This illuminating stage work about Dick Gregory, the late iconic comedian and civil rights activist, receives a powerhouse performance from Joe Morton as the stand-up comic.
For Dick Gregory, American racism was a senseless fact of life: “I never learned hate at home, or shame. I had to go to school for that.”
With their meetings being disrupted by apparent Trump supporters, Westside liberals can no longer enjoy their old sense of isolation and insulation.
Like Woody Allen’s character in the film Zelig, Heather Booth seems to have been everywhere there was a fight for social justice. She’s played key roles in battles for voting rights, child care, workers’ rights, immigrant rights, and reproductive freedom.
Actress Alfre Woodard teared up as she read from the introduction to Tom Hayden’s 1988 book, Reunion, at the memorial honoring his life this past Sunday at UCLA.
Ed Simpson’s play, Periphery, opened in L.A. in honor of Black History Month – but also on the same day that massive crowds of protesters flooded the streets in cities across the nation against the newly inaugurated President Trump.
After Ava DuVernay burst into the mainstream as director of the acclaimed 2014 film Selma, she did not earn an Academy Award nomination for Direction, despite the film earning a Best Picture nod. Whatever doubts anybody might have had about her skill as a director should now be put to rest after her stunning new documentary 13th, now streaming on Netflix.
Most Americans today know that Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was killed in Memphis, Tennessee in 1968, but few know why he was there. King went to Memphis to support African American garbage workers, who were on strike to protest unsafe conditions, abusive white supervisors, and low wages — and to gain recognition for their union.
At age 88, civil rights leader, organizer and thinker Reverend James Lawson Jr. is still busy teaching all who will hear that nonviolence “represents a new day for activism.”
It was a long way from the elegant ballroom of downtown Los Angeles’ Bonaventure Hotel back to his Aunt Senovia’s tin-roofed shotgun shack in rural Alabama. But somehow Georgia Congressman John Lewis, the iconic civil rights leader whose life began in the segregated Jim Crow South, was able to pull it all together for one […]
The Supreme Court’s ruling Friday to legalize same-sex marriage is a victory for human rights and an occasion to rejoice. The decision follows in the footsteps of the Supreme Court’s 1967 decision in Loving v. Virginia that outlawed states’ bans on interracial marriage, an earlier pathbreaking victory for marriage equality. But there is a huge difference in […]
The first shot of What Happened, Miss Simone? shows a crowd applauding the appearance of a singer. After years of a self-imposed hiatus, Nina Simone walks onstage, and with one hand on a piano, bows. For a full 10 seconds. She then looks up and out at the rapturous audience. But she is not smiling. […]
A year and a half ago, I wrote an article for the Huffington Post that I called “Will the Killing of Trayvon Martin Catalyze a Movement Like Emmett Till Did?” I pointed out that Rosa Parks was thinking about Emmett Till — a 14-year-old African American who was brutally murdered by two white thugs in […]
Earlier this month two dozen workers, clergy and other community folks sat down in the aisles of the Walmart store in Pico Riviera, then moved into the streets, where they were promptly arrested. Why would any group of people – much less some not even directly involved in working at Walmart– voluntarily put themselves in […]
FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover tried to erase the name of Stanley Levison from civil rights history in the 1960s. Now historian Ben Kamin is putting Levison firmly back into the historic record with his new book, Dangerous Friendship: Stanley Levison, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Kennedy Brothers. Levison was a successful Jewish businessman […]
“I question America ” — the famous words spoken by civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer 50 years ago this week at the tumultuous Democratic Party convention in Atlantic City — is a fitting reflection of the soul-searching that the country is once again going through in the wake of the turmoil in Ferguson, Missouri. […]
Most students of the 1960s may know about the FBI’s obsessive surveillance of Martin Luther King Jr. and how the bureau’s shadowing and bugging of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s president would lead federal agents to infiltrate the civil rights and peace movements. Now, a new book by Ben Kamin throws a spotlight on the […]
Last month Julian Bond, the pioneering civil rights activist and former Georgia state legislator, addressed an audience gathered in Jackson, Mississippi, to celebrate and analyze the Mississippi Freedom Summer of 1964. Bond’s speech appears for the first time here, with his permission. In 1961, when Martin Luther King Jr. addressed the Fourth Constitutional Convention of […]
“When you’re in Mississippi the rest of America doesn’t seem real. And when you’re in the rest of America, Mississippi doesn’t seem real. ” — Bob Moses, Mississippi Freedom Summer Director The Mississippi Freedom Summer project of 1964 was born of necessity. The ranks of civil rights workers in the state were being devastated […]
Social justice activists often think that when things are terrible, people will rise up and protest those conditions until they see significant change, and sometimes they do. But usually, especially in recent decades in this country, they don’t. My friends, as well as other readers of the Frying Pan, often ask, Why not? I always […]
Fifty years ago, just a year out of high school, I sat in my parents’ small living room engrossed by images on the flickering black and white TV screen. Something called the March on Washington was running live — the whole event, as I recall, which network television did in those days. I’m not sure […]
What would the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. march for if he were alive today? America has made progress on many fronts in the half-century since King electrified a crowd of 200,000 people, and millions of Americans watching on television, with his “I Have a Dream” address at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. But […]
August 28 of this year marks the 50th anniversary of the famous March on Washington. For many people, the march was simply the site where Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. However, the full name of the march was the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, and it marked […]
As we settle further into Black History Month, it’s the perfect time to reflect on Martin Luther King Jr. and his often under-acknowledged passion for economic justice. King stands as a pillar of civil rights leadership and the movement for equal rights. His legacy is special to the black community, and as a symbol, he […]
In an action that already feels like ancient history, Congress voted earlier this month to avoid the “fiscal cliff.” While much remains to be settled, the revenue side of the issue got resolved because 84 House Republicans joined 172 Democrats to support the solution negotiated between the President and the Senate. In some ways, such […]