Thursday, 26 May 2011

March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, The Great March on Washington, as styled in a sound recording released after the event) was a large political rally in support of civil and economic rights for African Americans that took place in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, August 28, 1963. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his historic "I Have a Dream" speech advocating racial harmony at the Lincoln Memorial during the march.
The march was organized by a group of civil rights, labor, and religious organizations, under the theme "jobs, and freedom. Estimates of the number of participants varied from 200,000 (police) to over 300,000 (leaders of the march). Observers estimated that 75–80% of the marchers were black and the rest were white and other minorities.
The march is widely credited with helping to pass the Civil Rights Act (1964) and the Voting Rights Act (1965).

Speakers
Representatives from each of the sponsoring organizations addressed the crowd from the podium at the Lincoln Memorial. Speakers included all six civil-rights leaders of the so called, "Big Six"; Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish religious leaders; and labor leader Walter Reuther. The one female speaker was Josephine Baker.
Floyd McKissick read James Farmer's speech because Farmer had been arrested during a protest in Louisiana; Farmer had written that the protests would not stop "until the dogs stop biting us in the South and the rats stop biting us in the North.

The March
On August 28, more than 2,000 buses, 21 special trains, 10 chartered airliners, and uncounted cars converged on Washington. All regularly scheduled planes, trains, and buses were also filled to capacity.
The march began at the Washington Monument and ended at the Lincoln Memorial with a program of music and speakers. The march failed to start on time because its leaders were meeting with members of Congress. To the leaders' surprise, the assembled group began to march from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial without them.
The 1963 March also spurred anniversary marches that occur every five years, with the 20th and 25th being some of the most well known. The 25th Anniversary theme was "We Still have a Dream.Jobs*Peace*Freedom.

Media coverage
Media attention gave the march national exposure, carrying the organizers' speeches and offering their own commentary. In his section The March on Washington and Television News, William Thomas notes: "Over five hundred cameramen, technicians, and correspondents from the major networks were set to cover the event. More cameras would be set up than had filmed the last Presidential inauguration. One camera was positioned high in the Washington Monument, to give dramatic vistas of the marchers.

Singers
Gospel legend Mahalia Jackson sang "How I Got Over", musician Bob Dylan performed several songs, including "Only a Pawn in Their Game", about the culturally fed racial hatred amongst Southern whites that led to the assassination of Medgar Evers; and "When the Ship Comes In", during which he was joined by fellow folk singer Joan Baez, who earlier had led the crowds in several verses of "We Shall Overcome" and "Oh Freedom". Peter, Paul and Mary sang "If I Had a Hammer" and Dylan's "Blowin' In The Wind". Marian Anderson sang at the march as well.
King gave his famous I Have a Dream speech, which was carried live by TV stations.

Background and Organization
The march was initiated by A. Philip Randolph, the president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, president of the Negro American Labor Council, and vice president of the AFL-CIO. Randolph had planned a similar march in 1941. The threat of the earlier march had convinced President Roosevelt to establish the Committee on Fair Employment Practice and bar discriminatory hiring in the defense industry.
The 1963 march was an important part of the rapidly expanding Civil Rights Movement. It also marked the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation by Abraham Lincoln.
In the political sense, the march was organized by a coalition of organizations and their leaders including: Randolph who was chosen as the titular head of the march, James Farmer (president of the Congress of Racial Equality), John Lewis (president of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee), Martin Luther King, Jr. (president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference), Roy Wilkins (president of the NAACP), Whitney Young (president of the National Urban League).
The mobilization and logistics of the actual march itself was administered by deputy director Bayard Rustin, a civil rights veteran and organizer of the 1947 Journey of Reconciliation, the first of the Freedom Rides to test the Supreme Court ruling that banned racial discrimination in interstate travel. Rustin was a long-time associate of both Randolph and Dr. King. With Randolph concentrating on building the march's political coalition, Rustin built and led the team of activists and organizers who publicized the march and recruited the marchers, coordinated the buses and trains, provided the marshals, and set up and administered all of the logistic details of a mass march in the nation's capital.
The march was not universally supported among African Americans. Some civil rights activists were concerned that it might turn violent, which could undermine pending legislation and damage the international image of the movement. The march was condemned by Malcolm X, spokesperson for the Nation of Islam, who termed it the "farce on Washington.

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, usually or NAACP, is an African-American civil rights organization in the United States, formed in 1909. Its mission is "to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination. Its name, retained in accordance with tradition, uses the once common term colored people.
The NAACP bestows the annual Image Awards for achievement in the arts and entertainment, and the annual Spingarn Medals for outstanding positive achievement of any kind, on deserving African Americans. It has its headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland.

