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. [...]
As the country continues to reflect on the deadly armed riot at the U.S. Capitol building last week, an event that stirred anger throughout the country and in Congress, it also appeared to highlight an uncomfortable alliance: the relationship between mainstream politics and far-right hate groups. Several known hate groups [...]
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, [...]
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 [...]
Hours after Mississippi legislators took the final step of removing a Confederate emblem from their state banner, a violent white mob waved the Stars and Bars as it ransacked the U.S. Capitol. The ratification of a new Magnolia flag followed a year in which white Southerners were forced to confront [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
The vote of whether to confirm the Electoral College's 2020 election results happen on Jan. 6, 2020. Here's how it went.
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
The short film is now streaming on Youtube, and you can read more about the process of filming here.
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 [...]
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 [...]
Chokwe Lumumba, the late mayor of Jackson, Miss., used to say, "To change America, you have to change the South." That's been true since the first enslaved Africans were delivered to Virginia in 1619, a year before the Pilgrims landed up North, since the federal government was forced to cut [...]
Reach deeeep into the depths of your memory and see if you can recall when you were asked this question: What do you want to be when you grow up? Do you remember what age you were or what your answer was? Fireman? Astronaut? Yeah. I feel like kids aren’t even waiting to be asked that question anymore. [...]
Over the last seven years, Mississippi’s public education system has seen a sharp decline in the number of students graduating from in-state teaching programs and pre-qualified teachers coming from different states. This is exacerbated by low and stagnating salaries and the rising cost of college education, according to a new [...]
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,” [...]
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.
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
James Craig, a 31-year-old Black man from Prichard, in South Alabama, has a complicated history with education. His father wouldn’t allow him to attend the local Black-majority high school, instead sending him to a school with better resources 10 miles away, where he was one of the few students of [...]
Who is Officer George Sands? The Birmingham police officer had amassed more than a dozen complaints before fatally shooting Bonita Carter.
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 [...]
It’s time to move our beautiful bodies with your weekly dose of Black Joy. Kicking things off with a video of Rachel Simonne performing an empowering, black-fist raising dance she dedicated to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Just sixteen years after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. marched through Birmingham, the election of 1979 would prove pivotal for Black residents exercising their voting power.
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 [...]
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 [...]
From 1909 to today we can now identify more than 500 shootings by police.
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 [...]
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 [...]
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, [...]
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 [...]
Protest began to swell in Birmingham began to swell the night Bonita Carter was killed, and it grew larger and larger in the days that followed.
Welcome to the first edition of Young, Southern and Black, a series by Reckon that lends the microphone to Black southerners under 30 who are crafting the futures they want to see in the region they call home. First up to have the mic, University of Alabama graduate student Alexus [...]
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 [...]
Episode One of “Unjustifiable” reconstructs the shooting of Bonita Carter, moment by moment and step by step, from the vantage points of onlookers, participants, store workers, witnesses and police.
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 [...]
Reckon Radio presents: “Unjustifiable,” an investigative series from Pulitzer-prize winning columnist John Archibald and Roy S. Johnson examining an overlooked moment of civil rights history in the heart of the South.
Whew, y’all. We made it. I don’t care if you’ve cried all week long, if your anxiety is high-key, on 10, or you're acting as cool as a cucumber. Lift up your hands and shout because you made it to the end of the week. Which means you made it [...]
As tens of millions of Americans descend on polling stations all over the country Tuesday, a determined group of volunteers will be helping thousands of people exercise their right to vote by driving them directly to the ballot boxes in rural areas. Rolling to the Polls, a Montgomery, Ala.,-based group, [...]
It’s time for a little Moon prism power (with a sprinkle of melanin magic)! Welcome back to Black Joy, a series by Reckon’s Black Magic Project focuses on Black empowerment of all types – including those conjured up by Black artists, cosplayers, illustrators from across the South. Started off with [...]
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 [...]
Laughter really is medicine we can pull from within. It sweetens bitter moments. Like when I read in the Commercial Appeal that a Tennessee election worker turned away voters at the polls for wearing Black Lives Matter T-shirts and masks, I just laughed at their ignorance. And clapped when I [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
The Supreme Court has the power to expand our definition of civil rights. Or to limit it.
