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Investigators: Weather caused fire at AME church in South Carolina, no criminal intent

July 3, 2015 - As social media buzzed about church fires in the South, investigators announced Thursday that weather caused a destructive blaze at a predominantly black church in South Carolina.

The State Law Enforcement Division said in a statement that investigators found no evidence of criminal intent in the fire at Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church in Greeleyville, about 50 miles north of the “Mother Emanuel” church in Charleston where nine people were killed June 17. Read more at thegrio.com.

Category: General

Suspect breaks down in court when judge recognizes him as former classmate

July 3, 2015 - All Arthur Booth could say was “Oh my goodness.”

Thursday, Booth was brought before Judge Mindy Glazer in bond court, after his arrest on multiple charges including resisting arrest, burglary and grand theft.

“Did you go to Nautilus Middle School?” Glazer asked Booth. The Miami-Dade County judge clearly recognized him. Read more at thegrio.com.

Category: General

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An open letter to Confederate flag defenders: Overcome your ignorance; racism is real

July 3, 2015 - Dear Karen Cooper and other flag defenders,

The Confederate battle flag is a symbol of white supremacy and hatred. This is not some extreme left-wing, Obama super fan interpretation of it. This is a statement of fact. As Ta-Nehisi Coatessuccinctly and eloquently pointed out in his Atlanticpiece, the Confederate states were very clear on their reasons for seceding from the Union.

Louisiana, for example, specifically noted that slavery was the primary motivation for secession. Read more at thegrio.com.

Category: General

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Sonia Manzano, who played ‘Maria’ on ‘Sesame Street,’ retiring

July 3, 2015 - “Sesame Street” is about to be less A-OK. Sonia Manzano, who has played the role of Maria on the public TV kid show since 1971, is retiring.

Manzano, 65, broke the news earlier this week at the American Library Association Annual Conference. She said she wouldn’t be part of the new “Sesame Street” season. Read more at thegrio.com.

Category: General

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$3,000,000 Donated to Scholarship Fund for Emanuel AME Church Community

July 3, 2015 - A $3 million scholarship fund set up in the name of state Sen. the Rev. Clementa Pinckney was announced Thursday in Charleston, S.C., scene of the horrific mass shooting that claimed the lives of nine parishioners at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Here is an excerpt from the press release announcing the generous donations.

The tragedy of the shooting at the Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Charleston, S.C., has brought forth the best of generosity in the wake of a crisis. Each instance of a gift has been inspiring and amazing in scope. Anonymous donors have now come forward to announce a scholarship fund for the members of the extended Mother Emanuel AME Church community.The donors wish to be anonymous. Read more at theroot.com.

Category: General

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Dylann Roof’s Sister Created GoFundMe Asking for Wedding, Honeymoon Donations After Emanuel AME Massacre

July 3, 2015 - Talk about classy. Amber Roof, the sister of accused Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal shooter Dylann Roof, created a GoFundMe page asking for help financing her wedding and honeymoon, hoping to raise some $5,000. 

The page, which the news site notes has since been removed, had raised almost $1,500 of the $5,000 goal before it was taken down. Read more at postandcourier.com.

Category: General

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Google Apologizes For Tagging Photos Of Black People As ‘Gorillas'

July 3, 2015 - When Jacky Alciné checked his Google Photos app earlier this week, he noticed it labeled photos of himself and a friend, both black, as “gorillas.” Read more at huffingtonpost.com.

Category: General

Black-churches

As black churches burn concern grows over the resurgence of America’s original terrorists

July 2, 2015 - The recent rash of black church burnings have many African-Americans wondering if this marks a resurgence of the nation’s original terrorists — white supremacists.

Following the June 17 massacre at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C. — in which a white supremacist and Confederate sympathizer gunned down nine black congregants attending a Bible study meeting — eight predominantly black churches have burned, including seven in the South. Read more at thegrio.com.

Category: General

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Star Trek’s George Takei on Clarence Thomas: ‘He’s a clown in blackface’

July 2, 2015 - George Takei, probably best known for his role in Star Trek, has come out strongly against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, whose remarks in his dissenting opinion on the recent same-sex marriage case were at the least bizarre and at most horrifically offensive.

In an opinion that claimed the government’s denial of marriages could not detract from the dignity of same-sex couples, he went on to generalize dignity and its role in government involvement: “Human dignity cannot be taken away by the government. Slaves did not lose their dignity (any more than they lost their humanity) because the government allowed them to be enslaved. Those held in internment camps did not lose their dignity because the government confined them. And those denied governmental benefits certainly do not lose their dignity because the government denies them those benefits. The government cannot bestow dignity, and it cannot take it away.” Read more at thegrio.com.

Category: General

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Man sues Bobbi Kristina for January car wreck, seeks $730,000 in damages

July 2, 2015 - Three days before Bobbi Kristina Brown was found unresponsive in a bathtub, she was reportedly involved in a car accident. A man who claims he was severely injured as a result of the wreck is now suing Brown for damages exceeding $730,000. Russell Eckerman says Brown was driving and collided with his Ford vehicle. He is seeking relief from mounting medical bills and his “serious injuries,” according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The suit, which was filed on Friday, alleges that Brown was speeding and tailgating when she blew a right wheel tire, swerved into oncoming traffic, and hit Eckerman’s vehicle. A nail was later found in the tire by investigators. Read more at thegrio.com.

