Tag: civil rights

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Raymond Arsenault, the John Hope Franklin Professor of Southern History at the University of South Florida, and author of several acclaimed and prize-winning books on civil rights, including Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice. He shares how he became interested in researching, writing, and teaching about the Civil Rights Movement. As we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Freedom Rides, he describes key figures in the movement, such as Irene Morgan, James Farmer, Diane Nash, and John Lewis, as well as the fear, hostility, and mob violence the riders (and the press covering them) confronted. They review organizations like the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC); and how their opponents responded with terrifying violence across the South. He offers thoughts on how teachers and students should think about the tensions among the Kennedy administration, MLK and SCLC, and the often younger, student led-groups like CORE and SNCC. He concludes with a reading from his book about the Freedom Riders.

Stories of the Week: Civil Rights activist and education reform activist Dr. Howard Fuller’s support for school choice stems from his determination to provide Black students a quality education by any means necessary. Research from the Center for Research and Reform in Education shows that students in grades K-12 have been most seriously impacted by the effects of COVID-19-related learning loss.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” guest co-host Jason Bedrick and co-host Gerard Robinson talk with Dr. Leon Kass, MD, the Addie Clark Harding Professor Emeritus in the Committee on Social Thought and the College at the University of Chicago. Dr. Kass describes the important pieces of wisdom and humanity people today can still learn from reading the Book of Genesis, the topic of his 2003 work, The Beginning of Wisdom. They next discuss his newest book, Founding God’s Nation: Reading Exodus, and general lessons about the Israelites that leaders, teachers, and students could use in addressing the challenges of modern life. They explore the influence of the Book of Exodus and the themes of liberation from captivity on the Civil Rights Movement, and several of its major leaders, including the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and what teachers and students today should learn from Exodus about deliverance from life’s hardships. Dr. Kass shares why he became interested in the Great Books, and their crucial role in helping 21st-century students receive a complete liberal arts education and lead fulfilling lives. They discuss Western education’s increasing focus on vocationally oriented and often technocratic skills at the expense of humanistic education, and why we should be concerned about it, especially in our hyper-technological era. The interview concludes with a reading from Dr. Kass’s newest book on Exodus.

Stories of the Week: Co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson discuss New York Times story on the plight of America’s nine million students in rural school districts that are underfunded, disconnected, and face myriad challenges. Pioneer Institute and other organizations submitted an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court case, Carson v. Makin, to expand access to private and religious schools for families in Maine.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Dr. Kate Clifford Larson, a New York Times best-selling biographer of Harriet Tubman and Fannie Lou Hamer. Kate shares why she has written about these historical African-American figures, and how she thinks parents, teachers, and schools can draw on their lives to talk about race. She describes the deeply segregated Jim Crow landscape of Fannie Lou Hamer’s native Mississippi Delta, the challenges she faced, and the influence of Freedom Songs and spirituals like “This Little Light of Mine,” often performed at her rallies, on her tireless advocacy. They discuss Hamer’s courageous voter mobilization efforts during Freedom Summer and at the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, both during the summer of 1964, and why it’s so important for Americans to know about this unsung heroine of the Civil Rights era. They also explore Hamer’s reception by President Lyndon Johnson and the often male-centric Civil Rights Movement.

Stories of the Week: Around the country, K-12 online learning is experiencing a decline in interest among families, especially in programs with less live instruction and interaction with teachers and peers. A report from the National Student Clearinghouse shows that just over 40 percent of 2- and 4-year college students across the U.S. during the 2020-21 academic year were men.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Robert Woodson, Sr., founder and president of the Woodson Center that supports neighborhood-based initiatives to revitalize low-income communities, as well as author and editor of the May 2021 book, Red, White, and Black. Woodson shares his background in civil rights advocacy, serving low-income neighborhoods fighting crime, educational inequity, and racial discord, including his involvement with the Urban League in the 1970s during Boston’s busing crisis. He offers thoughts on race relations in America after the murder of George Floyd, the call for defunding the police, and the ongoing struggles to reform the country’s larger urban school districts.