Let me warn you right now. I'm probably about to get on your nerves. Because this is probably the millionth time you have read about your voting power. But with so much oppression placed upon Black people, showing us smiling and laughing in Black Magic Project's weekly series about Black [...]
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 [...]
Breathe in deeply. Hold your breath for four seconds. Breathe all the way out. Hold for another for another four seconds. Now return to your regular breathing and welcome yourself back to Black Joy, a weekly series by the Black Magic Project that’s all about bringing peace and love to [...]
Hiya, y’all! Welcome to your weekly dose of Black joy from the Black Magic Project. You may have paused there to be like, “Black Magic Whaaaaat?” Don’t worry. Let me explain. While chasing breaking news as a night reporter, I heard these words often: “You only come when we are [...]
Alabama has a prison problem.
One of the stunning things about current mass incarceration culture is how much it looks like it always has.
It’s possible that this could be the latest economic downturn to deepen historic inequities, not address them.
Dr. Stephanie M. Yates explains how today’s wealth gap can be explained by a history of policies that cut Black and Brown people out of the opportunity to accumulate wealth.
When it comes to making money on the multi-billion-dollar college football industry, Kiese Laymon doesn't consider himself guiltless.
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.
In an op-ed published on the day of his funeral, Congressman John Lewis offered one final lesson. “Democracy is not a state,” he wrote. “It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself.”
‘Stand your ground’: Black drivers have always found creative paths into racing despite racism and financial barriers
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 [...]
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.
From the very beginning, people have worked to undermine the voting protections enshrined in the VRA. What does that look like in 2020? Listen to this week's episode of the Reckon Interview.
By Lily Jackson Taking that first college campus tour is a treat. In the South, the tour includes the long walks through shadeless corridors under the weight of 90% humidity, and welling excitement for a freshman year are paired with the cunning wit and charm of student tour guides. [...]
‘No word of support’: The University of Georgia has a history of dodging campus racism. Students say that ends now.
The University of Georgia released a hoard of "diversity initiatives" this week, but students are asking what makes these any different than previous fruitless efforts. "This is not the end."
LSU acted fast when they changed the name of one building, but now, students say university administration is slowing the change. Some students won’t accept that this fall.
At Ole Miss, despite Confederate statue’s relocation, a fight to support Black students is far from over
Mississippi has seen changes over the past few weeks, but students are far from done fighting for equitable education and reparative justice.
Young, black mayors in cities across the South are finding the balance between answering to their communities and managing law enforcement.
Alabama’s largest universities to grapple with deep wounds from slavery, Jim Crow. Can they build a better future?
It’s no surprise that Alabama and Auburn share dark histories of racism. But as a growing number of students demand to bring those injustices further into the light, can reconciliation and healing begin?
Remember Silent Sam: Student activists head back to campus more determined than ever to address racism
Students are heading back to campus in August, ready to overthrow white supremacy. Are universities ready?
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.
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.
Kneeling is healing. Listen. Look around. Pay attention. Who is humble? Who is kneeling? Listen. Love.
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.”
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.
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.
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
Comedian Roy Wood Jr. joined “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” Wednesday to talk about being back in Birmingham and the removal of the Confederate monument from Linn Park.
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.
Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin on Wednesday told NBC’s “Today Show” he has received death threats after he had the Confederate Soldiers & Sailors Monument removed from the city’s Linn Park.
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.
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.
Monday night, a day after protesters tried to destroy the obelisk Confederate monument that stood in Birmingham’s Linn Park, the statue was dismantled by a contractor hired by the city. Tuesday morning, only the base remained.
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.
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?
Michael Harriot, an award-winning senior writer for the Root and one of the most influential voices in the South today
The daughter of two governors, Peggy Wallace Kennedy is writing a legacy of her own.
"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.
Rev. Dr. William Barber II draws a lot of comparisons to another Southern preacher. He’s been heralded by people like Dr. Cornell West as today’s answer to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The North Carolina-based pastor today is fighting for many of the same issues King marched for 50 years ago.
Lee Bains III shares his views on the South in the latest episode of The Reckon Interview.
The Daily Show’s Roy Wood, Jr. on Southern comedy, stereotypes and getting a sitcom filmed in Alabama.
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.