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Fifty years have passed since Bloody Sunday, that seminal event in United States civil-rights history when African-Americans and their allies attempted to march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., demanding the right to vote. As soon as they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, they were violently attacked by the Alabama State Police, beaten with nightsticks and electric cattle prods, set upon by police dogs and tear-gassed. They were chased off the bridge, all the way back to Selma's Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church, where the march began. News and images of the extreme and unprovoked police violence, in contrast to the conduct of the 600 marchers, who practiced disciplined non-violence, spread across the globe.
PARK CITY, Utah -- On March 21, 1915, a motion picture was screened for the first time inside the White House. President Woodrow Wilson sat down to watch D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation. The film, considered one of the most nakedly racist of all time, falsifies the history of Reconstruction, depicting African-Americans, freed from slavery, as dominant, violent and oppressive toward Southern whites. Wilson said of the film, "It is like writing history with lightning, and my only regret is that it is all so terribly true." The film would serve as a powerful recruiting tool for the Ku Klux Klan.
Malcolm X is an American icon. He was born Malcolm Little, later to become arguably the most famous black, Muslim minister and a staunch human rights activist. Malcolm X was born into a family of activists, but was left orphaned as a result of his father’s murder and his mother’s subsequent mental challenges.
Malcolm X spent several years in jail as a young adult after an arrest for burglary. During this time of self-reflection and learning, Malcolm X discovered Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad. Malcolm X was absorbed in learning about Muhammad’s beliefs that white society purposely and dutifully worked to limit the empowerment and social/political/economic success of African-American citizens.
“We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protests to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.” -- MLK Jr., "I Have a Dream"
Monday, January 20, 2014 is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, commemorating what would have been the civil rights activist’s 85th birthday.
Sexual liberation was a core principle of the social movements of the 1960s. The desire to emancipate desire was central to the belief that a new society and a new experience could be created. The United States' LGBTQ (lesbian/gay/bisexual/trans/queer) movements are often described as having begun with the Stonewall Revolt in Greenwich Village in New York City. The rebellion consisted of hundreds of gays resisting a police raid over the course of three days. In The Power of Identity, the sociologist Manuel Castells notes that there were 50 organizations for sexual minorities throughout the U.S.