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    it's not a pretty picture

    Brennan Center for Justice

    When we look at American democracy today, it's not a pretty picture.

    The 2014 elections were marred by a wave of voting restrictions and vast sums of secretive “dark money.” The Supreme Court smashed longstanding protections. Government seems paralyzed and polarized.

    With the very integrity of our elections — and our democracy — at stake, what can we do?

    We can fight back. Make democracy reform a true strategy, at the heart of our national agenda.

    To do that we need you! Please make your year-end, tax-deductible gift to the Brennan Center for Justice today.

    With you by our side, the Brennan Center can thwart onerous voting restrictions – like the law in Texas which effectively bars 600,000 Texans from the polls because they lack one of the required forms of ID. We won in the trial court, where the judge ruled that Texas’ law “constitutes an unconstitutional poll tax.” We will continue the fight all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court.

    Your generous gift today will also help the Brennan Center pave the way to overturn the 2010 Citizens United ruling and other misguided cases that make it easier than ever to buy access to politics.

    This is an unsettling time for democracy, but we can win if we all work together. We must hold our institutions accountable, and insist they reflect our highest ideals:

    Equality. Freedom. Full participation for all.
    Please add your voice to ours. Make your year-end gift to the Brennan Center today.
    Together we will be a mighty force!
    Michael Waldman President

    Barack Obama: The Jackie Robinson of U.S. Presidents

    When Barack Hussein Obama was elected president, I wondered how many other students of Black Achievement thought of him as the Jackie Robinson of U.S. Presidents as I did.

    Jack Roosevelt "Jackie" Robinson was born in 1919 and developed into an outstanding, all-round athelete. He became the first black baseball player in six decades to play major league ball when he broke baseball's color barrier and debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

    Although the versatile Robinson excelled at serveral team positions, he was not well received by the fans, his team mates, or other players in the league. Players on a rival ball club threatened to strike, mates on his own team rebelled, and fans expressed displeasure by booing, hurling insults and releasing an ocassional black cat on the field. Sports Illustrated's Bill Nack wrote: "Robinson was the target of racial epithets and flying cleats, of hate letters and death threats, of pitchers throwing at his head and legs, and catchers spitting on his shoes."

     Barack Hussein Obama
    By the end of Robinson's rookie season, he was voted National League Rookie of the Year. A few years later, he was selected as the NL's Most Valuable player of the Year and also won the batting title with a .342 average that same year. As a result of a successful career, Jackie was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

    Six months prior to Barack Obama assuming duties of the Oval Office, the country had lost four million jobs with another four million lost before his policies were accepted. He was also faced with two major wars to fight, with no stradegy for winning or plan exiting; hundreds of thousands of homes were being foreclosed on every month; fifty million people were left without affordable healthcare; banks were on the verge of failure, and the economy was just days away from a complete meltdown. By all accounts, it is safe to say only one other U.S. President had taken office with the country in nearly as bad a shape as the day Obama was sworn in.

    The blueprint for turning the country around and bringing it out of such a depressed economy had been created by Franklin Delanor Roosevelt, who was president at the time this country saw its worse days. To get the economy moving in the right direction, FDR had created jobs by improving infastructure, paving roads, building schools and erecting landmarks.

    Like Robinson, Obama was not well received, particularly by his Republican colleagues. Seasoned Republicans put their publicly stated goal, to make the new president a "one term president," above the needs of the country. They told the president it was not the role of government to create jobs and refused to consider any of his job bills even when they were fully paid for. The GOP offered instead their own job plan, not to repair bridges and roadways as needed, but to build a cross-country pipeline to aid the oil industry to ship Canadian oil abroad to China. They also fought him on badly needed healthcare but Obama managed to pass a healthcare plan, which was over a hundred years in the making.

    The Repubicans were also refusing to approve Obama's committee appointments needed for enforcement of his new reforms. While Congress was on one of its many receses, Obama, using his presidential powers, made several appointments himself. He drew on the powers of the presidency on other occasions to stimuluate the job market. His efforts resulted in a slight uptick, gradually bringing some improvement to the economy.

    Oddly enough, as President Obama approaches the end of his first term, he reminds me of another Black over-achiever, John Arthur Jack Johnson, the first Black heavyweight boxing champion. After Johnson had won the title by defeating champion Tommy Burns, racial animosity among whites ran deep and the call went out for a fighter to take his crown away. Thus, Johnson as title holder had to face a series of opponents each billed by boxing promoters as the "Great White Hope."

    White fans wanted nothing more than to see Johnson beaten up, and "ground into the dirt." They beseeched former undefeated heavyweight champion James J. Jeffries for months, offering him an unheard sum of money to fight Johnson. When Jeffries came out of retirement he said, "I feel obligated to the sporting public at least to make an effort to reclaim the heavyweight championship for the white race. . . . I should step into the ring again and demonstrate that a white man is king of them all."

    Jeffries words seem to reverberate a hundred years later when Mitt Romney, the Republican's choice to defeat Obama in 2012, summed up a GOP primary win by saying, "Let's not forget what this is about... it's all about beating one man and sending his family packing from the White House." When the call was sent out by Republicans, it was not only for someone to defeat Obama, but to beat up on him, "rough him up," make him "look bad."

