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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
Voices from the Southern closet
Gays and lesbians protest North Carolina's amendment banning same-sex marriage in 2012.
March 20th, 2013
08:51 AM ET

Voices from the Southern closet

Editor's Note: On March 26th and 27th, the US Supreme Court will hear two key cases regarding same-sex marriage. Every Monday and Tuesday in March, CNN Radio will feature stories about issues related to same-sex marriage.  

By Tommy Andres, CNN

(CNN) – So far nine states have legalized same sex marriages, none of them in the South. As part of our same sex marriage series we reached out to our audience to find out what it's like to be gay or lesbian in the South.

What we discovered was surprising.

The gays and lesbians who spoke to us all love living in the South despite its somewhat hostile climate towards them.

FULL STORY
March 19th, 2013
12:30 PM ET

Backlash against 'Being White in Philly'

(CNN) - Philadelphia Magazine is under fire after publishing a controversial article titled 'Being White in Philly' that discusses bridging the racial gap. Mayor Michael Nutter is considering asking a city panel to formally rebuke the magazine. CNN Anchor Brooke Baldwin talks with a panel about the magazine’s choice to publish the article.

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Filed under: History • How we live • Race • Where we live
March 18th, 2013
07:30 AM ET

Are victims falling through America's hate crime data gap?

By Nicole Krasavage and Scott Bronstein, CNN Special Investigations Unit

Washington (CNN) - Two hit-and-run deaths in rural Mississippi just a few miles apart highlight a disturbing problem about data collection on possible hate crimes.

Last summer, 61-year-old African-American Sunday school teacher Johnny Lee Butts was hit and killed by an 18-year-old white driver. The teen told Panola County Sheriff deputies he thought he hit a deer but the driver's two passengers said he steered straight for Butts. One passenger said he could see that Butts was black. The killing has sparked outrage in the local African-American community. Civil rights groups have demanded that police prosecute Butts' killing as a hate crime.

Nonetheless, prosecutors chose not to.

There was no evidence, authorities said, to suggest a racial motive. The driver was charged with murder. He has not yet pleaded in the case.

Related: Three plead guilty in Mississippi hate crime

In another hit and run, 41-year-old African-American Garrick Burdette was found dead along a Panola County road in November 2009.

His mother, Ruby Burdette, says for three years she had heard nothing about any police investigation into her son's death until CNN began asking about the case.

CNN received no response after calling the Panola County Sheriff's department, but just hours after CNN's call, a sheriff's investigator drove to Ruby Burdette's house.

FULL STORY

Filed under: History • How we live • Race • Where we live
Black, female, and a Silicon Valley 'trade secret'
Silicon Valley is reluctant to shed light on the diversity of its workforce.
March 17th, 2013
08:00 PM ET

Black, female, and a Silicon Valley 'trade secret'

By Julianne Pepitone @CNNMoneyTech

(CNNMoney) - How diverse is Silicon Valley? Most tech companies really, really don't want you to know, and the U.S. government isn't helping shed any light on the issue.

In an investigation that began in August 2011, CNNMoney probed 20 of the most influential U.S. technology companies, the Department of Labor, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and we filed two Freedom of Information Act requests for workforce diversity data.

A year-and-a-half, a pile of paperwork, and dozens of interviews later, we have a little more insight - but not much.

Most of the companies stonewalled us, but the data we were able to get showed what one might expect: Ethnic minorities and women are generally underrepresented, sometimes severely so - particularly in management roles. White and Asian males often dominate their fields.

Our investigation demonstrated how difficult - and sometimes impossible - gaining any insight into Silicon Valley's employee diversity can be. It shows a general lack of transparency in an industry known for its openness.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Diversity • History • Technology • Where we live
March 15th, 2013
04:50 PM ET

Is the new pope Latino?

By Cindy Y. Rodriguez and Alicia W. Stewart, CNN

(CNN) – The Catholic Church has elected its first pope from South America, a historic milestone that has some wondering whether he should be considered the first “Latino” pope.

