News / archive

    Remembering Discrimination of the Past

    African American Remember Discrimination of the Pasti
    X
    August 25, 2013 11:12 PM
    Five decades ago Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. fought for racial equality in the southern United States. The landscape of the region was drastically different as African Americans were denied basic human rights and freedoms because of discriminatory local and state laws designed to keep black and whites separated. VOA’s Chris Simkins gives us a snapshot of what some African American endured in a segregated South.
    African American Remember Discrimination of the Past
    Chris Simkins
    Five decades ago, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. fought for racial equality in the United States. The landscape of the region was drastically different than today, as African Americans, especially in the south, were denied basic human rights and freedoms because of discriminatory local and state laws designed to keep black and whites separated.
     
    Jeff Drew's family wasn't welcomed in an all-white neighborhood in Birmingham, Ala. Determined to stay, his father took action to protect his family from hate groups, fortifying the home to resist bullets and the dynamite that was thrown at the house.
     
    Drew recalled one of those dynamite attacks.
     
    "I was laying on the floor watching the TV and the next moment, me and the TV are at the ceiling,” Drew said. “It had literally blown us both off the floor and I had my first taste of what a dynamite blast felt like."
     
    Birmingham was known as the most segregated city in the south. At the Lyric Theatre, white customers entered through the front door while black customers had to go around the corner to a back alley and enter through an entrance marked “Colored only.”
     
    "Whites were privileged, blacks were the unprivileged, and we lived with signs and symbols of segregation: whites here, blacks here," said Frankye Adams Johnson, who grew up in Mississippi surrounded by symbols of racial segregation.
     
    Many southern communities passed laws to separate blacks and whites in schools, restaurants and other public places. Congressman John Lewis, who grew up in rural Alabama, said he tasted the bitter fruits of racism.
     
    "I didn't like it. I saw those signs that said white men, colored men, white women, colored women, white waiting, colored waiting."
     
    Hollis Watkins from Mississippi remembers some of the unwritten rules.
     
    "If you are walking down the sidewalk and you meet white people, you step off the sidewalk and bow your head until they pass,” he said.  “If you didn't, it could be considered as disrespectful and they might kick you, beat you or put you in jail."
     
    In June 1963 Alabama Governor George Wallace blocked two African Americans from enrolling of at the all-white University of Alabama. After federal marshals and the National Guard stepped in, Wallace stepped aside.
     
    For his daughter, Peggy Wallace Kennedy, that’s a painful memory.
     
    "It stained Alabama, of course, but it stained him for the rest of his life even though he changed, later on in his years, his feelings about racial issues," she said.
     
    The symbols of racial segregation in the South started disappearing after the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, giving millions of African Americas the same freedom and liberties enjoyed by the country's white population.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Borderi
    X
    July 22, 2016 12:30 AM
    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.
    Video

    Video Number of Syrian Refugees Arriving in US Jumps

    The United States is committed to resettling 85,000 refugees from around the world by October. Of that number, 10,000 will come from Syria and already some 4,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in the United States, many of them settling in the state of Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from Chicago, their arrival is not the end of a difficult journey to find peace and stability.
    Video

    Video Rio’s Trams Await Olympic Tourists

    Over the past century, many cities around the world replaced electric trams, prone to breakdowns and backups, with faster and more spacious buses. But for some reason restored antique trams are a huge tourist attraction. So it’s no wonder the authorities in Rio de Janeiro are busy restoring their city’s old tram line ahead of the Summer Olympic Games. VOA’ George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora