Boardwalk Empire’s Michael K. Williams Dead at 54

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Michael K. Williams in ‘Boardwalk Empire.’ Hbo/Kobal/Shutterstock

By , US Weekly

Michael K. Williams has died at age 54, Us Weekly confirms. The late actor was found by a relative in his Brooklyn apartment on Monday, September 6.

“It is with deep sorrow that the family announces the passing of Emmy nominated actor Michael Kenneth Williams,” his rep told The Hollywood Reporter. “They ask for your privacy while grieving this unsurmountable loss.” The New York native was best known for playing Omar in The Wire from 2002 to 2008, as well as Chalky White in Boardwalk Empire from 2010 to 2014. Williams also starred in 12 Years a Slave and When They See Us.

Most recently, the Emmy nominee acted in Lovecraft Country. He told Deadline in July that filming the HBO show got him “in touch with [his] deeper trauma.”

He explained at the time: “I know that I have trauma with my past experiences of life – things that have happened to me, things that I have done, bad choices. I live that and I’m working through it. Montrose as well as the other members of his family, they are the epitome of the Black experience. As Black Americans we live such levels of trauma and oppression from the outside world and from each other. For Montrose’s experiences, his storylines to be recognized, it makes me as a Black man feel seen.”

Williams hoped for “healing” to come out of the experience “in some weird way,” adding, “It makes me feel like someone is acknowledging the fact that there is a lot of pain in my community and in the experience of just being Black.”

While Lovecraft Country received 18 Emmy nominations for its 1st season, the show was not renewed.

Williams did not “know why” that choice was made, telling Deadline, “I just believe that Lovecraft Country did what it came to do, which was start the conversation of changing the narrative.”

Click here to read the full article on US Weekly.

Bob Moses, Civil Rights Leader And Longtime Educator, Dies At 86

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Civil Rights leader Bob Moses sits at podium table speaking in to microphone

Civil rights leader Robert “Bob” Moses, a soft-spoken and self-effacing grassroots organizer who championed Black voting rights, died on Sunday at age 86.

Born and raised in Harlem, N.Y., Moses went to the South to join the nascent fight for civil rights in the early 1960s, ultimately becoming a central figure in the movement.

As a leader in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in deeply segregated Mississippi, Moses worked to hand political power to Black people through voting education and voter registration drives. He continued to push education to the forefront of the civil rights agenda when in the ’80s he founded the Algebra Project, a math training program focused on empowering students from underfunded public schools and poor communities.

“Throughout his life, Bob Moses bent the arc of the moral universe towards justice,” said Derrick Johnson, head of the NAACP. “He was a strategist at the core of the voting rights movement and beyond. He was a giant. May his light continue to guide us as we face another wave of Jim Crow laws.”

In 1964, Moses orchestrated the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project, which drew hundreds of students from Northern colleges to Mississippi to help register voters across the state.

His enfranchisement efforts were often met with violence and threats from white residents and law enforcement officials and local officials. According to the National Archives and Records Administration, it’s estimated that more than 1,000 people were arrested — many of whom were beaten — and 67 black owned businesses, churches and homes were bombed or set ablaze for their participation in that summer’s movement; additionally, four civil rights workers were killed and at least three Black Mississippians were murdered.

The Freedom Summer initiative drew national awareness to the inequalities faced by Black Mississippians, helping to persuade President Lyndon Johnson to sign the Civil Rights Act that summer and, the following year, the Voting Rights Act.

Moses didn’t stop there.

From 1969 to 1976, he taught mathematics in Tanzania in East Africa, the Algebra Project said. Upon returning to the United States, he went on to get his doctorate in philosophy from Harvard University, where he’d also earned his master’s degree in the same field before heading to Mississippi.

Believing in math literacy as a critical part of a child’s education, he started the Algebra Project in 1982 with funding from a MacArthur Fellowship. Moses worked to ensure students were able to graduate high school and go onto study math at the college level. It was his latest civil rights crusade, this time against the inequalities baked into the public education system.

“Education is still basically Jim Crow as far as the kids who are in the bottom economic strata of the country,” Moses told NPR in 2013. “No one knows about them, no one cares about them.”

