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Front Page » Table of Contents » Civil Rights & Justice

By Diane Wahto on July 3, 2011

Gail Collins took on a monumental task when she set out to write When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present, published in 2010, with an updated appendix. Collins is the former editorials editor of The New York Times and writes a column for the Times op-ed page. Her method of detailing the history of the second wave of the feminist movement is to include personal anecdotes of individual women with the historical events that marked and shaped their lives. The personal anecdotes based on interviews with hundreds of women make the book readable and entertaining.

As a person who came of age in the '60s and who felt the exhilaration of first, seeing the Civil Rights Movement and anti-war movement unfold, then secondly being a part of The Feminine Mystique generation, I not only had my memory jogged as I read this book, I relived some of the events that took place during those years. Many women of my generation woke up to the realization that they didn't have to follow the traditional path that their mothers and grandmothers had trod. Rather they had choices that included activism but did not necessarily have to include having sex with and making coffee for the men in the anti-war and Civil Rights movements.

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By Angelo Lopez on June 24, 2011

Frederick Douglass is best known as an abolitionist and a champion of African American rights. One of the most compelling orators of the nineteenth century, Douglass delivered countless abolitionist speeches and civil rights speeches to defend the African American community from slavery, discrimination and lynching. Frederick Douglass, though, did not fight for only the rights of African Americans. He fought for the human rights of all groups that he saw as being harassed or discriminated against and he involved himself in the great reform movements of his time. Douglass participated in the first Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls in 1848 and signed the Declaration of Sentiments. He supported the labor movement, the temperance movement, and he fought against peonage. One of the little known facts about Frederick Douglass is his advocacy of equal rights for immigrants, especially Chinese laborers. In the book Ripples Of Hope: Great American Civil Rights Speeches edited by Josh Gottheimer, I found a speech that Douglass made on December 7, 1869 attacking the discrimination and violence that Chinese immigrants were facing. In light of the controversy over immigrant rights today, we could draw lessons from Frederick Douglass's speech.

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By Diane Wahto on June 14, 2011

In the 1960s, during the heat of the civil rights, student rights and anti-war movements, women, both black and white, found themselves relegated to the domestic side of leftist activism. Much to the surprise and disgust of leftist activist women, left-wing males let movement women know that their role was to cook, clean, make the coffee, and make themselves available for sex whenever the men wanted it. Author Gail Collins covers this issue in her book, When Everything Changed, an overview of the women’s movement during the last fifty years.

Not every man treated every woman as a subservient being, but the treatment was widespread enough that many women finally decided to form their own movement groups, giving birth to the Second Wave of the women’s liberation movement.

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By Angelo Lopez on June 3, 2011

Alexander Hamilton has always been the one Founding Father that I didn't like. There are many reasons for this. Two of my favorite Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, couldn't stand Hamilton. Though I am to the left of the political spectrum, I've always felt that some of the Left's criticism of the Founding Fathers are unfair. The criticism of the Left that the Founding Father's were capitalistic and imperialistic seems to apply though to Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton was a supporter of a strong professional military and championed the North's merchant class, stock markets and a central banking system. While reading Ron Chernow's book Alexander Hamilton, though, I found out that Hamilton was a strong advocate for the abolition of slavery. During the 1780s, Hamilton was one of the founders of the New York Society for Promoting the Manumission of Slaves, which was instrumental in the abolition of slavery in the state of New York. After reading about Alexander Hamilton's work for the New York Manumission Society, I gained a greater appreciation of Alexander Hamilton.

Alexander Hamilton was born in Nevis in the British West Indies in 1757, the illegitimate child of common-in-law couple James and Rachel Hamilton. James abandoned the family when Alexander was ten, and two years later, his mother Rachel died from an unspecified disease. After his mother died, Alexander Hamilton and his brother James were brought under the legal guardianship of their cousin Peter Lytton, who unfortunately committed suicide. During this chaotic childhood, Alexander Hamilton lived in poverty and was a social outcast due to his illegitimate birth. His intelligence was noticed though, and he soon lived with a respected merchant, Thomas Stevens and his wife, Ann.

