3 Things You Might Not Know About the Civil Rights Act of 1964

the civil rights movementThe Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a piece of civil rights legislation that outlawed discrimination in schools and public facilities. More than that, this landmark legislation was one of the most important moments in America’s complicated history. The Act was passed by the 88th congress and banned discrimination on race, religion, sex, color, or national origin. The passing of the bill was one of the most important dates in civil rights history and a key factor in the civil rights movement. Many people may know of this legislation, but here are a few facts that you might not know.

  1. President Kennedy, who proudly supported the civil rights movement, submitted his bill on civil rights to Congress on June 19. First, the bill was referred to the Judiciary Committee. Then, in November 1963, it was passed to the Rules Committee. The chairman on the Rules Committee was Howard W. Smith. Smith was an devoted segregationist and completely against the civil rights movement. He made it clear he intended to keep the legislation from coming to a vote on the House Floor.

    After the assassination of President Kennedy, President Lyndon Johnson began pressuring the Rules Committee to release the stalled legislation. Finally, on January 30, Smith allowed the bill to be passed to the full House. In fact, two days before the House vote, Smith asked for the word “sex” to be added after the word “religion”, as he was a supporter of women’s rights.
  2. Two black students, Vivian Malone Jones and James Hood, arrived to the University of Alabama with the intention to sign up for classes on June 11. Governor George Wallace, accompanied by a group of Alabama state troupers, prevented the students from entering. Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach then asked President Kennedy for help. Kennedy federalized the Alabama National Guard that same day. Malone and Hood were escorted by 100 guardsmen to the university to enroll as students.
  3. The legislation was passed by the House on February 10, 1964. The final vote was 290-130. When the bill was passed to the Senate for debate, the “Southern Bloc” of 18 senators began a filibuster to prevent its passage. The filibuster, which allowed the group of senators to speak for as long as they wish on any topic, lasted for 54 days. On June 19, the filibuster was cut off and a version of the bill was passed by the Senate.

The civil rights movement was about fighting for equality in basic human rights. It was a time of motivational speeches and protests lead by civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. It was, and still is, an important part of history and the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was just a fraction of the steps taken towards equality.

Civil and Human Rights Coalition Raises Serious Concerns About Attorney General Sessions’ Job Performance on Eve of Oversight Hearing

jeff sessions

Attorney General Jeff Sessions

*WASHINGTON – Today, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee on the eve of the oversight hearing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, raising serious concerns about the Justice Department’s record on issues that are critically important to the civil and human rights community. The hearing marks the first appearance by Attorney General Sessions before that committee.

“Senators must take seriously their oversight responsibility and publicly explore his troubling record of rolling back the civil and human rights of our nation’s most vulnerable communities,” said Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference, in her letter. “Based on his anti-civil rights record, our coalition opposed Sessions’ nomination to be Attorney General. Unfortunately, our concerns have been realized. Since his confirmation in February, Sessions has advanced an anti-civil rights agenda and has failed to be an Attorney General for all people and communities.”

The full text of the letter is below and is also available here.

Dear Senate Judiciary Committee Member,
On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Hum¬¬¬¬an Rights, a coalition of more than 200 national organizations committed to promoting and protecting the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States, I am writing in advance of tomorrow’s U.S. Department of Justice oversight hearing to raise serious concerns about the department’s record under President Trump on issues that are critically important to the civil and human rights community.

More than seven months ago, members of this committee narrowly voted to advance the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions to be the nation’s 84th Attorney General. Tomorrow marks the first time this Attorney General will testify before this committee, and he must be held accountable for the actions he has taken since his confirmation in February. Senators must take seriously their oversight responsibility and publicly explore his troubling record of rolling back the civil and human rights of our nation’s most vulnerable communities.

Sessions’ hostility to civil rights is longstanding. Over three decades ago, when he was nominated for a federal judgeship in Alabama, Coretta Scott King sent a letter to this committee about the damage Sessions would do if confirmed to the federal bench. “I believe his confirmation would have a devastating effect on not only the judicial system in Alabama, but also on the progress we have made everywhere toward fulfilling my husband’s dream that he envisioned over twenty years ago.” As a senator for two decades, Sessions had a record of consistently opposing civil and human rights legislation, bearing out the concerns expressed by Mrs. King.

