"For a free self-governing people, something more than a vague familiarity with history is essential if we are to hold on to and sustain our freedom." -David McCullough

FFive Civil Rights Movies in honour of Justice Thurgood Marshall
May 14, 2014 – Examiner

Thurgood Marshall was one of the iconic figures in the U.S. civil rights movement. He was working to protect the fundamental and civil rights of all people long before his appointment to the Supreme Court. His work and opinions were legendary and he transformed the country in profound ways. Yet very few people know much about this great man.  Here are five great movies that are educational, informative and interesting. Get to know the real Justice Marshall!

GGreat Characters by William Shakespeare that might surprise you!
April 27, 2014 – Examiner

April marks the 450th birthday of William Shakespeare!  He is one of the most well-known writers of all time.  His stories are legends; his characters legendary. Three of his characters were Africans (Moors) who virtually stole the show. In fact, Shakespeare was quite different from writers in the Elizabethan era that only showed Africans as servants or slaves.  Of course, Othello is a well-known Shakespearean character, but there were others.  And they were deliciously evil or comically introspective. Get to know the African characters in Shakespeare’s plays!


MMartin Luther King and other heroes fallen in April: A Remembrance
April 3, 2014 – Examiner

April is a month of renewal and hope. It is also a month of remembering people who have given their lives. Dr. Martin Luther King is one such hero. But there were other heroes who lost their lives during the fight for civil rights in America. Many will remain un-named.  Others are remembered by the families that lost them. This article highlights the “unknown soldiers” of the Civil Rights movement who lost their lives in the fight for freedom and justice.

AAfrican American Academy Award winners that you might not know
March 2, 2014 – 

There are hundreds of people involved in making a movie.  Most people don’t watch the credits after the film; or they only look for the actors.  But the list of credits continues because of all the technical people that make the actors look good, sound good, and act better.The writers, directors, producers, sound mixers, and others are working hard behind the scenes to make these good films great. African Americans are winning Oscars for their technical work, but many go unknown. Take a look at the African Americans who are making their mark in the film industry and making great films. Their stories are inspirational and could make a great story on the big screen!

TThe Academy Awards: African Americans are making history
February 28, 2014 – 

The Academy Awards is one of the most famous awards ceremonies every year. Although it focuses on the film industry, it is can be considered a life-imitating-art phenomenon.  As U.S. society evolved over the past 85 years, the presence and roles of African Americans in the movies and the recognition given to American Americans have similarly evolved.  This article provides a glimpse into this evolution through the eyes and Oscars of the Academy. Read the article and see both new and familiar faces and performances that could bring you to your feet in applause. Expect a few “aah” moments too!

AAfrican Americans celebrating Chinese New Year? Bring it!
January 30, 2014 – Examiner

The Lunar (Chinese) New Year is one of the biggest parties on the planet!  People of all cultures and ethnicities celebrate the lunar New Year. African Americans are no exception.  With a long (but little-known) history in China, many African Americans live, study, and do business in China.  As a result, African Americans are beginning to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Read about China’s history with African Americans and discover different ways that African Americans are celebrating the Chinese New Year: Afro-American-style!

SState of the Union: Famous Quotes by Past Presidents
January 28, 2014 – Examiner

The State of the Union Address is one of the most important (and watched) speeches that the president will make every year.  The address is full of pomp and circumstance and followed by cheers for and criticisms of the President’s speech to the joint session of Congress.  Some speeches are memorable. Others are less so. Read the most memorable quotations from past presidents at the podium.

HHow to Celebrate the Martin Luther King Holiday
January 19, 2014 – Examiner

The King holiday is one of the most widely celebrated holidays of the year. It holds the unique status as the only holiday named after an individual. He deserves it! People celebrate the holiday in many different ways.  Here are a few suggestions for honoring Dr. King on his holiday weekend. By the way, these are fun activities to do throughout the year!

