Racial Justice2020-10-01T18:58:15-05:00
1501, 2021

The legacy of Black Joy

By |January 15, 2021|

The first two weeks of 2021 have felt like a whole month to me.   But I managed to catch a theme despite the chaos this week, and that is: What is your Black joy legacy?   While we often talk about legacies when our folks are no longer with us, it’s important to note how our words and actions build our legacies in the present day. [...]

1301, 2021

Gabrielle Perry: Progressing criminal justice reform for Black women

By |January 13, 2021|

Gabrielle Perry found some of the nicest women she has ever met within the pink-walled holding cells of East Baton Rouge Parish Prison in January 2014.   Then 21, the Louisiana native was arrested for committing payroll fraud during a time when her father’s death left her scavenging for money to pay for bills and medical expenses for her ill mother. Her charges have since been expunged, [...]

1201, 2021

Was the attack on Congress un-American? Yes and no, historians say

By |January 12, 2021|

In the minutes after pro-Trump rioters breached the halls of Congress, members of Congress and other elected officials took to social media to express their disappointment in the pro-Trump demonstrators' actions.  “America is so much better than what we’re seeing today,” President-elect Joe Biden said in a tweet. The tweet [...]

1101, 2021

‘Do it scared’: 8 tips by a Southern Black yogi to get you together

By |January 11, 2021|

So, let’s be real for a moment.   Did seeing white fragility on full display at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday distract you from your goals this year?   No judgment if all that craziness threw you off. That’s understandable. Consider this inspiring story about Birmingham’s Black yogi, Adi Devta Kaur, to get you back on track.   This time last year, Kaur, also known as [...]

801, 2021

Ain’t nothing too big for Black Joy

By |January 8, 2021|

I’ll be honest with y’all. I didn't know how to open this week’s Black Joy. I've considered multiple angles. Like, should I start this off funny by saying “If this year had a headline, it would read ‘2021: See, what had happen was….’” Or should I lead with some poignant [...]

601, 2021

Noah Harris: How to give people a reason to stay in Mississippi

By |January 6, 2021|

Like his home state, Mississippi native Noah Harris caught attention in November when he became the first Black man to be elected to serve as Harvard University’s student body president.   The 20-year-old junior and government major and his running mate, Jenny Gan, ran a campaign to make sure no Harvard student was left behind during the roller coaster ride of 2020. The pair rented a local warehouse [...]

101, 2021

New year, same Black Joy

By |January 1, 2021|

On the last day of 2020, I read jokes on social media going around about black-eyed peas.   A tried-and-true tradition was turned into a cautionary tale: Don’t soak them peas this year. They didn’t bring us a lick of luck of 2020. We’re walking into 2021 with new traditions.   I laughed and [...]

3112, 2020

Reckon’s top 10 stories of 2020

By |December 31, 2020|

You might have noticed that Reckon started to look a little different this year. The biggest reason is because we're listening more closely to our readers, Southerners who are shaping the world around them in all the big and little ways we know are possible. Throughout the year, we've dug [...]

2912, 2020

Why it matters that Alabama’s children of color will soon be the majority

By |December 29, 2020|

Children of color will soon be the majority of children in Alabama, and people of color will make up the majority of the state’s workforce in a decade, according to a new report.  These findings were outlined in the Alabama Kids Count Data Book, published this month, which examines child-related quality-of-life characteristics like health, education and economic security on state and county levels. Due [...]

2912, 2020

Mimi Cole: The South’s lovely becoming through healing

By |December 29, 2020|

With 2020 coming to a close, Mimi Cole can sense a deep healing coming for the South.  She has watched the South shift and change as she spends her formative years throughout the region. A Virginia native, Cole went to Vanderbilt University, where she was inspired to be a therapist focusing on eating disorders and obsessive [...]

1412, 2020

Amber Scales: Help Black women create a new South

By |December 14, 2020|

While growing up in Georgia, Amber Scales learned that politics wasn’t so much about red and blue parties: it’s about the people and the movements that are making sure everyone is represented and heard.   Her lessons came from watching what she calls “community care practitioners” in her family. Among them, her mother, Juliette, an attorney-turned-Fulton County juvenile court judge.   Scales started her journey as next generation movement worker at the University of Alabama where she challenged “The Machine,” [...]