Read the original full article at NPR.

Vernon Jordan, civil rights leader and close ally of Bill Clinton, dies

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Vernon Jordan civil rights leader close up

By Jamie Gangel and Dan Merica, CNN

Vernon Jordan, a civil rights leader and close adviser to former President Bill Clinton, has died, multiple sources close to the family tell CNN. He was 85.

The former president of the National Urban League rose to prominence as a civil rights activist with close connections in all corners of American politics, working with presidents from Lyndon Johnson to Barack Obama.

Jordan, born on August 15, 1935, studied law at Howard University and began his career fighting segregation, beginning with a lawsuit against University of Georgia’s integration policy in 1961. He worked as a field director for the NAACP and as a director of the Southern Regional Council for the Voter Education Project before he became president of the president of the National Urban League.

Jordan’s closest political friendship was with Bill and Hillary Clinton, advising the former president during his 1992 presidential campaign and acting as an outside adviser to his friend. He remained close to the Clintons for the next decades, endorsing both of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaigns.

Continue on to the original article on CNN  here.

Mary Wilson, an Original Member of the Supremes, Dies at 76

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Mary Wilson wearing a black dress, red lipstick and a necklace

Ms. Wilson joined with Florence Ballard and Diana Ross — who later emerged as the lead singer — to form one of the biggest musical acts of the 1960s.

Mary Wilson, a founding member of the Supremes, the trailblazing vocal group that had a dozen No. 1 singles on the pop charts in the 1960s and was a key to the success of Motown Records, died on Monday at her home in Henderson, Nev. She was 76.

The death was confirmed by her publicist, Jay Schwartz. No cause was given.

Formed in Detroit as the Primettes in 1959, the Supremes, whose other two original members were Diana Ross and Florence Ballard, made their mark with hits like “Baby Love” and “Stop! In the Name of Love” whose smooth blend of R&B and pop helped define the Motown sound.

Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown, said in a statement that the Supremes had opened doors for other Motown acts. “I was always proud of Mary,” he said. “She was quite a star in her own right, and over the years continued to work hard to boost the legacy of the Supremes.”

She was the only original member still with the Supremes when the group broke up in 1977.

Ms. Wilson was born on March 6, 1944, in Greenville, Miss., to Sam and Johnnie Mae Wilson. She grew up in the Brewster-Douglass Projects in Detroit and began singing as a child. When Milton Jenkins, who in 1959 was the manager of the Primes, a male singing group (two of whose members would later be in the original lineup of the Temptations), decided to form a female version of the act, the original members were Betty McGlown, Ms. Ballard, Ms. Wilson and Ms. Ross.

To get Mr. Gordy’s attention, the group, then known as the Primettes, frequented Motown’s Hitsville USA recording studio after school. They were eventually signed, changed their name to the Supremes and became a trio in 1962.

The Supremes did not fare well early in their career, but they achieved success after they began working with the songwriting and producing team of Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland — and after Mr. Gordy made Ms. Ross the lead singer. (Before then, Ms. Wilson and Ms. Ballard had shared most of the lead vocals.)

Read the full article at The New York Times. 

Leon Spinks, Who Defeated Muhammad Ali To Win The Heavyweight Title, Dead At 67

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Mohamed Ali and Leon Spinks boxing fight in black and white

By Huffpost

Leon Spinks, who won Olympic gold and then shocked the boxing world by beating Muhammad Ali to win the heavyweight title in only his eighth pro fight, has died. He was 67.

Spinks, who lived his later years in Las Vegas, died Friday night, according to a release from a public relations firm. He had been battling prostate and other cancers.

His wife, Brenda Glur Spinks, and a few close friends and other family members were by his side when he died.

A lovable heavyweight with a drinking problem, Spinks beat Ali by decision in a 15-round fight in 1978 to win the title. He was unranked at the time, and picked as an opponent because Ali was looking for an easy fight.

He got anything but that, with an unorthodox Spinks swarming over Ali throughout the fight on his way to a stunning win by split decision. The two met seven months later at the Superdome in New Orleans, with Ali taking the decision this time before a record indoor boxing crowd of 72,000 and a national television audience estimated at 90 million people.

