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  • Originally published 03/26/2013

    The Truth Behind '40 Acres and a Mule'

    We've all heard the story of the "40 acres and a mule" promise to former slaves. It's a staple of black history lessons, and it's the name of Spike Lee's film company. The promise was the first systematic attempt to provide a form of reparations to newly freed slaves, and it was astonishingly radical for its time, proto-socialist in its implications. In fact, such a policy would be radical in any country today: the federal government's massive confiscation of private property -- some 400,000 acres -- formerly owned by Confederate land owners, and its methodical redistribution to former black slaves. What most of us haven't heard is that the idea really was generated by black leaders themselves....

  • Originally published 02/27/2013

    Rosa Parks statue set to be unveiled at Capitol

    Rosa Parks is famous for her 1955 refusal to give up her seat on a city bus in Alabama to a white man, but there's plenty about the rest of her experiences that she deliberately withheld from her family.  While Parks and her husband, Raymond, were childless, her brother, the late Sylvester McCauley, had 13 children. They decided Parks' nieces and nephews didn't need to know the horrible details surrounding her civil rights activism, said Rhea McCauley, Parks' niece....

  • Originally published 02/27/2013

    Rosa Parks statue unveiled at Capitol

    President Barack Obama says civil rights icon Rosa Parks has taken her rightful place among those who have shaped the course of U.S. history.Obama and House Speaker John Boehner unveiled a statue of Parks in a ceremony at the Capitol. Parks becomes the first black woman to be honored with a full-length statue in the Capitol's Statuary Hall.A bust of another black woman, abolitionist Sojourner Truth, sits in the Capitol Visitors Center.Obama says the nation learned from Parks that there is always something we can do to improve the future...

  • Originally published 02/05/2013

    Postal Service honors Rosa Parks with new stamp

    Hundreds of people, including some of Michigan's political elite, gathered Monday to celebrate the late Rosa Parks on what would have been her 100th birthday by unveiling a postage stamp in her honor steps from the Alabama bus on which she stared down segregation nearly 60 years ago.Parks, who died in 2005, became one of the enduring figures of the Civil Rights movement when she refused to cede her seat in the colored section of the Montgomery, Ala., bus to a white man after the whites-only section filled up. Her defiance and the ensuing black boycott of the city bus system helped the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. rise to national prominence...The Parks stamp is the second in a set of civil rights stamps being issued this year by the U.S. Postal Service.USPS launched the series Jan. 1 with the Emancipation Proclamation Forever Stamp, which was issued at The National Archives in Washington. In August, the series will culminate with the dedication of a stamp recognizing the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington...

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