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In 1967, King led the largest antiwar demonstration to date in New York City. More than 1,100 people marched with King from Central Park to U.N. headquarters to protest the Vietnam War.
He is remembered today in New York with a street named in his honor. Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard is an alternative name for Manhattan’s 125th Street. There is also a Martin Luther King, Jr. High School on Amsterdam Avenue and a Martin Luther King Triangle, a park space in Manhattan’s Mott Haven neighborhood (Austin Place and East 149th Street).
Since the 1960s, most U.S. history has been written as if the civil rights movement were primarily or entirely a Southern history. Civil Rights in New York City edited by Clarence Taylor joins a growing body of scholarship that demonstrates the importance of the Northern history of the movement. The contributors make clear that civil rights in New York City were contested in many ways, beginning long before the 1960s, and across many groups with a surprisingly wide range of political perspectives. Civil Rights in New York City provides a sample of the rich historical record of the fight for racial justice in the city that was home to the nation’s largest population of African-Americans in mid-twentieth century America.
Also of interest…
Red Tail Captured, Red Tail Free
Memoirs of a Tuskegee Airman and POW
For more information on Red Tails visit or www.Redtailsfilm.com.
Today marks the anniversary of Civil Rights Leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday. In 1967, King led the largest antiwar demonstration to date in New York City. More than 1,100 people marched with King from Central Park to U.N. … Full Story
By Matthew Isham
In the wake of the acrimonious presidential election this past fall, several political pundits condemned what they believed to be invidious media bias on both sides of the contest. That bias, they charged, has created a toxic political environment that exacerbates partisanship and sharply divides the nation. At Salon, for instance, Andrew Leonard blamed the conservative “echo chamber” for promoting Republican extremism and blinding the party’s loyal base to political reality. Not to be outdone, Rich Noyes at the Fox News website accused “media elites” in essence of conspiring to derail Romney’s campaign and re-elect the president. For Leonard, Noyes, and other pundits, the behavior of the media in recent elections offends their ideal of an independent and objective media, scrupulously devoid of political bias. Their complaints are inspired by a nostalgic notion that the country’s press once was a model of professional objectivity, but, with the proliferation of electronic media, in recent years has devolved into unseemly partisanship.
Yet, what these critics see as a troubling new phenomenon has a very long history in this country in reality. Historically, the proliferation of the press and the establishment of political parties were intimately intertwined. Each was necessary to the establishment and development of the other. Beginning around 1800, newspapers enabled incipient political parties to reach a national audience and recruit loyal voters, ensuring the organizations’ long-term survival. For their part, newspapers benefited from subsidies from political parties to publish campaign information and literature and from an expanded readership that devoured political news. Still, this mutually beneficial relationship did not always sit well with people. The well-known social reformer and critic Gerrit Smith despaired of the deepening partnership between the press and political parties in the 1820s. He cautioned citizens that if they cherished an independent press, then they should “expose it, as little as possible, to the corruption of political parties and to the lying spirit, which too generally actuates them.” Americans did not heed Smith’s warning, however, for unabashedly partisan newspapers came to dominate the press from the 1820s through the Civil War.
So why did Americans tolerate a thoroughly politicized and highly partisan press in the past? In large part it was because the concept of a professional, critical, and objective media was foreign to them. From the 18th through much of the 19th century, the American press was designed to serve a segmented market. Individual newspapers served the interests of merchants, lawyers, women, temperance advocates, abolitionists, churchgoers, devotees of literature, even enthusiasts of pornography, among other niche markets. Americans therefore were used to popular media that promoted and catered to particular points of view, interests and beliefs. In Objectivity and the News, the historian Daniel Schiller contends that the penny press of the 1830s essentially invented the concept of objectivity in the media when they sought to bypass the segmented market and create a broader public appeal. This was an inauspicious development, for these journals’ pose of objectivity was a mere marketing ploy, not an accurate reflection of their editorial or journalistic practice. The penny press still was highly politicized, if not consistently partisan.
