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George Curry

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Africa completes 10 days of mourning for Nelson Mandela

QUNU, South Africa (NNPA) – With a rich mixture of ceremonial military pomp and ancient tribal customs, Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first democratically elected president, was buried here Sunday in the village of his youth, culminating 10 days of national mourning.

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Mandela opponents trying to rewrite history

Many conservatives who actively opposed Nelson Mandela’s protracted struggle to establish democracy in White minority-ruled South Africa are trying to rationalize their past criticism by either ignoring their earlier public statements or trying to place the struggle for a democratic society in South Africa in a Cold War context.

WWRDH: What would Republicans do on health care?

Many ardent conservatives are critical of the Affordable Care Act or what they derisively call “Obamacare.” But what are they proposing that proves that they care about uninsured Americans?

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Republicans shed crocodile tears over health care

Republicans have no shame. After House Republicans voted more than 40 times to block implementation of what they derisively call Obamacare, they have the temerity to complain that the Obama administration flubbed the Oct. 1 rollout of the Affordable Care Act.

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Myth: Federal government out of control

The Republican push to reduce the federal deficit solely through spending cuts is based on mythology rather than fact. That was clearly demonstrated by a series of reports issued recently by the non-partisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

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‘Entitlement programs’ serve elderly, poor

Republicans have made it clear that their next budget goal is to slash so-called entitlement programs. Democrats have failed to explain to the public that the misnamed programs are valuable and prevent millions of Americans, many of them elderly or children, from living in poverty.

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Dr. Carson: Gifted Hands, foot in mouth

Dr. Ben Carson became the darling of conservatives earlier this year by stridently attacking the Affordable Care Act with President Obama sitting just a few feet away. Carson, who was serving as the keynote speaker at the National Prayer Breakfast at the White House, said:

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Obama’s showdown with ‘Teapublicans’

Believe it or not, President Obama’s decision to finally stand up to Teapublicans – a Republican Party hijacked by right-wing Tea Party zealots – in the latest standoff over the Affordable Care Act and the debt ceiling was the easy part. Next comes the real fireworks over the budget. And, judging from the past, the Democrats are likely to wave the white flag of surrender, even before the first shot is fired.

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U.S. government reopens, avoids default

President Barack Obama signed a bill into law early in the morning on Oct. 16 that ended the 16-day government shutdown and averted an impending financial crisis by raising the debt ceiling.

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Inside Jesse Jackson’s negotiation to win release of U.S. vet

Jesse Jackson was ensconced in his 6th floor suite at Hotel Nacional, at the end of the hallway, as the four people he had invited to accompany him to Cuba – James Gomez, director of International Affairs for the Rainbow PUSH Coalition; Lyle “Butch” Wing, the organization’s national political coordinator; Brewster McCauley, Jackson’s Chicago-based videographer, and this reporter – walked back and forth between the lounge and their rooms on the same floor.

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Yes, mental illness affects ‘us’

On Sept. 16, the news was shocking: A contract employee who worked at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., later identified as Aaron Alexis, killed 12 innocent people in the facility before he was killed by police.

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The truth about ‘Obamacare’

Major provisions of the Affordable Care Act went into effect on Tuesday and, like all new programs, there was a certain amount of uncertainty and confusion. But making things worse are the deliberate lies that have been told by what some call Obamacare.

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Government shutdown harder on Black workers

Although the shutdown of the federal government that began Tuesday is affecting all Americans, a disproportionate portion of the 800,000 furloughed federal workers are African Americans, according to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

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Selling out Black college football

I cringed as the scores came in over the weekend. Ohio State 76, Florida A&M 0. Florida State 54, Bethune-Cookman 6. Miami 77, Savannah State 7. Our HBCUs have traded their proud, rich football heritage for money. And I don’t think it’s worth it.

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Black media gets slighted, as spending power exceeds $1 trillion

Although annual Black spending is projected to rise from its current $1 trillion to $1.3 trillion by 2017, advertisers allot only 3 percent of their $2.2 billion yearly budget to media aimed at Black audiences, a new Nielsen report has found.

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1963, the pivotal year for civil rights

In the modern civil rights era, no year stands out in my memory more than 1963. I was a sophomore at Druid High School in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and living in McKenzie Court, the all-Black housing project on the west side of town. After a life of second-class citizenship, I finally saw the walls of segregation crumbling.

