in the
law that ballots in districts with large populations of non-English speakers be printed in other languages failed 238-185.
unites us? It's our language, the English language," said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican of California. Without
the amendment, the act is "hurting America by making it easier not to learn English."
Democrats made clear
early in the day they would vote against the renewal if any of the amendments were added.
"Any one of them would
be a weakening of the Voting Rights Act," Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California said.
The White House also
weighed in during the debate, saying in a statement that the Bush administration "supports the intent" of the renewal.
The statement did not take a position on the amendments proposed by lawmakers who represented the GOP's conservative base.
objections to the renewal already were being echoed by some Senate colleagues from the same states.
Tom Coburn of Oklahoma noted that the act doesn't expire until next year.
"It's 13 months away, and we're creating
a political situation that doesn't need to be created," Coburn said in an interview. He said changes such as those proposed
by the House amendments needed time for consideration.
Rep. Alcee Hastings, a Florida Democrat, called lawmakers who
wanted to loosen the requirements in the law "ideological soul mates" of lawmakers who opposed the 1964 Civil Rights
"For them, this is not a debate about fairness, it is about ideology. Ideology has no place in today's debate,"
Hastings said. "We should do this not for the partisan benefit but because, as John Kennedy said, it is right."
states identified in the bill as still in need of federal oversight are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi,
South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.
'Rosa Parks Act' would bring pardons
State mulls bill to absolve those arrested under segregation laws
MONTGOMERY, Alabama (AP) -- Alabama lawmakers are considering pardoning
hundreds, possibly thousands, of people who were arrested decades ago for violating Alabama's segregation laws.
The idea of a mass pardon gained traction after the death last year of civil rights icon Rosa Parks,
who had refused to give up her bus seat to a white man half a century earlier.
Even though the law allowing segregated seating on city buses was eventually overturned, Parks' conviction
is still on the record, said Rep. Thad McClammy.
"This is something that's long overdue. It's something aimed at giving the state a forward look," he
His proposed "Rosa Parks Act" would pardon everyone ever arrested under the state's segregation laws,
which date back to the state's 1901 constitution. A House committee approved the bill Thursday, sending it to the full House
The old segregation laws required that blacks attend separate schools, use separate water fountains
and theater entrances, and made it illegal for whites and blacks to marry, among other things.
There was no opposition to the proposed legislation in the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, where
the plan was praised by Republicans and Democrats.
"I think it's wonderful. There were 89 people arrested during the bus boycott, and I think every one
of them should be pardoned because of the contribution they made to the state and the nation," said Rep. Alvin Holmes, a Democrat
and veteran of the civil rights movement.
The Legislature is in the final 10 days of the 2006 session, but the committee chairman, Rep. Marcel
Black, said he believes there's enough time to pass the bill.
"I can't imagine anyone opposing this," said Republican Rep. Steve McMillan.
Aryan Brotherhood Racketeering Trials Begin 40
Affiliated With Prison Gang Face Charges Including Murder and Drug Sales
The largest capital murder case in U.S. history
began Tuesday as federal prosecutors aim to dismantle the Aryan Brotherhood, a prison gang of white supremacists that has
been linked to dozens of killings across the country.
Prosecutors have charged 40 people affiliated with the
Aryan Brotherhood with crimes that include conspiracy to commit murder, fomenting a race war with black inmates, smuggling
heroin into prisons, and murders inside of prison and out. Eight gang members now face the death penalty, and prosecutors
may seek death for eight more. Nineteen others have already pleaded guilty, and one has died.
"This case is fundamentally about power and control
of the nation's prison population," Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Emmick told the jury in his opening statement in the first
of a series of trials that use racketeering statutes to target the gang's top leadership. Although there are only about 100
members of the gang, he said, "what distinguishes the Aryan Brotherhood is that its members are particularly violent, disciplined,
fearless, and committed to controlling and dominating the prison population through murder, threats and intimidation."
Racketeering statutes, originally used to send mobsters
to prison, have been used to target prison gangs before, said Gregory Jessner, a former prosecutor who brought the indictment
but is no longer on the case. "Other than the Mafia, there's probably no other more appropriate use of RICO than a prison
gang," he said, referring to the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
Prosecutors paint the Aryan Brotherhood as a cunning
and well-organized network of convicts more concerned with earning hundreds of thousands of dollars from gambling, drug sales
and prostitution than with racial superiority. The gang sought unsuccessfully to carry out a hit for Mafia don John Gotti
and once executed the father of a man who testified against them, according to the indictment and declassified FBI documents.
Gang members communicated between maximum-security prisons
by using elaborately coded messages and notes written in invisible ink made from lemon juice or urine, prosecutors said. "They're
very, very crafty," Jessner said. "They have on the whole tended to outwit the prison authorities."
Tyler "The Hulk" Bingham and Barry "The Baron" Mills,
previously convicted of stabbing a fellow inmate to death in 1979, are among four gang members on trial this week. Bingham
and Mills are accused of setting up and running a three-member "commission" to oversee the workings of the gang inside the
federal penal system. They allegedly authorized more than a dozen killings and personally orchestrated the murders of two
black Pennsylvania inmates.
Dean Steward, Mills's attorney, said in an interview
that different gangs control gambling and drugs within all prisons. He said the prosecution's case is built on informants
who were housed together for two years, "getting their stories straight," who will be rewarded with freedom and privileges
for testifying. Moreover, prosecutors are exaggerating the amount of money at stake, Steward said. "These guys are about a
bag of chips and a bar of soap," he said. "A hundred dollars is a lot to these guys."
Steward said that when the group formed in the 1960s
it aimed to protect white inmates from other gangs. "Federal prisons are violent and dangerous places, period, for anybody
who's in them," he said. "These guys are just trying to protect themselves."
In the courtroom, Bingham, Mills, and co-defendants
Christopher Gibson and Edgar Hevle sat facing jurors at a special desk designed to hide shackles that chained them to the
floor. Each wore button-down shirts, heavy mustaches and glasses. Mills, his bald head gleaming, peered through bifocals as
prosecutors described the details of 15 murders he allegedly ordered, authorized or carried out. Gibson is accused of serving
as head of the gang's "department of security," and Hevle is said to have sat on a lower governing body than Bingham and Mills.
The trial is expected to take nine months, and prosecutors
plan to call dozens of witnesses, including at least 12 former gang members. Eleven more Aryan Brotherhood members will go
on trial in October in Los Angeles.