“It was one of the most unbelievable things when Ali agreed to fight him because you look at the fights he had up to then and he was not only not a top contender but shouldn’t have been a contender at all,’’ promoter Bob Arum said Saturday. ”He was just an opponent but somehow he found a way to win that fight.”

Spinks would lose the rematch to Ali in New Orleans and fought for the title only once after that, when he was stopped in the third round in 1981 by Larry Holmes. He continued fighting on and off into the mid-1990s, finishing with a record of 26-17-3.

Spinks, with a big grin that often showed off his missing front teeth, was popular among boxing fans for both his win over Ali and his easygoing personality. But he burned through his earnings quickly, and at one point after retiring was working as a custodian at a YMCA in Nebraska, cleaning locker rooms.

He later was part of a group of ex-fighters who had their brains studied by the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas. Spinks was found to have brain damage caused by a combination of taking punches to the head and heavy drinking, though he functioned well enough to do autograph sessions and other events late in his life.

Continue to the full article at Huffpost.

 

Cicely Tyson, Pioneering Hollywood Icon, Dies at 96

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Cicely Tyson close up with her smiling

By Carmel Dragan– Variety

Emmy- and Tony-winning actress Cicely Tyson, who distinguished herself in theater, film and television, died on Thursday afternoon. She was 96.

“I have managed Miss Tyson’s career for over 40 years, and each year was a privilege and blessing,” her manager, Larry Thompson, said in a statement. “Cicely thought of her new memoir as a Christmas tree decorated with all the ornaments of her personal and professional life. Today she placed the last ornament, a Star, on top of the tree.”

Photo Credit: Harpo, Inc.

Her memoir “Just As I Am” was published on Tuesday.

Tyson made her film debut with a small role in 1957’s “Twelve Angry Men” and her formal debut in the 1959 Sidney Poitier film “Odds Against Tomorrow,” followed by “The Comedians,” “The Last Angry Man,” “A Man Called Adam” and “The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter.” Refusing to participate in the blaxploitation movies that became popular in the late ’60s, she waited until 1972 to return to the screen in the drama “Sounder,” which captured several Oscar nominations including one for Tyson as best actress.

Tyson received an Oscar nomination in 1973 for Martin Ritt’s drama “Sounder” and an Honorary Oscar in 2018.

Variety reviewer A.D. Murphy enthused that the film was “outstanding” and added, “The performances of Paul Winfield and Cicely Tyson, as the devoted though impoverished parents, are milestones in their own careers.”

Despite her achievements onstage and in films, however, much of the actress’s best work was done for television. In addition to “Miss Jane Pittman,” she did outstanding work in “Roots,” “The Wilma Rudolph Story,” “King: The Martin Luther King Story,” “When No One Would Listen,” “A Woman Called Moses,” “The Marva Collins Story,” “The Women of Brewster Place,” “The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All” and the TV adaptation of “Trip to Bountiful.”

Throughout her career Tyson refused to play drug addicts, prostitutes or maids, roles she thought demeaning to Black women. But when a good part came along she grabbed hold of it with tenacity.

Onstage she was in the original 1961 Off Broadway production of Jean Genet’s “The Blacks” and, decades later, she won a Tony for her starring role in a revival of “The Trip to Bountiful.”

In television she nabbed the first recurring role for an Black woman in a drama series, “East Side/West Side,” and the actress later won two much-deserved Emmys for 1974’s memorable “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.” She was nominated a total of 16 times in her career, also winning for supporting actress, in 1994 for an adaptation of “Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All”; she was nominated five times for guest actress in a drama for “How to Get Away With Murder.”

The actress became a household name thanks to her starring role in “Miss Jane Pittman.” The TV movie, in which a 110-year-old woman recalls her life, required her to portray the heroine over a nine-decade period. Writing about Tyson’s performance, Pauline Kael compared her “to the highest, because that’s the comparison she invites and has earned.”

She remained an occasional presence on the big screen as well in films including “A Hero Ain’t Nothin’ But a Sandwich,” Richard Pryor comedy “Bustin’ Loose,” “Fried Green Tomatoes” and “Hoodlum.”

