African American news for the week of May 14, 2015.
Compiled by Carol Ozemhoya. | 5/15/2015, 12:22 p.m.
First Lady Michelle Obama was the keynote speaker at the graduation ceremony at Tuskegee University last weekend. She urged new graduates to soar to their futures. Obama told the students that the trademark of Tuskegee is one of rising hope for all African Americans. She pointed to the Tuskegee Airmen, who endured humiliating slights to serve their country, and she also cited how the legendary school’s first students made their own bricks to build the school. “Chart your own course and make your own mark in the world,” she told the graduating class.
Alabama State University is offering a course on genealogy June 21-26. Participants will have the opportunity to learn how to research family history at repositories where African American records are located and explore archives at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). According to ASU, the course will also delve into myths and mistakes that take researchers in the wrong direction, distinctive types of records that document Black biological lines and more. The class is sponsored by the Levi Watkins Learning Center, the National Center for the Study of Civil Rights and African American Culture. For info, go to http://cs.psadmin.alasu.edu:8401/csstest.php.
The Organization of American Historians (OAH) will host the Diversity in the American West summit July 17-19 at Glendale Community College. The three-day event will focus on the diverse people, places and historical themes of the American West and includes panel discussions and tours to historical sites. Sessions will delve into topics such as how African Americans, Latinos, Japanese, Native Americans and others have shaped the history of the West. The public can attend the conference. For more info, go to www.oah.rorg/2915RegionalMeeting.
The ACLU will represent two Black men—brothers —in what the organization says is a case of racial profiling by Colorado Springs police. Police allegedly stopped Ryan and Benjamin Brown over a cracked windshield. After the stop, a video taken by Ryan shows police handcuffing his brother. Allegedly, cops pointed a Taser at Benjamin and ordered him to exit the vehicle. He was immediately handcuffed, searched and placed in the back of a police vehicle. Eventually, he was given a citation for obstructed view. Ryan was also dragged from the car and held at gunpoint. He was also accused of “interfering with official police duties.” The ACLU’s Colorado legal director, Mark Silverstein, said, “What Ryan and Benjamin Brown experienced at the hands of the Colorado Springs police is sadly all too familiar for young people of color.” Silverstein said the video shows that the Browns’ repeated request for information as to why they were stopped were ignored. The ACLU is seeking that the charges against the brothers be dismissed.
In Dover, a lawsuit is underway after the police were forced to release a dash cam video showing a White officer kicking a Black man in the face. A federal judge ordered the release of the film, which was recorded in 2013, adding that the video was not considered confidential. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Lateef Dickerson. Police were attempting to arrest Dickerson and ordered him down on his knees. As he went to his knees voluntarily, officer Thomas Webster IV is seen kicking him in the face with such force that Dickerson was knocked unconscious and suffered a broken jaw. Webster has been arrested and charged with second-degree assault.