Based on his anti-civil rights record, our coalition opposed Sessions’ nomination to be Attorney General. Unfortunately, our concerns have been realized. Since his confirmation in February, Sessions has advanced an anti-civil rights agenda and has failed to be an Attorney General for all people and communities.
Despite testifying during his confirmation hearing that “We must continue to move forward and never back,” Sessions has stood on the wrong side of history and has moved our nation backward on a number of core civil and human rights issues. In particular, we are concerned about his actions to undermine voting rights, sentencing reform, policing, and LGBTQ rights. On these issues, some of the department’s most egregious actions have included:

Voting rights
• On February 27, the Department of Justice dropped the federal government’s claim that a Texas voter ID law under legal challenge was intentionally racially discriminatory, despite having successfully advanced that argument in multiple federal courts. The district court subsequently rejected the position of the Sessions Justice Department and concluded the law was passed with discriminatory intent.

• On June 28, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division sent a letter to 44 states demanding extensive information on how they maintain their voter rolls. This request was made on the same day that President Trump’s so-called Commission on Election Integrity sent letters to all 50 states demanding intrusive and highly sensitive personal data about all registered voters.

• On August 7, the Justice Department filed a brief in the Supreme Court in Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute arguing that it should be easier for states to purge registered voters from their rolls – reversing not only its longstanding legal interpretation, but also the position it had taken in the lower courts in that case.

Criminal justice
• On February 23, Sessions withdrew an earlier Justice Department memo that set a goal of reducing and ultimately ending the department’s use of private prisons.
• In a March 31 memo, Sessions ordered a sweeping review of consent decrees with law enforcement agencies relating to police conduct – a crucial tool in the Justice Department’s efforts to ensure constitutional and accountable policing. The department also tried – unsuccessfully – to block a federal court in Baltimore from approving the department’s own proposed consent decree with the city on police practices, arguing that there were “grave concerns” with an agreement that the department itself had negotiated over a multi-year period.
• On May 12, Sessions announced in a two-page memo that the Department of Justice was abandoning its Smart on Crime initiative by overturning the criminal charging policy put in place by the previous administration.
• On August 28, Sessions lifted the Obama administration’s ban on the transfer of some military surplus items to domestic law enforcement. The guidelines rescinded by Sessions were created in the wake of Ferguson.
• On September 15, the department ended the Community Oriented Policing Services’ Collaborative Reform Initiative, a Justice Department program that aimed to help build trust between police officers and the communities they serve.

LGBTQ rights
• On February 22, the Civil Rights Division and the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights jointly rescinded Title IX guidance clarifying protections under the law for transgender students.
• On July 26, the Department of Justice filed a legal brief arguing that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation – a decision that contravened recent court decisions and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidance.
• On September 7, the Department of Justice filed a brief with the Supreme Court in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission arguing that businesses have a right to discriminate against LGBTQ customers.
• On October 4, the Department of Justice filed a brief in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia asking the court to dismiss a lawsuit against the president’s transgender military ban.
• On October 5, Sessions reversed a Justice Department policy which clarified that transgender workers are protected from discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
• On October 6, the Department of Justice issued sweeping religious liberty guidance to federal agencies, which will create a license to discriminate against LGBTQ individuals and others.

In addition to these concrete actions, the department in May published a revised list of priorities for the Civil Rights Division that excluded all mention of the need for constitutional policing, combatting discrimination against the LGBTQ community, or protecting people with disabilities. The same budget document called for cutting 121 positions from the Civil Rights Division. This is especially troubling as this year marks the 60th anniversary of the Civil Rights Division, which was created by passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1957.

In August, The New York Times reported that the “Trump administration is preparing to redirect resources of the Justice Department’s civil rights division toward investigating and suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants.” This investigation and enforcement effort was planned to be run out of the Civil Rights Division’s front office by political appointees, instead of by experienced career staff in the division’s educational opportunities section.

Sessions testified at his confirmation hearing that “The Department of Justice must never falter in its obligation to protect the civil rights of every American, particularly those who are most vulnerable.” The Leadership Conference agrees with that statement but – time and again – Sessions’ actions as Attorney General, as outlined above, have failed to live up to that rhetoric.