1412, 2020

Unjustifiable Chapter Six: Point 14

By |December 14, 2020|

It was a decade after Black civil rights leaders had gathered in Birmingham to make 14 points to their white peers in Birmingham, to demand acknowledgement that Black people were still treated as second class citizens.

1112, 2020

The Black joy of Black excellence

By |December 11, 2020|

Turn to your neighbor and say: “Your black excellence is magic.”  Notice I said “your” Black excellence, which doesn’t have to be this big, golden star achievement.   You kept your business afloat despite the pandemic? Black excellence.   You learned about the liberating power of rest this year? Black excellence.   Your day went all [...]

1012, 2020

10 HBCU grads making boss moves in the South

By |December 10, 2020|

By Abbey Crain Reckon staff writer The 2020 election gave HBCU graduates a chance to shine, bringing to the forefront the fruits of historically Black institutions. U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, a Howard University graduate, became the first woman and first Black woman elected vice president. Stacey Abrams, a Spelman College [...]

912, 2020

David and Devin: Creating a Southern, Black, queer renaissance

By |December 9, 2020|

The South has always been the stage of many forms of the country’s progress.   Theatre creatives Devin Franklin and David Parker want more nuanced Black, queer narratives in the spotlight. Between finishing classes at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and doing groundbreaking work with other creatives of color, 21-year-old Devin Franklin and 22-year-old David Parker, who both use he/they pronouns, host a podcast called “The Queer Code.” The themes range from humorous quarantine takes to emotionally raw rants [...]

712, 2020

Steven McIntyre: Serving up southern progress on a plate

By |December 7, 2020|

Steve McIntyre is making a career of whipping up poetry on a plate.   The 27-year-old Mobile, Ala., native gives his French-style fine dining training southern flare at Birmingham’s Eat At Panoptic food truck. Braised oxtails seasoned with the “Cajun Holy Trinity” of onion, bell pepper and celery perched atop a bed of sweet potato gnocchi and shrimp and grits [...]

3011, 2020

Kat Files: Stop sleeping on Black southern talent

By |November 30, 2020|

Birminghamian Kat Files doesn’t appreciate people side-eyeing Black creatives from the South.     It’s a problem 28-year-old Files has bumped into multiple times as a professional dancer, model, and actress in New York City. Her passion for the arts has guided her to many opportunities, like being accepted into to the prestigious Fordham University/Ailey School BFA program [...]

2711, 2020

All I want for Christmas is Black Joy

By |November 27, 2020|

It’s beginning to look a lot like a Black Joy Christmas.   Please, tell me you sung that. Ok, the tempo may be a little off, but you get the gist.  It’s finally time to break out the sparkling tinsel and lights and celebrate the most wonderful time of the year without being side-eyed for [...]

2311, 2020

Jamie Lowe: The consequences of stereotypes

By |November 23, 2020|

With a knack for listening and passion for both people and politics, Opelika’s Jamie Lowe may remind you of Barack Obama  – if the former president had a southern twang.  It’s a comparison the humbly confident Lowe may not accept, but he has built a pretty impressive political resume for himself.  A 20-year-old legal mediator at the Lee County Justice Center, Lowe ran for a [...]

2011, 2020

Black Joy: Believe in your own dopeness – and pass the (vegan) mac and cheese

By |November 20, 2020|

Words of affirmation. Physical touch. Quality time. Acts of service. Receiving gifts.   Those are the five love languages according to Gary Chapman who literally wrote the book about these types of things. You know what really should be its own love language? Food.  We communicate love and comfort through food, and I’m excited to taste those [...]

1911, 2020

Southern states lead U.S. in preterm births

By |November 19, 2020|

The South leads the nation in babies born too early, according to a new report from the March of Dimes, a national organization that funds research and advocates for healthy mothers and babies.  The only states to earn F ratings for their high rates of preterm birth were Alabama, Georgia, [...]

1811, 2020

Fitz Webb: Building a more LGBTQ-inclusive South

By |November 18, 2020|

Fitz Webb didn’t see a lot of people who looked like them while growing up in Georgia. But Webb, who uses the pronouns they, them and theirs, wants to change the representation by becoming Georgia’s first non-binary senator in the future. Currently, Webb is an Auburn University graduate student, vice [...]

