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July 31st, 2012
05:17 PM ET

Nannies: The 'other' mothers

CNN's Lisa Sylvester looks into the role nannies play in raising other people's children on The Situation Room.

I'm her mom, not the nanny!

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Filed under: Family • How we live • Who we are
July 31st, 2012
12:30 PM ET

Aimee Copeland using new prosthetics, father says

By Steve Almasy, CNN

(CNN) – The 24-year-old Georgia woman who lost parts of all her limbs to a flesh-eating bacteria has three new prosthetics, her father told CNN on Monday.

Aimee Copeland has two hooks she uses for hands and a leg prosthetic but her injured left side where she lost that leg may require one more surgery, Andy Copeland told CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront."

Andy Copeland said his daughter is racing through rehab and might return to the family's home on August 22.

Even getting used to the hooks didn't seem difficult, Andy Copeland said.

"It's interesting ... after having those hooks on for about 10 minutes she seemed to be able to master the ability to use them," he said, adding that she was able to pick up a pair of shorts she had on her wheelchair at the rehabilitation facility and threw them across her body. "The prosthetist looked at that and said, 'Wow, it usually takes three days for somebody to be able to master the coordination of using those hooks to be able to do something like that.'"

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Filed under: Disabilities • Health • How we live • Women
July 31st, 2012
08:00 AM ET

Obama's family tree connection to first American slave

By Lesa Jansen, CNN

(CNN) - His family tree has been linked to Brad Pitt, Sarah Palin and both Presidents Bush but now President Barack Obama may be related to the first documented African slave in pre-revolutionary America.

Ancestry.com, which bills itself as the world's largest online family history resource, on Monday released research and documents which it says shows the first indentured African American servant is an ancestor of President Obama's mother.

"We have two of the most significant Africans in our country's history being directly related to each other," Joseph Shumway, an Ancestry.com genealogist, told CNN.

Shumway was part of a team of four genealogists who say they worked more than 500 hours to establish the connection between Obama's family and that of John Punch, an indentured servant who was sentenced to a life of slavery after an unsuccessful escape attempt in pre-revolutionary Virginia.

The Ancestry.com researchers found the new connection to the president's African roots through an unlikely link, that of Obama's Caucasian mother.  President Obama's African American roots had previously been tied to his father's Kenyan birth. But as genealogists were pouring through documents tracing Stanley Ann Dunham’s ancestors, they found a connection to the Bunch family which had recently published DNA evidence that they had roots in sub-Saharan Africa. (see documents here)

Read the full post on CNN's The 1600 Report

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Filed under: Black in America • Family • History • Relationships • Who we are
Refusing to quit, disabled veteran aims to inspire others
Sgt. Noah Galloway, who is retired from the U.S. Army, says he still "trains like a machine."
July 30th, 2012
06:38 PM ET

Refusing to quit, disabled veteran aims to inspire others

By Rebecca Angel Baer, CNN

(CNN) – Noah Galloway's daily workouts could intimidate the most seasoned athlete. He runs, climbs, does pull-ups and push-ups, and lifts weights for nearly two hours at a time. But what really sets this 30-year-old father of three apart is that he does it all with one arm and one leg.

In the aftermath of September 11, Galloway felt called to serve his country. At 19, he withdrew from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and enlisted in the United States Army.

"After we were attacked, I felt like it was what I needed to do. I quit school and started off on a new journey."

Galloway was deployed to Iraq with the 101st Airborne out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky, in 2003. After becoming a husband and father, he returned for a second tour in 2005.

"They put us in an area that was known as the triangle of death. It was southwest of Baghdad. The units that had been there before us had taken a beating. It was just a rough area."

Four months into his second deployment, he was trying to catch a bit of sleep between missions when his platoon leader woke him.

"He said, 'Hey, we're gonna go take these Humvees to go pick up the rest of the platoon.' Said there's nothing important going on. We're just going to pick them up, coming back. Just wanted you to know we're leaving."

But Galloway says he insisted on not only joining the convoy but driving the lead vehicle, a decision that put him in the path of a roadside bomb detonated by a trip wire.

Four days later, on Christmas morning, Galloway woke in Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

"I had no idea where I was or how I got there. I remember waking up and seeing my parents walking in. I knew I was somewhere safe because they were there, and something told me to smile because they'd know I was OK."

He lost his left arm above the elbow and left leg above the knee. His jaw needed to be reconstructed, and his mouth was wired shut. His recovery was as rough emotionally as it was physically, and during it he and his wife divorced.

"I remember thinking it was all over. I was very physical. I'd lost two limbs, a wife. You know, I remember thinking I much rather had died than wake up like this," Galloway said.

His attitude started to shift thanks, in part, to a fellow amputee: his father, who lost his hand at age 18 when a machine malfunction at the plant where he worked.

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Filed under: Disabilities • How we live • Veterans • Who we are
July 30th, 2012
05:22 PM ET

Church that barred black wedding affirms commitment to equal treatment

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) –A Mississippi church that wouldn't allow a black couple to marry in its sanctuary because of the couple's race  appears to be trying to right a wrong, as officials with the church's denomination decried the incident.

Charles and Te' Andrea Wilson, regular attendees at First Baptist Church in Crystal Springs, Mississippi, were forced to relocate their wedding this month at the last minute.  Their pastor, Stan Weatherford, made the relocation request on behalf of some congregants who didn't want to see the couple married there, according to CNN affiliate WLBT.

Weatherford performed the ceremony at a nearby church.

At services on Sunday, the congregation's leadership addressed the controversy in a statement read to the church.