Today, two months after horrifying acts of white supremacy, violent extremism, and domestic terrorism in Charlottesville, Va. – at a time when the United States has a leader whose presidency has emboldened and enabled forces of hate and division in this country – our nation deserves an Attorney General who will vigorously enforce federal civil rights laws and stand with our most vulnerable communities. Sessions is failing in that regard, and I urge you to hold him accountable during tomorrow’s Department of Justice oversight hearing

Vanita Gupta
President & CEO

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.

5 Facts You Might Not Know About Martin Luther King Jr

civil rights leaderMartin Luther King Jr. was a historic civil rights leader who played a key role in the civil rights movement and continues to inspire the movement for equality today. While MLK is famous for his “I Have A Dream” speech, there are many facts you might not know about the famous civil rights leader. Read on to explore five fascinating facts about Martin Luther King Jr.

  1. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill to create a federal holiday in recognition of King. The first Martin Luther King Jr holiday was celebrated on the third Monday in January in 1986. The holiday is celebrated close to MLK’s birthday, January 15th, and George Washington is the only other American to have his birthday observed as a national holiday.
  2. According to the King Center, the civil rights leader went to jail 29 times in his life. He was arrested for things like civil disobedience and driving 30 miles per hour in a 25 mph zone.
  3. Before his death, King escaped a previous assassination attempt. In 1958, a woman named Izola Ware Curry approached King at a book signing. After confirming it was King, Curry said, “I’ve been looking for you for five years” and stabbed a seven-inch letter opener into his chest. The blade narrowly missed his aorta and King was in emergency surgery for hours. During his recovery, King issued a statement saying he felt no ill will toward his attacker.
  4. In 1968, the night before his assassination, King was in Memphis giving a speech to support the strike of the city’s black garbage workers. He told the audience, “Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now … I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. And I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.” After his assassination, it was thought that in this last public speech King foresaw his own death.
  5. At the age of 15, King enrolled in Morehouse College in 1944. In doing this, he skipped grades nine and 12. Not only was he an extremely gifted individual, he was ordained before graduating with a Sociology degree.

Martin Luther King was an extremely talented, passionate civil rights leader who was instrumental to the civil rights movement. He completed many great things during his lifetime and is still learned about in schools today.

Civil Rights Leaders, Clergy Support Federal Rules to Crackdown on Payday Lending

Charlene Crowell

Charlene Crowell

*After five years of field hearings, town hall meetings, multiple research reports, and over one million comments, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced on October 5 a new rule to rein in predatory payday and car-title loans.

“These protections bring needed reform to a market where far too often lenders have succeeded in setting up borrowers to fail. . . Faced with unaffordable payments, consumers must choose between defaulting, re-borrowing, or failing to pay basic living expenses or other major financial obligations,” said Richard Cordray, CFPB Director.

Central to the CFPB’s rule is the establishment of an ability-to-repay principle. High-cost loans of 45 days or less, as well as longer term loans that end in a balloon payment, must first take into account whether the loan is affordable when both borrower income and expenses are considered. These loans allow lenders to seize funds from either a borrowers’ bank accounts (payday loans) or repossess vehicles that were used as collateral (car-title loans).

Although marketed by predatory lenders as an easy lifeline in a financial emergency, research by CFPB, and other consumer groups found otherwise: payday lending’s business model is the tool that drowns borrowers into a sea of debt. With triple-digit interest rates of 400 percent or higher, payday and car-title loans drain $8 billion in fees on loans averaging $300-$400. Borrowers stuck in more than 10 loans a year generated 75 percent of all payday loan fees. Similarly, 85 percent of car-title loan renewals occur 30 days after a previous one could not be fully repaid.

Across the country, these high-cost lenders are most-often found in communities of color where Blacks, Latinos, and low-wealth families reside. The data and consistency of business locations in these areas suggest that lenders target financially vulnerable consumers.

Upon learning of CFPB’s payday rule, clergy and civil rights leaders who have steadfastly opposed payday and car-title lenders’ triple-digit interest rates were swift to speak in support. Their desire to rein-in the debt trap of these unaffordable loans was both strong and consistent.

“With little accountability for their actions, payday lenders have long preyed upon communities of color and drained them of their hard-earned savings,” said Hilary O. Shelton, the NAACP’s Washington Bureau Director and Senior Vice President for Policy and Advocacy. “This CFPB rule establishes a much-needed set of transparent responsibilities for lenders and basic rights and protection for borrowers.”

“We will work to defend and strengthen this rule,” continued Shelton, “so Americans face fewer burdens in establishing financial security.”

For Reverend Willie Gable, Jr., Pastor of Progressive Baptist Church in New Orleans and Member of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., the country’s largest predominantly African-American religious denomination, the payday rule was both personal and pastoral.

“In my home state of Louisiana, the average payday loan interest rate is 391 percent,” said Reverend Gable, Jr., “With rates this high – and even higher in other states, cash-strapped people who needed only a couple hundred dollars soon discover they are in financial quicksand, paying loan fees were after week, that only sink them deeper into debt.”

“As best I can, I comfort those caught in payday lending’s web of debt,” Gable added. “Yet I also know that it is time for change. These shackles of debt must be broken.”

“President Trump and Congress should get on the side of civil rights advocates, the religious community, consumer organizations, and the public at-large by supporting and strengthening the CFPB’s new rules on payday lending,” challenged Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States. “Payday lending is bad for many consumers; but like many predatory scams, it invariably ends up as a weapon against the disadvantaged communities that are least able to bear its terrible burden.”

Looking ahead, many consumer advocates remain hopeful that CFPB will go even further with its rules, to include similar actions against harmful and longer-term loans.

At both the state and federal levels, civil rights leaders and consumer advocates must remain watchful to preserve, expand, and enforce existing interest rate caps now in effect in 15 states and the District of Columbia. Advocates must also remain watchful for any congressional actions that may be taken to preempt or undermine consumer protections.
CFPB’s payday rule marks a key step in disrupting the debt trap. Yet, much more remains to be done before financial fairness is a reality for all.


Charlene Crowell is the communications deputy director with the Center for Responsible Lending. She can be reached at [email protected].


Charlene Crowell: Black America’s Dreams of Homeownership Still Deferred

Charlene Crowell

Charlene Crowell

*The late Langston Hughes created a masterful body of poetry in the 20th Century that spoke about and to Black America’s unique experiences.

Also an author and playwright, his words in all media pricked our consciousness to wonder and ponder how we somehow remained so different from others after living more than 200 years in this land.

One of my favorite Hughes poems asks the question, “What happens to a dream deferred?” Today, that one question is as timeless as it is timely.

Why is it that in 2017 Black homeownership is still deferred for so many?

Every year, the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) report provides an update on mortgage lending over the past year. It is the only national report that examines lending by race and incomes. In 2016, an analysis of mortgage lending by the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) underscores how once again dreams of homeownership are still being deferred nationwide:

Blacks had the highest denial rate in mortgage applications of any ethnic group, and was double the denial rate experienced by Whites; Black consumers received just 3.1 percent or 65,451 of the 2,123,000 conventional mortgage purchase loans made in 2016;

When Black and Latino conventional mortgage purchase loans were combined, the percentage increased to only 9 percent for the year; and
FHA purchase mortgages performed a bit better for Black consumers at 10.6 percent — 142,329 out of 866,000.

“It is troubling to see the continued trend of mortgage lenders abdicating their responsibility to serve the full universe of credit-worthy borrowers,” said Nikitra Bailey, a CRL Executive Vice President.

“During the financial crisis, taxpayers of all colors together paid for the bailout of banks,” continued Bailey. “Now and years later to see that African-Americans and Latinos remain overly dependent upon FHA to access mortgages is a sign of unfair treatment,” continued Bailey. “Whites continue to unfairly receive more favorable access to affordable loans, despite our nation’s fair lending laws.”

For decades, Black consumers were given a litany of excuses as to why they did not qualify for Homeownership and the most affordable mortgages: not enough income, not enough of an employment record, too many bills, and more.

But it was just last year that Nielsen released a report that found “a decade of economic and educational prosperity” from 2004 to 2014. During these years, Nielsen found that Blacks had a collective $162 billion in buying power. By 2020, that purchasing power was projected to rise to $1.4 trillion, thanks in part, to the number of Blacks earning $100,000 or more. Over the decade reviewed, Black earnings in this income range grew 95 percent, compared to the rest of the nation. Even solid middle class incomes of $50,000 to $75,000 grew at a rate of 18 percent.

So if Black America is better educated and earnings are growing – what is the problem with gaining access to mortgage loans? And if America is a land of laws, why is financial justice so elusive for Black America?

“As we move beyond the sub-prime crisis, we continue to see the housing and credit market systematically either deny or send less attractive products to the Black and Latino community,” noted john. a. powell, an internationally acclaimed Professor of Law and Professor of African American Studies and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

“This problem which is both historical, structural and interpersonal will not be addressed unless we face and make affirmative interventions,” continued powell.  “As useful as the data is, it is not enough.  The nature of structures is to reproduce the current condition.  We can and most do better than that.”

“The fact that borrowers of color face higher interest rates and are less likely to be granted conventional loans is directly responsible for the wealth gap that continues to plague our nation, as well as the wide gap between the percentage of African Americans who own their homes (42 percent) and the percentage of whites who do (73 percent),” said Dr. Julianne Malveaux, a noted economist, author and President Emerita of Bennett College for Women.  “It is imperative that bankers cease these unfair and discriminatory lending practices, and that activists target this lending discrimination.”

For Lisa Rice, Executive Vice President of the National Fair Housing Alliance, the 2016 data do not reflect a changing America.

“These stark racial and ethnic divisions in mortgage lending, said Rice, “come at a time when our nation’s demographics are in transformation. By 2025 will be even more diverse with households of color representing nearly half of all first-time homebuyers.”
“The private market has a duty to serve everyone fairly,” she continued. “The average family deserves the opportunity to pursue their own American Dream.”
But as Hughes eloquently wrote so many years ago in another poem entitled, “I, Too, Sing America:
“I, too, sing America.
I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.
I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
‘Eat in the kitchen,’
In 2017, is it ‘then’ yet for Black America?
Charlene Crowell is the deputy communications director for the Center for Responsible Lending. She can be reached at [email protected]

Charlene Crowell
[email protected]

2 Florida White Men Finally Sentenced After Pleading Guilty to Cross-Burning

Thomas Herris Sigler

Thomas Herris Sigler

*Pasco County, Florida resident, Thomas Herris Sigler III, and his accomplice, William A. Dennis, were finally handed down sentences in relation to a shocking cross burning incident carried out in 2012, outside of a neighbor’s home.

Released court documents show that the two men, residents of a mostly white Pasco County community known as Seward Drive, conspired to commit the crime along with other residents at a Halloween party, shortly after an interracial couple moved in next door.

Sigler, Dennis and others reportedly gathered wood, gasoline and other tools and carried the cross to their neighbors’ yard together before setting it alight in full view. In later statements, Sigler describes his actions as an attempt to force his neighbors from their home.

The incident was the culmination of several racist attacks carried out against the couple, with Sigler admitting at one point to punching the male half of the couple in the face, before repeatedly calling him racial slurs.

Pascual Carlos Pietri, another man reportedly involved in the case, had been charged earlier for his part in the cross burning, having been sentenced to 37-months in prison back in March 2016. Sigler and Dennis were sentenced to 33, and 21 months respectively with both men set to receive three years of post-release probation after release.

  Pascual Carlos Pietri

Pascual Carlos Pietri

Sigler has a previous record having been arrested for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, aggravated assault, driving without a license and felony DUI already. In 2013, he was arrested for sexual battery, rape and kidnapping of a victim younger than 12 years old.

Speaking out at his sentencing, Sigler claimed remorse for his actions in the incident, stating that he felt ashamed for his family. He said that he was using his time in prison to study the Bible, and to try come to terms with his alcoholism, drug addiction and abusive past. Meanwhile Dennis apologized to the victims of his crime as well as the courts for “this mess.”

While the victims weren’t present at court to hear the final sentence being passed down, the girlfriend identified by courts only as K.L did release this statement, which was read out by the judge before sentencing.

“It felt like we had our very own, personal group of terrorists…I truly cannot imagine living with that much anger inside…But you showed me what hate is all about.”