"I'm not quite sure how he is being considered the first Latino pope?" wrote Jeremy Marsh in CNN comments. "I guess the real question is, what is the definition of 'Latino'?"

For Julieta Vitullo, 37, a teacher and filmmaker from Argentina, the thought of calling Pope Francis “Latino” never crossed her mind.  To her, he is undoubtedly Argentine.

“In South America, we either use our country of origin or use 'Latin Americans.' We don’t define ourselves as Latino. That’s more of an American term, ” she said.

But, that hasn't stopped many Hispanics from using the word.

“As a Latina and Catholic, I can't explain how excited and happy I am for Pope Francis I – the first Latino Pope! #latism” tweeted Sasha Monik Moreno.

CNN contributor Ruben Navarrette wrote a CNN piece about the long wait for the "first Latino pope":

"...[T]he news of a Latino papa has sent a jolt of euphoria through Argentina and throughout Latin America. Imagine winning the World Cup Championship times 10. There also will be a lot of excitement among Latinos in the United States, perhaps enough to reignite their passion for the church and bring them back to Mass.”

But to understand the range of who is Latino, and if the new pontiff qualifies, one has to first the understand the  history of Argentina. FULL POST

March 13th, 2013
08:17 AM ET

Devoted New Orleans teacher vanishes without a trace

By Holly Yan and Vivian Kuo, CNN

(CNN) - Terrilynn Monette had no problem uprooting her life to help children.

When the California native learned of the "teachNOLA" program, which sends educators to New Orleans to teach in impoverished areas, she packed her bags and headed to Louisiana.

"I always wanted to be a teacher, and what better place to teach than New Orleans, where passionate teachers are needed most?" Monette said in a 2011 video.

Her dedication and excellence in the classroom earned her a "Teacher of the Year" nomination in her district.

But after a night celebrating the accolade with friends, the 26-year-old vanished.

That was almost two weeks ago. With each passing day, her family's anxiety compounds.

"There's total emptiness in my life right now. I miss my daughter so, so much, no one can hardly believe the impact that she has had on our family," said Monette's mother, Toni Enclade.

"She's a beautiful person. She walks in the room, she lights up with her beautiful smile. I can't imagine anyone that would take her away from us."

Hundreds of volunteers and police have scoured New Orleans, but are no closer to finding Monette.

She left no clues behind.

FULL STORY
March 12th, 2013
12:20 PM ET

Undocumenteds' hope for next pope

(CNN) - CNN's Miguel Marquez says immigrants hope the next pope will focus on issues like human rights and economic justice.

March 8th, 2013
07:10 PM ET

Opinion: Lean in to learn from global examples of women

Editor’s Note: Michele Wucker is publisher of World Policy Journal and president of the World Policy Institute (www.worldpolicy.org), a global ideas incubator focused on emerging challenges, thinkers and solutions. She also is a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum and author, most recently, of "LOCKOUT: Why America Keeps Getting Immigration Wrong When Our Prosperity Depends on Getting It Right."

By Michele Wucker, Special to CNN

(CNN) - The courage of women like Malala Yousafzai, the 15-year-old student leader in Pakistan who was shot and nearly died for fighting for girls’ right to education; Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who endured nearly 15 years of house arrest because of her stand for democracy in Myanmar; and of precedent-setting presidents like Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and Dilma Rousseff of Brazil is inspirational.

America’s women and work discussion could take a lesson from other countries.

Americans make plenty of pronouncements about why countries like Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia should let women go to school, drive cars and have many of the rights American women take for granted.

But focusing exclusively on the extreme examples of restrictions on women’s rights elsewhere provides a convenient way to overlook the ways we could do better here at home.

We have an opportunity to learn from countries that are far ahead of the United States in closing the gender gap in leadership positions in politics and business, if we are open to it. FULL POST

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Filed under: Girls • What we think • Where we live • Women
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