Racial Justice

Latest News and Updates on the Struggle Against Racism in America

The likeness of Edward Colston, a philanthropist and slave trader, watched over a busy intersection in Bristol for roughly 125 years — until last month, when protesters toppled the controversial statue and tossed it into the British city's harbor.

Sports, race and politics have come together to create a political challenge for Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler of Georgia, who co-owns the Atlanta Dream, the city's WNBA team.

Updated at 2:14 p.m. ET

The family of George Floyd has filed a civil lawsuit against the City of Minneapolis and the four former police officers involved in the Black man's killing on Memorial Day. Civil rights and personal injury attorney Ben Crump, along with co-counsel Antonio Romanucci, announced the lawsuit at a news conference Wednesday in Minneapolis.

Officials in Allentown, Pa., have released a roughly ten-minute surveillance video showing officers subduing and arresting a man in front of a local hospital on Monday evening.

The man ends up face-down on the ground, and as two officers pin the man's arm behind his back, a third officer kneels on his neck.

Updated at 5:45 p.m. ET

President Trump dismissed outrage over police killings, saying Tuesday that "more white people" are killed by police than Black people.

"So are white people!" Trump said when asked in an interview with CBS News about why so many African Americans have been killed at the hands of police. "So are white people! What a terrible question to ask."

Trump added that "more white people, by the way" are killed by police than Black people.

For years, researchers interested in the life of Frederick Douglass have traveled to a retired surgeon's dining room table in Savannah, Ga., to pore over his private collection of newspaper clippings, manuscripts and letters. Dr. Walter O. Evans' collection is the largest known on the abolitionist and politician who was formerly enslaved. It's one that Evans has been working on for decades.

"It consists of a great deal of personal material from the Douglass family — letters that he wrote to his sons and to various other people," Evans tells NPR.

Nearly a century ago, Tulsa, Okla., was the site of one of the most brutal race massacres in U.S. history. As many as 300 African American residents were slaughtered by white mobs, and a section of the city known as Black Wall Street was reduced to ash.

For decades, historians have been trying to determine where most of the victims were buried.

Civil liberties advocates are urging Attorney General William Barr to name a special prosecutor to investigate possible violations of protesters' rights during the June 1 crackdown in Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C., NPR has learned.

Federal officers deployed tear gas, rubber bullets, pepper spray and smoke canisters to scatter the mostly peaceful group of demonstrators, clearing the way for President Trump to pose for pictures in front of the historic St. John's Episcopal Church.

The movement for racial justice is toppling statues across America, from Robert E. Lee to Christopher Columbus — and now the Spanish conquistador, Juan de Oñate, the first European to colonize the arid wilderness of New Mexico, the state's first colonial governor and a despot who inflicted misery on Native Americans.

Tensions boiled over recently at a demonstration to remove his statue, where a man seen defending the statue allegedly shot a protester. The confrontation has revealed fault lines over how native and Hispanic history are told.

Updated at 12:45 p.m. ET

The NFL franchise in Washington, D.C., says it is officially retiring the moniker it has had for the past 87 years, which is widely viewed as a slur against Native Americans.

"Today, we are announcing we will be retiring the Redskins name and logo upon completion of this review," the team said in a statement Monday.

Updated 6:15 p.m. ET

More than 1,200 current employees at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have signed a letter calling for the federal agency to address "ongoing and recurring acts of racism and discrimination" against Black employees, NPR has learned.

For the past month, as anti-racism protesters across America have revived the campaign for the removal of statues, many eyes have focused on Richmond, Va. — the former capital of the Confederacy.

Richmond is home to Monument Avenue, a long stretch with towering statues dedicated to Confederate figures like Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee.

Some of those monuments have been toppled by protesters; others have been taken down by the city.

Lots of people, especially many Native Americans, loathe the name of the Washington, D.C., NFL team, the Redskins.

"The origin of that name is rooted in murder and violence and genocide and hate," says Crystal Echo Hawk, the founder and CEO of the advocacy group IllumiNative. "It's a dictionary-defined racial slur, full-stop."

Three Los Angeles police officers are facing charges of falsifying records and obstruction of justice over allegations that they wrongly identified people as gang members, the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office announced on Friday.