    The Johnson - Jeffries boxing match took place in 1910. After Jeffries had been knocked down twice for the first time in his career, the referee jumped in and brought a halt to the match in the 15th round, just as the former champ was on his way to being knocked out.

    Larry Carter, civil rights activist of yore, participated in a number of protest marches back in the day: Selma to Montgomery in '65, Spring Mobilization Against the War in VN in '68 and Congress of Racial Equality's (CORE) Black Power Conference in '68. Mr. Carter later returned to school to complete his education, earning a BA degree. He is currently retired from government service and spends much of his time as a street photographer and political blogger.



Black Politicians 1  2  3  4  5

  1. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr....
    A former Representative from New York.

  2. Alan Keyes...
    A public speaker, former diplomat, and conservative political activist.

  3. Albert H. Wheeler...
    Was a life-sciences professor and politician in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

  4. Alcee L. Hastings ...
    Congressman from South Florida.

  5. Alexis Herman...
    Served as the 23rd U.S. Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton.

  6. Al Green...
    The U.S. Representative from the Ninth Congressional District in Texas.

  7. Alonzo J. Ransier...
    Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from South Carolina during Reconstruction.

  8. Alton R. Waldon, Jr....
    Served as a member of the New York state senate from 1990-2000.

  9. Amber Boykins...
    Represents a portion of North St. Louis in the Missouri House of Representatives.

  10. Andrea Barthwell ...
    Former deputy drug czar under President George W. Bush. She resigned in July 2004 with an interest in running for United States Senate from Illinois.

  11. Andrew Young...
    An American civil rights activist, former mayor of Atlanta, Georgia and was the United States' first African American ambassador to the United Nations.

  12. Anthony A. Williams...
    Served as the fifth elected mayor of the District of Columbia from 1999 to 2007.

  13. Anthony G. Brown...
    Lieutenant Governor of Maryland. On November 7, 2006.

  14. Archibald Carey, Jr...
    Archibald Carey, Jr was an African-American politician from the south side of Chicago.

  15. Arthur O. Eve...
    A former politician in the U.S. state of New York, who served as a Democratic member of the New York State Assembly.

  16. Arthur Turner...
    Representative Arthur L. Turner (D) 9th District Majority Leader. Chicago, IL.

  17. Arthur W. Mitchell...
    A Representative from Illinois. The first African American to be elected to the United States Congress as a Democrat.

  18. Augustus F. Hawkins ...
    Former Democratic member of the State Assembly in 1935 to 1963.

  19. Avery C. Alexander...
    Former state representative, and longtime civil rights activist from New Orleans.

  20. Avon Williams...
    Was a Tennessee State Senator from 1972 to 1992.

  21. Barack Obama...
    United States Senator from Illinois.

  22. Barbara Jordan ...
    The first Black woman to serve in the U.S. Congress from the South.

  23. Barbara Rose Collins...
    A Representative from Michigan.

  24. Benjamin J. Davis...
    Was an African-American communist who was elected to the city council of New York City, representing Harlem, in 1943.

  25. Benjamin S. Turner...
    A Representative from Alabama; born near Weldon, Halifax County, N.C., March 17, 1825.

  26. Benjamin Ward...
    Was the first black New York City Police Commissioner. Ward

  27. Bennie G. Thompson ...
    Congressman from Florida.

  28. Bernard C. Parks...
    Member of the Los Angeles City Council, representing the 8th District in South Los Angeles.

  29. Billy G. Mills...
    Was a member of the Los Angeles City Council from 1963 until 1974.

  30. Bobby L. Rush...
    U.S. Congressman Bobby L. Rush - Representing Illinois 1st District.

  31. Blanche Bruce...
    Bruce represented Mississippi as a U.S. Senator from 1875 to 1881 and was the first black to serve a full term in the Senate.

  32. Brenda J. Council ...
    Served on the Omaha School Board and the Omaha City Council, and ran for mayor in 1994 and 1997.

  33. Caesar Antoine ...
    (1836 - 1921) was one of three African American Republicans who served as lieutenant governor of Louisiana during the era of Reconstruction.

  34. Cardiss H. Collins...
    A Democratic politician from Illinois who served in the United States House of Representatives from 1973 to 1997.

  35. Carl B. Stokes...
    Mayor of Cleveland, Ohio, was the first elected black mayor of a major American city.

  36. Carol Moseley-Braun...
    Moseley-Braun made history in 1992 when she was elected to the U.S. Senate, becoming the first black woman to do so.

  37. Chaka Fattah...
    Democratic Congressman and potential Philadelphia mayoral candidate.

  38. Chandler Owen...
    Chandler Owen joined with Philip Randolph to establish The Messenger in August, 1917. A member of the Socialist Party, Owen, along with Randolph, were known in Harlem as Lenin and Trotsky.

  39. Charlene Drew Jarvis...
    Educator and former scientific researcher and politician.

  40. Charlene Mitchell...
    Was a third-party candidate in the United States presidential election, 1968, and was the first African-American woman to run for President of the United States.

  41. Charles Barron...
    Council Member Charles Barron has been a community activist for 25 years. New York.

    Black Politicians 1  2  3  4  5

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