Partisan newspapers continued to dominate the press until the late nineteenth century, when. overt partisanship in the media all but disappeared. Politics and the media nevertheless continue to be intimately connected, as the robust market for political news has remained a constant. The proliferation of electronic media in recent years, particularly with the success of special interest websites and blogs, has capitalized on this by resurrecting media partisanship. This might come as an unwelcome shock to those who venerate the myth of media objectivity, but it is unsurprising when considered in the context of the mutual historical development of the media and partisan politics in this country.
Matthew Isham is Managing Director of The George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center, The Pennsylvania State University. He wrote “A Press That Speaks Its Opinions Frankly and Openly and Fearlessly”: The Contentious Relationship between the Democratic Press and the Party in the Antebellum North in This Distracted and Anarchical People: New Answers for Old Questions about the Civil War–Era North.
By Matthew Isham In the wake of the acrimonious presidential election this past fall, several political pundits condemned what they believed to be invidious media bias on both sides of the contest. That bias, they charged, has created a toxic … Full Story
A version of this first appeared on the blog With A Brooklyn Accent on October 22, 2012.
By Mark Naison, co-author of The Rat That Got Away (Fordham University Press).
Virtually every poll now has President Obama and Mitt Romney embroiled in an extremely close race. The president could very well win this election; but he could also lose. And if he does lose, I will have to go back to something I first started saying nearly three years — namely that turning off the nation’s teachers with educational policies which silence their voice and put them under extreme stress is not only bad for the nation’s schools, it could cripple the president’s re-election efforts.I have worked to get the president to incorporate the nation’s teachers into education policy discussions, and stop requiring schools to ratchet up the number of standardized tests to receive federal funding. I have privately engaged people close to the president in conversation about teachers’ disillusionment, efforts which were totally unsuccessful.The president’s inner circle, from what I could gather, refused to bend on support for Race to the Top and Education Secretary Arne Duncan. They were not only convinced that these policies would end up improving the nation’s schools; they felt that the political gains to be made in terms of support from wealthy donors and influential journalists was far greater than any losses that would occur in terms of teacher enthusiasm. They knew the largest teachers unions would support the president no matter what policies he chose to implement.
Now, at crunch time, when it’s too late to change course, I can tell you that this judgment was a severe miscalculation. Not only have the president’s policies failed to narrow testing gaps by race and class, they have contributed to teacher morale in the nation to be the lowest it has been since pollsters began measuring this trait.
But the political consequences may have been even more serious than the educational ones. Most teachers will probably end up voting for the president, but from what I have seen, in both New York and around the nation, they will not be manning phone banks, canvassing in their neighborhoods, traveling to swing states on the weekends and generally giving time, money and energy to assure the president’s election the way they did in 2008.
Many pundits attribute the Obama victory in 2008 to an incredibly strong “ground game” composed of huge numbers of volunteers, as well as paid staff, working to get out the vote in battleground states. Many of those individuals, including me, my wife, and many of my friends, were teachers, professors and school administrators. During this election, I know of few, if any educators putting in that kind of heroic effort, almost entirely because they are feeling betrayed by the president, indeed, by the entire Democratic Party, on educational issues, even though they support the president’s positions on reproductive freedom, gay rights, taxation and medical care.
There is no way of knowing whether the phenomenon I am describing is will be a “game changer” in this election. But based on what I have seen in 2008 and in this campaign, there is a chance it could be. And if it is, the Obama brain trust has no one to blame but themselves.
A version of this first appeared on the blog With A Brooklyn Accent on October 22, 2012. By Mark Naison, co-author of The Rat That Got Away (Fordham University Press). Virtually every poll now has President Obama and Mitt Romney embroiled in an extremely close race. … Full Story
Protests in Khartoum over the past few days echo the recent unrest in Egypt and Tunisia. Protests came on the heels of the news that, after decades of conflict between the north and south, more than 95% of South Sudanese voted for independence.
Sudan at the Brink: Self-Determination and National Unity by Sudanese academic and politician, Francis Mading Deng, sheds important light on the complexities of the region and the challenges new leadership will face to maintain peace and promote unity.
Hear more from Dr. Francis Mading Deng and the lead–up to this landmark referendum.
Protests in Khartoum over the past few days echo the recent unrest in Egypt and Tunisia. Protests came on the heels of the news that, after decades of conflict between the north and south, more than 95% of South Sudanese … Full Story