Tag Archives: civil rights

Ruby Dee, Actress & Civil Rights Activist, Dies At 91

ruby dee
  • Ruby Dee, an actress in the 1961 film “A Raisin In The Sun” and a prominent civil rights activist, died yesterday at age 91. She was a friend of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, and she appeared at the famous March On Washington in 1963.   She appeared in two of Spike Lee’s earliest films, “Do The Right Thing” and “Jungle Fever,” and was the first Black woman to star in major roles in a prestigious Shakespeare festival. Dee, was married to the actor Ossie Davis and together they received a joint National Medal of Arts from President Clinton. [New York TimesColorLines]
  • Louisiana’s governor has signed a restrictive abortion bill into law which requires that doctors have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of their clinic. It also mandates a 24-hour waiting period for abortions. [RH Reality Check] Keep reading »

“Matriarch Of The Gay Rights Movement” Edith Windsor Looks Back On This Momentous Year

edith windsor
Edie's Love Story With Thea

This June, the Supreme Court ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional in a case called Windsor v. United States. The woman behind the nation-changing lawsuit is Edith Windsor, an 84-year-old lesbian whose spouse, Thea Spyer, died in 2009. The women got engaged in 1967 and Edie wore a circular brooch with diamonds, so that coworkers and neighbors would not know they were a couple. For 40 years they stayed engaged, finally marrying in Canada in 2007. After Thea died, Edie was hit with $600,000 in taxes, because her U.S. government did not recognize her same-sex marriage as valid. By ruling DOMA unconstitutional, the Supreme Court affirmed the right of gay couples to have their marriages recognized on the federal level. As a runner-up for TIME magazine’s Person Of The Year distinction, here Edith speaks with TIME about the depth of her relationship with Thea and hiding their sexuality from anyone but their closest friends for decades. “There’s some legitimacy that we never knew we were lacking,” Edith said about getting married. “If you really care about the quality of someone’s life as much as you care about as your own, you have it made.” What a sweet and lovely woman. Edith, you’re my person of the year. [TIME]

For Us Weekly, Honoring MLK’s Dream Involves Black Men Holding Umbrellas For Rich White Ladies

I Guess Honoring MLK's Dream Involves Black Men Holding Umbrellas For Rich White Ladies

UsWeekly.com covered yesterday’s Martin Luther King Jr. Let Freedom Ring festivities in Washington, DC, and found a photograph that deftly captured what MLK’s “dream” was all about. Yes, I’m pretty sure that when Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I Have A Dream” speech, there was a paragraph (maybe two!) about the collective unconscious yearning black men everywhere felt to hold umbrellas for rich white women. Here, this unnamed gentleman gets to fulfill his special dream, by holding aloft an umbrella for LeAnn Rimes as she belts out a tune on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Thank you, Us Weekly, for so deftly capturing the civil rights movement’s valiant efforts. [Us Weekly]

MLK's "Dream" Speech
On Its 50th Anniversary, Watch Martin Luther King Jr.'s Full "I Have A Dream" Speech
Read the whole thing on its 50th anniversary. Read More »
Gay Rights & MLK
What would MLK do? Read More »
MLK Day, the movie
"30 Rock" MLK Day trailer
With Emma Stone and Andy Samberg. Read More »

Woman Gets Booted From Federal Building For Fashion Statement

California just legalized gay marriage, but they might need to explicitly legalize gay slogan t-shirts too. Lapriss Gilbert, 31, was booted from the Social Security office in Van Nuys by a security guard who claimed he wasn’t allowed to let her in the government building because of her “Lesbian.com” t-shirt. Gilbert, who was simply there to pick up her son’s card, was threatened with arrest if she didn’t leave the premises. While Gilbert may have walked away quietly, she is speaking up for herself! “As an African-American and a lesbian, I haven’t been through one day without facing some sort of discrimination … but this is just shocking,” she told reporters. So, after the incident, she immediately did what any woman would do — she called her mom. Tanya Gilbert, a long time gay rights activist, got so upset by her daughter’s story, she immediately phoned in the LAPD on the “rent-a-cop” guard from the private company, Paragon, hired by Homeland Security. Luckily, before the four city police officers and a federal agent arrived, a fellow Paragon security guard saw the error of their ways and the officer escorted Lapriss Gilbert in. Even the ACLU is surprised — Peter Eliasberg, an attorney for the organization, said, “I haven’t seen this type of blatant discrimination in a federal office building before.” Guess that’s the good news. But the Gilberts are planning on filing a lawsuit against Paragon Security for their discrimination so this doesn’t ever happen again. [Daily News]

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Loving & Marriage

Mildred Loving, the aptly named civil rights leader and last victim to be criminally tried for interracial marriage, passed away last Friday, at the age of 68. In 1958, she happily married a white man she had been in love with since grade school. Subsequently, she and her husband, Robert, were arrested and forced into exile with their children for violating Virginia’s Jim Crow laws, but she refused to undo their “I do’s.” Loving fought for love and took her trials all the way to the Supreme Court — where she and her husband got 17 states’ racist laws slashed. Although she only wanted to be a bride, Loving became an American heroine and she will live on through her heart, which was big enough to change this country. [AP] Keep reading »

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