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:

In 1954, the Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that segregated public schools are unconstitutional.

In 2018, on the 64th anniversary of that ruling, a lawsuit filed in New Jersey claimed that state's schools are some of the most segregated in the nation. That's because, the lawsuit alleged, New Jersey school district borders are drawn along municipality lines that reflect years of residential segregation.

The publisher of a small local newspaper in Alabama penned an editorial calling for the Ku Klux Klan to "ride again." After massive outcry, he's stepped down, and a black woman has taken the job.

The new publisher and editor of The Democrat-Reporter, Elecia R. Dexter, took the reins on Thursday, after Goodloe Sutton doubled down on his incendiary comments.

Courtesy of Islamic Circle of North America

Ruman Sadiq says the current political climate has led to misperceptions of Muslim women. 

That’s why she hopes a new six-week billboard campaign will encourage people to call and ask questions about the hijab, or head scarf.

Updated at 6:03 p.m. ET

Once a celebrated investigative reporter, the publisher of a small Alabama newspaper achieved notoriety this week by saying the Ku Klux Klan should "clean out D.C."

From the 1880s to the early 1960a, the African American Freedmen's Community called Little Egypt was in this neighbodhood, at the corner of Thurgood and Shoreview in Dallas' Lake Highlands. It spread across 35 acres.
Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Texas is dotted with Freedmen’s communities — African American neighborhoods that sprouted after the Civil War in the era of segregation. They range from Ellis Alley in San Antonio to the Fourth Ward in Houston to Deep Ellum in Dallas. Another one in Dallas that's been nearly forgotten, Little Egypt, is getting a renewed look thanks to Richland College.

During the years after the Civil War, communities of African Americans worked together throughout southeastern Texas to form what historians call freedom colonies. Research underway at Texas A&M University in Bryan-College Station aims to identify and preserve these historic black settlements.

Dr. Stacia' Alexander and Lakeita Roberts are licensed professional counselors practicing in Dallas. Both are listed in the Therapy for Black Girls online directory.
Syeda Hasan / KERA News

Directories of therapists of color are becoming increasingly popular, like Therapy for Black Girls and the National Queer & Trans Therapists of Color Network. This trend seems to signal a growing openness toward mental health care among minority communities. Still, Dallas counselors say the work isn't finished.

Blackface Didn't End In The 1980s

Feb 13, 2019

Virginia lawmakers have been embroiled in racial controversies after both the governor and the attorney general admitted to instances of dressing in blackface for parties in the 1980s.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is embroiled in controversy for admitting that he wore blackface at a party in the 1980s and for a racist photo on his medical school yearbook page.

Luxury brand Gucci has removed a sweater from store shelves and from its web site following complaints about the garment's resemblance to blackface.

The black sweater, featuring a roll-up collar that covers the lower face with a wide red lip outline around the mouth, was part of Gucci's Fall Winter 2018 line.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

The Dallas City Council was briefed Wednesday on the city's options for one of its most prominent Confederate monuments. 

There are three paths for the Confederate War Memorial that stands in Pioneer Park Cemetery near the Dallas Convention Center: keep it, remove it or do nothing.

As lawmakers returned to the Capitol on Monday morning, they renewed calls for Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam to resign.

Northam has been silent since a Saturday news conference in which he said he did not take part in a racist yearbook photo from his days in medical school.

Monday morning, the Republican speaker of the House of Delegates called the controversy "a painful and heartbreaking moment for the commonwealth." Kirk Cox told reporters that "regardless of the veracity of the photo," the Democratic governor had lost the confidence of the people.

As calls continue for Gov. Ralph Northam to resign over a racist photo on his page in a 1984 yearbook, Virginians who have supported him are wrestling with what to make of the controversy and his insistence on remaining in office.

A few dozen people protested outside the governor's mansion Monday morning. Many in the crowd were the same people who have been protesting the placement of a pipeline compressor station in a historically black community in Virginia. Northam has supported the pipeline.

A view of the house floor during the second day of the 86th legislative session.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / Texas Tribune

 

James E. Smith and his son James Jr., 6, stand in front of Kashmere Gardens Elementary School in Houston on Sept. 7, 1960. The Texas Tribune explored the legacy of desegregation and its continuing impact in a series of stories called "Dis-Integration."
Associated Press

Texas has a long history of neglecting schools tasked with educating students of color. Poor facilities, underfunding, less experienced or qualified staff — they're just a few of the complaints mentioned in lawsuits filed against Texas towns and school districts.

Dallas ISD / Twitter/@dallasschools

Students in the Dallas school district recently competed in the annual Foley Gardere Oratory Competition that honors Martin Luther King Jr. This year’s eight finalists, fourth- and fifth-graders, delivered speeches answering the question: "What would Dr. King say to the children of today's world?"

Jazmine Barnes, a 7-year-old black girl, was buried this week in Harris County, Texas. She was fatally shot while sitting in the car with her mother and siblings on the morning of Dec. 30.

Initial reports stated that the shooter was a white man. Those reports led to a national outcry that this was a racially motivated attack. Activists and politicians demanded that the shooting be investigated as a hate crime. But in the days since the shooting, deputies in Harris County have charged two black men in relation to the shooting.

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.

I was having a tough summer.

I was working a day job while writing a book, sometimes pulling 14-hour days. I felt overcome with guilt when I wasn't working toward my deadline. I hardly had time to see friends. Most of my down time was spent in an unhealthy way: scrolling through social media.

I was irritated, isolated and anxious. For the first time in my life, I started going to therapy, which was difficult for me to admit to myself that I needed.

An Equal Opportunity Services investigation found racial bias to not be a factor in a professor’s decision to call the police to escort a black student out of class, according to the University of Texas at San Antonio officials.

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. 

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