"We've seen their activity leak out of the prison system
as they are paroled," said Melissa Carr, a special projects director for the Anti-Defamation League based in California. "They
continue to serve the organization from outside. That's probably where the greatest danger to the community lies."
President Celebrates African American History Month at the White House
THE PRESIDENT: Welcome. Please be seated. Thanks for coming. Welcome to the White House. So glad you could
join us for the 80th celebration of America -- African American History Month. We're here today to mark the achievements of
African Americans in our country's history and to honor the contributions so many African Americans are making to our land
I appreciate the Vice President
joining us. I want to thank the Secretary of Health and Human Services -- (Laughter.) He's constantly trying to promote himself
-- the Secretary of HUD, Alphonso Jackson. Looking sharp today. (Laughter.) Keeping good company, too, by the way.
I want to thank the other members of my administration who have joined us. I particularly want to pay my respects to Dr.
Dorothy Height, President Emeritus and founder -- (Applause.)
I couldn't help but noticing A.C. Green. (Laughter.) Thanks, A.C., for setting such a good example and using your position
to help others. It's an honor you're here, really appreciate you coming.
This month we gather to honor the generations of heroes who called on our nation to live up to its founding promise of
equality -- people like Dorothy Height. The past year we lost two of these heroes, women whose grace and determination helped
change the path of American history -- Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King.
Mrs. Parks helped set in motion a national movement for equality and freedom when she refused a bus driver's order to give
her seat to a white man. Mrs. King spent her life advancing the cause of civil rights for all Americans. The courage and the
dignity of these women helped rouse the conscience of a complacent nation. And we will continue to work to make the America
these women fought for uphold the promise to all.
The reason to honor these women is to pay homage to their character and their strength, and to remember the ideal of active
citizenship. In the 1960s, many active citizens struggled hard to convince Congress to pass civil rights legislation that
ensured the rights of all -- including the right to vote. That victory was a milestone in the history of civil rights. Congress
must act to renew the Voting Rights Act of 1965. (Applause.)
When African American History Month began eight decades ago, it was based on the belief that if African Americans were
to take their rightful place in American society, Americans of all races should learn about black contributions to our history.
That conviction is every bit at true today as it was in 1926. Generations of African Americans have added to the unique character
of our society. Our nation is stronger and more hopeful as a result of those contributions.
America is a better place because of African American writers like Langston Hughes, Zora Neale
Hurston, and W.E.B. du Bois. Our culture is richer, thanks to the talents of musicians like Nat King Cole, Lena Horne, and
Dizzy Gillespie. We've been inspired by the achievements of African American scientists like George Washington Carver, and
baseball stars like Jackie Robinson. Our nation is stronger because of the distinguished leadership of those like Supreme
Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, and our two most recent Secretaries of State, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice. Thanks to
the contributions of these leaders and many others, our nation has made great progress toward racial equality, yet we've got
to remember there is still more work to be done. (Applause.)
As we honor the achievements of black Americans across our land, we will keep striving to build an America where the dignity
of every person is respected, where people are judged by the content of their character, and where the hope of the American
Dream reaches every neighborhood and every citizen.
To ensure the promise of America reaches all our citizens, we have got to make sure that every child receives a quality
education. (Applause.) The reason I worked so hard for the No Child Left Behind Act is because I believe that every child
can learn, and I refuse to accept a school system that doesn't teach every child. And so we've raised the standards, and we
measure. You cannot solve a problem unless you measure, and when we detect problems, we solve them early, before it's too
The No Child Left Behind Act is challenging the soft bigotry of low expectations, and it's having a positive result. Because
we measure, because we hold people to account, we know this: that the most recent results of our nation's report card show
African American children are closing an achievement gap. And it's an achievement gap we must close if the promise of this
country is going to reach every neighborhood.
Last year, African American nine-year-olds set records in reading and math. The gap between white and African American
nine-year-olds in reading is the narrowest it's been in the history of the accountability system. Thirteen-year-old African
American students achieved their highest math scores ever. We're making progress, and we're not going to stop until every
single child has a quality education. (Applause.)
One way to ensure the promise of America reaches all of our citizens is to encourage ownership. We want people owning something.
One way to help people realize their dreams is to encourage African Americans to own their own businesses. Last year, the
Small Business Administration increased the number of loans to African American businesses by 42 percent. We're going to continue
encouraging entrepreneurship throughout our country. Minority businesses are getting a better chance to compete for federal
contracts. More African Americans than ever before own their own businesses, and that's a hopeful statistic and an important
signal that the American Dream is reaching beyond certain segments of our society.
Part of ownership is for people to
own their own homes. I love the idea when somebody opens up the door of their house and says, welcome to my home, welcome
to my piece of property. In 2002, Alphonso and I set a goal of having 5.5 million new minority homeowners by the end of the
decade. Since we set that goal, the number of minority homeowners has increased by 2.6 million. We're on track to reach our
goal. Minority home ownership in the United States of America is at an all-time high.
As we celebrate African American History Month, we remember and thank the many African Americans who are defending our
ideals as members of the United States Armed Forces, some of whom are with us here today. (Applause.) I thank these courageous
men and women who are risking lives to protect us, to preserve our liberty by bringing the promise of freedom to millions
across the world. They are laying the foundation of peace for generations to come. God bless. (Applause.)
So this is a value that we all share, and today, I am proud to recognize five citizens who are setting an example for all
our fellow citizens. The President's Volunteer Service Award is the highest level of commendation a President can give in
recognition of those who have contributed their time and their talent and their energy to helping others.
Today, we honor five such souls who are working to improve their communities and help their fellow citizens. Each of them
has heard a call to serve something greater than themselves. By answering that call, you are inspiring others to do the same.
The volunteers we recognize today are Carl Anderson from Washington, Karl'Nequa and Katie Ball from Jackson, Mississippi,
Steve Ellis from the great state of Texas -- (laughter) -- and Joan Thomas from Smyrna, Georgia. Their efforts are helping
to provide role models and mentors to inner-city girls, to encouraging youth volunteers to work with people with -- with disabilities,
to provide computer skills, training in local schools and community centers, and providing college scholarships to underprivileged
Today, we honor your service. We appreciate what you have done to lift the spirit of the country.
We thank you for loving a neighbor just like you would like to be loved yourself. And I join all Americans in congratulating
you and wishing you continued success.
And now, Commanders, if you all would read the citations.