They then turn to the 1776 Unites project, which he launched to counter the 1619 Project, to take a balanced approach to K-12 American history instruction. He describes the main arguments from his new book, and reactions since its publication, as well as the challenges of being a right-leaning public intellectual, and the importance of having open discussions about race and policy that are informed by differing points of view.

Confessions of a 2A Absolutist

 

Hello, my name is Postmodern Hoplite, and I am a “Second Amendment Absolutist.”

I believe that the right to keep and bear arms recognized in the US Constitution is so broad and expansive that it extends to include tanks, artillery, combat aircraft, and even atomic weapons (at least in principle, if not in fact.)

How Close Are Conservatives to Civil Disobedience?

 

How close are we to experiencing real civil disobedience? Not from the left, since we’ve always had that. Violent protests, including placing bombs in the US Capitol, have long been a feature of the left and almost ubiquitous since the Vietnam War. We saw it last summer during the George Floyd-inspired riots – over 500 violent incidents in more than 200 cities across the United States. The days of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s exhortations to “non-violence” now look quaint. But this time, from conservatives? What might disobedience from conservative Americans look like?

This is not an academic question. It may be closer to reality than you realize. And it will look nothing like the violent Antifa and BLM protests that have maimed dozens of police officers and destroyed thousands of businesses and a few federal buildings.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Gerard and Cara talk with Dr. Susannah Heschel, the Eli M. Black Distinguished Professor of Jewish Studies at Dartmouth College, and the daughter of noted 20th-century Jewish theologian and Civil Rights-era leader, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. They discuss what teachers and students today should know about Rabbi Heschel’s life and legacy. Born in Warsaw, Poland, the descendant of preeminent European rabbis, Rabbi Heschel was arrested by the Gestapo, and later escaped to London. Prof. Heschel describes how losing many family members in the Holocaust shaped her father’s writings, and brought moral urgency to his American Civil Rights efforts. Prof. Heschel describes her father’s landmark study, The Prophets, for which she wrote an introduction, his profound view of the prophets as models, and his search for enduring “truth and righteousness in everyday life.” They discuss Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who evoked Old Testament imagery in many of his most memorable speeches, and who was accompanied by Rabbi Heschel on the Voting Rights march from Selma to Montgomery. Professor Heschel offers thoughts on what educators can learn from her family’s historic experiences facing adversity, and how citizens, teachers, and students alike can use personal stories, biblical wisdom, and ancient sources to inspire their civic action in our often divided country. She concludes with a reading from a favorite passage from one of her father’s books.

Stories of the Week: Which states are driving innovation in K-12 education, and which are struggling? Cara and Gerard discuss recent rankings, and some surprising results. The Kentucky Legislature passed a bill that would allow income-eligible families to access tax credit scholarships for private school tuition and other services, overriding the Governor’s veto.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Taylor Branch, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of a landmark trilogy on the Civil Rights era, America in the King Years. They discuss the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, whose birthday the nation observed on Monday. They review Dr. King’s powerful, moving oratory, drawing on spiritual and civic ideals to promote nonviolent protest against racial injustice, and how, as head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, he shared leadership of the movement with organizations such as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. They also discuss the pivotal role that school-aged children played in the successes of the Civil Rights Movement, and how to talk with schoolchildren today about those heart-wrenching images such as six-year-old Ruby Bridges being escorted by U.S. marshals as she desegregated the New Orleans Public Schools, and young students facing Bull Connor’s dogs and fire hoses in Alabama. Branch shares thoughts on how to ensure that the women involved in the movement, including Septima Clark, Ella Baker, Rosa Parks, Fannie Lou Hamer, and Diane Nash, receive due credit for their contributions. He concludes with a reading from one of his books.

Stories of the Week: President-elect Biden is backing up his pledge to get kids back to school with a proposed $130 million in stimulus funds to cover the costs of reconfiguring K-12 classrooms, improving ventilation, personal protective equipment, and other social distancing requirements. Will the cash infusion work, and will support be offered to income-eligible private school students? A U.S. Government Accountability Office study takes a close look at school improvement efforts across all states, with some promising findings.

