US President Barack Obama will visit Selma, Alabama to commemorate the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday”. That’s how historians refer to the violent clash between protestors and police when civil rights activists tried to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge as part of their walk from Selma to Montgomery to protest for voting rights.
Over the weekend, members of University of Oklahoma’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity were caught on video chanting racial slurs. That kicked of a controversy that has played out largely online – and provided new rules for how to handle a social crisis. Within 48 hours of the video being posted, the university’s president had joined a campus rally condemning the video, sent out a press release, held a press conference, evicted SAE members from the fraternity buildings and expelled two students.
A Starbucks PR campaign to unite customers with conversations about race appears to have backfired, as the company’s big roll-out was widely mocked. “Black Coffees Matter”, “African-Americano” and “Stolen-from-the-Gold-Coast Blend” – these aren’t unfortunate slogans for Starbucks drinks but jokes about the coffee chain’s latest marketing campaign. The race-related puns are just one aspect of a trending hashtag begun after the company launched “Race Together”.
A poster for a Louisiana strawberry festival showing two faceless black children has prompted sharply split online opinion over whether it is offensive and racist. The Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival attracts hundreds of thousands of people to the small city near Lake Pontchartrain every April, and according to organisers is second in popularity in the state only to Mardi Gras itself.
Supporters of the white police officer who faces a murder charge for shooting an unarmed black man in South Carolina, have started a campaignon a popular crowd funding site – but another site halted fundraising efforts.
In the wake of several high-profile cases of white police officers killing unarmed black men, some Americans have been defending police by posting pictures of officers being helpful. “Police officers that do the wrong thing seem to be getting all the press coverage,” Chris Hall wrote on Facebook, underneath the above photo of an Ohio State Patrol officer changing a car tyre for a African-American woman. “This officer proves that for every one that does the wrong thing, there are thousands out there doing the right thing every day.”
Marilyn Mosby has captured the world’s attention after she announced she was pressing charges against Baltimore officers in the death of Freddie Gray. By the end of her speech, the Baltimore prosecutor’s name was a top trending term on Twitter in the United States. The #MarilynMosby hashtag has been used over 700,000 times on Twitter in the week since the protests began.
An infographic is being used by some teachers in Baltimore schools as communities try to create learning opportunities in the classroom after the city’s riots. Frederick Douglass High School in Baltimore received several visitors this week including members of the Baltimore Ravens American football team and rapper Wale in an effort to calm the unrest. Several Douglass students were involved in confrontations with police on Monday.
Labour Day 2004. Columbia University’s green laws shimmer in the heady heat. David Banks, 51, looks sharp if a little tired; he has been on the Ivy League campus for four hours already. He steps outside, away from the assorted crowd of celebrities, suited men and parents to speak on the phone with a member of his staff. “Are they en route?” he asks concerned. Ten minutes later the matriculating class of 2004 have arrived. The sound of “America, The Beautiful” waltzes lazily from under the fingers of the pianist as 100 men file importantly into the hall. Next to each distinguished man is a fourteen year-old black boy from the Bronx. This isn’t any ordinary matriculation and these students not your typical Columbia freshmen.