January 20th, 2012
05:07 PM ET

Rare and unseen photos from South Carolina's segregated past

In the mid-1950s, LIFE magazine published a five-part series titled "The Background of Segregation," which explored how it played out in people's lives from the post-Civil War Jim Crow South to the early days of the Civil Rights movement.

On the eve of the 2012 South Carolina Republican primary, race has again been in the headlines. LIFE.com presented rare and unpublished color photos by Margaret Bourke-White, who explored South Carolina in 1956 for a story called "The Voices of the White South." The article, LIFE.com write "won praise and awards when published, was extraordinary for, among other things, the utterly non-sensational methodology and tone of its reportage. While much of the national debate over desegregation was dominated in the mid-1950s by the language and actions of strident and often hateful zealots, 'Voices' was a measured, rigorously fair take on the entire issue. ... The article was not, in the end, an anti-segregationist screed, but was instead an honest glimpse into the heart of a culture at once proud of its heritage, and terrified of what the future might hold."

See the entire gallery on LIFE.com

January 20th, 2012
02:22 PM ET

Does the media ignore missing minorities?

A new TV One show, "Find Our Missing," focuses on missing people of color, but the network has a predominantly African-American audience. Does traditional media and its broad audience ignore missing minorities, and if so, why? Dr. Drew and his guests explore the issue.

January 20th, 2012
01:50 PM ET

Can Romney’s Mexico ties, Spanish ads woo Latino voters?

Editor's note: Watch In America's documentary about the race to capture the Latino vote on CNN in October 2012.

By Rafael Romo, CNN Senior Latin American Affairs Editor

Chihuahua, Mexico (CNN) - In the town of Colonia Juarez, where houses look much like homes in the American Southwest, there lives a family named Romney.

Mitt Romney’s great-grandfather led the first group of Mormons to the state of Chihuahua to flee religious persecution. Mitt Romney’s father George - an auto executive, and Michigan governor who also ran for president in the United States - was born nearby, in a town called Colonia Dublan. He left with his parents when he was only five years old, but Romney relatives still live nearby.

Romney mentioned his family's connections to Mexico on the campaign trail earlier this month, then released a slew of new political ads, including Spanish ads in Florida, a state with a high concentration of Latinos. In one of the ads, Romney’s son Craig, who speaks Spanish, talks about liberty, opportunity and how the United States is a country where “anything is possible.”

“My father, Mitt Romney, believes in those American values because he has lived them himself and he will fight to restore the greatness of our nation,” Craig Romney says in the ad.

For the ad, the Romney campaign also enlisted three influential Latino Republican leaders from Florida, former Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart, his brother, Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart, and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

“Romney believes in us,” Mario Diaz-Balart says in the ad. As it’s customary, at the end of the ad Romney himself says - in Spanish - that he approves the message. “Soy Mitt Romney y apruebo este mensaje.”


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Filed under: Immigration • Latino in America • Politics • Who we are
Judge-drawn Texas redistricting map tossed out by Supreme Court
January 20th, 2012
01:12 PM ET

Judge-drawn Texas redistricting map tossed out by Supreme Court

By  Bill Mears, CNN Supreme Court Producer

Washington (CNN) - The Supreme Court has tossed out the Texas redistricting map for congressional and legislative seats drawn up a federal court, giving a partial victory to GOP lawmakers.

In an unsigned opinion issued just 11 days after holding oral arguments, the justices said a revised map that differed greatly from the one created by the legislature used ambiguous standards.

"To the extent the [federal] District Court exceeded its mission to draw interim maps that do not violate the Constitution or the Voting Rights Act, and substituted its own concept of 'the collective public good' for the Texas Legislature's determination of which policies serve 'the interests of the citizens of Texas,' the [district] court erred," said the Supreme Court ruling Friday.

At issue are competing maps for the Texas state legislative and congressional districts – created first by Republican lawmakers that favored their political base, and later by a federal judicial panel to give minorities greater voting power.

The court-drawn map was imposed after Democrats and minority groups in Texas challenged the original plan approved by the GOP-led state legislature.

Read the full post on CNN's Political Ticker blog

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Opinion: An American in disguise in rural China
The idea of an American who is ethnically Chinese has not yet trickled down to rural China, Clarissa Wei writes.
January 20th, 2012
12:37 PM ET

Opinion: An American in disguise in rural China

Editor's note:Clarissa Wei is a freelance journalist who travels between New York and Los Angeles.

By Clarissa Wei, Special to CNN GO

(CNN) - I’m American, not Chinese.

I refuse to even use the hyphenated term Chinese-American.

I was born in the United States and raised in Los Angeles. Though some ABCs (American-born Chinese) want to be recognized as “real Chinese,” I don’t.

