civil rights

When Roger Severino tells his story, discrimination is at its heart.

"I did experience discrimination as a child. And that leaves a lasting impression," he tells me.

Severino directs the Office for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. When I meet with him at his office in the shadow of the Capitol, he talks about his childhood as the son of Colombian immigrants growing up in Los Angeles.

via civilrightstrail.com

Kentucky is among the 14 states that are a part of the new U.S. Civil Rights Trail.

Two Democratic representatives, John Lewis and Bennie Thompson, say they will not attend the long-awaited opening on Saturday of two museums dedicated to Mississippi's history and civil rights struggle because of the planned appearance of President Trump.

Lewis is a Georgia Democrat and icon of the civil rights campaign. Thompson is Mississippi's only Democratic congressman. In a joint statement, they said they made their decision "after careful consideration and conversations with church leaders, elected officials, civil rights activists" and many others.

The NAACP, America's oldest civil rights group, is replacing its president, Cornell William Brooks, and planning a "transformational retooling," according to the group's board of directors.

Brooks, who has been the president of the NAACP for three years, will not be retained once his contract is up at the end of June, the chairman and vice chair of the board of directors say.

The NAACP says the change is part of "an organization-wide refresh."

The city of Miami can sue Wells Fargo and Bank of America for damages under the Fair Housing Act, the Supreme Court says, allowing a lawsuit to continue that accuses the big banks of causing economic harm with discriminatory and predatory lending practices.

The 5-3 vote saw Chief Justice John Roberts form a majority with the court's more liberal justices. Justice Anthony Kennedy, widely seen as the court's "swing" justice, sided with Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito. The court's newest justice, Neil Gorsuch, wasn't involved in the case.

It was a weekend for Rep. John Lewis to remember his past. The Georgia Democrat and civil rights icon filled a Nashville auditorium and told stories of his role in the student movement.

And he showed that he can still rally a crowd of hundreds.

"When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just," he said, "you have a moral obligation, a mission and a mandate, to stand up, to speak up and speak out, and get in the way, get in trouble, good trouble, necessary trouble."

yuriy kirsanov, 123rf Stock Photo

Efforts to expand Kentucky’s Civil Rights Act are getting a boost from a Western Kentucky University legal scholar. History Professor Patti Minter is testifying Wednesday in Frankfort in support of a bill that would offer greater legal protections to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals. 

Rob Canning, WKMS

The oldest son of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King says he thought the United States would be at a different juncture as a nation when it comes to civil rights in the 21st century. Martin Luther King III spoke at the Murray State University 12th Annual Presidential Lecture Series Monday night.

Pogue Library at Murray State University is home to numerous special collections and oral history projects. Tucked among these documents is the Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of Coretta Scott King and her daughter Bernice at Martin Luther King Jr.'s funeral taken by Owensboro native Moneta Sleet Jr. On Sounds Good, Matt Markgraf speaks with Sarah Hopley, Special Collections & Exhibits Librarian, about how this photo, and a thank you letter signed by Sleet ended up in the archives at Murray State.

Murray State University 1961 Shield Yearbook, Courtesy of Wesley Bolin at Pogue Library

A group of six college students walked from Murray State University across the street to a small restaurant, about to quietly protest its “white-only” policy. Entering the establishment, the five white boys from New York ordered meals for the group. When the food was ready, Nancy Tyler Demartra, the first African American to attend MSU full-time and eventually graduate, stood up to pay. When the cashiers refused her money, the entire group said “no, thanks,” and walked out. It took about three months of visits like these, but with the help of others on campus the group finally pushed the restaurant to adopt an “open” serving policy. That was 1961. Fifty-four years later, Nancy speaks with Kate on Sounds Good about her experiences at MSU and her accomplishments in the Human and Civil Rights arenas.

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