Category: General

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Laurence Fishburne to star in ‘Roots’ remake

July 2, 2015 - The famed 1970s television miniseries Roots is getting a modern reboot.

Laurence Fishburne has officially been cast to play author Alex Haley in the forthcoming A+E Network remake, executives announced Wednesday.

The miniseries, originally based on Haley’s book “Roots: The Saga of an American Family,” centers around the family lineage of an African slave brought to the United States named Kunta Kinte. Read more at thegrio.com.

Category: General

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Video footage shows fired NOLA officer using ‘unauthorized force’ on teen girl

July 2, 2015 - A New Orleans police officer has been fired following an investigation by the Public Integrity Bureau concerning “unauthorized force” used on a juvenile girl in a holding cell.

Officer Terrance Saulny can be seen in video footage entering the holding cell after the 16-year-old girl can be seen repeatedly kicking the door. He appears to hit her several times with restraints as he takes her to the ground before another officer arrives to assist him in getting handcuffs onto the facedown girl. Read more at thegrio.com.

Category: General

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Fight breaks out between Confederate flag protesters and defender

July 2, 2015 - Tensions boiled over Monday night between Confederate flag defenders and protesters.

Nicholas Thompson, 25, was arrested for disorderly conduct after he stopped his truck with a screech, got out, and began to walk aggressively towards a group of people who were protesting against the flag, which is still flying at the South Carolina Statehouse.

Video footage shows that a fight broke out shortly afterward. Read mor at cbs.com.

Category: General

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Valedictorian gives graduation speech at school where dad is custodian

July 2, 2015 - This year, the valedictorian of Wilson Magnet High School thanked her immigrant father — who also happens to be the supervising custodian of her school — for her success.

When Biiftu Duresso, an 18-year-old from Rochester, New York, graduated at the top of her class this past Saturday, she made it a point to thank all those who inspired her, including her father, Jamal Abdullahi, an Ethiopian immigrant who works at her school. Read more at thegrio.com.

Category: General

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SC Female Pastors Get Threatening Letters: ‘You and Your Children Will Die’

Three female pastors in South Carolina have received threatening letters, Clarendon County Sheriff Randy Garrett has confirmed.

The letters addressed to the pastors of the Greater Union Cypress AME church, Society Hill AME Church and Reeseville AME Church came from someone calling himself the apostle prophet Harry L. Fleming.

According to WLTX, the letter writer took issue with the women being the leaders of their churches and quoted several Bible verses making reference to women not being the head of church or household. The letter writer told the women to repent and turn away from their actions or “you and your children will die.” Read more at theroot.com.

Category: General

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Black Women-Owned Businesses Skyrocket By 322 Percent In Less Than 20 Years

June 2, 2015 - African-American women are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in America, a new study reveals.

The 2015 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report released this week found that the number of women-owned businesses grew by 74 percent between 1997 and 2015. That’s 1.5 times the national average of business growth to be exact. Read more at huffingtonpost.com.

Category: General

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Rihanna's '#BBHMM' Video Is Brilliant, Terrifying, Complicated

July 2, 2015 - The new, highly anticipated video for Rihanna’s “#BBHMM” is an epic, 7-minute visual kaleidoscope of style and excess and, as was clearly intended, it’s generated a lot of buzz since debuting online at midnight today. In the video, we watch Rih, accompanied by two silent minions, kidnap the modelesque wife of an accountant (surprise! Mads Mikkelsen) who owes her some serious coin. The sexualized violence in the video is graphic and disturbing (we'll get to that in a minute), but overall the video is everything we love about Rihanna -- it’s ballsy, edgy, explicit, and unapologetic. Read more at huffingtonpost.com.

Category: General

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Carneatha “Connie” Siermons, founder of Connie’s Bar-B-Que, Passes

July 2, 2015 - From the outside, Connie’s Bar-B-Que may not look like much. A smiling pig with a fist full of bacon painted on its exterior, but for nearly 30 years the barbeque at Connie’s has enticed and mystified all those who take the trip out to 1795 16th St. S. in order to grab a bite of the smokin’ delicious ribs.

“It’s history,” said Melvin Hall, owner and Connie’s son. He took over the business some 15 years ago when his mom wanted to retire. He’s referring to the secret mustard based sauce, of course, but also to the longevity that Connie’s has had in the community.  Read more at theweeklychallenger.com.

Category: General

FAMU loses budget authority for College of Engineering after 28 years

July 1, 2015 - Today is the first in 28 years that FAMU won’t be the fiscal agent/budget manager for the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE).

July 1st is the official beginning of the new fiscal year and the Chief Financial Officer of Florida will begin sending the $12,996,539 appropriated budget for the engineering college to FSU instead of FAMU.  Read more at Rattler Nation.

Category: General

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Who In God's Name Could Be Burning Black Churches?

June 3, 2015 - Six black churches burned. Two weeks. Three blazes that could be arson.

Authorities have yet to determine whether the fires that have ripped through the buildings of predominantly black churches in the South in the past weeks were hate crimes -- or if they were even linked. But activists and religious leaders were quick to connect the dots on social media, asking the question #WhoIsBurningBlackChurches?

Black churches have long been symbols of power, community and liberation for African Americans -- and as a result, have often become a target when white supremacists feel their own power is being threatened. Read more huffingtonpost.com.

Category: General