K.L went on to describe how she now lives in constant fear of one day coming home to the news that her boyfriend has been killed, and the she sleeps with one eye open, finding herself constantly looking over her shoulder. A stark contrast to the quiet, idyllic rural Midwestern upbringing she writes about.

‘Behind The Movement’ Starring Meta Golding as Rosa Parks from TV One Starts Production

meta golding - rosa parks

*TV One today announced that production is underway in Atlanta, Georgia for the new film, Behind the Movement, starring Meta Golding (“The Hunger Games”), Isaiah Washington (“The 100”), Loretta Devine (“Waiting to Exhale”), and Roger Guenveur Smith (“American Gangster”).

The film is slated to premiere in time for Black History Month 2018.

“Behind the Movement” is a unique and fast-paced retelling of how Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her seat launched the history-making Montgomery Bus Boycott. The film will reveal the untold story of how a group of everyday people decided this incident was the right time to take a stand for their civil rights and demand equal treatment.

Behind the Movement cast announced today:

• Meta Golding as Rosa Parks
• Roger Guenveur Smith as Raymond Parks
• Loretta Devine as Jo Ann Robinson
• Isaiah Washington as E.D. Nixon
• Shaun Clay as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Rosa’s day as a seamstress at the Montgomery Fair Department Store, in Alabama in 1955, starts as any other, but her journey home was interrupted when the evening bus driver tells the black passengers in the first row of the “Negro Section” to make room for white passengers who were without seats. Though this was common practice, that evening, Mrs. Parks decides not to comply. Knowing her rights and being fed up with the treatment of black citizens, she accepts the consequences of refusing to obey an order and is arrested. That night, Mr. E.D. Nixon, president of the local chapter of the NAACP, of which Rosa is the secretary, calls his friend Mr. Clifford Durr, a local white attorney. Once safely at home, E.D. tells Rosa that she is the perfect “test case” for a Bus Boycott, an idea that had been in discussion since the bus segregation rules were continuously being abused and more and more blacks were being removed or threatened if they didn’t give up their seats to white riders.

Afraid for her safety, Rosa’s mother and her husband try to talk her out of leading the boycott, but Rosa tells them that taking this stance is too important. By midnight, plans are put in motion to launch a boycott that, ultimately, would last more than a year and give rise to what is known today at the Civil Rights Movement.

Behind the Movement is written by Katrina M. O’Gilvie and directed by Aric Avelino. The film is produced for TV One by Eric Tomosunas, Keith Neal, James Seppelfrick and Darien Baldwin for Swirl Films. For TV One, Karen Peterkin is Director of Scripted Original Programming and shares Executive in charge of production duties with Tia A. Smith, Sr. Director of Original Programming & Production. Donyell McCullough is Senior Director of Talent & Casting; Robyn Greene-Arrington is VP of Original Programming, and D’Angela Proctor is Head of Original Programming and Production.

For more information about TV One’s upcoming programming, including original movies, visit the network’s companion website at www.tvone.tv. TV One viewers can also join the conversation by connecting via social media on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook (@tvonetv) using the hash tags #BEHINDTHEMOVEMENT and #REPRESENT.


Swirl Films is America’s “number one urban film production company,” a full-service Film & TV production company with over 60 original productions in the past six years, focusing on urban content and programming, independent features and multi-camera productions. Swirl Films is a major content provider for TV One which includes original productions: Love Under New Management: The Miki Howard Story (2016), which was TV One’s first ever biopic, starring another stellar cast: Lisa Raye McCoy, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Darius McCrary, Indirah Khan and Teyonah Parris as Howard. According to the network, the film broke record ratings, undeniably becoming the top original film in the network’s history drawing in 2 million views, resulting in the networks highest ratings week ever. Quickly surpassing those numbers is TV One’s #1 Original Premiere of All Time, When Love Kills (2017), starring Lance Gross, Niatia Kirkland, and Tami Roman, directed by actress Tasha Smith. Swirl Films previous production credits for TV One also includes Born Again Virgin, starring Danielle Nicolet, Meagan Holder and Eva Marcille; Here We Go Again, starring LeToya Luckett, Wendy Raquel Robinson and Kyndall Ferguson; Russ Parr’s award-winning The Undershepherd, Hear No Evil, and 35 & Ticking (Kevin Hart).