In fact, I’d imagine it would be offensive to the Chinese if I were called a “real Chinese.” It would be a total lie.

My parents immigrated from Taiwan in 1990 with pharmaceutical degrees and very limited English.

But before moving to Shanghai for school, I had little to no connection to China. I wasn’t familiar with Chinese holidays, couldn’t tell you the name of the current Chinese president, and didn’t even know the name of the last Chinese dynasty.

I’m as American as the white kid down the hall who moved to China the same time as me. I insist on telling people I’m American because that’s what I am.

However, this concept simply did not fly throughout my trip to rural China this past autumn.

Read Clarissa Wei's full post on CNN GO

Fortune's 'Best Companies To Work For' list hits gay rights milestone
Eighty-nine companies on Fortune's "Best Companies to Work For" list have same-sex partner benefits.
January 20th, 2012
12:22 PM ET

Fortune's 'Best Companies To Work For' list hits gay rights milestone

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - For the first time ever, all 100 firms on Fortune's Best Companies To Work For list this year have non-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation.

In 2008, 95 of the top 100 Best Companies to Work For had such policies in place, and by 2011 that number was up to 99.

"It's been gathering strength over the 15 years that we've done the survey," said Milton Moskowitz, a co-author of the list. Similar progress has been made in benefits for same-sex domestic partners, which are now offered by 89 of the 100 companies listed, up from 70 five years ago.

Read the full story on CNNMoney

Singing legend Etta James dies at 73
The powerhouse singer known as "Miss Peaches" died on Friday.
January 20th, 2012
11:37 AM ET

Singing legend Etta James dies at 73

Was "At Last" your wedding song, your favorite song, "your song?" Share your memories of James' most famous song on iReport.

By Todd Leopold, CNN

(CNN) - Etta James, whose assertive, earthy voice lit up such hits as "The Wallflower" "Something's Got a Hold on Me" and the wedding favorite "At Last," has died, according to her longtime friend and manager, Lupe De Leon. She was 73 and had been diagnosed with leukemia in 2010.

James, who also suffered from dementia and hepatitis C, died at a hopsital in Riverside, California.

The powerhouse singer, known as "Miss Peaches," lived an eventful life. She first hit the charts as a teenager, taking "The Wallflower (Roll With Me, Henry)" - an "answer record" to Hank Ballard's "Work With Me, Annie" - to No. 1 on the R&B charts in 1955. She joined Chess Records in 1960 and had a string of R&B and pop hits, many with lush string arrangements. After a mid-decade fade, she re-emerged in 1967 with a more hard-edged, soulful sound.

Read the full story

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Engage: 64% rise in violent sex crimes in Army since 2006
Women make up 14% of the Army, but 95% of its sex crime victims.
January 20th, 2012
11:05 AM ET

Engage: 64% rise in violent sex crimes in Army since 2006

Engage with news and opinions from around the web about under-reported stories from undercovered communities.

Pentagon report: 64% rise in violent sex crimes since 2006 - The Christian Science Monitor

CDC: U.S. has highest teen pregnancy rate among developed nations - 31.4% of teen moms didn't think they would get pregnant - The Los Angeles Times

$11 million settlement after abuse Chicago's women, minority-owned business contracting program - The Chicago Tribune

'Many Latinos argue that the country’s race categories... do not fit them' - The New York Times

27-year-old St. Louis imam represents 'new generation of Muslim Americans' - Religion News Service/USA Today

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January 20th, 2012
05:00 AM ET

Opinion: Hollywood's irrational allergy to 'black' films

Editor's note: Roland S. Martin is a syndicated columnist and author of "The First: President Barack Obama's Road to the White House." He is a commentator for the TV One cable network and host/managing editor of its Sunday morning news show, "Washington Watch with Roland Martin."

By Roland Martin,CNN Contributor

(CNN) - Who knew that 70 years after African-American pilots had to work hard to overcome the prejudices of whites in the U.S. armed services, and the nation having its first black commander-in-chief, the men known as the Tuskegee Airmen would still be doing battle with an entrenched institution of white power brokers, all based on the color of their skin.

Many of you may have seen the flashy commercials advertising "Red Tails," the major motion picture that chronicles the amazing and true story of true American heroes: black pilots who went overseas in World War II to fight for the freedom and democracy that they could not enjoy at home.

The film opens January 20 in theaters nationwide, and for its producer, George Lucas, it has been a 23-year odyssey.

You would think that someone considered one of the most powerful players in Hollywood, a man who has made billions with blockbusters such as the "Indiana Jones" and "Star Wars" franchises, would have been able to get "Red Tails" approved without any hesitation. Yet many African-Americans have long known that in Tinseltown, the color of your skin - or that of the people in the story you want to tell - often falls victim to racial pigeonholing.

Read Martin's full commentary