Race | KERA News

Race

KERA is covering the impact of race on a rapidly diversifying region – in education, poverty, the arts, the criminal justice system, health care, voting rights and other areas. We're also exploring the intersections between race, class, gender and identity.

Other coverage of race by KERA:

Here are the latest stories on race from KERA, the Texas Station Collaborative and NPR:

Don "Doc" Shirley could have been one of the most famous classical musicians in the world had it not been for the color of his skin.

As a black man playing piano in the 1960s, Shirley was excluded from many of the great American music venues of the day. The indignities continued when he decided to tour the Deep South in 1962. Not only did he have to play what he felt were less desirable stages and styles, but the trip also required a white driver to get him safely from club to club.

New York Public Library

From the Great Depression through the Civil Rights era, "The Green Book" travel guides were issued every year to help African-American drivers safely explore the country — and Texas.

When Antonio Reliford was a child in New Jersey, he and his family did what a lot of African-American families did when it came to vacations: They hit the road to visit relatives in the South.

But this was back before the nation had a network of high-speed highways. Before major routes like the New Jersey Turnpike or Interstate 85, which goes through the Southeast.

And so the Reliford family had to use what everyone else did: two-lane roads that often went through picturesque rural areas.

As organizers prepare for another Women’s March later this month, there’s a split in the movement between some women of color and former march leader Vanessa Wruble, who says she feels she was forced out of the group’s leadership in part because she is Jewish.

Andrea Hernandez ended up in a McAllen hospital after a drunken driver hit the car she was in.

“I basically got amnesia because of how hard I hit my head,” the 22-year-old says.

Like many families in Texas, Hernandez’s family is from Mexico. Her father speaks only Spanish, so she says it was valuable that her doctor was from Mexico and spoke Spanish, too.

A week after a white referee told a black high school wrestler that he needed to cut off his dreadlocks or forfeit a match, the referee has been suspended. But people in town — and on social media — are asking why other adults didn't do more to prevent what happened: A school official cut the student's hair as the crowd watched and the clock ticked down.

Video: What Does Race Have To Do With The Death Penalty In Texas?

Dec 23, 2018
Screen capture from video by Pearson via Texas Tribune

Studies have shown that Texas prosecutors chose to pursue the death penalty more often when a defendant was black than if a defendant was white. And while black Texans might be overrepresented on death row, past investigations have shown they were often underrepresented in jury pools.

Christopher Scott, wrongfully convicted of murder in Dallas, was exonerated in 2009. He spent 12 years in prison.
Allison V. Smith

The statistics are startling: If you’re a black man in America, you’re five times as likely to go to state prison as a white man. Latinos and African Americans make up one-third of the U.S. population; they make up two-thirds of the prison population.

You can’t talk about incarceration without talking about race. Christopher Scott knows that too well.

Christopher Connelly

For the last year and a half, Fort Worth’s Task Force on Race and Culture has been studying racial disparities in the city, and working on a plan to make the city more inclusive and equitable. On Tuesday, the task force presented 22 recommendations to the city council aimed at closing racial gaps in all aspects of city life from housing and health to education, transportation and economic development.

Facebook/Kaufman County Sheriff's Office via AP

A former Dallas police officer who fatally shot her upstairs neighbor in his apartment in September will be tried for murder.

Wilfredo Lee / AP

RJ Young was trying to win over his future father-in-law. So, he started shooting guns. 

Young is a black gun owner and NRA-certified pistol instructor. But, that decision was borne out of anger. 

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

In a nondescript West Dallas office complex, David Villalobos is on a roll, talking to about three dozen men and women – mostly black and Latino – all in matching teal shirts. They are canvassers for the Texas Organizing Project, preparing to hit the streets and knock on doors. Villalobos is answering a question about getting people to talk about the election when they’re not very interested in voting.

Mesquite Friendship Baptist Church

Terry Turner lives at the intersection of religion, history and politics. The pastor of Mesquite Friendship Baptist Church comes out of the deep traditions of the African-American church, and he's past president of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.