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Never say we haven’t made progress

Selma, Ala., the county seat of Dallas County, was a bastion of White supremacy in 1965. At the time, of the 15,000 potential Black voters, only 300 were registered. In response to chants of “We Shall Overcome,” by civil rights protesters, Sheriff Jim Clark wore a button on his uniform declaring, “Never.”

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D.C. marches inclusive – up to a point

Organizers of the two recent marches on Washington – one called by Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King III and the other engineered primarily by King’s sister, Bernice – almost stumbled over one another praising the diversity of their respective marches.

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Obama: Economic fairness, our ‘great unfinished business’

After repeatedly praising Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for leading a movement in the 1950s and 1960s that demolished America’s apartheid-like treatment of African Americans, President Obama told those attending an observance of the 1963 March on Washington Wednesday that making sure Blacks and Whites are on the same economic level is America’s “great unfinished business.”

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Marching orders for the future

Now that we’ve had two events at the Lincoln Memorial to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, it is important to remember a few things about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. beyond his I Have a Dream speech.

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Why we’re still marching, 50 years later

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. 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.

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Events planned for March on Washington

In addition to the long-planned March on Washington scheduled for Aug. 24, the White House has announced that President Obama will speak at a commemorative service at the Lincoln Memorial on Aug. 28, the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Justice.

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Jackie Jackson: A mother’s love

On Wednesday, Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. was scheduled to be sentenced to prison in connection with using campaign funds for personal use. Dozens of letters were sent to the judge on his behalf, but none more touching than the one written by his mother, dated May 28. She began by noting, “I am Jacqueline Jackson, the mother of five children, one of whom I am writing about, my son Jesse Jackson Jr.”

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Jobs still a key issue 50 years after historic D.C. march

One of the primary goals of the 1963 March on Washington was finding or creating jobs for Blacks. At a panel discussion during the annual convention of the National Urban League, jobs was mentioned more frequently than any other topic as leaders discussed the famous march 50 years ago and an upcoming one planned for Aug. 24.

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The riches of international travel

CASABLANCA, Morocco – When I left Dulles Airport near Washington, D.C., last Thursday afternoon on Air France Flight #39, changed planes at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, and arrived Friday morning in the capital city of Rabat aboard Air France Flight # 1258, I knew I was in for an enriching experience that always accompanies international travel.

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Focus on poverty, not the middle class

Several of us were sharing our views on radio Sunday night with Gary Byrd when my friend and colleague Cash Michaels urged us to remember that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated while organizing poor people.

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Morial calls for new Civil Rights Movement

National Urban League President Marc H. Morial has called for “a new Civil Rights Movement,” one that will focus on economic empowerment and justice.

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Turning pain into prevention

Sybrina Fulton: We cannot let this happen to anybody else’s child

With her voice laced with emotion, Sybrina Fulton, the soft-spoken mother of Trayvon Martin, urged delegates to the National Urban League’s annual convention here to use her personal tragedy to prevent the recurrence of unjustified youth killings in the future.

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Protecting the vote

Attorney General seeks to force Texas to ‘preclear’ voting changes

Fulfilling a pledge to aggressively protect the voting rights of people of color in the wake of the Supreme Court striking down a key section of the Voting Rights Act, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has announced that the Justice Department will sue the state of Texas to compel it to preclear any planned changes in its voting procedures before they can go into effect.

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Finally, the Barack Obama I voted for

For more than four years, I have said that I liked candidate Barack Obama better than I like President Obama. Candidate Obama addressed the question of race head-on when pressured to distance himself from Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the Chicago pastor who led him to Christianity. But President Obama has been a different story.

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Criminal injustice system failed Trayvon

Watching television Saturday night, I sat in stunned silence as the jury returned its not guilty verdict for George Zimmerman in connection with the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla. Then, I was jolted by a comment made by Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda: “… We live in a great country that has a great criminal justice system. It is not perfect but it is the best in the world and we respect the jury’s verdict.”

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National protests of Zimmerman verdict

Demonstrations are planned for 100 cities this Saturday to protest George Zimmerman’s acquittal for murder and manslaughter in connection with the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., and to urge the Justice Department to investigate whether Martin’s civil rights were violated.

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HBCUs still highly valued

The presidents of Tennessee State University and American Baptist, both of whom are now heading their alma mater, and the dean at Meharry Medical College, a graduate of Howard University – said they are proof that Historically Black Colleges and Universities have played and continue to play a unique role in America.

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Mary Alice Thatch: From ‘janitor’ to Publisher of the Year

If the Wilmington Journal ever holds a contest to determine who began work there at the youngest age, Mary Alice Jervay Thatch would win hands down.