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By Paul Faber on April 10, 2011

My local daily newspaper recently took, to paraphrase Neil Armstrong, one small step for a newspaper, but one giant leap for newspaperkind. Or did it?

What did our newspaper do? They noted that a particular story (or, really, an on-going series) is "sponsored by ...."

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By Angelo Lopez on March 27, 2011

I've never read Charles Dickens. I was never assigned to read any of his books during high school or college. I've watched various Christmas Carol movies, but had not really watched any other versions of a Charles Dickens book. A few months ago my wife and I watched an old 1930s version of A Tale of Two Cities with Ronald Colman and we both loved it.

Soon after I then read an essay by George Orwell that talked about how subversive a writer Dickens was and how his stories attacked most of English institutions for their apathy towards the poor. It turns out that many radicals and social activists have been influenced by the books of Charles Dickens for his sympathy for the poor and for his critique of the British capitalist system.

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By Angelo Lopez on February 13, 2011

Over the past two years, the Tea Party has dominated the political discourse in American politics. In spite of my disagreements with them, I have a grudging respect for the way the Tea Party activists have become passionately involved in the political process and have taken part in organized protests to try to sway the American public to their way of thinking. I hope more progressives emulate that sort of activism.

Despite that grudging respect, I disagree with a lot of things that have emanated from the Tea Party. One of my biggest disagreements with the Tea Party has to do with the way they interpret the Constitution.

When I read a lot of what the Tea Party espouses about the Constitution and its philosophy of a limited federal government, I wonder if these people are confusing the Constitution with the Articles of Confederation.

Read more of this post here ...

By Ken Poland on February 4, 2011

What is happening in Egypt? What are we seeing in society around the world? Is it civilized and peaceful organization to right the wrongs of oppressive government? Is our massive industrial complex of war machine manufacturers quelling the physical violence around the world? Is our mighty unmatched military complex creating peace?

What do we have in our constitution that guarantees a better way? The first amendment to our constitution is the secret to a better way. Religion with its emotional and spiritual blackmail power, guaranteed by support of sovereign power of government is a powerful force when corrupt and conscienceless men are in control. Freedom of/from Religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of peaceful assembly are not available to most of the people held bondage by despotic rulers.

Here in Everyday Citizen and Kansas Free Press, we have a forum that allows exchange of opinion through the power of word and reason rather than rocks and bullets. We happen to be identified as being leftist or liberal. The right leaning and conservative folks have their outlets that give opportunity to exercise power and reason in the same way.

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By John Atlas on February 3, 2011

John F. Kennedy famously said: "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."

With you I am watching the people of Egypt and other Arab nations try to step out from under the boot of tyranny. I hope it’s not too late for Obama to seek out and support the civic activists throughout the Middle East who want justice, and to live in a free society.

While many in the Islamic world, including those in the streets, are dangerous anti-American and anti-Israel religious fanatics, to the surprise of most Americans I bet, many others are concerned about getting things like good jobs and their children an education.

Many involved in the demonstrations are poor, factory workers and jobless. But also on the front lines are professors, members of soccer clubs, workers in human rights groups, and in places like the Al-Nakheel Association for Women and Children. They are journalists, lawyers, religious moderates, secular leftists, union organizers, bloggers, filmmakers and artists, some of whom, from their space in the civil society, have fought the despots, without much help from the United States, and usually paid dearly.

Read more of this post here ...

By Angelo Lopez on February 3, 2011

A few months ago I had written a post on religious people who have spoken in YouTube against homophobia. Since then, I have found in YouTube various houses of worship who have collectively taken a stand against bullying against LGBT youth. In here I'll post some of those YouTube videos.

Read more of this post here ...

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