That's it. Thanks for coming. God bless. (Laughter.) Appreciate you all. (Applause.)
END 3:29 P.M. EST
Four presidents offer sympathies to King family
Bush: 'There was grace and
beauty in every season' of her life
LITHONIA, Georgia (CNN) -- Four presidents joined graying
veterans of the civil rights movement Tuesday to pay last respects to Coretta Scott King, the widow of the Rev. Martin Luther
King Jr. who became an icon of the movement herself.
President Bush and three of his predecessors -- Jimmy Carter,
Bill Clinton and his father, George H.W. Bush -- praised King for taking up her husband's banner after his assassination in
"She endured the saddest of human cruelties with the greatest of grace," the elder Bush told mourners
at the 10,000-seat New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, where King's daughter, Bernice, is a minister.
her steadfast determination, she helped to grind away falsehoods and ignorance that had too long been used to divide our society."
Flags at federal facilities were flying at half-staff to honor King, a tribute bestowed Monday by the current president,
who said he brought the "sympathy of our nation" to the funeral.
"We knew her husband only as a young
man," Bush said. "But we knew Mrs. King in all the seasons of her life, and there was grace and beauty in every
King, 78, died January 30 at a clinic in Mexico, where she had sought alternative treatment for advanced
ovarian cancer. She had suffered a severe stroke and a mild heart attack in August.
Tens of thousands lined the streets
Monday outside Atlanta's historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, where her husband and his father had preached, as her body was
on public display. Many huddled under umbrellas in a cold February drizzle well into the night.
More than 115,000 people
filed past King's open coffin Monday, according to the National Park Service. The historic church is part of the Martin Luther
King Jr. National Historic Site, which the park service oversees.
More than 40,000 others viewed her body as it lay in
state in the rotunda of the Georgia Capitol, the first woman and the first African-American ever given such an honor.
The lengthy service Tuesday featured tributes from political leaders,
longtime friends and celebrities, including Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Edward Kennedy; poet Maya Angelou; singer Stevie
Wonder; and Joseph Lowery, Andrew Young and Jesse Jackson, onetime lieutenants of the slain civil rights leader.
of the service had a political edge as well, with pointed reminders of King's advocacy of nonviolence and occasional jabs
at the nearly three-year-old war in Iraq.
Noting the praise showered on King by the many leaders present, Lowery said,
"Will words become deeds that meet needs?"
"We know now there were no weapons of mass destruction over
there," he said in a boisterous, rhyming oration. "But Coretta knew and we know that there are weapons of misdirection
right down here -- millions without health insurance, poverty abounds. For war, billions more, but no more for the poor."
remarks and other barbs were met with bursts of applause. President Bush stood and embraced Lowery with a smile at the end
of his comments.
Carter said the support of King and other civil rights figures in 1976 "legitimized a Southern
governor as an acceptable candidate for president."
"The efforts of Martin and Coretta have changed America,"
he said, noting "they were not appreciated even at the highest level of government."
"It was difficult
for them personally, with the civil liberties of both husband and wife violated as they became the target of secret government
wiretapping," he said.
Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin harkened back to King's training as a singer. She said King
had joined a heavenly "freedom choir" of figures without whom, she said, she never could have become Atlanta's first
black, female mayor.
"The last stanza and the highest note of Coretta King's freedom song remains to be sung,"
she said. "She's gathered us here today from all walks of life and all persuasions to lift our voices in songs of freedom,
equality, social and economic justice."
'She uplifted people'
President Clinton, who traveled with the current president aboard Air Force One to Atlanta, received a rousing ovation when
In his remarks, Clinton challenged those present to carry on the Kings' legacy, just as Mrs. King did for
"What really matters if you believe all this stuff we've been saying is, what are we going
to do with the rest of our lives?," he said.
Angelou recalled King as a friend who would call her on her birthday,
April 4, the date her husband was assassinated.
"She uplifted people and causes," Angelou told CNN on Tuesday.
"I would be kind of down in the dumps and refusing to have a party because Dr. King was assassinated on my birthday."
call me up and say, 'Girrrrl' ... when we were well into our 70s she'd say, 'The sun is shining outside' ... and before you
know it, we'd both be laughing, or at least I'd be in a better mood."
Funeral-goers were met outside the church by
a protest by members of the Westboro Baptist Church. The Topeka, Kansas-based congregation is known for its anti-gay stands
and frequently pickets the funerals of people supportive of gay rights, as Mrs. King was.
Atlanta mourners honour King wife
People have been paying their respects to Coretta Scott King - widow of US civil rights leader Martin Luther King - who
died earlier this week aged 78.
She is the first African-American and the first woman to lie in honour in the Georgia state Capitol building.
Crowds cheered as her casket was borne through Atlanta by horse-drawn carriage and the state flag flew at half-mast.
Mrs King had carried on her husband's work for racial equality after he was assassinated in 1968.
She fought successfully for a national holiday in memory of him and founded The King Center in Atlanta to preserve his legacy.
Tears and tributes
Thousands of mourners had waited for hours at the Capitol to pay their respects to the civil rights activist.
The Georgian governor greeted the Kings' four children outside the building and escorted the body inside.
At a short ceremony, Governor Sonny Perdue called King's widow "an inspiration to millions".
Her children spent a few minutes at the casket before the doors were opened to the public.
Police estimated that up to 10,000 people passed by in the first two and-a-half hours of the viewing.
"She's worth it," Atlanta resident Janann Ransom said.
"She stood in line for me, her and her husband, when I couldn't stand in line."
Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, the first black woman to lead the city, said she owed her career to King.
"I would not be here without her."
Mrs King died in her sleep on Monday night, after experiencing poor health in recent years.
Mrs King, who met her husband in Boston and married him in 1953, supported him in his civil rights work.
After his death, she raised their children while working to secure his legacy.
In 1969 she founded the Martin Luther King Jr Centre for Non-violent Social Change in Atlanta.
She saw the establishment of a national holiday to mark her husband's January birthday, from 1986.
Coretta Scott King Dies At 78
King, the widow of slain civil rights leader the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., has died, five months after suffering a stroke
and heart attack. She was 78.
"We appreciate the prayers and condolences from people across the country," the King
family said in a statement. The family said she died overnight.
