Race Inquiry Digest (May 13) – Important Current Stories On Race In America

Featured – Bob Marley lyrics that still hold true today (and probably always will). By Kendall Trammell / CNN

It’s been 38 years since Bob Marley died, but his legacy is larger than ever. His uplifting reggae music has been used to help thousands of famine victims in Africa. His face is worn on t-shirts, hats and watches as a popular symbol of peace. Even ocean critters have been named after him. The Jamaican singer-songwriter was just 36 when he died of a rare form of cancer in 1981. In his lifetime, he never even got a Grammy nomination. It wasn’t until 2001 that he was awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award for his artistic contributions to the music industry. Marley sang about everything from love to freedom to self-reflection.To show the timelessness of his message, here are just a few of his most popular lyrics.  Read more and listen here

Mother’s Day: For Many Black and Indigenous Women, Motherhood is a Fight Against, Racism, Sexism, and Violence. By Roberta K. Timothy / The Conversation

As we celebrate our moms and mommies this Mother’s Day, let us not forget that for some, motherhood is not an enjoyed privilege. For many Black, Indigenous and racialized women in Turtle Island (North America) and globally — motherhood is a fight for life. The struggle for our maternal health and motherhood includes daily resistance against anti-Black racism, anti-indigeneity, sexism, classism and other forms of intersectional violence. Read more

Why Racial Gaps In Maternal Mortality Persist. By Patti Neighmond / NPR

Medicine continues to advance on many fronts, yet basic health care fails hundreds of women a year who die during or after pregnancy, especially women of color. Black mothers die at a rate that’s 3.3 times greater than whites, and Native American or Alaskan Native women die at a rate 2.5 times greater than whites, according to a report out this week from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Read more

HIV hits black women hardest, CDC report says. Shamard Charles / NPR

Black women continue to be diagnosed with HIV at disproportionately high rates relative to white and Hispanic/Latina women, according to a report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Despite recent progress that has seen new HIV diagnoses decrease by 21 percent from 2010 to 2016, black women still accounted for 6 in 10 new HIV infections among women in 2016. Read more

The promise of historic Brown v. Board school desegregation ruling is ‘at grave risk,’ report says. By Valerie Strauss / Wash Post

Sixty-five years ago, the Supreme Court declared that segregated public schools were “inherently unequal” and unconstitutional, smashing a 1896 ruling that permitted “whites-only” and “Negroes-only” schools. The historic Brown vs. Board of Education decision ordered that public schools must be integrated, launching a decades-long struggle to end systemic inequality in American life. After all these years, a new report says that while Brown vs. Board may have led to desegregation in other parts of American society, it has been unsuccessful in its stated mission: to integrate public schools. Read more

Baby Steps Toward Guaranteed Incomes and Racial Justice. By Courtney E. Martin / NYT

Magnolia Mother’s Trust focuses on single, black mothers in the state with the highest poverty rate in the nation — a demographic of Americans who have been uniquely disenfranchised, vilified by bigots as “welfare queens” and forced to navigate notoriously bureaucratic and, some argue, untrustworthy systems to get help. Read more

Opioid Addiction Drug Going Mostly To Whites, Even As Black Death Rate Rises. By Martha Bebinger / NPR

White drug users addicted to heroin, fentanyl and other opioids have had near exclusive access to buprenorphine, a drug that curbs the craving for opioids and reduces the chance of a fatal overdose. That’s according to a study out Wednesday from the University of Michigan. It appears in JAMA Psychiatry. Read more 

All-White Neighborhoods Are Dwindling as America Grows More Diverse. By Emily Badger, Quoctrung Bui and Robert Gebeloff / NYT

As the country has become more racially and ethnically diverse over the past 40 years, American neighborhoods have, too. And the change is most apparent in places that were once all white. Read more

How advocates are writing Asian American stories back into history books. By Agnes Constante / NBC News

Julia Wang and Kathy Lu were shocked by the level of anti-immigration rhetoric they heard during the 2016 presidential election. It inspired them to take action: After the election, they developed a curriculum about Chinese American history and established a nonprofit, the Immigrant History Initiative, dedicated to educating communities about America’s immigrant stories. Read more

After the floods: the struggle for survival in a tiny Mississippi town. By Jamiles Lartey / The Guardian

When Tchula lake overran its banks, after heavy rains, Walter Coats’s home was one of the first to succumb. He was not the only one. Dozens more in Tchula, a small, 99% black town in central Mississippi, described struggles with slowly receding floodwaters and a lack of official help. They also described a more insidious devastation, produced by economic stagnation that preceded the storm clouds by decades. According to the US Census, the town is the poorest in Holmes county, which is the poorest county in the state of Mississippi, which is the poorest state in the union. For many in Tchula, the flooding has been the last straw. Read more

Columbus brought measles to the New World. It was a disaster for Native Americans.  By Michael S. Rosenwald / Wash Post

“European contact enabled the transmission of diseases to previously isolated communities, which caused devastation far exceeding that of even the Black Death in fourteenth-century Europe,” according to a 2010 paper in the Journal of Economic Perspectives titled “The Columbian Exchange: A History of Disease, Food, and Ideas.” Although we may never know the exact magnitudes of the depopulation, it is estimated that upwards of 80–95 percent of the Native American population was decimated within the first 100–150 years following 1492. Read more

‘A dream ticket’: Black lawmakers pitch Biden-Harris to beat Trump. By Heather Caygle and John Bresnahan / Politico

Harris is everything the 76-year-old Biden is not. The freshman senator from California is younger, a woman and a person of color. As Biden gets dinged for his bipartisan bromides, Harris is winning applause from progressives for her merciless cross-examination of Trump officials. Read more

History In the Making: Groundbreaking 32 Black Female Cadets to Graduate from U.S. Military Academy This Year. By Tanasia Kenney / Atl Black Star

It’s been two years since Simone Askew became the first Black woman to serve as First Captain of the corp of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Now, the school is set to make history yet again by graduating its largest class of African-American women. Read more

Weeksville, a Haven for Free African-Americans Before the Civil War, Is Fighting for Survival. By Corina Knoll and Morgan Jenkins / NYT

Founded shortly after New York abolished slavery in 1827, Weeksville was named after James Weeks, a black longshoreman who bought land from Henry C. Thompson, a leader in the African-American abolitionist movement, who had purchased the property from the wealthy Lefferts family. It would be more than two decades before the Emancipation Proclamation. Free and formerly enslaved black people made their way to the thriving hamlet that offered a school, a church and a newspaper that published the alphabet, reading lessons and prayers. The community produced doctors, journalists and educators. Read more

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