708 posts categorized "History"

January 19, 2017

Obama discusses his LGBT legacy at his final news conference

The next president may well make me cry, though outrage and disgust are likelier reactions; but I doubt he will ever make me cry the way President Obama did at his final news conference on Wednesday in discussing the progress for LGBT people during his White House years. He rightfully gave the principal credit to the activists who pushed for it, both loudly and quietly, and who helped change minds and hearts. But he played an indispensable part, from his public remarks to his personal example to his support for the Justice Department's role in historic court cases and the State Department's role around the world. God bless you, Mr. President, and keep you and your family safe and well.

Congrats, BTW, to Washington Blade reporter Chris Johnson, who asked the question.

Obama also defended his commutation of the sentence of Chelsea Manning, saying she had already served a tough sentence and that her original 35-year sentence was far greater than other convicted leakers of classified documents.

January 17, 2017

Patrice Lumumba, assassinated with American help 56 years ago today

Under orders from outgoing President Eisenhower, the United States helped Belgium and the forces of Mobutu in the assassination of Congolese prime minister and anti-colonial leader Patrice Lumumba on this day in 1961. It is but one of many shameful crimes committed by the United States during the Cold War. American assistance in this murderous coup was entirely at odds with our own avowed principles.

January 16, 2017

A child's witness to terror

MLK_and_son_with_burnt_cross

MLK III has just met at the Trump Tower with Herr Twitler. However that went (and in his exit remarks to the press he bent over backwards to be diplomatic), it cannot dislodge from my mind the photo of him at age two, standing with his father beside a burnt cross on the front lawn of their home in Atlanta. #Remember #Resist

Krugman: Calling Trump illegitimate is positively patriotic.

Paul Krugman gets it exactly right.

"But Mr. Trump — who has never sacrificed anything or taken a risk to help others — seems to have a special animus toward genuine heroes. Maybe he prefers demonstrators who don’t get beaten?

"It would be one thing if the incoming commander in chief showed any hint of humility.... Instead, he’s lashing out at and threatening anyone and everyone who criticizes him, while refusing even to admit that he lost the popular vote. And he’s surrounding himself with people who share his contempt for everything that is best in America."

Defending America against Trump

John_Lewis_beaten_in_Selma

This photo, surprisingly enough, is not an advertisement for Haisten's Mattress & Awning Company. It is a news photo of nonviolent protesters being savagely beaten by Alabama state troopers for exercising their constitutional right to peaceable assembly. The young man on his knees in the right foreground holding the back of his head is the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, who at that moment thought he was about to die. We know this because he survived to tell us, including in his autobiography which just sold out at Amazon thanks to a slander against him by the president-elect of the United States.

The young man is now seventy-six and a U.S. congressman whose Atlanta district is not at all the hellhole described by the compulsive liar who is four days away from being sworn in as the most unfit person ever to attain our nation's highest office. John Lewis has done more to serve our country in the past week than the man slandering him has done in his entire life. We must follow the lead of Rep. Lewis and defend our country against Trump and his entire nefarious crew. Either that, or take a crash course in Russian.

January 15, 2017

For the fallen

Martin-Luther-King-Jr.-Parsonage-house10-e1362448708757

I wish he could have grown old as we who were left grew old (to borrow a WWI text). His widow and orphans suffered most directly from his death at 39. But he had a calling, and answered the call. We can be forever grateful, however, for the gifts he shared in his brief time here. [image from: http://nation.time.com/2013/01/21/rare-photos-of-martin-luther-king-at-home/]

January 14, 2017

John Lewis stands his ground

John_Lewis_facing_police_in_Selma
(Spider Martin/Courtesy Steven Kasher Gallery, New York)

In this photo from Sunday, March 7, 1965, the young man in the trenchcoat on the right is leading a group of 600 people, marching two by two. He is unarmed, having nothing but his faith and the heart of a lion, plus an apple and a Bible in his knapsack. A few moments later he is nearly beaten to death by the gentlemen on the left. He experienced something similar four years earlier during the Freedom Rides. Contrary to the current president-elect, this is not a picture of someone who is "all talk," but a picture of immense courage.