Across the country, students of color have been demanding change from their schools. At one Denver school, the push for a more inclusive and diverse curriculum came last year, from a group of African American high school students at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Early College.

When I was a kid, my brother, sister, and I came to the dinner table prepared to do three things: Bless the food, eat, and share a story. We grew up in a family where the oral tradition was woven into the strands of our everyday lives. Mom was an English teacher. Dad, a grass-roots civil rights organizer who worked in public policy, was a gifted, charismatic storyteller. He didn't hold back when it came to sharing narratives about the dignity of Black people and the struggles we faced and transcended.

In a survey of Americans' attitudes toward law enforcement, two-thirds of respondents said that individual officers should be held legally accountable for using excessive force, but few of those polled said they would support cutting police budgets.

Updated at 9:08 p.m. ET

A 24-year-old Black man who was found hanging from a tree in a park in Southern California last month died by suicide, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's office said Thursday.

Chandana Hiran loves reading, arts and crafts, and recycling. At 22, she's enrolled in college, studying to be an accountant. She considers herself a feminist.

But something else is a big part of her identity too.

"I'm slightly dark," Hiran tells NPR in a phone interview from her family's Mumbai home, her bold voice suddenly going soft. "I'd be called one of the dark-skinned people in our country."

The country act now officially known as Lady A has sued a blues, soul and funk singer who says that she has used Lady A as her stage name for two decades.

A mural with the words "Black Lives Matter" will soon emblazon Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, right in front of one specific landmark: Trump Tower.

On Thursday morning, work crews blocked off traffic between 56th and 57th streets. Groups of painters then used rollers to start filling in large yellow letters on the pavement.

Transcripts of police body camera video in the minutes leading up to George Floyd's death show that he pleaded about 20 times that he couldn't breathe and that one of the officers expressed concern about Floyd's well-being but was rebuffed by his superior.

After weeks of railing against the Black district attorney leading the prosecution of the white police officers charged in the killing of Rayshard Brooks last month in Atlanta, a member of the Georgia congressional delegation is taking his criticism a step further – officially calling on the Justice Department to open an investigation.

Andres Guardado was killed on June 18 after multiple shots were fired by a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy. An independent autopsy, performed at the request of his family, has found that the 18-year-old Guardado was shot five times in the back, and died as a result of these gunshot wounds.

Andres' parents, Cristobal and Elisa Guardado, said the autopsy confirms "what we have known all along, which is that Andres was unjustifiably killed by a Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy."

Confederate Adm. Raphael Semmes, in green-patinaed bronze, sword at his hip, long stood sentry on Mobile's Government Street, the main corridor through Alabama's historic port city.

Now all that remains is the 120-year-old statue's massive granite pedestal and a commemorative plaque.

"Adm. Raphael Semmes, CSA, commander of the most successful sea raider in history, the CSS Alabama," reads David Toifel, a member of the Adm. Raphael Semmes Camp #11 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans in Mobile.

The University of California Board of Regents has made by history naming Dr. Michael Drake as the 21st president of the UC system. He was unanimously approved by the board and will be the first person of color to hold the position in the system's 152-year history.

He recently stepped down as president of The Ohio State University, a position he's held since 2014.

Updated at 4:50 p.m. ET

Facebook's decisions to put free speech ahead of other values represent "significant setbacks for civil rights," according to an independent audit of the social network's progress in curbing discrimination.

The assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968 prompted educator Jane Elliott to create the now-famous "blue eyes/brown eyes exercise."

As a school teacher in the small town of Riceville, Iowa, Elliott first conducted the anti-racism experiment on her all-white third-grade classroom, the day after the civil rights leader was killed.

NPR / YouTube

In his book The Condemnation of Blackness, historian Khalil Gibran Muhammad lays out a historical argument for how Black people have been criminalized over 400 years in

Dana Canedy has spent her career working with the written word.

"My son calls me 'word nerd,' because I'm obsessed with words and books," she says. "I've been writing since I was 12 years old. And my mother asked me in high school, 'If you don't become a writer, what's your Plan B?' And I said 'There is no Plan B.'"

Plan A worked.

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