Issue #21

No Permanent Victories

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Each Sunday we deliver the latest developments in world affairs, political economy, and culture straight to your inbox, served with a generous side of soul.

We spend the week scouring the internets for essential information and meaningful content to keep you informed, inspired and mildly entertained.

This week two giants of the Civil Rights era passed on.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has a terrific write up in John Lewis.

The New York Times has the obit for C.T. Vivian.

So much has changed.

So much has remained the same.

📰 Toplines

WSJ: U.S. Jobless Claims Held Nearly Steady at 1.3 Million in July 11 Week

Bloomberg: White House Wants Stimulus by August Recess With $1 Trillion Cap

AP: Justice Ginsburg says cancer has returned, but won’t retire

ABC News: Education secretary faces backlash after demanding schools reopen full-time amid pandemic

The Guardian: Donald Trump v Fox News Sunday: extraordinary moments from a wild interview

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp sues Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance-Bottoms over mask order

Montgomery Advertiser: Tommy Tuberville defeats Jeff Sessions in Alabama GOP Senate runoff

NYT: Ambassador Zindzi Mandela, daughter of Nelson and Winnie Mandela, dies at 59

The Oregonian: Federal officers respond to Portland protests with gas, munitions Thursday amid growing attention from Trump administration

Washington Post: Washington’s NFL team to retire Redskins name, following sponsor pressure and calls for change

📚 MUST WATCH: Breadcrumbs

Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Karen Hunter and Howard University’s Greg Carr discuss the little known history and enduring legacies of C.T. Vivian and John Lewis.

(You’ll also get insight on how Nick Cannon’s Cannon’s Class got started… before it went off the rails.)

Be ready to take a ton of notes and order a whole bunch of books.

🦠 COVID-19

NPR: U.S. Coronavirus Deaths Top 140,000 As World Sets Daily Record In New Cases

CNN: US breaks daily record for Covid-19 cases 9 times in 1 month

STAT: How HHS’s new hospital data reporting system will actually affect the U.S. Covid-19 response

Bloomberg: Covid-19 Reinvades U.S. States That Beat It Back Once

Texas Tribune: Texas classrooms can stay closed this fall without losing state funding if local health officials order it

✊🏿 A sit-down with C.T. Vivian

10 years ago C.T. Vivian sat down for an interview with J.Q. Adams, a professor at Western Illinois University (Vivian’s alma mater). Prof. Adams asked the question everyone seems to be asking these days:

J.Q. Adams: There appears to be a lot of fear today. Immigration. The changing demographics. And the backlash we’re seeing, especially on the Internet. The growing incivility. Let’s talk about what preparation is necessary for young people today? Is it still non-violence?

C.T. Vivian: Non-violence always will be the answer. The participants have to be able to be non-violent. That is the issue. That’s why training is basic. That’s why Nashville had so many people who were leaders in the movement and remain leaders in the movement even to this day… It’s one of the reasons organizations aren’t effective today. Because they are not training people to be non-violent.

It’s like having whatever it is you used to win the whole war. And then saying, “we don’t need that anymore.” That would be foolish.

🎤 March on Washington

There are two versions of John Lewis’ Speech at the March on Washington: the version he originally wrote, and the toned-down version he actually delivered. 

For example, the demonstration’s organizers removed a pointed critique of both Republicans and Democrats:

We cannot depend on any political party, for both the Democrats and the Republicans have betrayed the basic principles of the Declaration of Independence.

A more nuanced critique of both parties, however, stayed mostly intact:

My friends, let us not forget that we are involved in a serious social revolution.  By and large, American politics is dominated by politicians who build their careers on immoral compromises and ally themselves with open forms of political, economic, and social exploitation. There are exceptions, of course.  We salute those. But what political leader can stand up and say, “My party is the party of principles”?  For the party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater. Where is our party?  Where is the political party that will make it unnecessary to march on Washington?

🗳 Selma and the Voting Rights Act of 1965

On March 7, 1965, John Lewis led a voting rights march that ended in Alabama State Troopers — along with armed white citizens — brutally attacking peaceful protestors in what became known as Bloody Sunday.

John Lewis suffered a fractured skull from being savagely beaten by the Alabama State Troopers.

At the time, President Lyndon Baynes Johnson was delaying action on voting rights. However, the media coverage of Bloody Sunday led to a national outcry that forced the president’s hand.

Standing in the Capitol Rotunda, flanked by two statues of Abraham Lincoln, President Johnson congratulated Congress for passing the landmark legislation. Johnson then went into the President’s Room where he signed the bill into law.

There, he handed a pen to John Lewis.

🏛 Shelby v. Holder

The Republican quest to dismantle the Voting Rights Act began before the ink of Johnson’s signature had even dried.

The nearly 50-year effort was fulfilled in 2013 when the United States Supreme Court, ruling in a 5-4 decision, gutted key provisions of the landmark legislation. 

With its deeply misguided decision to invalidate the formula used to identify states and jurisdictions requiring pre-clearance approval, five justices have chosen to rip out what Rep. John Lewis has called the “heart and soul” of the Voting Rights Act. The result is a patient gasping for breath. In her dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg summed up the illogic of this decision brilliantly: “Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.”

Charles Ogletree

🗳 Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2019

In December of last year, the Democratic House passed new voting rights legislation designed to specifically address the purported weaknesses the conservative Supreme Court found in the original voting rights act. 

The Republican-controlled Senate has taken no action on the bill.

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