RReview of Big Events in the African American Community (2013)
January 7, 2014 – Examiner

2013 ended with great fanfare.  The year was full of “big events” that affected people on a grand scale. Some “big events” made us happy. Others left us sad. A few made us think. Read about the good, bad, and game changing “big events” of 2013. It will bring back memories!

FFive Black Women Loved by the African American Community
January 1, 2014 – Examiner

African American women have helped to build their families and the country.  From slavery through the civil rights, African American women have shown courage and strength to fight for equality for both African Americans and all women.  Read the stories of these five incredible women. They will inspire!

 FFive Black Men Loved by the African American Community

December 28, 2013 – Examiner

African American men have made important contributions to the country and to the world. Their strength, courage, and vision uplifted their families and improved the lives of people around the world.  Many are well known. But others go unrecognized. Read about five Black men who have made the world a better place and are sources of pride for the African American community.

SScottsboro Boys: did they receive justice and can it happen again?
December 5, 2013 – Examiner

In 1931, nine African American youths were arrested for raping two white women. They were called the Scottsboro boys. Racial injustice, false witness statements, and an all-white jury led to their conviction and death sentence. Over the decades, six of the youths were pardoned. In 2013, the remaining three “Scottsboro boys” were posthumously pardoned. Did they receive justice? Can this injustice happen again?

TTen Best Quotes by John Kennedy
November 22, 2013 – Examiner

President Kennedy was one of the most quotable people of the 20th century. From the Vietnam War to the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy exhibited dynamism and sensitivity when speaking about these important issues. However, his speeches on the civil rights issue were where he showed the greatest vision and intelligence. Read his ten best quotes on civil rights.

TThree Great Actions by President John Kennedy to Protect Civil Rights
November 21, 2013 – Examiner

In the 1960s, race and the civil rights issues were dividing the country. Iconic events like the March on Washington, Supreme Court decisions condemning segregation, and the National Guard protecting school children were juxtaposed against acts and images of violence, anger, and hatred. President Kennedy was acutely aware of the importance of civil rights and grew increasingly supportive of the movement. Read his three best actions that promoted and protected civil rights in the United States.

CCourt protects teacher who taught about N-word
November 14, 2013 – Examiner

This word is one of the most controversial terms in the English language! However, it did not begin as a word rooted in racism and hatred. Read about the term’s humble beginnings, what famous authors frequently used it, and how one teacher was fired for teaching about it.

CCelebrating Veterans Day: African American soldiers in the movies
November 9, 2013 – Examiner

There is a wide range of movies featuring African Americans fighting in the military. From the American Revolution and Civil War to the present day, African Americans have held a wide variety of positions in the U.S. Armed Forces. These classic movies will make you stand up and salute!

CCelebrating Veterans Day: African Americans in the Military
November 5, 2013 – Examiner

African Americans have participated in every major American war. In the beginning, segregation and discrimination were the norm. This has changed. Read about the evolving positions of African Americans in the armed forces and how the military has developed as a more diverse and inclusive institution.

MMust-read American literature: slave narratives
October 16, 2013 – Examiner

If you have ever wondered about how slaves lived, worked, married, or how slave owners treated them, then read their interviews.  The myths are debunked and the real story of slavery will emerge from the first-hand accounts by the slaves themselves.  This article provides a list of the best slave narratives that all persons interested in U.S. history should read.

HHerman Wallace dies a free man: released from solitary after 41 years
October 9, 2013 – Examiner

In 1971, Herman Wallace was put in solitary confinement in Louisiana’s dreaded Angola Penitentiary. He was released in October, 2013 and died the following day. Who was Herman Wallace and why was he kept in solitary confinement for 41 years?

CClassic African American Movies about Slavery
October 3, 2013 – Examiner

Slave-themed movies are gaining popularity in the U.S. film industry.  Many of the films are based on real people and historical events.  The movies focus on different aspects of slavery such as the “Middle Passage” or about a woman protecting her children from slavery. Read about these different movies—some are quite graphic!–and learn the real story of slavery in America.