While she stood by her husband during the '50s and
'60s, she also became a powerful civil rights advocate in her own right after his assassination in Memphis, Tenn., on April
President Bush, in a written statement, called King "a remarkable and courageous woman, and a great civil
rights leader." He said her "lasting contributions to freedom and equality have made America a better and more compassionate
"We have benefited so much from their leadership and their inspiration," Kennedy said.
was a great woman who bore suffering with dignity," the Rev. Joseph Lowery, a longtime friend of the Kings and former head
of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, told the Early Show.
King worked to keep her husband's ideology of equality for all people at the forefront of the
nation's agenda. She goaded and pushed for more than a decade to have her husband's birthday observed as a national holiday,
then watched with pride in 1983 as President Reagan signed the bill into law. The first federal holiday was celebrated in
She became a symbol of her husband's struggle for peace and brotherhood, presiding with a quiet, steady, stoic
presence over seminars and conferences on global issues.
"I'm more determined than ever that my husband's dream will
become a reality," King said soon after his slaying, a demonstration of the strong will that lay beneath the placid calm and
dignity of her character.
She was devoted to her children and considered them her first responsibility. But she also
wrote a book, "My Life With Martin Luther King Jr."
One of her crowning achievements was the creation of the King
Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, CBS News correspondent Alison Harmelin reports.
King saw to
it that the center became deeply involved with the issues she said breed violence — hunger, unemployment, voting rights
"The center enables us to go out and struggle against the evils in our society," she often said.
her stroke, King missed the annual King holiday celebration in Atlanta earlier this month, but she did appear with her children
at an awards dinner a couple of days earlier, smiling from her wheelchair but not speaking. The crowd gave her a standing
ovation. At the same time, the King Center's board of directors was considering selling the site to the National
Park Service to let the family focus less on grounds maintenance and more on King's message. But two of the four children
were strongly against such a move.
King was born April 27, 1927, in Perry County, Ala. Her father ran a country store.
To help her family during the Depression, young Coretta picked cotton.
She was studying voice at the New England Conservatory
of Music and planning on a singing career when a friend introduced her to Martin Luther King, a young Baptist minister working
toward a Ph.D. at Boston University.
"She said she wanted me to meet a very promising young minister from Atlanta,"
King once said, adding with a laugh, "I wasn't interested in meeting a young minister at that time."
that on their first date, he told her, "You know, you have everything I ever wanted in a woman. We ought to get married someday."
Eighteen months later — June 18, 1953 — they did, in the garden of her parents' home in Marion, Ala.
couple then moved to Montgomery, Ala., where King became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church and organized the famed
Montgomery bus boycott in 1955. With that campaign, King began enacting his philosophy of direct social action.
couple's first child, Yolanda Denise, was born that same year. She was followed by Martin III, born in 1957; Dexter Scott,
born in 1961; and Bernice Albertine, born in 1963.
During the years, King was with her husband in his finest hours.
She was at his side as he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. Sporting flat-heeled shoes, King marched beside her husband
from Selma, Ala., into Montgomery in 1965 for the triumphal climax to his drive for a voting rights law.
music, she sang in many concerts and narrated civil rights history to raise money for the cause.
Only days after his
death, she flew to Memphis with three of her children to lead the march of thousands in honor of her slain husband and to
plead for his cause. Her unfaltering composure and controlled grief during those days stirred the hearts of millions.
think you rise to the occasion in a crisis," she once said. "I think the Lord gives you strength when you need it. God was
using us — and now he's using me, too."
She said her life without her husband, though drastically changed, was
"It's a fulfilling life in so many ways, in terms of the children, the nonviolent civil rights
cause and in the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial center," she said.
Bush Salutes Memories of 2 Civil Rights Leaders
- President Bush saluted the memory of
the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, saying Dr. King, like Rosa Parks, who died
last year, "roused the dozing conscience of a complacent nation."
In remarks here to commemorate Dr. King's birthday,
Mr. Bush invoked the religious faith held by Dr. King and Mrs. Parks, another symbol of the civil rights movement, in describing
freedom not as "a grant of government, but a gift from the author of all life." And he said that more needed to be done to
achieve their goal of racial equality.
"The reason to honor Martin Luther King is to remember
his strength of character and his leadership, but also to remember the remaining work," Mr. Bush said at a symposium sponsored
by Georgetown University at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. "The reason to honor Mrs.
Parks is not only to pay homage to her strength of character, but to remember the ideals of active citizenship."
For Mr. Bush, who started his day with a trip to the
National Archives to see the Emancipation Proclamation, the events had clear political undertones. He has long harbored hopes
of breaking the grip of the Democratic Party on the loyalty of black voters. But whatever progress he may have made in his
first term suffered a setback in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when he was widely criticized as failing to respond urgently
to a natural disaster that fell with particular ferocity on poor blacks.
As Mr. Bush made a point of telling his audience here,
Laura Bush spent Monday in Africa, attending the inauguration in
Liberia of Africa's first elected female president, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. The chairman of the Republican National Committee,
Ken Mehlman, who spent much of his time last year courting minority voters, spoke Monday to an audience at a predominantly
black church in Beltsville, Md.
In his remarks, Mr. Bush called on Congress to renew
the Voting Rights Act of 1965, some provisions of which would otherwise expire in 2007.
But his administration has come under fire from some
critics for taking what they consider a lax attitude toward voting rights.
The Justice Department acknowledged last month that
top officials had overruled a finding by the department's civil rights staff in 2003 that a Texas redistricting plan that
helped gain Republicans seats in the House would violate voting rights laws. And Mr. Bush's nominee for the Supreme Court
seat being vacated by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr., came under questioning at his confirmation hearings last
week over his description of himself in 1985 as a critic of the "one person one vote" precedents set by the Supreme Court.
Democrats also used the commemoration of Dr. King's
birthday to send a political message, trying to link continued progress in civil rights to an issue they consider the Republican
Party's greatest vulnerability right now, the far-reaching corruption investigation into the relationships between lobbyists
"Working together, we can defeat this culture of corruption
that neglects the moral issues that Dr. King fought for," said Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic minority leader.
Nation Honors Dr. King
"It seems fitting on Martin Luther King Day that I come and look at the Emancipation Proclamation in
its original form."
As the widow of Martin Luther King Jr., looked on via television, preachers and politicians at King's
former church praised the King family and urged people to continue King's lifelong pursuit of civil rights and nonviolence.
Coretta Scott King, recovering from a stroke and heart attack she suffered last August, missed Monday's service at Ebenezer
Baptist Church. She had received a standing ovation Saturday night when she appeared on stage with her children at an awards
dinner, but she did not speak.
