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Bob Teague, trailblazer in TV, dies at 84
Bob Teague was one of the first black television correspondents in New York.
March 29th, 2013
03:12 PM ET

Bob Teague, trailblazer in TV, dies at 84

By Moni Basu, CNN

(CNN) – Bob Teague, one of New York's first black television reporters, has died. He was 84.

His former employers WNBC and The New Tork Times reported that Teague died Thursday. His wife, Jan, told the Times that he lost his battle with T-cell lymphoma.

Teague left the Times to join WNBC in 1963. In its April 18 issue that year, Jet magazine noted that with Teague's hiring, all three television networks had pulled even with “negro newswriters." Mal Goode was at ABC and Ben Holman at CBS.

WNBC remembered him Friday as being "smart, competitive and driven."

The Times said Teague "established a reputation for finding smart, topical stories and delivering them in a sophisticated manner."

Teague was often dispatched to minority neighborhoods to cover mounting racial tensions of the '60s, the Times said. In July 1963, he reported on riots for an hourlong program called “Harlem: Test for the North."

He later became a critic of TV news, calling it too superficial. Teague thought the broadcast world had become "too focused on the appearance of reporters and anchors," the Times said.

Teague was born in Milwaukee and attended the University of Wisconsin, where in 1948, he and Cal Vernon became the first African-Americans to play regularly on the varsity football team. He was a star player but gave up offers to play professional football for a reporting job at The Milwaukee Journal, according to the Times.

Teague was considered a pioneer in the broadcast world and served as a role model for journalists of color.

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Filed under: Black in America • History • Obituaries • Who we are
Observers chime in on same-sex marriage hearings
March 27th, 2013
05:48 PM ET

Observers chime in on same-sex marriage hearings

By Moni Basu, CNN

(CNN) – Two days of arguments on gay marriage at the Supreme Court ended Wednesday. The justices heard both sides in two separate cases: California's voter-approved Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage, and the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage on a federal level as being only between a man and a woman.

It could be months before the court makes a ruling. CNN spoke with a few people who were inside the nation's highest court Wednesday or were monitoring the hearings closely from the outside. Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Jeffrey Toobin, CNN legal analyst: "I think DOMA is in trouble, and I think it's in trouble because Anthony Kennedy was repeatedly concerned that the Defense of Marriage Act violates states rights. Anthony Kennedy, who as we all know is the swing vote on this court, is someone who is concerned about gay rights, although he said very little, I think nothing, about the issue of whether the Defense of Marriage Act violated gay people's constitutional rights. He was clearly very concerned that the Defense of Marriage Act was invading the province of the states to define marriage. That's a state function, usually. And that would certainly be suggesting that he was going to strike down the law. Certainly the other liberals, the four Democratic appointees, looked like they were going to vote it down."

Edith "Edie" Windsor, plaintiff who challenged DOMA: "I am today an out lesbian, OK, who just sued the United States of America, which is kind of overwhelming for me. I think it's gonna be good."

Jonathan Turley, law professor, George Washington University: "You're seeing sort of a sticker shock with the justices, that they were worried about handing down a major ruling either recognizing same-sex marriage or the right of equality, or rejecting it."

Chad Hollowe, supporter of same-sex marriage: "It's pretty clear that some justices like (Antonin) Scalia are going to vote against it no matter what. Scalia was engaged in a long back and forth about how exactly did this become unconstitutional all of a sudden. Was this unconstitutional when the constitution was created - when the 14th amendment was passed? Was it unconstitutional 10 days ago - when did this happen? His line of questioning made it pretty clear he was dead set against it, which shouldn't be surprising, given Scalia's history."

Eric Delk, who attended court arguments Wednesday: "Well, I think that the conservative justices feel that Prop 8 is valid, but I think some of the more liberal justices know it needs to be altered. Because the people decided something different from what the courts decided and opinions have changed since the Prop 8 vote. And I think in California, if they had a vote now, they would probably allow same-sex marriage."

Mary Ann Piet, social worker: "I'm here today because I'm a social worker, and I've seen a lot of people suffer over the years. And I'm concerned about not getting people their human rights, their dignity as people. And this will give dignity and human rights to people. I have members of my family that are gay, and I see them suffer internally."

Also on this blog: A time line of gay rights in America

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Filed under: Discrimination • Gender • Relationships • Sexual orientation • Who we are
Same-sex marriage debated at the Supreme Court – what did you think?
March 26th, 2013
04:38 PM ET

Same-sex marriage debated at the Supreme Court – what did you think?

The first rounds of arguments are over. The nine justices on the Supreme Court today heard about an hour and 20 minutes of debate around Proposition 8 – the measure that banned same-sex marriage in California.

And on Wednesday, the issue of the Defense of Marriage Act that defines marriage as between one man and one woman will be up before the highest court.

You can read and listen to Tuesday's arguments in full here and then see how court-watchers believe the justices appeared hesitant to issue any sweeping rulings.

So what do you think? Who has the right to say I do? And what do our laws say about who we are? Add your thoughts at CNN's iReport.


Filed under: Culture • Family • How we live • Relationships • Sexual orientation
March 26th, 2013
06:00 AM ET

The voting rights martyr who divided America

Editor's note: The following is an edited excerpt from John Blake's 2004 book "Children of the Movement" about Viola Liuzzo, a Detroit housewife who was killed while working for voting rights in Selma, Alabama. In the accompanying video clip, Harry Belafonte and Tony Bennett discuss their participation in the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965, and their memories of Viola Liuzzo. This story is being republished on the anniversary of her death, and contains objectionable language.

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - On March 26, 1965, Penny Liuzzo was watching the "Donna Reed Show" at her home in Detroit when a wave of nausea suddenly swept over her. In an instant, she knew what had happened.