Launched in January 2004, TV One serves 59 million households, offering a broad range of real-life and entertainment-focused original programming, classic series, movies and music designed to entertain and inform a diverse audience of adult black viewers. The network represents the best in black culture and entertainment with fan favorite shows Unsung, Rickey Smiley For Real, Fatal Attraction, The Manns and The NAACP Image Awards. In addition, TV One is the cable home of blockbuster drama Empire, and NewsOne Now, the only live daily news program dedicated to black viewers. In December 2008, the company launched TV One High Def, which now serves 14 million households. TV One is solely owned by Urban One, Inc., formerly known as Radio One, Inc. [NASDAQ: UONE and UONEK, www.urban1.com], the largest African-American owned multi-media company primarily targeting Black and urban audiences.


NAACP Pans White House Position on Protests by Pro Athletes, Endorses Rights of, and Protecting Free Speech

naacp - logo

*BALTIMORE – The NAACP, the nation’s foremost advocacy and civil rights organization, issued the following statement today regarding the White House’s position on, and the growing, divisive sentiment toward some professional athletes exercising their right of free speech:

Despite the recent memo from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell that player should stand for the Star-Spangled Banner, the NAACP stands in complete solidarity with professional athletes exercising their right to demonstrate in whatever unified, dignified manner they see fit before major sporting contests, most notably choosing to kneel during the ritual singing of the National Anthem before games begin. African American athletes—and all U.S. athletes—have the same inalienable rights that all American citizens enjoy—the rights that so many throughout our history have sacrificed for. Most basic among these is the right to free speech and peaceful expression.

“The very idea that Jerry Jones, a highly respected team owner in the National Football League, would publicly declare that players on his team, the Dallas Cowboys, who do not stand for the singing of the anthem would not be permitted to take the field completely negates the issue that these individuals are hoping to illuminate via their public platforms: Wholly disproportionate incidences of police brutality and racial injustice towards people of color,” said Derrick Johnson, NAACP interim president and CEO. “Secondly, the fact that the White House has actually gotten behind Jones’ assertion, and has encouraged the League to enact a rule mandating symbolic allegiance is unconscionable and, basically, un-American. We’re calling upon players’ associations across America’s leagues and sports to stand in defiance of any such proposed rule change.”

“It’s a saddening sentiment,” said Tony Covington, former NFL player and senior director of Corporate Affairs with the NAACP “for the league to assume that player’s daily lives are not affected by incidents of injustice impacting the communities they come from.”

“Players can be powerful role models for positive social change if properly educated on issues of social justice. There are models of what’s possible, as both the NBA and WNBA both have come out in support of unified player demonstrations that respect their player’s voices, rights and beliefs,” Covington continued. “The NAACP is hopeful that we can ally ourselves with the NFL and its players to ensure that in ‘the land of the free, and the home of the brave,’ all individuals’ rights and freedoms continue to be safeguarded.”

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas by visiting NAACP.org.

HBO’s John Oliver Brilliantly & Humorously Explains Why ALL Confederate Statues Need to Go (Watch)

*Sunday night (10-09-17), John Oliver spent nearly half of his HBO show “Last Week Tonight” using humor to detail the history behind America’s Confederate monuments and explaining why they need to be removed.

The segment comes as white nationalists returned to Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend to protest the removal of a Confederate monument. Their first march over the summer turned violent and ultimately ended with one counter-protester dead.

“What do you do now?” asked Oliver. “I would argue that nothing is not acceptable and trying to paper over the cracks can actually make things worse. In the 1990s, Richmond tried to fix its Monument Avenue, a street lined with statues of Confederate leaders, by adding African-American tennis legend Arthur Ashe to it. You can’t just give Confederates a black friend and say, ‘We’re good, right?’”

“So if we really want to learn from and honor our history,” he continued, “perhaps the first step might be to put most of these statues somewhere more appropriate surrounded by ample historical context — like at a museum.”

Oliver pointed out that the Southern Poverty Law Center counted 1,503 Confederate memorials across the country, of which 718 are statues and monuments, and 10 are U.S. military bases named for Confederate officers.

“Think about that…they were the enemy and they killed U.S. soldiers,” Oliver marveled. “That’s like finding out Nancy Kerrigan named her child Tonya Harding.”

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