RRace, Justice, and the African American Community- Lessons from Emmett Till
September 25, 2013 – Examiner

In 1955, Emmett Till was lynched in Mississippi. His killers were charged and tried, but found not guilty by an all-white jury. People around the country were outraged by the verdict and the civil rights movement was born. Are there similarities with recent killings in the United States? What lessons should have been learned after the brutal killing of young Emmett?

FFive great African American Classic movies that everyone should see
September 18, 2013 – Examiner

Beyond the slave-themed movies, Hollywood has made many important films about racial themes and African American history. Icons like Sidney Poitier and Lena Horne mesmerized audience and captivated crowds around the country.  These movies made America face the “race” issue in different ways. All movie lovers can enjoy each of these “trailblazing” movies.

FFive great African American movies everyone should see
September 14, 2013 – Examiner

Stunning performances! Talented directors! Fascinating stories! Movies featuring African Americans are gaining popularity and astounding audiences around the world. Read about these modern movies and learn about the African American experience—and be entertained at the same time!

MMilitary force against Syria: Oakland has a powerful voice in Congress
September 9, 2013 – Examiner

Congresswoman Barbara Lee is one of the most vocal and principled voices in the U.S. Congress. As the only member of Congress to vote against the “blank check” authorization of military force bill, she is willing to make the hard choices to protect her constituents and country. And her office remained open during the government shutdown. Read about this powerful representative in Oakland and learn how to meet the president on your birthday!

BBeyond the March on Washington: Oakland marches and protests
September 4, 2013 – Examiner

Oakland has a long history of political protest and marches.  The summer of 2013 was an active period for groups from Occupy Oakland to the Twelve Man March against racial profiling.  Read about Oakland’s political demonstrations, surprising participants, and the response of law enforcement.

TThree worst jury verdicts for African Americans: Scottsboro Boys to Trayvon
July 20, 2013 – Examiner

African Americans have long felt that the legal system was unjust and inequitable. The cases presented in this article are examples of the injustice and disregard that many African Americans believe show that work still needs to be done to ensure the equal protection of the laws.

RRestricting voting rights and other bad Supreme Court decisions
July 11, 2013 – Examiner

Trial judges and juries in criminal cases are not the only ones who can issue bad verdicts! The U.S. Supreme Court has made many excellent decisions that have improved society and protected individual rights. However, the Court has also made terrible decisions as when it restricted the Voting Right Act.  The Congress, the Attorney General, and even the President were dismayed by the Court’s decision.  Read this article to learn more about this and other cases of the Supreme Court’s “bad” judgment.

OOakland has many Treyvon Martin cases: civil rights under attack
June 28,2013 – Examiner

The jury’s verdict of not guilty for George Zimmerman who killed Trayvon Martin left many people angry and disillusioned.  Unfortunately, these cases have happened throughout the country—and Oakland is not exempt. Read this article to learn more about the other “Trayvon Martin” cases, the response of law enforcement and the courts, and which case was made into a movie that won the best film award at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.

AAbolishing slavery: Three important documents that everyone should read
June 21, 2013 – Examiner

Slavery was a complex and entrenched system that divided the country. Which documents were instrumental in abolishing the “peculiar institution”?  The answer might surprise history buffs!

JJuneteenth and July 4th: Celebrating two Independence Day holidays
June 12, 2013 – Examiner

Most African American families celebrate both Juneteenth and July 4th. While most people know the origins of the July 4th holiday, many do not know the true story of Juneteenth.  Some people have never heard of this important day. This article reveals little known facts about this “other” Independence Day.

VVisiting Oakland’s African American Museum: A fresh look at history
June 3, 2013 – Examiner

Oakland has many institutions that reflect its multicultural community. Its African American history museum has humble origins, but has grown into a respected repository for historical documents about African Americans and California’s indigenous peoples. Learn what this historical landmark offers to visitors, researchers and students. And discover other African American museums around the country.