Tyson returned to Broadway in 1983 to star in a brief revival of “The Corn Is Green.”

On television she also appeared in the title role of “Ms. Scrooge,” a gender-reversed adaptation of Charles Dickens, as well as telepics including “Benny’s Place,” “Playing With Fire,” “Acceptable Risks,” “Heat Wave,” “Duplicates,” “A Lesson Before Dying” and “The Rosa Parks Story.”

In 1994-95 she played a Southern attorney in NBC’s brief, civil rights-themed legal drama “Sweet Justice,” and she appeared in a 2009 episode of “Law and Order: SVU.”

In her 70s, Tyson worked more in film than at any other time in her career, thanks in part to Tyler Perry: She appeared in his films “Diary of a Mad Black Woman” (2005), “Madea’s Family Reunion (2006) and “Why Did I Get Married Too?” (2010) as well as in the 2012 Perry starrer “Alex Cross,” which he did not direct. The actress also had supporting roles in “Because of Winn-Dixie,” “Fat Rose and Squeaky,” “Idlewild” and 2011’s “The Help.”

And capping an already-impressive career, Tyson won the Tony for best actress for her role as Carrie Watts in the 2013 revival of “A Trip to Bountiful,” then repeated the performance in a 2014 Lifetime TV adaptation.

Born in East Harlem to West Indian immigrant parents, Tyson rose from humble beginnings. After graduating from high school she worked as a secretary for the American Red Cross before becoming a model; at the top of her game she appeared in Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. She studied at the Actors Studio and with Lloyd Richards and Vinnette Carroll, who featured Tyson as Barbara Allen in a 1959 Off Broadway revival of the musical “The Dark of the Moon.” She segued into the variety show “Talent ’59” on Broadway and appeared in a production of “Jolly’s Progress” in which she also understudied Eartha Kitt, before a role in “The Blacks” ignited her stage career.

In 1961 Tyson was one of the original cast members in “The Blacks,” which ran for two years at the St. Mark’s Playhouse. Her co-stars included Roscoe Lee Browne, James Earl Jones, Godfrey Cambridge and Raymond St. Jacques. The role of Virtue won her the Vernon Rice Award, a feat she repeated for the 1962 production of “Moon on a Rainbow Shawl.” She starred with Diana Sands in the 1963 Broadway production of “Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright,” which closed during a newspaper strike, and later that year appeared Off Broadway in “The Blue Boy in Black” with Billy Dee Williams. She moved on to Carroll’s musical “Trumpets of the Lord” (she also appeared in the 1968 Broadway staging) as well as the 1966 production of “A Hand Is at the Gate,” the 1968 play “Carry Me Back to Morningside Heights” and the 1969 program of Lorraine Hansberry readings “To Be Young, Gifted and Black.”

Tyson was also one of the founding members of the Dance Theater of Harlem in 1969.

Interspersed with her stage gigs, Tyson appeared in a number of television shows, including a dramatic presentation of “Brown Girl, Brown Stones” in 1960 and “Between Yesterday and Today.” “East Side/West Side” star George C. Scott, having been impressed by her performance in “The Blacks,” asked for her to play his assistant in the 1963 CBS series. Though the show lasted only 26 episodes, it increased her visibility, and she followed it with appearances on shows including “Naked City,” “The Nurses,” “I Spy,” “Slattery’s People” and “The Bill Cosby Show.”

Tyson was active in charity and arts organizations including Urban Gateways, the Human Family Institute and the American Film Institute. She received awards from the National Council of Negro Women and the NAACP as well as the Capitol Press Award.

The actress was one of 25 Black women honored for their contributions to art, entertainment and civil rights as part of Oprah Winfrey’s 2005 Legends Ball.

Read the complete article on Variety.

Actress Natalie Desselle-Reid, Known for Cinderella and B.A.P.S., Dies at 53

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Natalie Desselle-Reid pictured at a Hollywood event gala

Actress Natalie Desselle-Reid has died at 53 after a private battle with colon cancer.

Desselle-Reid’s death was announced on her Instagram page Monday afternoon.