Michael Zanussi / Flickr Creative Commons

As the Dallas economy has boomed over the last decade, something else has surged, too — the wealth gap between whites and people of color.

A report released this month by nonprofit Prosperity Now attributes the disparity, in part, to the city’s “extensive history of segregation and its longer lasting effects.” And exacerbating these disparities are home values and housing costs in Dallas.

Kaufman County Sheriff's Office Jail via AP

Updated, 7:21 a.m. Tuesday

The Dallas Police Department has fired officer Amber Guyger, almost three weeks after she shot and killed her black neighbor in his apartment. 

The Texas Senate race wasn't supposed to be competitive this year. But thanks to an imaginative campaign, Beto O'Rourke has energized Democrats, drawing huge crowds and raising tens of millions of dollars in what was initially seen as a long-shot bid to defeat Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.

Brandon Wade / AP

A white Dallas police officer has moved out of the apartment complex where she shot and killed her black neighbor inside his own home.

The University of Texas and the University of Southern California football teams face each other over the weekend. The two schools have played some important games through the years, like the 2005 national championship game. But the biggest game may have occurred 62 years ago on the Trojans first trip to Austin.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Miguel Oliva Esquivel was outside at work when he heard a helicopter flying overhead.

"What’s with the helicopter?" he wondered.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

From the outside, the brick and metal building in Paris, Texas, looks like any other storefront. But inside, Iglesia Evangelica Filadelfia has become a place of refuge.

This church is not just a house of worship. It’s where immigrants caught up in a raid at a trailer factory — and their family members — have gone seeking information, financial aid and comfort.

Kaufman County Jail

Update, 9:01 p.m. Saturday

Dallas police have identified Amber Guyger as the white off-duty officer involved in the fatal shooting of a black man. She's been with the city's police department for four years assigned to the Southeast Patrol Division. 

No other details were released with identification of the officer.  

The U.S. Department of Justice is throwing its support behind an anti-affirmative action group that is suing Harvard University over alleged racial discrimination in its admissions policies.

In a document filed in federal court on Thursday, the Justice Department said it is siding with Students for Fair Admissions in its request for a trial, currently scheduled to begin in mid-October.

Rose Baca / The Dallas Morning News via AP, Pool

Late Wednesday night, a Dallas County jury sentenced former Balch Springs police officer Roy Oliver to 15 years in prison and ordered him to pay a $10,000 fine.

When it comes to cancer survival, the United States is sharply divided by race. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the cancer death rate for African-Americans is 25 percent higher than whites, and Hispanics and Latinos are more likely to be diagnosed with cancer at a late, and more dangerous, stage of the disease.

Updated at 2:48 p.m. ET

Rashida Tlaib has some experience being first, and not just because she is the eldest of 14 children.

As the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, she was the first person in her family to earn a high school diploma — then a college degree, and a law degree.

She was the first Muslim woman ever elected to Michigan's Legislature, where she served in the House for the maximum term of six years.

And in January, she is set to become America's first-ever Muslim congresswoman.

Courtesy of Mike Newman

Bernard and Shirley Kinsey started buying art 50 years ago. Today, the Kinsey Collection travels around the country, illuminating 400 years of the African-American experience, through documents, books, artifacts and artwork.

Courtesy

You can’t get much simpler than the materials Denton artist Taylor Barnes often uses – just black charcoal on white fabric. Or tree branches and twine. A visit to her unusual studio on the University of North Texas campus in Denton reveals how she can do so much with so little.

School may be out, but there has been no lack of news this summer on race and admissions: an announcement from Jeff Sessions, a Harvard lawsuit, changes in the Supreme Court and proposals for selective high schools in New York City. Here's a rundown of the facts in place, and the latest developments.

Who is in school?

The Trump administration is rescinding Obama-era guidance to colleges and universities that encouraged schools to take a person's race into account in admissions to diversify the student population.

Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT

The State Board of Education will take a final vote Friday on what will be the first state-approved course on Mexican-American history in Texas public schools.

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