Some of the speakers used the church pulpit where King preached from 1960 until his death in 1968 to criticize the Iraq
war, saying that money being used by the military overseas could be put to better use domestically, such as to improve U.S.
education, especially for blacks.
Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin said the city, as keeper of King's legacy, has a particular obligation to preserve his
"legacy of fighting for social and economic justice, a legacy of marching with the poor and the neglected, a legacy of demanding
peace against senseless war."
This year is the 20th anniversary of the federal holiday, first held on Jan. 20, 1986. Sunday would have been King's 77th
"This, Atlanta, is a time for rigorous and vigorous positive action," Franklin said. "As we celebrate, let us not confine
our actions to what is easy, convenient or acceptable to the powers that be for we are called by King's legacy to bold, courageous,
audacious, persistent and tireless action."
Franklin urged listeners to "comprehend the full message of Dr. King" by helping the young, the old and the poor and
demanding more federal funding for Hurricane Katrina victims.
"Employ a homeless man or woman," she said. "Sponsor a homeless family. Give a convicted felon who has served his time
Former U.S. Rep. Floyd Flake, pastor of the Allen African Methodist Episcopal Church in Queens, N.Y., said that King accomplished
much for blacks in the United States but blacks today need to continue to strive for more.
"Why are we living like this when so many sacrifices have been made?" he said.
Flake urged blacks to make "everybody accountable" as King once did.
"Martin Luther King came on the scene at a time when there was a need to say, 'Don't read the tea leaves, read what is
happening.' If we don't change things now we won't have the opportunity to change them in the future," Flake said. "The paradigm
needs to shift and if the paradigm doesn't shift, we're still going to be coming MLK Day after MLK Day singing 'We Shall Overcome."'
Family feud, new book pull at King's legacy
-- On the eve of what would
have been Martin Luther King Jr.'s 77th birthday, his legacy is under attack and its greatest defender is unable to speak.
King's widow, Coretta Scott King, is recovering from
a stroke that partially paralyzed her, and on Saturday made her first public appearance since last year's King holiday observance,
smiling from a wheelchair at the Salute to Greatness Dinner in Atlanta, Georgia.
The couple's four children are divided over whether
to sell the family-run center that promotes King's teachings.
And the spotlight is again hitting King's more human
side in a new book that alleges extramarital affairs and a nasty split with a civil rights colleague, the Rev. Jesse Jackson
-- a story that threatened to overshadow King's humanitarian contributions on the 20th anniversary of the King National Holiday.
Despite the distractions, those who stood by King's
side in the civil rights movement say the memory of the self-named "Drum Major for Justice" is untouchable.
"Dr. King's legacy is as sound as a rock," said Tyrone
Brooks, a Georgia state representative from Atlanta who worked alongside King in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference,
the SCLC, which King co-founded in 1957.
Rumors of womanizing by King and feuds with Jackson
and others have long been popular topics in media and books such as "And the Walls Came Tumbling Down," the memoir written
decades ago by King's former right-hand man, the Rev. Ralph David Abernathy.
Historian Taylor Branch's book "At Canaan's Edge," released
last week, is the latest. In the book, the third in Branch's series detailing King's life and the civil rights movement, the
author writes of a longstanding affair King allegedly revealed to Coretta Scott King the year before his 1968 assassination.
Branch, who has not been available for interviews, also
writes of heated arguments King had with some of his closest colleagues, including Jackson, whom he accused of trying to use
the civil rights movement to promote himself. Jackson did not return calls seeking comment.
U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, a lifelong civil rights
activist interviewed by Branch for the book, said King's stature will always make him a target.
"We get in the habit of trying to tear down noble figures
from time to time. I think it's just human nature," said Lewis, who met King at age 18 and spoke at the 1963 March on Washington
just before King delivered his famous "I Have A Dream" speech.
"He was not a saint, he was just another human being,"
The King Center for Nonviolent Social Change -- site
of his tomb -- was founded by Coretta Scott King soon after her husband's death. In 1981, the center moved from her basement
to its current address next to the Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King preached from 1960 to 1968.
Last month, the center's board of directors broached
the possibility of selling it to the National Park Service.
Former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young, along with two
of the Kings' children, Dexter and Yolanda, and King's sister, Christine King Farris -- all lifetime board members -- are
in favor of it.
But Martin Luther King III and his sister Bernice object
to any sale and are threatening legal action against Dexter King, who is chairman of the board. Bernice and Martin III say
they should have done more to prevent the center from falling more than $11 million into disrepair.
"Tearing the center's unique and essential elements
apart -- its physical memorial and its living legacy -- only diminishes them both, thereby weakening, not strengthening, the
cause to which my father and mother gave so much," Martin Luther King III said at a news conference on December 30.
The Rev. Joseph Lowery, a co-founder of the SCLC, argues
that it is that organization that has carried on King's work.
"His organization is the chief proponent of his message
and his work," Lowery said. "You can't reduce his legacy to brick and mortar."
Neither can it be controlled or sold, Lowery added.
King's life, spirit and teachings, "all of these things belong to the people and the ages," he said.
Losing a father and husband has made the King family
hold fast to their patriarch, but King was a citizen of the world and his message was delivered in the public domain, Lewis
"Those of us who participated in the movement with him
and followed his leadership and his vision and saw how he grew and reached out to the larger community would want to say he
is much bigger than his birth family," Lewis said. "His message is not something they own."
The Queen's Christmas Broadcast
Christmas is for most of us a time for a break from
work, for family and friends, for presents, turkey and crackers. But we should not lose sight of the fact that these are traditional
celebrations around a great religious festival, one of the most important in the Christian year.
Religion and culture are much in the news these days,
usually as sources of difference and conflict, rather than for bringing people together. But the irony is that every religion
has something to say about tolerance and respecting others.
For me, as a Christian, one of the most important of
these teachings is contained in the parable of the Good Samaritan, when Jesus answers the question, 'Who is my neighbour?'
It is a timeless story of a victim of a mugging who
was ignored by his own countrymen but helped by a foreigner - and a despised foreigner at that.
The implication drawn by Jesus is clear. Everyone is
our neighbour, no matter what race, creed or colour. The need to look after a fellow human being is far more important than
any cultural or religious differences.
Most of us have learned to acknowledge and respect the
ways of other cultures and religions, but what matters even more is the way in which those from different backgrounds behave
towards each other in everyday life.