She was best known for roles on the UPN series Eve (2003-2006) and the Robert Townsend-directed 1997 comedy B.A.P.S., in which she played a waitress in Georgia who ends up caring for a Beverly Hills millionaire and living the life of “Black American Princesses.” The cult classic famously co-starred Halle Berry.

Desselle-Reid also appeared in the racially diverse 1997 retelling of Cinderella, starring Brandy and Whitney Houston, and Madea’s Big Happy Family (2001).

She is survived by her husband, Leonard, and children Sereno, Summer and Sasha.

“It is with extremely heavy hearts that we share the loss of our beautiful Natalie this morning from colon cancer. She was a bright light in this world. A queen. An extraordinary mother and wife. Her diverse career touched so many and she will be loved forever. Naturally, we are grieving and processing this profound loss and we thank you in advance for respecting our privacy at this extremely difficult time,” the post read.

Desselle-Reid was also remembered by her manager Dolores Robinson on Twitter, as well as Robinson’s daughter, actress Holly Robinson Peete.

“Natalie was a bright light. She was an amazing actress and comedienne but also an awesome mother & wife,” wrote Robinson.

“Just absolutely decimated by this news…Actress Natalie Desselle, a bright shining star passed away this morning. I got to know her when my mom was managing her. She will be so missed…sending out prayers to her children and husband. Rest In Peace, Sweet Girl,” wrote Robinson Peete.

The day before her death, Desselle-Reid posted an inspirational message on Instagram. The graphic image read, “Sunday is the perfect day to refuel your soul and to be grateful for each and every one of your blessings.”

Next to it, Desselle-Reid added her own words: “Remember, you are Blessed!💛 Refuel your Soul.”

The actress also mourned the death of Chadwick Boseman, who died in August from his own battle with colon cancer.

Continue on to People to read the complete article.

Photo Credit: People

Remembering Supplier Diversity Pioneer Gwen Moore

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Gwen Moore

By Laurie Dowling, National Utilities Diversity Council

The world of diversity is dimmed by the passing of former California Assemblymember Gwen Moore, CA-49, on August 19, 2020.

She was a tireless fighter for her constituents and for California and served as the powerful Majority Whip during her tenure, representing parts of Los Angeles and Orange Counties in the California Assembly from 1978 to 1994. However, it is in the area of diversity and supplier diversity that she is most well known in California and nationally.

Assemblymember Moore’s positive impact on diversity in the utilities and communications industries cannot be overstated. In 1988, she was the author of the groundbreaking California General Order 156, which required the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to establish a procedure through which utilities and communication companies would report on their supplier diversity and which allowed the CPUC to set targets for this procurement. This was a game-changer for diverse enterprises and for the utilities and communication companies doing business in California, and its success helped influence supplier diversity engagement by state utility commissions around the country.

With prescience ahead of her time, Assemblymember Moore and her colleagues included not only women- and minority-owned enterprises but also service-disabled veteran-owned businesses. In 2015, GO-156 was expanded to include LGBT business enterprises.
Assemblymember Moore’s legacy in diversity continues robustly today.

On September 1, 2020, the CPUC reported that participating utilities and communications companies – including California American Water, Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Sempra Energy, Southern California Edison, Suburban Water Systems, among others – spent $12.7 billion with diverse suppliers in 2019, representing 33.2 percent of the reporting companies’ total procurement dollars.

A highlight of this 2019 report was the work of SouthWest Gas, which spent 70.2 percent of its total spend with diverse business enterprises (DBEs). The report states that GO 156 sets the framework for the CPUC Utility Supplier Diversity Program and encourages each utility and telecommunications company to purchase, at a minimum, 15 percent from MBEs, 5 percent from WBEs, and 1.5 percent from DVBEs, for a total of 21.5 percent. GO 156 has made a lasting impact on diverse businesses in California and on the DNA of corporations in the Golden State and beyond.

Former CPUC President, Michael R. Peevey worked with Assemblymember Moore to bring an increased spotlight on supplier diversity in utilities and communications in California and nationally. He had this to say about her: “Assemblywoman Gwen Moore’s leadership on supplier diversity made all the difference. Before her dramatic efforts, the California Public Utilities Commission did relatively little. Her championing of supplier diversity in the State Legislature gave some of us the heft and muscle to get the utilities to lead the nation in fostering, promoting and achieving the most successful programs in the nation. We all owe her a great debt of gratitude. In former Congressman John Lewis’ memorable words, she caused ‘Good Trouble.’”

