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Lorraine Hotel

Still missing Martin Luther King Jr. after all these years

MEMPHIS – For 50 years, I had little desire to travel to Memphis.

The city always triggered one of the most painful memories of my youth – the assassination of an idol who had become a friend – Martin Luther King Jr.

I have often said my life peaked when I was 11. It was September, 1966 when I became close friends with Yolanda King, who had helped integrate my elementary school – Spring Street – along with the children of Juanita and Ralph David Abernathy.

mississippi flag

U.S. Supreme Court asks Mississippi to defend Confederate symbol on flag

The same week Georgia unveiled a statue of Martin Luther King Jr., the U.S. Supreme Court requested the governor of Mississippi to defend the Confederate battle emblem on his state’s flag. Calls to lynch anyone trying to remove Confederate symbols have been issued by a Mississippi lawmaker and other state officials, according to a petition asking the court to consider a lawsuit involving the flag symbol.

Gaines Hall

Forget the symbols of the Confederacy; instead let’s preserve our African-American heritage

It makes no sense.

As the nation and our region ponder whether to erase Confederate history by removing monuments and renaming streets, we are letting our precious landmarks of African-American history crumble to dust.

Where is the passion and dedication to save the pillars of U.S. black history? Let’s begin with Gaines Hall, built in 1869 and the second oldest building in the city of Atlanta, and the place where W.E.B. DuBois wrote the mind-changing book: “The Souls of Black Folks.”

Ajay Banga and John Hope Bryant

Operation HOPE convenes global leaders and the poor in Atlanta to promote financial literacy

For several years running, Atlanta has become the venue for addressing the problem of poverty in the United States while focusing on solutions.

The convener is Operation HOPE’s Global Forum, which just met in Atlanta at the Marriott Marquis from April 10 to April 12. This year’s theme was “Uplifting the Invisible Class” – focusing on the people who have fallen between the cracks.

LGBT flag

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.

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.

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.

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.