⚖️ #ThrowbackThursday ⚖️

Today we honor Annie Turnbo Malone (1869-1957), one of the nation’s first black female millionaires. She built her fortune on hair care products that she developed when she was 20 years old and trademarked under the name “Poro.” Malone was an active philanthropist and contributed thousands of dollars to black educational programs and orphanages across the country. However, Malone’s legacy is often overshadowed by that of her protégé, Sarah Breedlove, better known as Madame C.J. Walker.

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Meet Lauren Underwood, the youngest black Congresswoman in U.S. history

NBC NEWS — Lauren Underwood, a 32-year-old registered nurse with two master’s degrees from Johns Hopkins University, became the youngest black woman in history to serve in Congress when she was sworn into the House of Representatives last week.

A Democrat hailing from Naperville, Illinois, Underwood began her career in politics under the Obama administration in 2014 as a policy professional. She worked to implement the Affordable Care Act two years later after becoming a senior adviser at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Underwood defeated Republican Randy Hultgren in the November 6th election, winning 52.2% of the vote.

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Black teacher claims NY school district ignored discrimination and harassment, lawsuit filed

NBC NEWS — A high school English teacher employed with the Commack School District on Long Island said in a lawsuit filed last month that she has been the only black teacher in the district for 17 years.

Andrea Bryan’s lawsuit alleges that since she made a complaint in 2015 about the lead English teacher making “racially derogatory” comments, she has been subjected to discrimination and harassment by teachers and students in the district.

NBC News reports that as of the 2015-2016 school year, Commack school district’s high school was 86% white, according to the New York State Education Department.

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Cyntoia Brown granted clemency, life sentence commuted

NBC NEWS — Cyntoia Brown was just 16 years old when she was convicted of killing a man and sentenced to life behind bars. After serving 15 years of that life sentence, Brown was granted clemency and a full commutation to parole by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam on Monday.

NBC News reports that Brown will remain on parole for 10 years after her release, which is set for August 7, 2019.

The news of Brown’s clemency comes one month after the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that she would have to serve 51 years of her sentence before she would become eligible for parole. The decision ignited an online firestorm of Brown supporters calling for her release.

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‘White spaces’ are helping white people confront racial biases

NBC NEWS — “White spaces” are popping up around the country, and they aren’t as bad as they sound. These groups of all white adults were created to give white people an opportunity to have candid conversations about identifying white privilege and implicit biases.

The Metro St. Louis chapter of the YWCA is home to several “white space” groups. The chapter’s racial justice director, Mary Ferguson says that the YWCA’s program began in 2011, but interest spiked after Michael Brown was killed by police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson in 2014.

Ferguson says that more than a dozen groups are set to begin meeting in January:

“It was important to us that we had a group where people of color wouldn’t be on the spot, wouldn’t be asked to teach, wouldn’t be asked to listen to white people as they struggle to understand racism. One of the greatest fears that many of our participants express is the fear that they’re going to offend, that they are going to show their ignorance, that they are going to upset other people and they sense it themselves. One way that we can open up the space for conversation is to make the group all white.”

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Family: ‘Alabama tries to shield officer who killed black man’

ASSOCIATED PRESS — Relatives of a black man killed by police in Alabama’s largest shopping mall claimed Monday that a state takeover of the investigation is a bid by authorities to protect the officer.

Holding a photo of her son Emantic “EJ” Bradford Jr., April Pipkins said the move by Attorney General Steve Marshall to assume control of the probe seemed aimed at shielding the officer, who has yet to be named publicly.

The family’s lawyers contend the case should have been left with newly elected Jefferson County District Attorney Danny Carr, who is black, or given to Lynneice Washington, another black district attorney who handles cases in the western part of the county.

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Two officers indicted after violent encounter with middle school student

WBRZ-2 (ABC) — A West Baton Rouge grand jury has indicted two officers accused of using excessive force on 14-year-old Isaiah Johnson in October, but the boy’s family believes the charges aren’t harsh enough.

Johnson’s family claimed the school misled them about the incident and accused the staff and officers of mishandling the teen, who they say is medicated for behavioral problems.

Both officers resigned from the department in November after an investigation into the incident began.

Watch the video for yourself >>

Living while black: CNN’s year-end report on racial profiling

CNN — It’s happened yet again.

An African-American man in suburban Cleveland says a bank teller called police on him this month when he tried to cash a check from his employer. Although the man didn’t explicitly cry “racial profiling,” many observers see the incident as another in a dispiriting and all-too-familiar series.
In 2018, police across the United States have been urged to investigate black people for doing all kinds of daily, mundane, noncriminal activities.

⚖️ #ThrowbackThursday ⚖️

Today we honor George Lewis Ruffin (1961- ) who became the first African-American graduate of Harvard Law School in 1869. He was admitted to the Suffolk County Bar Association later that year. To honor his legacy and support minority groups studying in the Massachusetts justice system, the George Lewis Ruffin Society was founded in 1984 at Northeastern University.

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High-school student expelled for cursing hires civil rights lawyer with help from Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union

MIAMI HERALD — Cyrus Nance, an 18-year-old senior who played on the varsity basketball team at American Heritage School with Dwyane Wade’s son and nephew, was kicked out of the elite school in November following a profane back-and-forth the student said was initiated by the head coach of the girls’ varsity basketball team.

Nance said he and a few of his teammates — all minorities — had been shooting baskets during a lull in the girls’ Nov. 13 practice when the coach, Greg Farias, yelled at them to leave and “respect your f—ing elders.” Nance responded with his own curse words, prompting the school to remove him from campus in a golf cart and expel him the following day. Farias was not punished, the student’s attorneys said.

Wade and Union, his wife, helped Nance and his mother, Angela Cross, retain Tallahassee attorney Benjamin Crump, known widely for his work representing the families of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin and St. Louis man Michael Brown in civil rights cases.

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