In my grandmother's Arkansas home hangs a portrait of President Barack Obama with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the portrait has written beneath the two men "We Have a Dream; the Dream Has Come True."
It was one of many paintings, posters, buttons, T-shirts and other products that came out in 2008 during Obama's historic election, tying the election back to King and his historic "speech during the March on Washington in 1963.
Some felt the comparisons were premature, even inaccurate, but many simply did not care. The idea of a black president once seemed like a dream, but now it was realized. Expectations for Obama were high, but what we received after 2008 was a president often stymied by a gridlocked Congress, and a voice constrained by being the president of all and not some.
NEW YORK – The White House may not be able to afford to pay its interns.
While pressure has been mounting for President Obama to pay his interns, there could be a reason why the White House hasn't ponied up: It would cost more than $7.3 million a year.
That's double what the White House paid to give tours of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., which were infamously halted in March due to forced spending cuts.
It's also slightly more than the $6 million that Vice President Joe Biden gets paid for carrying out his White House responsibilities and taking care of his official residence, according White House budget estimates for 2013.
In African-American communities across the United States, young men are besieged by violence and their families struggle to overcome economic deprivation, which threatens their way of life. In those depressed enclaves, African Americans are often relegated to poor housing conditions, and escaping such conditions has been fruitless in some cases.
But there is another threat to the African-American community that looms overhead, and in the ground water, like a modern-day plague: residue from chemical and coal burning plants. That's because African-American neighborhoods are often located in close proximity to these "killing" plants. It's happening across the United States and it's happening in Memphis and Shelby County.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has consistently been concerned about the quality of air and water in the United States on a daily basis. Our poor African-American communities are routinely oppressed with the deadly residue from coal burning plants that is emitted in the air and found in the water supply. Memphis is not immune to this plague.
On August 13, 1963, in a last ditch effort to derail the pending March on Washington, Strom Thurmond took the Senate floor and hurled a series of vicious, personal attacks against the man organizing the largest protest in U.S. history.
Thurmond called him a Communist and a draft dodger.
He brought up a previous arrest and accused him of being immoral and a pervert.
The man Thurmond was attacking was not Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
For a while, it looked like the 50th anniversary observance of the March on Washington would expose a sharp split in the Civil Rights Movement. Al Sharpton jumped ahead of his colleagues by cornering Martin Luther King III and the two of them announced a March on Washington for Saturday, August 24.
Other civil rights leaders were planning events around that time and complained privately that Sharpton and Martin III had locked up key funding from major labor groups, a primary source of funding for the movement.
A series of high-profile events – the Supreme Court's decision in Shelby County v. Holder gutting the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, remanding a University of Texas affirmative action case back to the appellate level for stricter scrutiny and George Zimmerman being found not guilty of second-degree murder in connection with the shooting death of 17-year-old unarmed Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla. – left African-Americans and their supporters clamoring for an outlet to express their disgust.
During the past year, we have watched monumental change take place all over the world; not just in terms of democracy, but in terms of culture, law, and politics, etc.
Our major institutions have not been immune from this change that is sweeping across the globe. There has been a major push to redefine what a family is; we have redefined marriage; we have redefined sexuality—no longer is there male or female, now there is other; there are now gay Christians; we now have Christian gangsta rappers, etc.
Everything seems to be changing other than the Republicans approach to engaging the black community.
WASHINGTON – Cory Booker already had a national identity before he decided to run for senator.
The media-savvy, tweet-happy mayor from Newark – who easily won the New Jersey Democratic primary for Senate last Tuesday – has been known for his man-of-the-people streak, charismatic presence and social media intensity, or as some say, fixation.
But can he make the switch from a nationally popular hands-on mayor to the contentious spotlight of the United States Senate?