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Most Georgians support civil rights protections for LGBT community

A large majority of Georgians (74 percent) support passing a state law to protect gay and transgender people in the areas of employment, housing and public accommodations, according to a survey conducted by the Just Win Foundation.

But the same survey shows that an equal percentage of Georgians think it’s already illegal under state law to fire, refuse to hire, deny housing or public accommodations access to a person who is gay or transgender.


Scary times and nervous people

We are often told that to accurately judge history, it must be viewed through an empathetic lens. It is difficult, they say, to assess actions without applying the standards of the day to those actions. Our story this week is ostensibly about an event pertaining to public safety. There is historical precedence for the actions that were taken, but one wonders…do the times of the day ever justify the suspension of our constitutional liberties? A not so easy question to answer in this week’s Stories of Atlanta.

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Ralph Abernathy III’s Exit Interview: The curse of cancer and civil rights celebrity

Ralph David Abernathy III had been suffering severely for more than year, battling Stage 4 colon cancer while also valiantly fighting to honor and refresh his late father’s legacy. Yesterday, the son of civil rights icon and Martin King Jr’s best friend, Ralph Abernathy Jr., was eulogized and buried. Abernathy III died two days short of his 57th birthday.

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Susie King Taylor: Civil War nurse and early social justice activist

This week, guest columnist HERMINA GLASS-HILL, a public historian, explores the transformation of Susie King Taylor, a Civil War nurse, into a an early social justice activist and racial uplift advocate.

Susie Baker King Taylor, born in 1848 in Liberty County, is celebrated as the only African American woman ever to have written an autobiography of her enlistment and service as a teacher and a nurse in the first all-black regiment in the history of the U.S. army. Yet very little has been written about her private emotions, frustrations, and disappointments. These aspects of Taylor’s life resonate very deeply within my own spirit, and are just as compelling as her public achievements.

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The “Furious Five”: A sizzling Atlanta urban Republican dialogue. Where is Black Atlanta in the “All of It”?

I now call them the “Furious Five” – an eclectic crew of friends and political knowers – who were invited to participate in the first of a month long series of “unbridled” conversations about the political issues of the day. And, they put on a dazzling, dynamic show; their debate was robust, riveting and revealing.

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The Bloody Sunday Blues

Bloody Sunday is surreal. It was an uncanny experience even for this seasoned journalist to encounter civil rights icon, Atlanta Congressman John Lewis, holding court and counseling youngsters at the apex of the Edmund Pettis Bridge on Sunday March 6th about the significance and substance of this memorable day in Black history.


Hank Thomas: ‘I’m a Freedom Rider and Buffalo Soldier’

Hank Thomas is a legendary civil rights activist and a pioneer Black fast food franchisee multi-millionaire, but few people know he is also among Black America’s foremost African American art collectors. The 74 year-old Thomas is the only surviving Freedom Rider aboard the infamous Greyhound bus that was set on fire on Mother’s Day in 1961, and he may be the only Atlanta art aficionado who owns so many Black art paintings he can’t count them all.

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Commentary: Atlanta has become a hub for negotiations

Original Story on WABE

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Atlanta is home to problem-solving institutions. During the civil rights era, Atlanta stood out as a city where black and white leaders could meet and work through the tense transition from segregation to integration. (Photo by : Frank Southworth – 2015)

The United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations agreed to a trade deal known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership in Atlanta on Oct. 4. It took more than five years of difficult negotiations to hammer out this agreement.

Atlanta’s spirit of mediation fits right into the image that came out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks.

Hala Moddelmog, president of the Metro Atlanta Chamber, called it a “thrill to host the final meeting — the one when they reached an agreement — in Atlanta.”

Some would say conflict resolution is in Atlanta’s DNA. During the civil rights era, Atlanta stood out as the one city in the South where black and white leaders could meet and work through the tense transition from segregation to integration.

Atlanta is home to problem-solving institutions like the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights and the Carter Center — a gathering place for international leaders to address key issues impacting the world.

And a high-level group of local business leaders with a global focus established the new Atlanta Center for International Arbitration and Mediation at Georgia State University.

A.J. Robinson, president of Central Atlanta Progress, pointed out the city’s advantages, saying: “We’ve got a big airport. We have got great meeting facilities. We are not expensive. And we are hospitable. It’s a great place to solve a problem. Maybe because of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, we will be discovered.”

I agree. After all, mediation and conflict resolution is in our DNA.


The Ray Barreras era ends in Atlanta

When Renaissance man Ray Barreras recently departed Atlanta, the city’s fabric lost a stabilizing force.

For 50 years here, he made the complex look easy, from teaching organic chemistry at the Atlanta University Center and Morehouse School of Medicine, to manning the WABE pledge drive for decades, to a gender-busting, prolific hobby of quilt making. That list only scratches the surface of his service, mostly behind the scenes and without pay, that helped Atlanta diversify.

Atlanta, Evander Holyfield, to honor trailblazing firefighters, first black world champ middleweight boxer

Atlanta on Monday will commemorate its 50th anniversary of the hiring of the city’s first African American firefighters. Their first day of work was April 1, 1963.

There’s more to the event than meets the eye – including a total omission of the department’s integration on the city’s website.

The ceremony actually is to honor three aspects of the city’s history – the integration of the fire department; the city’s first seven African-American female firefighters, hired in 1977; and boxing champion Tiger Flowers (1895-1927), who lived in a 20-room mansion on the site where a fire station was built and where the ceremony will be observed.

Timing will be just right for Atlanta’s Center for Civil and Human Rights

By Maria Saporta

In August, it will be the 50-year anniversary of the March on Washington and Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

And it is at the “50-year mark” when a major moment in history moves from being a memoriam to part of a legacy that can be connected to contemporary issues, according to Doug Shipman, president and CEO of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.

If that’s the case, the Center’s timing is just about perfect. Construction on the Center, which will be located on the same block as the Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coca-Cola, began on March 4.