Assemblymember Moore was not only concerned with supplier diversity. Her public service record included over 400 bills signed into law to help Californians, especially women, children, and families. Her work for the community was known by her legislative counterparts nationally, and included the Moore Universal Telephone Service Act, which required the provision of affordable telephone service to low-income households, and legislation of special importance to the parents of small children, a bill requiring supermarkets to have a publicly accessible restroom.

Following her time in public service, she was founder and CEO of GeM Communications Group, a woman-owned enterprise designing public affairs, legislative strategies and community outreach programs for corporate and nonprofit clients. Gwen Moore also served on the state and national boards of the NAACP, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and the California Black Business Association, among others. She is in the California NAACP Hall of Fame. Assemblymember Moore was a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles.

“Gwen Moore was a fearless champion of diversity and opportunity and a beacon to so many. Her loss diminishes our community, but we are all so much better for her time here,” said The Honorable Timothy Alan Simon, President, TAS Strategies, Commissioner Emeritus, California Public Utilities Commission, Chair, California Black Chamber of Commerce.

‘Black Panther’ star Chadwick Boseman dies of cancer at 43

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Chadwick Bozeman holding oscar

Actor Chadwick Boseman, well-known for his role of The Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Jackie Robinson in biopic-, 42, has passed away after a four-year-long battle with colon cancer.

Boseman was 43 years old and passed away surrounded by his wife and family.

Though Boseman acted in several smaller roles since the early 2000’s, his acting career really took off in 2013 with the release of 42, playing the lead role of Jackie Robinson. From there, Boseman went on to star in several other historical pictures such as Thurgood Marshall in the movie Marshall and James Brown in the film Get on Up. In 2016, Boseman appeared as King T’Challa aka The Black Panther in the film, Captain America: Civil War and would continue to play the character for four Marvel films.

Being a huge influence to black people, especially children, through his role as The Black Panther, Boseman was also known for going to visit children in the hospital and keeping in touch with children from the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

Though Boseman had been fighting colon cancer since 2016, very few people knew of his diagnosis. In fact, many of his friends, co-stars, and executives were unaware of his condition. Through his battle with cancer, Boseman filmed at least four movies, including the four Marvel Cinematic Universe films.

Fans, friends, political figures and organizations alike took to social media on the weekend of Boseman’s death to pay their respects and talk of the influence he had on their lives and the lives of others.

“He made everyone feel loved, heard and seen,” Black Panther co-star, Danai Gurira wrote in an Instagram post to Chadwick, “He played great, iconic roles because he possessed inside of himself that connection to greatness to be able to so richly bring them to life.”

“From his groundbreaking work in Black Panther to his portrayal of Thurgood Marshall,” Vice Presidential nominee, Kamala Harris tweeted, Chadwick Boseman helped paint a new picture of what’s possible.”

But from his influence to his talent and beyond, the legacy he left was best described by Director Ryan Coogler who said, “Whether it was through his art or through his kindness to others, Boseman’s impact on the world was great. He was a caretaker, a leader, and a man of faith, dignity and pride, he shielded his collaborators from his suffering. He lived a beautiful life. And he made great art. Day after day, year after year. That was who he was. He was an epic firework display.”

Honoring John Lewis

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John Robert Lewis seated behind desk with books on a shelf in the background

Congressman, freedom rider, and civil rights icon John Lewis has passed away at the age of 80 from stage 4 pancreatic cancer, which he had been fighting since December 2019.

Lewis was laid to rest in the Capital Rotunda in Washington, D.C., along with past American icons such as Abraham Lincoln.

Throughout his life, Lewis was on the frontline on civil rights activism from a very young age. The founder and leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Lewis was first known as an avid peaceful protestor. Lewis demonstrated peaceful protests throughout many public spaces, such as restaurants, swimming pools, and hotels, and was often severely beaten and jailed for doing so. One of his most famous acts of nonviolent protests occurred in 1961 with the freedom riders, a group of black and white activists who traveled the country via bus in protest of segregated interstate travel. Lewis was one of the original thirteen freedom riders at just 21 years old.