It is vitally important that we all should participate
and cooperate for the sake of the wellbeing of the whole community. We have only to look around to recognise the benefits
of this positive approach in business or local government, in sport, music and the arts.
There is certainly much more to be done and many challenges
to be overcome. Discrimination still exists. Some people feel that their own beliefs are being threatened. Some are unhappy
about unfamiliar cultures.
They all need to be reassured that there is so much
to be gained by reaching out to others; that diversity is indeed a strength and not a threat.
We need also to realise that peaceful and steady progress
in our society of differing cultures and heritage can be threatened at any moment by the actions of extremists at home or
by events abroad. We can certainly never be complacent.
But there is every reason to be hopeful about the future.
I certainly recognise that much has been achieved in my lifetime.
I believe tolerance and fair play remain strong British
values and we have so much to build on for the future.
It was for this reason that I particularly enjoyed a
story I heard the other day about an overseas visitor to Britain who said the best part of his visit had been travelling from
Heathrow into central London on the tube.
His British friends were, as you can imagine, somewhat
surprised, particularly as the visitor had been to some of the great attractions of the country. What do you mean they asked?
Because, he replied, I boarded the train just as the schools were coming out.
At each stop children were getting on and off - they
were of every ethnic and religious background, some with scarves or turbans, some talking quietly, others playing and occasionally
misbehaving together - completely at ease and trusting one another. How lucky you are, said the visitor, to live in a country
where your children can grow up this way.
I hope they will be allowed to enjoy this happy companionship
for the rest of their lives.
A Happy Christmas to you all.
behind Sydney riots
Residents, police and politicians are all asking what has fuelled the violence which has swept Sydney's
suburbs in the last few days.
Was it racism, revenge or simply alcohol-induced aggression?
The first large-scale outbreak of violence, on Sunday
in Cronulla, had been a widely publicised event.
was drunk and anyone of Middle Eastern appearance got bashed. It went on all day into the night Wade
It came a week to the day after two surf life savers
had been assaulted in what was believed to be an unprovoked attack by a large group of men of Middle Eastern appearance.
The following week, texts started circulating around
Sydney calling for a revenge fight.
By Sunday, the media and a crowd of about 5,000 had
gathered in anticipation in Cronulla. Right wing pamphlets were seen circulating in the crowd.
Seventeen-year-old Wade Kereopa and his friend Kurt
Sholes were at the beach.
"At about 12 o'clock everyone started gathering at Cronulla
and then some guy yelled out 'There's Lebs on the next train!" so thousands of people went up to the station, but there was
only about two on the train and about 50 people ran on and bashed them," said Kurt.
His friend Wade, who admits to have been drinking all
afternoon, found himself on the train as well.
"I saw a crowd of people running to the train station.
I went to have a look and ended up getting pushed onto the train by all the Aussies behind me. All these Aussies were smashing
these Middle Eastern people. Then another guy of Middle Eastern origin got chased and beaten by the crowd. Everyone was drunk
and anyone of Middle Eastern appearance got bashed. It went on all day into the night," he said.
Apparently in retaliation, a Caucasian man was stabbed
after an altercation outside a golf club with "a group of males of Middle Eastern or Mediterranean appearance", according
to police reports. Fifty car-loads of youths - again of Middle Eastern or Mediterranean appearance - later smashed 100 vehicles
with baseball bats and other weapons. Police received reports of firearms being "flashed" but not discharged.
The hostility escalated and spread across eight suburbs
in Sydney's south and west. Sixteen people were arrested and charged with 41 offences.
On Monday, tensions remained high. More retaliatory
attacks were carried out and police later made 11 more arrests during a second night of violence.
Car-loads of people were stopped and searched, there
was violence at a mosque in the western suburb of Lakemba, assaults were carried out and a group of men armed with iron bars
and guns were dispersed by police outside a convenience store in Cronulla.
Despite the fact that right-wing pamphlets have been
circulated, the violence does not appear to have been co-ordinated from the wings by extremist groups, but to be the result
of large groups of youths fuelled by mass hysteria.
It does, however, come against the backdrop of long-term
racial tensions in Cronulla - a predominantly white community with a beach easily accessible on the train from Sydney's western
suburbs, which are home to a large Muslim population.
violence is] not going to stop one day. It's going to keep going, which is what it's been doing since my father's time Jason
Jason Lalor lives minutes from the beach and is pessimistic
that there is a quick fix to the deeply rooted antagonism on both sides.
He says he has been harassed by groups of Lebanese youths
on more than one occasion and says he is tired of being hassled in his own neighbourhood.
"It's not going to stop one day. It's going to keep
going, which is what it's been doing since my father's time."
The Australian Arabic Council (AAC) agrees that tensions
have been building.
"These events typify an ugly and fringe element of Australian
society," said AAC chairman Roland Jabbour.
"Arab Australians have had to cope with vilification,
racism, abuse and fear of a racial backlash for a number of years, but these riots will take that fear to a new level," he
AUSTRALIANS BY ANCESTRY
Total population: 21
Australian: 6.7m (38.7%)
English: 6.4m (36.5%)
Irish: 1.9m (11%)
Italian: 800,000 (4.6%)
German: 742,000 (4.3%)
Chinese: 557,000 (3.2%)
Scottish: 540,000 (3.1%)
Greek: 376,000 (2.2%)
Dutch: 269,000 (1.5%)
Lebanese: 162,000 (0.9%)
Indian: 157,000 (0.9%)
Polish: 151,000 (0.9%)
Source: Australian 2001 Census. Respondents may choose dual ancestry.
On Tuesday morning the New South Wales premier announced
he was recalling parliament to push through tough new police powers to allow them to tackle the unrest.
In addition to having new powers of arrest, police will
also be allowed to close down pubs and off licenses to prevent inebriated crowds accessing more alcohol.
There are new fears that the violence could spread nationally,
with a high volume of mobile phone text messages inciting racial hatred.
One reads: " We'll show them! It's on again sunday...
send this to everyone in your phone book... this is a straight up WAR! We must continue to come together to help the innocet
an family's so every one can enjoy our beach's!"
The country is watching and waiting to see what happens
President Chirac To Appeace French Minorities
Excerpts: Chirac reacts to
These events bear witness to a profound malaise. Some
people have set fires in the very neighbourhoods in which they live.
They burned their neighbours' and their families' cars.
They've attacked their schools, their colleges.
