Starbucks Changes Bathroom Policy Following Racial Firestorm
5/16/2018 12:17:58 PM

WASHINGTON—Starbucks has adopted an open-bathroom policy following the arrest last month of two African American men at a coffee shop in Philadelphia. Chairman Howard Schultz says he doesn't want the company to become a public bathroom, but feels employees can make the “right decision a hundred percent of the time,” if that choice is removed at the store level.   One of the men arrested on April 12 was denied use of a bathroom. He and his partner sat down to await a business meeting they had scheduled at the store, but were arrested minutes later by...

South African Photographer of Iconic Protest Image Dies
5/16/2018 12:11:19 PM

By Andrew Meldrum   JOHANNESBURG—Tributes are being paid following the death of Sam Nzima, the South African photographer who took the iconic image of a Black high school student carrying a fatally wounded fellow pupil away from the gunfire of apartheid police in 1976. Nzima, 83, died Saturday night in a hospital in the northwestern city of Nelspruit, said his son, Thulani Nzima. The photographer had collapsed two days earlier but did not recover in the hospital, he said. Nzima's photograph of the Soweto student uprising galvanized international public...

Settlement Reached in LA Shooting of Homeless Black Man
5/16/2018 12:10:03 PM

LOS ANGELES—A settlement of $1.9 million was reached last week in a civil lawsuit stemming from the fatal police shooting of a homeless Black man on Skid Row in Los Angeles three years ago, attorneys said. A jury found two police officers liable for financial damages in the shooting death of Charly “Africa” Keunang, a transient from Cameroon. Jurors were set to begin the damages phase of the trial when the settlement was announced. The agreement, which requires City Council approval, resolves all fees, costs and claims and closes any future litigation over...

Smithsonian Museum to Install Henrietta Lacks Portrait
5/16/2018 12:06:31 PM

WASHINGTON—A portrait of Henrietta Lacks, whose cells were taken without her consent and widely used in groundbreaking research, will be installed at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery. The portrait was painted by Kadir Nelson and jointly acquired by the gallery and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Lacks died of cervical cancer at Johns Hopkins University, where researchers discovered her cells reproduced indefinitely in test tubes. HeLa cells have since contributed to the treatment of thousands of patients and many scientific...

Marley's Granddaughter Wants Accountability for Police Stop
5/16/2018 12:04:57 PM

By Deepti Hajela   NEW YORK—Bob Marley's granddaughter said last week that she felt like her life was put in danger when a woman saw her and three friends leaving an Airbnb rental in California, got suspicious and called the police. Donisha Prendergast and her friends, Kelly Fyffe-Marshall and Komi-Oluwa Olafimihan, all of whom are Black, plus an additional friend who is white, were leaving the home in Rialto on April 30 when a white neighbor called 911 and reported strangers carrying bags out of the house. Police officers stopped the renters and questioned...

Feds Want Negotiations with California on Auto Gas Mileage
5/16/2018 11:56:20 AM

By Tom Krisher and Ken Thomas   WASHINGTON—Addressing a key concern for manufacturers, President Donald Trump has instructed his administration to explore negotiations with California on achieving a single fuel economy standard for the nation during a meeting with auto industry executives. The president met with top auto executives to discuss the standards and tasked Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt to handle the talks with California officials, according to two people briefed on the meeting. The...

Honoring Birmingham’s Great Children’s Crusade Which Changed Our Nation
5/16/2018 11:48:09 AM

By Marian Wright Edelman   “Daddy,” the boy said, “I don't want to disobey you, but I have made my pledge. If you try to keep me home, I will sneak off. If you think I deserve to be punished for that, I'll just have to take the punishment. For, you see, I'm not doing this only because I want to be free. I'm doing it also because I want freedom for you and Mama, and I want it to come before you die.”   This teenage boy overheard talking to his father by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the many hundreds of Birmingham...

Wells Fargo Commits to $60 Billion in Lending for Black Homebuyers
5/9/2018 9:42:45 AM

By Stacy M. Brown   Wells Fargo’s $60 billion pledge to African American homebuyers is a major part of the company’s dedication to a community that’s grown accustomed to being shut out from having a slice of the American Dream. In addition to the $60 billion in lending for home purchases, the company committed to increasing the diversity of its sales team and providing $15 million toward initiatives focused on homebuyer education and counseling. “Homeownership is vitally important, because homes are the building blocks of the American Dream and a...

Professor Sorts Fact, Fiction in Underground Railroad Tales
5/9/2018 9:39:23 AM

By Barbara Miller   WASHINGTON, Pa.—Scenario No. 1: Nine escaped slaves make their way in 1856 from Clarksburg, then in Virginia, and cross the Mason-Dixon Line. Armed with tools used for cutting corn, clubs and rocks, they beat back their pursuers in Greene County and head to freedom in Canada. Scenario No. 2: Six runaway slaves arrive at the Washington home of abolitionist Dr. Francis J. LeMoyne. Law enforcement shows up with a search warrant, but is stymied by the lady of the house, who takes to her bed faking illness to shelter the group hiding beneath the bed...

Georgetown's 'Lost' Slaves Were Closer to Home Than Known
5/9/2018 9:37:29 AM

By Terrence McCoy   WASHINGTON—The search for the lost slaves began with a simple question. Every month for two years, Richard Cellini, founder of an organization looking for descendants of the slaves sold to save Georgetown University, had updated a spreadsheet. It showed consistent progress: More and more descendants were learning the truth—that the Jesuit priests running Georgetown had sold their ancestors in 1838 to two Louisiana plantation owners to pay university debts. But Cellini couldn't get past a problem. Roughly a full third of the sold...