Imagine facing that armed phalanx and standing your ground while feeling responsible for those behind you. After suffering severe head trauma, he refused to go to the hospital until he had checked on his brutalized comrades. This is young John Lewis, fighting for the right to vote. Anyone who refuses to respect such a hero is beneath contempt. Mr. Trump, you are not legitimate for the reason given by the gentleman from Georgia, and you will not be my president. Thank you, Congressman Lewis.

January 11, 2017

Rep. John Lewis testifies against Sen. Jeff Sessions

A national hero and longtime pro-LGBT ally who risked his life fighting for voting rights a half century ago steps up to oppose the nomination of a man with a record of opposing voting rights, LGBT rights, and women's rights. Thank you, Congressman.

President Obama's farewell address

A strong, wise, eloquent and moving speech. A friend today said she had never so wanted a speech to continue.

The Grownup Is Leaving the Building

January 09, 2017

White House backs Kerry apology for 1950s era gay firings

January 06, 2017

A thought on Epiphany

Museum_schnuetgen-h3k_autun
Dream of Kings, Autun to 1125-1135, the Saint-Lazare, chapter house,
Autun / DRAC de Bourgogne, Dijon © Hirmer Photo Archive Munich

A year ago today, on the Feast of the Epiphany, I visited NYC to see a matinee performance of Hamilton. That was a theatrical epiphany. I feel no epiphany today. There are not three wise men in Trump's announced cabinet, though there is plenty of gold.

December 27, 2016

President Obama, Japanese Prime Minister Abe visit Pearl Harbor

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reciprocates President Obama's visit to Hiroshima by visiting the Pearl Harbor memorial site in Honolulu.

December 21, 2016

If Peter King is so worried about terrorism, why did he support the IRA?

An excellent question. Peter King is a hypocrite. As to singling out Muslims, Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, testified on that issue more than five years at a hearing chaired by Rep. King.

December 04, 2016

In assessing Trump, don’t forget Bush era

Excellent commentary by Charles Francis of Mattachine Society. Mattachine's "unerasure" activism is sadly more needed than ever.

State Dept. asked to apologize over 'lavender scare' firings

November 19, 2016

Oscar Wilde, a Refugee of His Time

Would Trump rescind historic status for Stonewall Inn?

George Takei: They interned my family. Don’t let them do it to Muslims.

The dark chapter of America’s history a Trump backer just called "precedent" for registering Muslims

November 06, 2016

A brief history of LGBT involvement in presidential campaigns

November 02, 2016

Vincent Gray: "I know what it’s like when law enforcement intervenes in an election. It happened to me."

October 30, 2016

Human Rights Campaign drops Mark Kirk, now supports Tammy Duckworth

Better late than never. Kirk's despicable attack on Duckworth's military heritage was no slip of the tongue. Many of us urged HRC to rescind its endorsement of Kirk. It did, and I thank them.

October 22, 2016

Turing's Law 'still on track' as government scuppers rival bill in Parliament

October 11, 2016

Five years ago today: Frank Kameny dies

Frank-Kameny-007

Late on Tuesday evening, October 11, 2011, after a GLAA meeting, I had the unhappy duty to report the death of gay rights pioneer Frank Kameny. It was National Coming Out Day.

His legacy continues.

October 09, 2016

World’s oldest man celebrates his Bar Mitzvah 100 years late

Something nice that has nothing to do with American politics.

September 23, 2016

Obama celebrates opening of National Museum of African American History and Culture

President Obama speaks at a reception for the opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture at the White House.

Olbermann on Kathy ‘No Racism Before Obama’ Miller: ‘She IS the Trump Campaign’

For instant refutation of Mr. Miller, google "lynching" and click on Images. Warning: you will see horrifying photos of America's past.

September 15, 2016

Donald Trump Jr. Makes Holocaust Joke in Attack on Hillary Clinton and the Media

Keep talking, clown.

