Racial Justice

Latest News and Updates on the Struggle Against Racism in America

Updated at 6:20 p.m. ET

The House of Representatives approved legislation Wednesday to remove statues honoring figures who were part of the Confederacy during the Civil War from the U.S. Capitol. The bill would also replace the bust of Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney, author of the Supreme Court's 1857 Dred Scott decision denying freedom to an enslaved man, and replace it with a bust of Justice Thurgood Marshall.

Crowds marched through the streets of the Paris suburb of Beaumont-sur-Oise over the weekend to mark the fourth anniversary of the death of Adama Traoré, a French Black man who died in police custody on July 19, 2016, his 24th birthday.

Leading the chants of "Justice for Adama!" was Traoré's older sister, Assa Traoré. She claims the police killed her brother, and for the last four years, she's been fighting to hold them responsible. Due to public pressure in France since George Floyd's death in Minneapolis, Traoré's efforts are beginning to bear fruit.

The No. 2 American military officer, Air Force Gen. John Hyten, says the Pentagon must do more to create a diverse force and also must deal with the rising problem of sexual misconduct by looking for answers outside the military.

Hyten, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made his remarks in a wide-ranging interview with Steve Inskeep on NPR's Morning Edition.

Despite impassioned pleas from attorneys, a Texas school district is refusing to change its grooming policy that led to the suspension of two Black students earlier this year.

Black mayors in many of the nation's largest cities on Tuesday formally called on governors to repeal orders prohibiting them from enacting strategies that reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The African American Mayors Association passed a resolution beseeching state leaders to repeal any rules that prohibit local leaders from implementing strategies like requiring the use of face masks.

"State, local and tribal governments are uniquely positioned to determine the level of mitigation required to combat the virus in their communities," the resolution states.

Updated at 10:37 p.m. ET

Federal agents operating in Kansas City, Mo., as part of a new push against violent crime will be identifiable and won't be roving the streets to make arrests, the local U.S. attorney said, responding to questions sparked by the controversial use of federal agents in U.S. cities.

"These agents won't be patrolling the streets," U.S. Attorney Timothy Garrison said in a statement to NPR. "When they are making arrests or executing warrants, these federal agents will be clearly identified by their agency's visible badges or insignia."

Federal agents from the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Marshals Service and elsewhere have been in the streets of Portland, Ore., for at least a few weeks, where they've been clashing with protesters demonstrating over racial injustice and police brutality.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and local officials have downplayed any coordination between those federal forces and the Portland Police Bureau.

A Detroit police officer is facing charges over accusations that he fired rubber pellets at three photojournalists who were covering anti-racism protests sparked by the police killing of George Floyd.

Cpl. Daniel Debono, 32, is charged with three counts of felonious assault for allegedly firing the nonlethal ordnance at MLive photographer Nicole Hester and independent photojournalists Seth Herald and Matthew Hatcher in the early morning hours of May 31.

Updated 5:05 p.m. ET, July 23

The White House is repealing and replacing an Obama-era rule intended to combat historic racial discrimination in housing.

In a Wednesday announcement, the White House said it would be rolling back the rule as a part of a broader deregulation push.

Minnesota lawmakers have voted to ban police use of chokeholds, part of a law enforcement accountability measure sparked by the Memorial Day killing of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police offer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

The bill's most high-profile sections would place new limits on police use of force and prohibit "warrior-style training" — which encourages officers to act aggressively in a way that "deemphasizes the value of human life or constitutional rights," the legislation states.

For more than 30 years, a statue of Felix Dzerzhinsky, founder of the Soviet Union's feared secret police, stood guard in front of the KGB headquarters on Moscow's Lubyanka Square.

Oregon officials are lashing out at President Trump for sending federal agents into Portland amid the ongoing protests against police brutality and racism. Both the governor and Portland's mayor told NPR the administration's actions are nothing more than political theater meant to appeal to Trump's political base in an effort to win reelection.

A large gathering of protesters turned out in Portland, Ore., on Saturday for a 52nd straight night of demonstrations against police violence and racism.

Many of the protesters gathered at the Multnomah County Justice Center and the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse downtown. Earlier in the day, a fence was erected around the federal courthouse. By 9:45 p.m., demonstrators began dismantling the fence and chanting slogans.

The Black Lives Matter movement has changed the country and shifted conversations about police, social justice and structural racism.

Nowhere is the impact as great as it is for Black families, especially those with children. NPR spoke with five couples about how their family conversations have changed and how they try to support and inform their children in the face of police violence and racism.

