Tavis Smiley – Week Twelve 2014

Tavis smileyClay Risen – “The Bill of the Century”  This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The groundbreaking bill gave the federal government greater power to strike down segregation, enforce fair hiring practices, and address bias in law enforcement and the courts. While its passage has been credited to the leadership of President Lyndon Johnson and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the battle for the Civil Rights Act was much bigger than those two men. Clay Risen, a staff editor for the op-ed section of “The New York Times”, explores the dynamics of the bill’s passage in his new book, “The Bill of the Century: The Epic Battle for the Civil Rights…


Josh Ruxin – “A Thousand Hills to Heaven”     It’s been 20 years since Rwanda was the scene of gruesome genocidal violence. As many as a million Tutsis and moderate Hutus were literally hacked to pieces by roving death squads during the spring of 1994. Perhaps there’s no better symbol of the nation’s recovery than a village cluster called Mayange and a restaurant called Heaven. Columbia University Professor Josh Ruxin has had a firsthand view of Rwanda’s recovery as director of Health Builders, which helps operate rural health centers. He shares his experiences in a new memoir, “A Thousand Hills to Heaven: Love, Hope, and a Restaurant in Rwanda”….


Scott Kurashige – Diversity Gap at Public Universities   A  fraternity party last fall at the University of Michigan described as “World Star Hip Hop Presents: Hood Ratchet Thursday” promised twerking, rappers, gangsters, thugs, and basketball players. African American students were incensed. The incident brought to light an underlying issue that has plagued the university for years. In 1996, Michigan voters passed a ballot initiative that banned race-based admission at state schools. Since then, minority enrollment at the University of Michigan has steadily declined. Scott Kurashige, Michigan professor of American culture, history, and Afro-American and African studies, argues in a recent commentary that, in their lack of diversity, schools like Michigan are failing to uphold their mission as public…


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