Member Post

 

With the violent crime rate increasing disproportionately in urban communities, it’s no surprise that a recent phone survey of black voters found that 80 percent felt gun violence was an “extremely serious” problem. However, it seems this surge in violence actually has many in the black community changing their views on gun ownership. In 1993, 74 percent of African-Americans favored gun […]

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Cheryl Brown Henderson, president of the Brown Foundation for Educational Equity, Excellence, and Research. She shares her experience as the daughter of the lead plaintiff in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, and thoughts on how the historic decision contributed to advancing civil rights in our country. They explore the tragic murder of George Floyd and the ongoing problem of racial inequality, and consider steps that political, educational, civic, and religious leaders should take to address past injustices. Lastly, Cheryl discusses COVID-19’s impact on the important conversation about the wide achievement gaps that have blocked educational opportunity for poor children of color, and how to bridge them.

Stories of the Week: Would a Joe Biden presidency stem the tide of labor unions’ decline in influence? The former Vice President is expected to appoint a union leader to his Cabinet, perhaps in the U.S. Department of Education. This week marks “fall count day,” when schools across the U.S. must submit student enrollment numbers to determine state funding for the next year – but 60 of the nation’s largest districts are reporting significant declines, especially in kindergarten and elementary grades.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Devery Anderson, the author of Emmett Till: The Murder That Shocked the World and Propelled the Civil Rights Movement. Today, August 28th, marks the 65th anniversary of the brutal murder of 14-year old Emmett Till, a story which is central to understanding America’s ongoing struggle for civil rights and racial justice. Devery recounts the events at Bryant’s Grocery & Meat Market in Money, Mississippi, which led to the horrific tragedy, and places it in the wider historical context of the Jim Crow South. They discuss Mamie Till-Mobley’s bold decision to make Emmett’s funeral public, with an open casket, and how the event impacted the Civil Rights Movement and its important figures, from Rosa Parks to the late Congressman John Lewis. They also delve into Till’s murderers, their acquittal and later confession, and their fate. The interview concludes with a reading from The Death of Innocence, the heart-wrenching memoir authored by Emmett Till’s courageous mother.

Stories of the Week: Writing in the USA Today, co-host Gerard Robinson explores new poll results on attitudes toward police officers among Black residents in fragile communities. Offering inspiration to millions of young women in STEM fields, a female MIT professor originally from Maine solved a mathematics problem that had stumped experts for half a century. Education insiders are speculating over who would replace USED Secretary Betsy DeVos should she depart after the presidential election.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Dr. Sephira Shuttlesworth, a retired teacher and charter school leader, and the widow of the late Birmingham, Alabama, civil rights leader, the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth. Dr. Shuttlesworth shares her and her siblings’ experience attending a poor-quality segregated school in Tennessee, and how it motivated them to integrate an all-white elementary school in the 1960s. She also discusses her late husband’s central role in the Civil Rights Movement, bringing the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to Birmingham, as well as voter registration, and reforms to law enforcement and the legal system. She explores what inspired her to become a teacher and charter school leader, and why educational opportunity is so critical to fulfilling the vision of equality that civil rights leaders like the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth articulated.

Stories of the Week: What will the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in the Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue case mean for our neediest families? The Wall Street Journal reports that some affluent parents, concerned about school reopening plans this fall, are turning to alternatives, such as online classes, outdoor programs, or joining other households to create micro-schools. But would these same parents support school choice programs for other, less fortunate families?

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Dr. Charles Glenn, Professor Emeritus of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Boston University. Dr. Glenn shares his early experiences as an inner city minister involved in the Civil Rights movement in Massachusetts and the South, the METCO voluntary desegregation program, and the expansion of school choice in several districts beyond Boston. He also discusses his support in the 1990s for bringing the charter school concept to Massachusetts. His work was cited in Justice Alito’s concurring opinion in the Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue case, and he shares thoughts on the recent decision’s potential impact on racial justice and religious liberty. He discusses findings from his decades of research on international education systems, where there is no controversy about government support for faith-based schools, and the lessons for America, where a legacy of anti-Catholicism has impeded school choice. Dr. Glenn concludes with analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of schools of education in preparing effective teachers.

