January 20, 2016 |
At age 89, Harris Wofford is no stranger to large crowds of idealists working to change the status quo. He was a good friend of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., helped found the Peace Corps, and was a civil rights pioneer. And yet, Pennsylvania's liberal statesman was inspired Monday, two generations later, as he looked upon several thousand people gathered at Girard College for the Martin Luther King Day of Service, which Wofford had helped found several decades after King's assassination.
January 16, 2016 |
This weekend, more than 50 years after the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote one of the most important texts of the civil rights movement while locked in a Birmingham, Ala., jail cell, actors will read excerpts from that missive inside a now-closed Philadelphia prison. Dr. King's words then - including the rallying lines "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly" - are "extraordinarily relevant in today's world," said Sean Kelley, director of public programing for Eastern State Penitentiary.
January 16, 2016 |
On what would have been Julian Bond's 76th birthday, more than 200 people gathered Thursday at Lincoln University to celebrate the life and legacy of a prominent leader of the civil rights movement. Bond, who helped found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in 1960 and served as a chairman of the NAACP, was the son of Lincoln University's first black president, Horace Mann Bond. Bond was 5 when his father took the job and he spent his childhood on the campus. Lincoln, the country's first degree-granting historically black college or university, awarded him an honorary degree in 1970.
October 15, 2015 |
A federal appeals court on Tuesday revived a lawsuit challenging the New York Police Department's post-9/11 surveillance of Muslim religious and civic groups, comparing the program to other dark moments of race-based government monitoring in America's past. "We have been down similar roads before," Circuit Judge Thomas Ambro wrote for a three-judge panel of the Philadelphia-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. "Jewish Americans during the Red Scare, African Americans during the Civil Rights Movement, and Japanese Americans during World War II are examples that readily spring to mind.
October 6, 2015 |
It has become a cliché to say that someone will be missed after his death. But the expression becomes more meaningful in reference to former Philadelphia NAACP president J. Whyatt "Jerry" Mondesire, who died Sunday after suffering a brain aneurysm. Mondesire represented a vanishing breed of street-savvy civil rights leaders whose in-your-face style could not be ignored. In that regard, he was often compared to the late Cecil B. Moore, who led Philadelphia's civil rights movement during the turbulent 1960s.
August 18, 2015 |
Civil rights activist Julian Bond, who died Saturday, was born in Tennessee but moved to Pennsylvania as a boy. In 1945, his father, Horace Mann Bond, became the first African American president of Lincoln University in Chester County, according to the university website. The elder Bond served Lincoln, his alma mater, until 1957. Julian Bond graduated in 1957 from George School, a private Quaker high school near Newtown, Bucks County. "We were shocked and saddened to hear of Julian's death," said George head of school Nancy Starmer.
July 8, 2015 |
A vocal duo's flawless a cappella rendition of "Over the Rainbow" hushed the crowd outside Independence Hall as the reenactment of a pioneering LGBT civil rights demonstration began. Several dozen people marched along Chestnut Street holding placards ("Equality for Homosexual Citizens") that replicated those carried by a plucky group of gay men and lesbians a half-century earlier. It was an emotional, and pitch-perfect, way to celebrate the Fourth of July - and the fact that marriage equality is at last the law of the land.
May 3, 2015 |
Now-aging firebrands who endured fear and pain to desegregate Girard College 50 years ago walked smiling past its imposing stone walls Friday. They were greeted on the steps of Founder's Hall by red-blazered students - mostly minorities - who applauded, then sang for the 10 so-called freedom fighters, whose efforts opened the school for the very kids who were honoring them. "We are your legacy," senior Brandon Dixon, a national scholarship winner bound for Harvard, told the one-time demonstrators, one of whom cried openly.
April 11, 2015 |
One of the most important figures in the civil-rights movement was stopped from speaking at the historic March on Washington and has spent the last half-century in virtual obscurity. But a month before that 1963 march, it was Gloria Richardson, a full-time mother who kept guns in her house, seated next to U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy during the signing of the historic "Treaty of Cambridge. " As the leader of a group that became a national model for the likes of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the burgeoning black power movement, she was instrumental in brokering that agreement, which lay the groundwork for desegregation in an Eastern Shore town in Maryland.
February 9, 2015 |
Many events will mark this year's 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. One of the most poignant occurred last month, when Holocaust survivors returned to Poland to commemorate their release from the Auschwitz concentration camp. The horrors they suffered are recounted in a new HBO documentary, Night Will Fall , which, like Selma, the theatrical film depicting a seminal moment in the civil rights movement, should be seen by a much wider audience. Night Will Fall includes footage of Holocaust victims being freed and details the depravities of their Nazi captors.