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg is becoming the new Thurgood Marshall

If you’re looking for the justice on the Supreme Court who mirrors Thurgood Marshall’s tenure on the bench, it is not Sonia Sotomayor, the “Wise Latina.” And it certainly isn’t Clarence Thomas. It is Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman to serve on the nation’s highest court.

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Election of Kevin Johnson to head Black mayors group ‘invalid’

After accepting a determination by the attorney for the National Conference of Blacks Mayors that the organization’s May 30 election in Atlanta was invalid, more than half of the board members in good standing have written to Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, directing him to “table all matters” until the board meets again, according to documents obtained by the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service.

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Mayor warns of ‘crisis’ in education

The education of Blacks has reached a state of crisis that demands a strong response from all African Americans, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson told members of the National Newspaper Publishers Association at its annual convention in Nashville.

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Race and the Supreme Court

In its latest affirmative action ruling, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, the Supreme Court ruled the same way it had in its Bakke decision in 1978 and a pair of University of Michigan affirmative action rulings in 2003 – one upholding the law school admissions program (Grutter v. Bollinger) and one striking down the undergraduate admissions process (Gratz v. Bollinger). In each case, the court declared that state universities have a compelling interest that could justify the consideration of race in college admissions because of the benefits that flow to all students from having a diverse student body.

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Affirmative action polls show deep racial gulf

In the months leading up to this week’s Supreme Court decision on affirmative action, a public opinion poll by ABC News and The Washington Post showed that 76 percent of Americans oppose affirmative action in college admissions. However, a poll conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute showed that 68 percent of Americans favor the principles behind affirmative action.

Supreme Court sends affirmative action case back to lower courts

The United States Supreme Court sidestepped making a decision on whether a University of Texas admissions plan that allows the limited consideration of race is unconstitutional by remanding the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit for further review.

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Eliminating affirmative action would hurt Black enrollment

Whenever states have eliminated affirmative action in the past, a decline in Black college enrollment has followed that decision, a study by The Civil Rights Project at the University of California-Los Angeles shows.

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Obama pledges to fight for restoration of Voting Rights Act

President Obama has pledged that his administration will do “everything in its power” to repair the damage done by the United States Supreme Court on Tuesday when it struck down a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

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Blacks more willing to make privacy concessions

Although the federal government secretly spied on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders in the past, Blacks are more willing than Whites to have their privacy rights invaded if it will help investigate possible terrorists.

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Head of Black mayors group urges accountability

Sacramento, Calif., Mayor Kevin Johnson, the newly elected president of the National Conference of Black Mayors, told his colleagues that if they don’t improve the lives of their constituents, they don’t deserve to remain in office.

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Jury out on Obama’s fight to confirm judges

The next major showdown in Washington may not be over how best to reduce the deficit or involve another Obama cabinet appointment. Look for sparks to fly over the president’s constitutional prerogative to nominate federal judges and the Senate’s responsibility to either confirm or reject those nominees.

Modern cavemen keep sexism alive

Women serve in almost every high-powered job in the United States: CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, senators, university presidents, race car drivers and even astronauts. Yet, there are some male bozos who think women should be treated as inferior beings.

Take a recess from closing public schools

Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett has announced plans to close at least 50 schools as a cost-cutting measure. But before any other urban school system follows suit, it should take an extended recess and reflect on what has happened in the past that makes this such a foolish idea.

Obama’s troubles aren’t comparable to ‘Watergate’

The Obama administration deserves to be richly criticized for surreptitiously obtaining the telephone records of reporters for The Associated Press, especially for bypassing court proceedings that would have allowed executives of the news organizations an opportunity to at least argue against releasing the documents.

Cleveland’s Charles Ramsey: Hood or hero?

When some of us saw the first video of Charles Ramsey, the colorful Black dishwasher in Cleveland who is being celebrated as a hero for rescuing three White women captives from horrid conditions in a Cleveland house, we had a flashback to Antoine Dodson, who became a flamboyant Internet sensation after saving his sister from a would-be rapist in their Huntsville, Ala., housing apartment, and Sweet Brown, who barely escaped a fire in her Oklahoma City complex.

South Africa’s best kept secret

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – When Nelson Mandela and his African National Congress comrades were plotting to overthrow the White minority-rule apartheid regime in South Africa, Lilies Farm in Rivonia, just north of Johannesburg, served as their secret hideout.