1611, 2020

How do young Black people see the future of the South?

By |November 16, 2020|

While growing up in Alabama, I was warned often: If you want to grow, get out of the South.  For a minute there I daydreamed about snatching up opportunities while living in the glamor of New York City. But now that I’m noticing the stigmatizing statements people make about the South, I’m like, “Nah.”   Because the [...]

1311, 2020

Black Joy: Kamala’s success prompts twirling, dancing in the streets

By |November 13, 2020|

Dear Black family, we showed out this week!   From praising Black women who have spent years slaying voter suppression (I already got you covered with a list of Black women led initiatives you can support today) to the first Black Miss Mississippi securing the top crown of Miss USA – that’s a lot of powerful Blackness to cover for [...]

2810, 2020

Aimée Castenell: The campaigns after the campaign

By |October 28, 2020|

Fun fact: The election that's coming up, the one that has us kind of missing the zany local car salesman whose low-budget TV commercials have been replaced by wall-to-wall political ads, is not the last election there'll ever be. In fact, as soon as this campaign is over, organizers will [...]

2010, 2020

Catherine Flowers, ‘genius grant’ winner, credits Black power activism for success

By |October 20, 2020|

When the Earth is ill, so are its people.   Catherine Flowers saw hints of that sickness growing up during the 1960s in Lowndes County, Ala., a predominantly Black rural area with fewer than 10,000 people. She noticed how both animals and vegetation bowed and browned in death after farmers sprayed clouds of DDT, a pesticide eventually found to be lethal to the environment.  “If this is [...]

1910, 2020

America’s racial wealth gap explained

By |October 19, 2020|

On this week’s episode of Money Talks, Reckon discusses the racial wealth gap in America.  The racial wealth distribution does not correlate with the racial demographics of America. White Americans have a disproportionately large percentage of the wealth in America compared to people of color. Data from the Federal Reserve [...]

1210, 2020

Level up your anti-voter suppression game with these tips

By |October 12, 2020|

When votes aren’t counted, the voter’s voice is silenced.   This is why organizations like Black Voters Matter are continuing a long-standing Southern tradition of doing the groundwork to increase Black voter registration. The organization started in 2016 in Selma, Ala., the stomping grounds for many civil rights giants like John Lewis. The group has since expanded its footprint [...]

709, 2020

Broken by design: The long history of the South’s fragmented health care system

By |September 7, 2020|

The Covid-19 pandemic laid bare the problems with the South’s fragmented, patchwork health care system. Nine out of 10 people in the United States who fall into the “coverage gap” live in the South. The region leads the country in high rates of chronic disease and each year we see more and more hospitals shuttering across the rural South.

2908, 2020

‘Stand your ground’: Black drivers have always found creative paths into racing despite racism and financial barriers

By |August 29, 2020|

By Christopher Harress Reckon Staff Writer On a Sunday afternoon in late 1963, on a ramshackle dirt speedway in northeast Florida, a powder blue Chevrolet Bel Air swept to victory and became an iconic part of Black sports history. The 5,000 people in attendance that cold December day did not [...]

2508, 2020

The consistent, disciplined and thankless work of Black women in American politics

By |August 25, 2020|

A few years ago, when Alabama Democrat Doug Jones narrowly won a U.S. Senate seat, there were more than a few news headlines suggesting that Black women, almost out of the blue, had become inspired to ramp up their organizing efforts to help deliver Jones the victory. Truth is, though, it's always been Southern Black women doing the in-the-trenches work of grassroots organizing in this country — from abolition to civil rights to women's equality.

1206, 2020

“Coming together to fight injustice”

By |June 12, 2020|

Over the last week, thousands of people across Alabama have turned out to protest police brutality in the wake of the death of George Floyd. Pictured is Mia Speights of Birmingham.

1206, 2020

‘I’m scared of you,’ young speaker says to police officer at Huntsville city council meeting

By |June 12, 2020|

They came to the Huntsville city council to ask questions and levy criticism after police twice last week released tear gas to break up protests over the death of George Floyd. More than three dozen people spoke, some firing harsh words at Huntsville police Chief Mark McMurray and Mayor Tommy Battle and others wanting to know why the protests were halted in a militaristic manner.

