Teen's police killing tests long-frustrated black Pittsburgh (Associated Press, 7/1/2018)

PITTSBURGH — The day after Antwon Rose Jr. was shot through the cheek and elbow and in the back, killing the 17-year-old honors student, young black people swarmed the East Pittsburgh police station.

Over the next several days, outraged protesters took over thoroughfares, disrupted rush hour and shouted from the steps of the county courthouse, demanding that the white officer who killed the black teenager be charged.

Rose’s killing is the first in the Pittsburgh area in the Black Lives Matter era, and residents are galvanized. From the sustained marches to the swift announcement that Officer Michael Rosfeld will face charges of criminal homicide, what has unfolded in the hills of western Pennsylvania’s steel country is a rare response to the killing of an unarmed black male, despite longstanding tensions in the area between police and the scattered black community.

Residents are guardedly optimistic the case could result in an even rarer conviction.

White House visits become political litmus test for athletes (Associated Press, 6/7/2018)

PHILADELPHIA — For victorious sports teams these days, the confetti and champagne are apt to be accompanied by a politically fraught question: Are you going to the White House?

What used to be one of the most innocuous photo-ops in sports is anything but. Going — or not going — has become a political statement in the era of President Donald Trump, who has managed to draw athletes into his game, whether they want to play or not.

“If you do go, you’re associating yourself with his policies,” said Howard Bryant, author of “The Heritage: Black Athletes, A Divided America and the Politics of Patriotism.” ″If you don’t go, you run the risk of branding yourself as not having enough respect for the office.”

Black women look to flex power in Georgia governor's race (Associated Press, 5/21/2018)

ATLANTA — This week’s primary election in Georgia presents black women voters with a rare opportunity: To give a Democrat who looks like them a chance at occupying the governor’s mansion in a Republican-controlled state.

A Democratic primary win Tuesday for Stacey Abrams or Stacey Evans — both lawyers and former state lawmakers — means Georgia could elect its first woman governor later this year.

If Abrams wins the primary and the general election, America would get its first black woman governor. Given that black women are Georgia’s third largest voting bloc, many such voters are relishing the possibility of making history happen twice over.

Guess who's coming to Windsor? Royal ceremony weds cultures (Associated Press, 5/20/2018)

BURLINGTON, New Jersey — With a gospel choir, black cellist and bishop, Oprah, Serena and Idris Elba in the audience and an African-American mother-of-the-bride, Saturday’s wedding of Prince Harry to American actress Meghan Markle was a blend of the solemn and the soulful.

Guess who’s coming to Windsor?

The ceremony married the pomp and circumstance of Britain’s most sacred institution with elements of black culture, drawing viewers not normally drawn to the spectacle of the monarchy.

“This was black history,” said Joy Widgeon, who attended a house party in Burlington, New Jersey, with her 6- and 8-year-old daughters in tow. “African-Americans were front and center at the royal wedding. This was the first time, and hopefully it won’t be the last. I am here for it.”

2 black men arrested at Starbucks get apology from police (Associated Press, 4/20/2018)

PHILADELPHIA — Rashon Nelson initially brushed it off when the Starbucks manager told him he couldn’t use the restroom because he wasn’t a paying customer.

He thought nothing of it when he and his childhood friend and business partner, Donte Robinson, were approached at their table and were asked if they needed help. The 23-year-old entrepreneurs declined, explaining they were just waiting for a business meeting.

A few minutes later, they hardly noticed when the police came into the coffee shop — until officers started walking in their direction.

“That’s when we knew she called the police on us,” Nelson told The Associated Press in the first interview by the two black men since video of their April 12 trespassing arrests touched off a furor around the U.S. over racial profiling or what has been dubbed “retail racism” or “shopping while black.”

Commitment to King's unfinished work remains 50 years later (Associated Press, 4/1/2018)

ATLANTA — Tyrone Brooks was 22 years old and 400 miles away, seeking clues to an unsolved lynching as old as he was, when he got the news that Martin Luther King Jr. was dead. Stunned, Brooks dropped everything and drove to Memphis, crying all the way.

The next day, King’s closest confidant, the Rev. Ralph David Abernathy, told Brooks: “Tighten your belts and dry your tears. If you love Martin Luther King as you say you do, help me carry on his work.”

The members of King’s tight circle barely paused to grieve. They plunged into carrying out his unfinished work, and turned it into a lifelong vow.

Some went into politics. A few continued to serve the organization that King led or started their own. Others returned to the pulpit, preaching a gospel of racial liberation.

And the King legacy continues, evident today in a new generation protesting many of the same issues King confronted : inequality, police brutality and poverty.

Analysis: Coin toss mirrors black experience beyond Olympics (Associated Press, 2/9/2018)

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — Shani Davis made history in 2006 when he became the first black athlete to win an individual gold medal at a Winter Olympics and the winningest man in American speedskating. So when the speedskater tweeted his outrage after losing the opportunity to represent Team USA as its flagbearer in Friday night’s opening ceremony, his #blackhistorymonth hashtag served as a kind of racial shorthand.

And it resonated with African-Americans far beyond sports.

For them, it was a familiar scenario: Despite being exceptional in a field dominated by whites, he was bypassed for a job he deserved. What’s more, when he pointed that out, he was shouted down as an ungrateful distraction.

From celebrities to corporate America, the slight was a reminder of what blacks regularly experience in a white world — a feeling that the game is rigged.

Black athletes have long history of not sticking to sports (Associated Press, 2/2/2018)

This year’s NFL season featured two of America’s pastimes: football and race, with pre-game protests dividing fans along color lines and making Sunday afternoons among the most segregated hours in the country.

While some fans would prefer players stick to sports, many black athletes have chosen a different path by protesting, making people uncomfortable.

“The whole purpose of the demonstrations is to get (fans’) attention,” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said in an interview with The Associated Press. “These are the people that ignore the fact that people are being shot dead in the street. They’ve found ways to ignore it.”

For weeks, some NFL players, most of them African-American, knelt silently on the sidelines as the national anthem played before kickoff. Their goal: to raise awareness about disparities in policing in communities of color , and about persistent, systemic racism in America.

It was a new approach to an age-old problem.