September 12, 2016

On 9/11, Trump noted on TV that his Financial District building was now the "tallest"

It's always about him. Always, always. Even on the worst, most horrific of days for our country.

Hillary Clinton: 9/11 "as close to a depiction of hell I’ve ever…seen"

Why no major Martin Luther King artifacts will be at the new African American history museum

One of the saddest legacies of the civil rights era is that Dr. King's children have never recovered from the awful day in 1968 when their daddy was taken from them. They have fought not only with his closest friends and associates, like Harry Belafonte and Andrew Young, but with each other. One can only pray for them to find peace and grace.

August 24, 2016

The Past and Present of #NateParker

My latest opinion piece has the tagline: "Rape, racial justice, and rehabilitation are on Hollywood's doorstep."

August 23, 2016

Trump staffers busted for posting racist memes and calling for violence against minorities

Our friend Ernest Hopkins comments:

Wow, as if his disingenuous speech to the 'African American' community wasn't enough, now we see his staff, priming the pump for the racists. It's pretty bad.

Gee, how can you resist a pitch like this: Your schools are crap, you live in squalor, you have no jobs and your kids are in prison! Let's be honest: this is not really aimed at black folks. No one with more dignity than Stepin Fetchit would buy that. Since he is so ignorant, someone should sit him down and tell him about Black Wall Street. About generations of struggle. About everyone from Nat Turner to Clementa Pinckney. About Madam C.J. Walker, Charles Drew, George Washington Carver, and Katherine Johnson. About the self-educated ex slave who became the most powerful speaker in our history. About the courage and discipline that sustained a bus boycott 60 years ago for more than a year despite threats and bombings. Tell him what Barack Obama has had to overcome to function as president. Tell him about Oak Bluffs. If he didn't treat African Americans like exotica, if he actually met with and listened to them, he might have picked up some of this stuff.

August 17, 2016

Rudy forgets 9/11 in attack on Obama

Someone give Rudy warm milk and put him to bed.

August 16, 2016

Vincent Orange resigns from the D.C. Council

It became official yesterday, August 15: Vincent Orange is gone from the D.C. Council. This City Paper article from 2010 shows some of the reasons why I consider this good news. In addition to having called his rival mayoral candidates in 2006 morally unfit for supporting marriage equality (he lost badly in that race), he falsely took credit for reforms at Pepco (and wrongly invoked my name while doing so).

Orange did some good things, though one bill he moved for us he only did after another Councilmember (I believe it was Jack Evans) held up one of his bills until Orange marked up the bill we wanted. Orange finally decided to support marriage equality after we had won. But he was the least trustworthy member of the Council, and his self-promotion was endless and exhausting. Democratic At-Large nominee Robert White, who is expected to be appointed to the vacant seat on an interim basis, will be a breath of fresh air on the Council.

August 04, 2016

Happy birthday, Mr. President

Happy 55th birthday to the finest president of my lifetime.

"We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths –- that all of us are created equal –- is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall...." - Barack Obama, Second Inaugural Address, January 21, 2013

July 29, 2016

Opinion | What we owe Elie Wiesel

I don't know how I missed this a couple of weeks ago. Former GLAA president Craig Howell writes about the key role the late Elie Wiesel played in ensuring that the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum would include all the victims of the Holocaust, including gay folk.

July 28, 2016

Navy to Name Ship After Gay Rights Activist Harvey Milk

A fine honor for Harvey Milk, who served in the Navy. As our friend Michael Bedwell says, "He continued to wear his Navy belt with its Master Diver insignia buckle literally until his dying day."

Tom Chorlton included in "In Memoriam" video at Democratic convention

The In Memoriam video that was shown at the Democratic National Convention on July 27 included former Gay Activists Alliance member Tom Chorlton. Others familiar to Washingtonians who were included are former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, civil rights veteran Lawrence Guyot, and civil rights and HIV/AIDS activist Mario Cooper.