In 1963, Lewis joined Dr. Martin Luther King for the March on Washington where he served as the youngest speechmaker at the event.  Lewis collaborated with Dr. King again in 1965, leading the march in Selma, Alabama, across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Known today as “Bloody Sunday,” this march was met with violent demonstrations from law enforcement, a televised event that would lead to the signing of the Voting Rights Act about a week later.

In 1986, Lewis was elected to represent Georgia in the House of Representatives and was quickly penned the “conscience of the Congress” as he continually fought for justice among all people. Lewis would serve in Congress until his death, being reelected sixteen times and continued to give speeches on civil rights during his time.

Though he received a vast number of awards over the years, one of Lewis’ most iconic awards was given to him in 2010 when he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from former President Barack Obama.

As of late, John Lewis showed tremendous support for the Black Lives Matter protests happening in response to George Floyd and ongoing police corruption. Lewis showed especial pride for the inclusivity of races in these modern-day protests that differed from the protests he participated in for Civil Rights in the 1960s.

At his memorial in Washington, D.C., House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated, “Representative John Lewis, the Conscience of Congress, joined the pantheon of patriots. John always worked on the side of the angels. Now, we know, that he is with them.”

Civil Rights Leader Charles Evers Dies At 97

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Charles Evers pictured with US seal in the background

Charles Evers, a civil rights leader and historic Black mayor in Mississippi, has passed away. He was 97 years old.

Evers, who was the older brother of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers, reportedly died of “natural causes” at his home in Brandon, a suburb of Jackson, Mississippi.

According to the Associated Press, Evers was surrounded by relatives and his cause of death was not coronavirus related.

Charles and Medgar Evers were both World War II veterans and later became active in the NAACP. Charles was appointed to lead the Mississippi NAACP after his brother was killed in the driveway of his home in 1968.

A year later, he was elected mayor of the southwestern Mississippi town of Fayette, becoming the first Black mayor of a multiracial town in the state since Reconstruction.

During his career, Evers ran several businesses in Chicago and his home state. According to a Mississippi Blues Trail marker, he was a concert promoter with blues legend B.B. King and once in the bootleg liquor business.

On Wednesday, Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi issued a statement over Evers’ death, calling him one of his favorite people.

“Charles Evers was never afraid to challenge the accepted norms or fly in the face of political correctness,” Wicker said. “As an elected official, he navigated the circuitous route from Freedom Democrat to Independent to Republican. He used his powerful personality and platform to change Mississippi for the better.”

Continue on to BET to read the complete article.

Civil rights icon Rev. C.T. Vivian dies at 95

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Freedom rider C.T. Vivian speaks during the 'American Experience: Freedom Riders' panel

Civil rights leader Rev. Cordy Tindell “C.T.” Vivian has died at age 95, his daughter Kira Vivian told CNN.

Vivian passed away at his Atlanta home of natural causes Friday.

“He was the sweetest man,” Kira Vivian said. “He was so loving. What a loving dad. He was the best father throughout my entire life.”

Vivian participated in the Freedom Rides and worked alongside the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

The minister participated in his first nonviolent protest, a lunch counter sit-in in Peoria, Illinois, in 1947, according to the National Visionary Leadership Project.

Vivian had a strong religious upbringing and said he felt called to a life in ministry, according to NVLP. With the help of his church, he enrolled in American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville in 1955.

Black leaders, including CT Vivian, left first row, march down Nashville’s Jefferson Street at the head of a group of 3,000 demonstrators April 19, 1960, and head toward City Hall on the day of the Z. Alexander Looby bombing.

That same year, he and other ministers founded the Nashville Christian Leadership Conference, an affiliate of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, NVLP said. The group helped organize the city’s first sit-ins and civil rights march.

By 1965, Vivian had become the director of national affiliates for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference when he led a group of people to register to vote in Selma, Alabama. As Sheriff Jim Clark blocked the group, Vivian said in a fiery tone, “We will register to vote because as citizens of the United States we have the right to do it.” Clark responded by beating Vivian until blood dripped off his chin in front of rolling cameras. The images helped galvanize wider support for change.