Stories of the Week: Some states such as Florida are grappling with a surge in COVID cases, leaving plans for an August reopening in flux. How should school leaders address questions about virtual learning, outdoor classrooms, and mask and quarantine protocols? Gerard and Cara talked about Dr. Thomas Sowell, the noted Hoover Institution economist, and his recent book, Charter Schools and Their Enemies, on the success and challenges faced by New York City’s charter schools.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard mark the Juneteenth commemoration
of the end of slavery with an episode devoted to Civil Rights history. They are joined by Diane McWhorter, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama: The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution. They explore the parallels between the current civil unrest and racial injustice the country is witnessing and what took place in 1963 in Birmingham, Alabama, including police brutality then and now, and the ongoing connection between race, economics, and political pressure. They discuss the Civil Rights Movement’s success with shifting public opinion, through nonviolent protests and indelible iconography, and whether strong statements and product name changes issued by so many corporations today are likely to lead to genuine structural change. They also delve into the role played by women in the Civil Rights Movement. Diane concludes with a reading from the epilogue of her book, Carry Me Home.

Stories of the Week: In England, the government will be funding tutoring programs to bridge learning gaps as a result of COVID school closures, targeted to disadvantaged communities. Is this a model worth exploring here? New York’s wealthy families have fled Manhattan due to COVID – will they return to those elite schools if remote learning continues in the fall, or shift to the suburbs?

One Week from Now: Law and Order Polling at All-time High

 

In a remarkable turnaround from just a week ago when concepts such as law and order were deemed less popular than the coronavirus, pollsters across the country are now reporting that lawfulness has reached a record high approval rating, particularly among minorities.

As sociologists struggled to explain what could be motivating an unprecedented number of Americans of all backgrounds to support peaceful protesters over violent mobs, firemen over arsonists and the police over looters, public officials at every level of government scrambled to signal to their constituents their support for the rule of law.

According to pollsters, the rise in popularity of law and order transcended all political, racial, gender and socioeconomic lines and coincides with a new spirit of joyful anarchy in American cities. The spike in popularity for the enforcement of laws was most stark among minority-owned businesses. Working-class African Americans, who’ve been disproportionately impacted by the recent spate of indoor fireworks, the spontaneous borrowing of unsold stereo equipment and a laissez-faire approach to downtown window fronts have demonstrated the starkest spike in support for the rule of law.

Sheriffs Have Discretion, Too, and It’s Going Viral

 

If you elect a sheriff, they get to play the independent mandate “I’m a check against tyranny” card like every other elected government officeholder. And some are (from the Greenwich Times):

In Snohomish County, Washington, Sheriff Adam Fortney is refusing to enforce the governor’s stay-at-home order. He claims the order “intrudes on our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” On April 22, he told constituents via a Facebook post that “along with other elected Sheriffs around our state, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office will not be enforcing an order preventing religious freedoms or constitutional rights.”

Member Post

 

In most jurisdictions, police officers involved in the fatal shooting of civilian get a “cooling off” period before they have to tell investigators what happened.  This time for cooling-off gives the police officers an opportunity to collect their thoughts and present their positions after their emotions have had an opportunity to cool down.  Why shouldn’t […]

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Autumn Colors: The Color of Law, an in-depth review

 

When people are free to associate as they please, we can’t be surprised if they sometimes self-segregate. People self-sort along many affinities, including ethnic affinities. This is what lawyers call de facto segregation, and it’s none of the law’s business. De jure segregation — segregation imposed by law, including segregation promoted by public policy — is, on the other hand, very much the law’s business.

In 1866, Congress passed a Civil Rights Act (the 1866 CRA) asserting the equal rights of blacks before the law, including property rights, and real-estate rights in particular. The 1866 CRA warned