"Oh my God," she thought as she stood up and walked out of the room. "My mom's dead."

When Penny's mother, Viola Liuzzo, had called home a week earlier to tell her family she was going to Selma, Alabama, Penny had been engulfed by a sense of dread. She tried to talk her mother out of going.

"I'm never going to see you again, Mom. I know it. I just feel it. Please let me go in your place. I'll go."

FULL POST

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High court to look at Michigan ban on preferences in university admissions
The Supreme Court Justices will decide the constitutionality high-profile challenge to affirmative action.
March 25th, 2013
04:48 PM ET

High court to look at Michigan ban on preferences in university admissions

By Bill Mears, CNN Supreme Court Producer

Washington (CNN) - The Supreme Court agreed Monday to confront another high-profile challenge to affirmative action in college admissions.

The justices will decide the constitutionality of a voter referendum in Michigan banning race- and sex-based discrimination or preferential treatment in public university admission decisions.

The high court is currently deciding a separate challenge to admissions policies at the University of Texas, which did not involve a voter referendum.

A federal appeals court last year concluded the affirmative action ban, which Michigan voters passed in a 2006 referendum, violated the U.S. Constitution's equal protection laws.

Appeals court strikes down Michigan's affirmative action ban

It was the latest step in a legal and political battle over whether the state's colleges can use race and gender as a factor in choosing which students to admit. The ban's opponents say classroom diversity remains a necessary government role.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Education • History • Race • Where we live
Obama expects debate on immigration reform bill next month
March 25th, 2013
03:08 PM ET

Obama expects debate on immigration reform bill next month

By Alexander Mooney, CNN White House Producer

(CNN) – Seeking to ignite congressional movement on immigration reform, President Obama said Monday he expects the Senate to take significant action on the issue next month.

"I expect a bill to be put forward. I expect the debate to begin next month. I want to sign that bill into law as soon as possible," Obama said at a naturalization ceremony at the White House.

"We are making progress, but we've got to finish the job," Obama said.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: 2012 Election • How we live • Immigration • Politics
March 25th, 2013
09:00 AM ET

The county where no one's gay

By John D. Sutter, CNN

Editor's note: John D. Sutter is a human rights and social change columnist for CNN Opinion. E-mail him at CTL@CNN.com or follow him on Twitter (@jdsutter), Facebook or Google+. This column contains language that may offend some readers.

Franklin County, Mississippi (CNN) - Statistically speaking, Franklin County should be straighter than John Wayne eating Chick-fil-A. The middle-of-nowhere rectangle in southwest Mississippi - known for its pine forests, hog hunting and an infamous hate crime - is home to exactly zero same-sex couples, according to an analysis of census data.

In other words: It's a place where gays don't exist.

At least not on paper.

Before I visited Franklin County, I figured there must be gay people living in Straight County USA. But I didn't expect anyone to be open about it - and with good reason. As part of this op-ed project, I recently ranked the Hospitality State as one of the least hospitable for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, based on its lack of legal protections. In addition to allowing gays and lesbians to be fired because of who they are, Mississippi is also gracious enough to let landlords evict gay residents.

Those are great incentives for a gay person to become invisible. And being invisible, of course, could mean avoiding census workers.

I drove to this place of rolling hills and misty valleys with a few questions on my mind: Can there really be such a thing as an all-straight county? If so, what is it like to be someone who never has met a gay person? Do you just watch "Glee" and figure it out?

If there are gay people in Franklin County, what keeps them hidden?

I spent a few days searching for answers before I realized I was making the wrong assumptions: It's not that gay people here (or anywhere really) want to be in the closet, necessarily. It's the rest of the world that pushes them in and shuts the door.

FULL STORY
March 22nd, 2013
12:50 PM ET

'Things Fall Apart' author Chinua Achebe dies at 82

Send us your thoughts and memories of author Chinua Achebe on iReport.

By Laura Smith-Spark and Faith Karimi, CNN

(CNN) - Nigerian author Chinua Achebe, acclaimed in part for his groundbreaking 1958 novel "Things Fall Apart," has died, his British publisher, Penguin Books, said Friday.

He was 82.

An author of more than 20 books, his honors included the 2007 Man Booker International Prize for Fiction.

He was also accorded his country's highest award for intellectual achievement, the Nigerian National Merit Award.

Achebe is a major part of African literature, and is popular all over the continent for his novels, especially "Anthills of the Savannah," which was itself shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1987, and "Things Fall Apart."

The latter was required reading in countless high schools and colleges in the continent, and has been translated into dozens of languages.

Set in precolonial Nigeria, "Things Fall Apart" portrays the story of a farmer, Okonkwo, who struggles to preserve his customs despite pressure from British colonizers. The story resonated in post-independent Africa, and the character became a household name in the continent.

Achebe's stories included proverbs and tackled complex issues of African identity, nationalism and decolonization, adding to his books' popularity.

FULL STORY

Filed under: Black in America • How we live • Race • Where we live • Who we are
March 22nd, 2013
09:00 AM ET

Harry Belafonte, Tony Bennett remember civil rights march

(CNN) –Today marks the anniversary of the third and decisive civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

Singer, actor and activist Harry Belafonte recruited fellow singer Tony Bennett to march with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1965. They shared their moments with CNN's Chris Cuomo  on "Starting Point".

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Discrimination • History • How we live • Race • Where we live
March 21st, 2013
09:30 AM ET

White women on black magazine covers?

(CNN) - CNN's Don Lemon and a panel discuss actress Jada Pinkett Smith's Facebook post on race, women and magazine covers that asked in part: "Will there ever be a day in which women will be able to see each other beyond race, class, and culture?"


Filed under: Black in America • How we look • Who we are • Women
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