Vivian also created a college readiness program with the goal of helping “take care of the kids that were kicked out of school simply because they protested racism.”

Years later, the US Department of Education used his Vision program as a guide to create Upward Bound, which was designed to improve high school and college graduation rates for students in underserved communities.

Continue on to CNN to read the complete article.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/17/us/ct-vivian-death/index.html

Civil rights legend Rep. John Lewis dead at 80

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John Robert Lewis seated behind desk with books on a shelf in the background

John Robert Lewis, the son of sharecroppers who survived a brutal beating by police during a landmark 1965 march in Selma, Alabama, to become a towering figure of the civil rights movement and a longtime US congressman, has died after a six-month battle with cancer.

He was 80.

“It is with inconsolable grief and enduring sadness that we announce the passing of U.S. Rep. John Lewis,” his family said in a statement. “He was honored and respected as the conscience of the US Congress and an icon of American history, but we knew him as a loving father and brother.

He was a stalwart champion in the on-going struggle to demand respect for the dignity and worth of every human being. He dedicated his entire life to non-violent activism and was an outspoken advocate in the struggle for equal justice in America. He will be deeply missed.”

Lewis died on the same day as civil rights leader the Rev. Cordy Tindell “C.T.” Vivian, who was 95. The dual deaths of the civil rights icons come as the nation is still grappling with racial upheaval in the wake of the death of George Floyd and the subsequent Black Lives Matter protests that have swept the nation.

It’s another heartbreak in a year filled with them, as America mourns the deaths of nearly 140,000 Americans from Covid-19 and struggles to bring the virus under control.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced his death in a statement.

“Today, America mourns the loss of one of the greatest heroes of American history: Congressman John Lewis, the Conscience of the Congress,” the California Democrat said.

Lewis had vowed to fight the disease after announcing in late December 2019 that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, which was discovered as a result of a routine medical visit and subsequent testing.

“I have been in some kind of fight — for freedom, equality, basic human rights — for nearly my entire life. I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now,” he said in a statement at the time.

Lewis, a Democrat who served as the US representative for Georgia’s 5th Congressional District for more than three decades, was widely seen as a moral conscience of Congress because of his decades-long embodiment of nonviolent fight for civil rights. His passionate oratory was backed by a long record of action that included, by his count, more than 40 arrests while demonstrating against racial and social injustice.

A follower and colleague of Martin Luther King Jr., he participated in lunch counter sit-ins, joined the Freedom Riders in challenging segregated buses and — at the age of 23 — was a keynote speaker at the historic 1963 March on Washington.

“Sometimes when I look back and think about it, how did we do what we did? How did we succeed? We didn’t have a website. We didn’t have a cellular telephone,” Lewis has said of the civil rights movement.

“But I felt when we were sitting in at those lunch counter stools, or going on the Freedom Ride, or marching from Selma to Montgomery, there was a power and a force. God Almighty was there with us.”

Lewis has said King inspired his activism. Angered by the unfairness of the Jim Crow South, he launched what he called “good trouble” with organized protests and sit-ins. In the early 1960s, he was a Freedom Rider, challenging segregation at interstate bus terminals across the South and in the nation’s capital.

“We do not want our freedom gradual; we want to be free now,” he said at the time.

At age 25, Lewis helped lead a march for voting rights on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, where he and other marchers were met by heavily armed state and local police who attacked them with clubs, fracturing Lewis’ skull. Images from that “Bloody Sunday” shocked the nation and galvanized support for the Voting Rights Act of 1965, signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson.

“I gave a little blood on that bridge,” he said years later. “I thought I was going to die. I thought I saw death.”

Despite the attack and other beatings, Lewis never lost his activist spirit, taking it from protests to politics. He was elected to the Atlanta city council in 1981, then to Congress six years later.

Once in Washington, he focused on fighting against poverty and helping younger generations by improving education and health care. He also co-wrote a series of graphic novels about the civil rights movement, which won him a National Book Award.

Continue on to CNN to read the complete article.

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