Black Americans weep for Obama, and an uncertain future (Associated Press, January 2017)

On the night in 2008 when Barack Obama was elected the country's first black president, many black Americans wept. Eight years later, they weep again for the end of an era some thought they would never live to see — and for the uncertain future they face without him. In Obama, many African-Americans felt they had a leader who celebrated their culture and confronted their concerns. In his wife, Michelle, they saw a national role model who epitomized style and grace with brown skin. Now some regard the election of his successor as the price of black progress and the culmination of years of racist rhetoric directed at the Obamas — at times stoked by President-elect Donald Trump himself.

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Black American journey finally enshrined in national museum (Associated Press, September 2016)

When the Smithsonian Museum of African-American History and Culture opens this week alongside the Washington Monument and the National Museum of American History, it will firmly — and finally — anchor the black experience in the nation's narrative. Fifty years after the end of the Civil War, black citizens in Washington, D.C., formed the National Memorial Association with the purpose of "erecting a beautiful building . suitable to depict the Negro's contribution to America." It would be, they said, "a shrine for posterity."

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Black men, boys ponder becoming the next hashtag (Associated Press, July 2016)

Javon Grant has come up with a plan for what to do should he cross paths with a police officer: Get as far away as possible. The impact of the constant drumbeat of police shootings of black men and boys — many of them unarmed and killed at the hands of white officers — has left many black youngsters wondering how they can keep from becoming the next social media hashtag. Javon and his peers are coming of age in the era of Tamir Rice, Jordan Davis and Michael Brown. They do not know if they will be next.

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Martin Luther King had complicated legacy on gun violence (Associated Press, January 2016)

Martin Luther King Jr. was surrounded by guns, even though he didn't like them. At times, armed foot soldiers protected the Baptist preacher and his family. As he led protests across the rural South, King often stood in proximity of guns — wielded by local police, state troopers or hostile people in the crowds. On April 4, 1968, King became one of America's most famous victims of gun violence. Just as guns were a complicated issue for King in his lifetime, they loom large over the 30th anniversary of the holiday honoring his birthday. 

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From Princeton to Tuskegee: Michelle Obama's 30-year Race Journey

(, May 2015)

In her address to the graduates of Tuskegee University this weekend, it was remarkable that Michelle Obama would finally wade into the topic of race after seven years as First Lady of the United States. What is perhaps more remarkable is what her remarks represent: a 30-year journey that began when she was a college student, and the realization that for her survival and sanity, defining herself was more important than allowing others to define her.

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The Roots of Atlanta's Cheating Scandal

(POLITICO Magazine, April 2015)

Last week, a parade of educators filed into an Atlanta courtroom to be sentenced for their roles in the test-cheating scandal that has roiled the city for the past several years. At issue are not only corrupt educators but also a highly corrupted system decades in the making, one that has its roots in Atlanta’s deeply segregated school system, in which some black students are left to languish with poor resources and bad teachers. To ignore this is to ignore the longstanding problems that will persist long after a single cheating scandal is put to rest.
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