This is a crisis of direction, a crisis in which people
have lost their way, it is a crisis of identity. We will respond to this by being firm, by being fair, and by being faithful
to France's values.
solves anything. When you belong to our national community, you respect its rules. President
In the face of the suffering and problems of so many
of our fellow citizens - in particular, some who are among the most vulnerable - the first necessity is to re-establish public
I have given the government the means to act. I have
decided to propose to parliament that it extends the law of 3 April 1955 (allowing for a state of emergency) for a limited
Those who attack property and people have to know that
in the Republic, you do not violate the law without being arrested, prosecuted and punished.
Problems, difficulties - many French people have them.
But violence never solves anything. When you belong to our national community, you respect its rules.
Children and teenagers need values, points of reference.
Parental authority is of capital importance. Families must shoulder all their responsibilities.
Those who refuse must be punished as provided for in
the law. On the other hand, those who are going through great difficulties must be actively supported.
We must all be proud of belonging to a community which
has the will to bring to life the principles of equality and of solidarity.
We know well that discrimination saps the very foundations
of our Republic... But let us not deceive ourselves: this fight can only be won if we each take a real and personal stand.
Companies and union organizations must also work actively
on the essential question of diversity and of the employment of young people from problem districts.
My dear compatriots, let us be lucid, let us be courageous.
Let us learn every lesson from this crisis. Each person must respect the rules. Each person must know that you do not violate
the law with impunity.
But let us also come together and be faithful, in our
actions, to the principles that make France. The whole national community will emerge better and stronger from it, and you
can count on my determination. Long live the Republic and long live France.
PRESIDENT CLINTON DELIVERS REMARKS AT FUNERAL OF ROSA PARKS
NOVEMBER 2, 2005
Wednesday, November 2, 2005; 4:16 PM
SPEAKER: WILLIAM. J. CLINTON,
FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
CLINTON: Thank you very much.
Judge Keith and I have been friends
a long time. And I think sometimes my memory is going. But he's a little bit older than I am, and I can't believe he remembers
the roses story, but it happened just like he said.
Bishop, the assembled bishops and
clergy and Governor, members of Congress, mayors, other officials, I'd like to say a special word of thanks on this occasion
to Congressman John Conyers for giving Rosa Parks that job so long ago and giving her a chance to come here.
I must begin by begging your forgiveness.
You know why? I'm happy here, and I don't want to go anywhere.
But months ago -- months ago -- I
promised to be in New York City before I can get there, to talk about what we can do to give health care to the Americans
who don't have it. And I think I have to go back. I hope you'll forgive me.
I want to stay and hear the preachers
preach and Santita (ph) and Aretha sing. And I feel down right cheated, because I've heard me give a speech before, and I
And I apologize to you, Rosa.
The world knows of Rosa Parks because
of a single simple act of dignity and courage that struck a lethal blow to the foundations of legal bigotry.
But 50 years and 29 days ago, when
Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man in the south where segregation extended even to the close confines of
the city bus, she was just taking the next step on her own long road to freedom.
It began when she was just 11, when
she moved to Montgomery because there was no school that admitted African-Americans beyond the sixth grade in her little town
of Pine Level, Alabama.
It continued when she was 19, when
she married Raymond Parks, a strong NAACP member who worked for the defense of the Scottsboro boys.
At 30, she joined the NAACP; one of
the first women to do so. In the same year, she made her first attempt to register to vote. And this highly articulate intelligent,
literal woman was judged to have failed the literacy test. In fact, the authorities failed the humanity test.
And in the same year she had a prophetic
run-in with a bus driver, who threw her off the bus because she insisted on getting on the front door and paying at the front
place. And black folks were supposed to get on at the back and pay there.
At 33, she finally got to vote. They
couldn't figure out how to flunk her the third time on the literacy test.
At 42, after attending a workshop
on integration at the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee, she got on that bus with the same old driver and refused to give
up her seat to a white man in a region where gentlemen are supposed to give up their seats to ladies.
CLINTON: Rosa Parks ignited the most
significant social movement in modern American history to finish the work that spawned the Civil War and redeem the promise
of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments.
For 50 more years, she moved beyond
the bus, continuing her work on that promise.
It was my honor to present her with
the Presidential Medal of Freedom and to join the leaders of Congress in presenting her with a Congressional Gold Medal.
I remember well when she sat with
Hillary in the box of the first family at the State of the Union Address in 1999 and how the entire Congress, Democrats and
Republicans alike, rose as one to recognize that she had made us all better people in a better country.
When I first met Rosa Parks, I was
reminded of what Abraham Lincoln said when he was introduced to Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of "Uncle Tom's Cabin."
He said, "So this is the little lady who started the great war."
This time, Rosa's War was fought by
Martin Luther King's rules, civil disobedience, peaceful resistance.
But a war nonetheless for one America
in which the law of the land means the same thing for everybody.
Rosa Parks, as we saw again today,
was small in stature with delicate features. But the passing years did nothing to dim the light that danced in her eyes, the
kindness and strength you saw in her smile, or the dignity of her voice.
To the end, she radiated that kind
of grace and serenity that God specially gives to those who stand in the line of fire for freedom and touch even the hardest
CLINTON: I remember, as if it were
yesterday, that fateful day 50 years ago. I was a 9-year-old southern white boy who rode a segregated bus every single day
of my life. I sat in the front. Black folk sat in the back.
When Rosa showed us that black folks
didn't have to sit in the back anymore, two of my friends and I, who strongly approved of what she had done, decided we didn't
have to sit in the front anymore.
It was just a tiny gesture by three
ordinary kids. But that tiny gesture was repeated over and over again millions and millions of times in the hearts and minds
of children, their parents, their grandparents, their great grandparents, proving that she did help to set us all free.
And that great civil rights song that
Nina Simone did so well: "I wish I knew how it would feel to be free. I wish I could break all the chains holding me. I wish
I could fly like a bird in the sky."
At the end it says: "I wish that you
knew how it feels to be me. Then you'd see and agree that everyone should be free."
Now that our friend Rosa Parks has
gone on to her just reward, now that she has gone home and left us behind, let us never forget that in that simple act and
a lifetime of grace and dignity, she showed us every single day what it means to be free.
She made us see and agree that everyone
should be free.
God bless you, Rosa.