Read the full post on CNN's Belief blog

July 30th, 2012
12:50 PM ET

The Battlegrounds: African-American turnout

Editor's note: The 2012 presidential race is CNN Chief National Correspondent John King's seventh campaign. King is traveling through battleground states, where the election will be decided, to find the voters who will determine whether President Barack Obama gets a second term or if the country needs the change in direction that Mitt Romney represents.

By John King, CNN Chief National Correspondent

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (CNN) – Paulette Beale shakes her head at the suggestion, then flashes a contagious smile.

"It's still history," she says, to rebut the notion there could be less intensity for President Barack Obama in the African-American community the second time around.

"The first history was that he won. The second history's that he won twice. So, it's not just about history the first time, you have to be concerned about the history for the next four years also. You can make history more than one time, you know."

Her mother and father stand a few feet away, nodding approvingly.

Paul and Altermese Beale founded Paul Beale's Florist 41 years ago. Paulette takes the lead now, but her parents are on hand helping most days in a shop that is an institution in the Ogontz Avenue area of North Philadelphia.

"We love him," Altermese Beale says of Obama. "One of the proudest days of my life was the day he was elected."

The Beales are determined to see the president re-elected, and are part of an Obama campaign ground operation that is active early because of several obstacles to generating the big African-American turnout that was critical to then-Sen. Obama's 2008 victories in many of the major presidential battlegrounds, Pennsylvania among them.

Our visit this week was timed to coincide with the president's speech to the National Urban League.

At that meeting, in New Orleans, a major topic of discussion is a new Urban League study suggesting that if African-American turnout in 2012 falls back to 2004 levels, then Obama is almost certain to lose North Carolina and would find things much tougher in a handful of other battlegrounds, including Ohio, Virginia, Michigan, Florida and Pennsylvania.

In 2008, just shy of 65% of eligible African-Americans voted for president; in 2004 it was 60%. That prospect of lower turnout could change the math in some key battlegrounds even if the president runs roughly equal to his share of the African-American vote, an eye-popping 95% in 2008.

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July 30th, 2012
08:00 AM ET

Church refuses to marry black couple in Mississippi

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) – Hurt. Devastated. Crushed.

Those are words an African-American couple used to describe how they felt when they were forced to change the venue of their wedding because of their race.

"Because of the fact that we were black, some of the members of the congregation had got upset and decided that no black couple would ever be married at that church," Charles Wilson told CNN on Sunday night.

"All we wanted to do in the eyes of God was to be man and wife in a church that we thought we felt loved. What was wrong with that?"

Charles and Te'Andrea Wilson had planned to marry this month at the First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs in Mississippi, but were asked at the last minute to move.

Their pastor, Stan Weatherford, made the request on behalf of some congregants who didn't want to see the couple married there, according to CNN affiliate WLBT. He performed the ceremony at a nearby church.

"This was, had not, had never been done here before so it was setting a new (precedent) and there were those who reacted to that," Weatherford told WLBT.

"I didn't want to have a controversy within the church, and I didn't want a controversy to affect the wedding of Charles and Te' Andrea. I wanted to make sure their wedding day was a special day," he reportedly said.

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July 28th, 2012
09:00 AM ET

Olympic boxer fights to inspire

Editor's Note: On Saturday, Soledad O’Brien introduces you to a Latina boxer about to face the fight of her life as she attempts to make her Olympic dreams a reality. CNN’s Latino in America: In Her Corner, Saturday night at 11 Eastern.

By Soledad O’Brien and Rose Arce, CNN

(CNN) - Marlen Esparza is in London, literally preparing for the fight of her life.

A working-class girl from Texas, she has been training as a boxer since she was 12. Now, at 23, she is about to be among the first women to box at the Olympic Games. Marlen is a 5-foot-3, 112-pound flyweight, a first generation American.

She never expected to become a role model.

Yet, today she is in Spanish-language advertisements for McDonald’s and Coke, representing some of the most well-known American institutions.

“My kids saw her in the McDonald’s ads and they were like ‘wow, she’s a big deal,’” said Dalila Esparza, her sister and best friend, who has four young children. “This is really big in the community.”

Marlen also has sponsorships from Cover Girl and Nike, and the notoriety of being the six-time national champion of the only Olympic sport that didn’t allow women until now.

But fame in the Latino community was a surprise.

“I never thought about it that much,” she told us when we met more than a year ago. “But as time goes on I realize how important this is.”

Marlen speaks very little Spanish and has never been to Mexico. She lives in Houston, where Latinos are nearly 40% of the estimated 2 million residents.

Being Latina was never something she’d given much thought. FULL POST

July 27th, 2012
06:22 PM ET

Chick-fil-A wades into a fast-food fight over same-sex marriage rights

By Sarah Aarthun, CNN

Atlanta (CNN) – Ordering lunch just got a lot more complicated than deciding how to answer, "Do you want fries with that?"

Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy sparked reactions that were swift and strong after he weighed in on same-sex marriage by saying his company backs the traditional family unit.

Politicians from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to former GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum spoke up. Supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage protested. And suddenly, the type of fast-food bag you carry could reveal your views on a hot-button social issue that has split the country.

Some proponents of same-sex marriage have decried Cathy's comments and called for a boycott of the chain, which had annual sales of more than $4.1 billion last year and has more than 1,615 locations in 39 states and Washington, D.C., with the strongest concentration in the Southeast.

Read the full story

July 27th, 2012
02:55 PM ET

Photos: Remembering actress Lupe Ontiveros

Actress Lupe Ontiveros, who co-starred in the hit films "Selena" and "As Good As It Gets," has died.

See photos of her, and share your memories in the comments below.

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