906, 2020

Kneeling is healing

By |June 9, 2020|

Kneeling is healing. Listen. Look around. Pay attention. Who is humble? Who is kneeling? Listen. Love.

806, 2020

University of Alabama, in first step, to remove three Confederate plaques from campus

By |June 8, 2020|

Three Confederate memorial plaques are to be removed from the University of Alabama campus. The decision came from the Board of Trustees of the UA System, in consultation with Stuart Bell, UA president, according to a release from the UA System on Monday afternoon. The three plaques are located on and in front of the Gorgas Library, and they will be relocated to a “more appropriate historical setting.”

506, 2020

Admiral Raphael Semmes statue removed overnight

By |June 5, 2020|

The 120-year-old Confederate statue of Admiral Raphael Semmes was removed overnight without any warning by the City of Mobile. The removal comes after days of peaceful protest in the Port City and after Birmingham removed its Confederate memorial in Linn Park Monday and Tuesday.

506, 2020

Books on racial justice, anti-racism fly off bookstore shelves

By |June 5, 2020|

Major retailers and local bookstores alike have seen a surging demand for books about racial justice as protests and demonstrations against police brutality have been held around the world. Of the top 20 best-selling books on Amazon the morning of June 5, 14 of those books were about racial equality.

406, 2020

Protest at Memorial Park in Mobile

By |June 4, 2020|

This young child is protesting today on the edge of Mobile’s Memorial Park. Situated between a monument to those who died in the Great War fighting against colonial powers and a Confederate Civil War cannon, around 100 young activists lined the park to protest the death of George Floyd and other black people who have died at the hands of police officers. 📸 @charress

406, 2020

Protest in Mobile is young, diverse and very peaceful

By |June 4, 2020|

Situated between a World War I monument and a Confederate Civil War cannon, around 100 young activists gathered in Mobile’s Memorial Park Thursday afternoon to protest the death of George Floyd and other black people who died at the hands of police. Compared to the civil unrest seen in Mobile on Sunday and in Birmingham and Huntsville over the last five days, Thursday’s protest in the Port City was remarkably different. Protesters, who lined Old Government Street and Government Street, were young, diverse, and very peaceful.

206, 2020

Father and Daughter at Mobile Protest

By |June 2, 2020|

Sweet father and daughter moment at a very peaceful and uplifting protest in West Mobile Tuesday evening. The protests were led by passionate high school and college-aged kids.

206, 2020

Mobile, Alabama Protest

By |June 2, 2020|

Young protesters just off Airport Boulevard in Mobile. They wanted to march down on the main road but MPD Chief Lawrence Battiste threatened to arrest them if they stopped the regular flow of traffic. They stuck to the fringes of a nearby parking lot.

106, 2020

Birmingham Protests May 31, 2020

By |June 1, 2020|

Windows were smashed, small businesses looted, and a statue of Thomas Jefferson was set on fire Sunday night in Birmingham after protestors' attempted and failed to bring down a confederate monument in Linn Park. Protests erupted across the country this weekend in response to the police killing of George Floyd on May 25.

2105, 2020

Reckon’s Handy Guide

By |May 21, 2020|

Why would a white person want to use that word? Even if you don't mean harm, if you know that it causes painful feelings to surface or be interpreted as hateful toward people of color, is it worth it to sing it?

801, 2020

Bryan Stevenson on ‘Just Mercy’

By |January 8, 2020|

"I hope people will take from this that, if we resolve to do better, we have the power to do better," Alabama innocence lawyer and Equal Justice Initiative founder Bryan Stevenson says about the new film, 'Just Mercy'. "We can create a more reliable, more just system. But it takes all of us." "Just Mercy," which features Michael B Jordan playing Stevenson and Jamie Foxx as his client, Walter McMillan, and is in theatres everywhere Friday.

206, 2019

Voicing the Violence: Reflection on Lynching Memorial

By |June 2, 2019|

It's been more than a year since The National Memorial for Peace and Justice opened in Montgomery. Since then, nearly half a million people have visited. In a moving tribute, Reckon's Starr Dunigan reflects on why it's important we remember those lynched by mobs in Alabama and around the country.