Rosa, 'Take Your Rest'
A church packed with 4,000 mourners celebrated the life of Rosa Parks Wednesday in an impassioned, song-filled funeral,
with a crowd of notables giving thanks for the humble woman whose dignity and defiance helped transform a nation.
"The woman we honored today held no public office, she wasn't a wealthy woman, didn't appear in the society pages," said
Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. "And yet when the history of this country is written, it is this small, quiet woman whose name will
be remembered long after the names of senators and presidents have been forgotten."
The funeral, which stretched well past its three-hour scheduled time, followed a week of remembrances during which Parks'
coffin was brought from Detroit, where she died Oct. 24; to Montgomery, Ala., where she sparked the civil rights movement
50 years ago by refusing to give her bus seat to a white man; to Washington, where she became the first woman to lie in honor
in the Capitol Rotunda.
Those in the audience held hands and sang the civil rights anthem "We Shall Overcome" as family members filed past her
casket before it was closed.
"Mother Parks, take your rest. You have certainly earned it," said Bishop Charles Ellis III of Greater Grace Temple,
who led the service.
Former President Clinton told those packed into the Greater Grace Temple church in Detroit that Parks became known around
the world "because of a single, simple act of dignity and courage that struck a lethal blow to the foundations of legal bigotry."
Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm called Parks "a heroic warrior for equality" and "a warrior for the everyman and the
Illinois Senator Barack Obama said history will remember "this small, quiet woman." He said her name will be known "long
after the names of senators and presidents have been forgotten."
President Clinton recalled that he was a schoolboy when Parks refused to sit in the back of a Montgomery, Ala., bus.
"When Rosa showed us that black folks didn't have to sit in the back any more, two of my friends and I, who strongly approved
of what she had done, decided we didn't have to sit in the front any more," he said.
"She did help to set us all free," said Mr. Clinton, the first of some 25 speakers. "She made us see, and agree, that
everyone should be free."
Black-suited ushers in white gloves escorted people to their seats. The casket was flanked by large bouquets of white
flowers and a white cross. Flower arrangements lined the stage steps and scores of choir members sat on or near the stage.
Civil Rights Pioneer Rosa Parks, 92, Dies
Rosa Parks, on a Montgomery, Ala., bus, in this undated
photo. She was a 42-year-old seamstress when she defied segregation in 1955 by refusing to give up her seat to a white man.
Rosa Parks' mugshot when she was
arrested in February 1956 during the Montgomery bus protests sparked by her act of courage two months earlier.
Rosa Parks is
fingerprinted by Montgomery, Ala., Sheriff\'s Deputy D.H. Lackey following her arrest in February 1956.
Rosa Parks is
escorted by E.D. Nixon, former president of the Alabama NAACP, and surrounded by her supporters as she arrives at the courthouse
for her trial in March 1956.
Nearly 50 years ago, Rosa Parks made a simple decision that sparked a revolution.
When a white man demanded she give up her seat on a Montgomery, Ala., bus, the then 42-year-old seamstress said no.
At the time, she couldn't have known it would secure her a revered place in American history. But her one small act of defiance
galvanized a generation of activists, including a young Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and earned
the title "mother of the civil rights movement."
Mrs. Parks died Monday evening at her home of natural causes, with close friends by her side, said Gregory Reed, an attorney
who represented her for the past 15 years. She was 92.
Monique Reynolds, 37, a native of Montgomery, Ala., called Mrs. Parks an inspiration who had lived to see the changes brought
about by the civil rights movement.
"Martin Luther King never saw this, Malcolm X never saw this," said Reynolds, who now lives in Detroit. "She was able to see
this and enjoy it."
In 1955, Jim Crow laws in place since the post-Civil War Reconstruction required separation of the races in buses, restaurants
and public accommodations throughout the South, while legally sanctioned racial discrimination kept blacks out of many jobs
and neighborhoods in the North.
Mrs. Parks, an active member of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, was riding
on a city bus Dec. 1, 1955, when a white man demanded her seat.
She refused, despite rules requiring blacks to yield their seats to whites. Two black Montgomery women had been arrested earlier
that year on the same charge, but Mrs. Parks was jailed. She also was fined $14.
U.S. Rep John Conyers, in whose office Mrs. Parks worked for more than 20 years, remembered the civil rights leader as someone
whose impact on the world was immeasurable, but who never sought the limelight.
"Everybody wanted to explain Rosa Parks and wanted to teach Rosa Parks, but Rosa Parks wasn't very interested in that," he
said. "She wanted them to understand the government and to understand their rights and the Constitution that people are still
trying to perfect today."
Speaking in 1992, Mrs. Parks said history too often maintains "that my feet were hurting and I didn't know why I refused to
stand up when they told me. But the real reason of my not standing up was I felt that I had a right to be treated as any other
passenger. We had endured that kind of treatment for too long."
Her arrest triggered a 381-day boycott of the bus system organized by a then little-known Baptist minister, the Rev. King,
who later earned the Nobel Peace Prize for his work.
"At the time I was arrested I had no idea it would turn into this," she said 30 years later. "It was just a day like any other
day. The only thing that made it significant was that the masses of the people joined in."
The Montgomery bus boycott, which came one year after the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark declaration that separate schools
for blacks and whites were "inherently unequal," marked the start of the modern civil rights movement.
The movement culminated in the 1964 federal Civil Rights Act, which banned racial discrimination in public accommodations.
After taking her public stand for civil rights, Mrs. Parks had trouble finding work in Alabama. Amid threats and harassment,
she and her husband, Raymond, moved to Detroit in 1957. She worked as an aide in Conyers' Detroit office from 1965 until retiring
Sept. 30, 1988. Raymond Parks died in 1977.
Mrs. Parks said upon retiring from her job with Conyers that she wanted to devote more time to the Rosa and Raymond Parks
Institute for Self Development. The institute, incorporated in 1987, is devoted to developing leadership among Detroit's young
people and initiating them into the struggle for civil rights.
"Rosa Parks: My Story," was published in February 1992. In 1994 she brought out "Quiet Strength: The Faith, the Hope and the
Heart of a Woman Who Changed a Nation," and in 1996 a collection of letters called "Dear Mrs. Parks: A Dialogue With Today's
She was among the civil rights leaders who addressed the Million Man March in October 1995.
At a celebration in her honor that same year, she said: "I am leaving this legacy to all of you ... to bring peace, justice,
equality, love and a fulfillment of what our lives should be. Without vision, the people will perish, and without courage
and inspiration, dreams will die the dream of freedom and peace."