Updated at 4:15 a.m. ET Sunday

Protests in Portland, Ore., continued through early Sunday morning, following the Oregon Department of Justice's announcement it would be suing several federal agencies for civil rights abuses in the state. Demonstrations have taken place in the city for weeks following the police killing of George Floyd in May.

Two white men who were filmed in an attack on a Black man on Independence Day at a state park have been charged by Indiana officials.

The Monroe County Prosecutor's office announced the charges Friday, after a two-day review of an investigation report by the state's Department of Natural Resources as well as other digital evidence provided by witnesses.

Updated at 6:18 p.m. ET

Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Friday unveiled a policy change that effectively blocks the public display of the Confederate battle flag at all U.S. military installations without specifically naming that controversial banner.

Esper's announcement follows a lengthy internal debate as well as recent bans on displaying the flag by both the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Navy.

Updated Saturday at 2 a.m. ET

In the early hours of Wednesday, after a night spent protesting at the Multnomah County Justice Center and Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse, Mark Pettibone and his friend Conner O'Shea decided to head home.

It had been a calm night compared with most protesting downtown. By 2 a.m. law enforcement hadn't used any tear gas and, with only a few exceptions, both the Portland, Ore., Police Bureau and federal law enforcement officers had stayed out of sight.

Updated at 2:09 p.m. ET

All three white men charged in the death of Black jogger Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia pleaded not guilty on Friday.

Gregory McMichael, 64, his son Travis McMichael, 34, and William "Roddie" Bryan Jr., 50, pleaded not guilty to the counts against them, which include felony murder.

Chatham County Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley denied bond for Bryan, saying he was concerned about Bryan being a potential flight risk.

Twenty years ago, a sociologist at Rice University directed a study of efforts by white evangelical Christians to address racial inequality.

Breonna Taylor's death, along with George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks, has intensified the calls for police reform that are at the center of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Taylor's case has also reignited conversations about centering Black women's experiences with the police and sparked the Say Her Name campaign to include Black women in the larger conversation surrounding racial justice in America.

Well, that did not last long.

Just over 24 hours after the sculpture of a Black Lives Matter protester went up in Bristol, the British city has pulled it down. Local officials removed artist Marc Quinn's statue of Jen Reid on Thursday morning, ending its brief stint atop a plinth that previously bore the statue of infamous slave trader Edward Colston.

In the 1850s and 1860s, white landowners in North Carolina turned to local newspapers to make large purchases, including buying human beings.

An ad in the Asheville News on Aug. 11, 1859, offers a glimpse into what were considered the pertinent details for the commodification of human trafficking and slavery.

It reads:

Raphael Bostic, president and CEO of the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank, says racism is a danger to the health of America's economy.

In a recent opinion piece, Bostic reflected on the recent protests against police brutality that he says are fueled, in part, by economic inequalities that stem from systemic racism.

Over the last month more than 1,000 current and former staffers with the aid group Doctors Without Borders have signed a letter with an explosive accusation: The vaunted organization, they say, is built on a mindset of "white supremacy" that perpetuates "racism by our staff, in our policies, in our hiring practices, in our workplace culture, and through the imposition of dehumanising 'humanitarian' programmes by a privileged,

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Wednesday that the Pentagon will swiftly undertake a number of steps to address discrimination, prejudice and bias in the armed forces.

Esper announced a list of actions for immediate implementation by the Pentagon. Among them:

  • Removing photographs from consideration by promotion boards and selection processes.
  • Conducting bias awareness and bystander intervention trainings.

A 19-foot-tall statue of Thomas Jefferson stands beneath a dome in Washington, D.C., with his words carved on the walls around him. But the man known for writing much of the Declaration of Independence also infamously kept some-600 people enslaved in his mansion, Monticello. One of his many descendants has a few ideas for how his memorial might be altered to reflect his complex history.

Police body camera footage of George Floyd's final minutes of life show him telling Minneapolis police officers that he's claustrophobic and pleading with them not to put him in the back of a squad car.

Floyd displays signs of distress as officers try to force him into the back of the vehicle, telling them he can't breathe and volunteering to lie on the ground instead.

Nick Cannon — the actor, TV show host and musician — has been fired from his long-running comedy improv show Wild 'N Out. It comes after he made anti-Semitic comments on his podcast and YouTube show, Cannon's Class.

Wild 'N Out's parent company, ViacomCBS, released a statement saying, "We are deeply troubled that Nick has failed to acknowledge or apologize for perpetuating anti-Semitism, and we are terminating our relationship with him."

Pages