The Birth of the NAACP
See also: African-American – Jewish relations #Early 20th Century
The Race Riot of 1908 in Lincoln's hometown of Springfield, Illinois had highlighted the urgent need for an effective civil rights organization in the U.S. This event is often cited as the catalyst for the formation of the NAACP. Mary White Ovington, journalist William English Walling and Henry Moskowitz met in New York City in January 1909 and the NAACP was born. Solicitations for support went out to more than 60 prominent Americans, and a meeting date was set for February 12, 1909. This was intended to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the birth of President Abraham Lincoln, who emancipated enslaved African Americans. While the meeting did not take place until three months later, this date is often cited as the founding date of the organization.
The NAACP was founded on February 12, 1909 by a diverse group composed of W.E.B. Du Bois, Ida B. Wells, Archibald Grimké, Henry Moscowitz, Mary White Ovington, Oswald Garrison Villard, William English Walling (the last son of a former slave-holding family), and Florence Kelley, a social reformer and friend of Du Bois.
On May 30, 1909, the Niagara Movement conference took place at New York City's Henry Street Settlement House, from which an organization of more than 40 individuals emerged, calling itself the National Negro Committee. Du Bois played a key role in organizing the event and presided over the proceedings. Also in attendance was African-American journalist and anti-lynching crusader Ida B. Wells-Barnett. At its second conference on May 30, 1910, members chose as the organization's name the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and elected its first officers, who were:
National President, Moorfield Storey, Boston
Chairman of the Executive Committee, William English Walling
Treasurer, John E. Milholland (a Lincoln Republican and Presbyterian from New York City and Lewis, NY)
Disbursing Treasurer, Oswald Garrison Villard
Executive Secretary, Frances Blascoer
Director of Publicity and Research, Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois.
The NAACP was incorporated a year later in 1911. The association's charter delineated its mission:
To promote equality of rights and to eradicate caste or race prejudice among the citizens of the United States; to advance the interest of colored citizens; to secure for them impartial suffrage; and to increase their opportunities for securing justice in the courts, education for the children, employment according to their ability and complete equality before law.

Legal Defense Fund
The board of directors of the NAACP created the Legal Defense Fund in 1939 specifically for tax purposes. It functioned as the NAACP legal department. Intimidated by the Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service, the Legal and Educational Defense Fund, Inc., became a separate legal entity in 1957, although it was clear that it was to operate in accordance with NAACP policy. After 1961 serious disputes emerged between the two organizations, creating considerable confusion in the eyes and minds of the public.

Organization
The NAACP's headquarters are in Baltimore, Maryland, with additional regional offices in California, New York, Michigan, Colorado, Georgia, Texas and Maryland. Each regional office is responsible for coordinating the efforts of state conferences in the states included in that region. Local, youth, and college chapters organize activities for individual members.
The NAACP is run nationally by a 64-member board led by a chair. The board elects one person as the President and one as chief executive officer for the organization; Benjamin Jealous is its most recent (and youngest) President, selected to replace Bruce S. Gordon, who resigned in March 2007. Civil Rights Movement activist and former Georgia State Senator Julian Bond was chairman until replaced in February 2010 by health-care administrator Roslyn M. Brock.
Departments within the NAACP govern areas of action. Local chapters are supported by the Branch and Field Services department and the Youth and College department. The Legal Department focuses on court cases of broad application to minorities, such as systematic discrimination in employment, government, or education. The Washington, D.C., bureau is responsible for lobbying the U.S. government, and the Education Department works to improve public education at the local, state and federal levels. The goal of the Health Division is to advance health care for minorities through public policy initiatives and education.

NAACP and tax exempt status
The Internal Revenue Service informed the NAACP in October 2004 that it was investigating its tax-exempt status based on Julian Bond's speech at its 2004 Convention in which he criticized President George W. Bush as well as other political figures. In general, the US Internal Revenue Code prohibits organizations granted tax-exempt status from "directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. The NAACP denounced the investigation as retaliation for its success in increasing the number of African Americans who vote. In August 2006, the IRS investigation concluded with the agency's finding "that the remarks did not violate the group's tax-exempt status.

NAACP and youth
This aspect of the NAACP came into existence in 1936 and now is made of over 600 groups and totaling over 30,000 individuals. The NAACP Youth & College Division is a branch of the NAACP in which youth are actively involved. The Youth Council is composed of hundreds of state, county, high school and college operations where youth (and college students) volunteer to share their voices or opinions with their peers and address issues that are local and national. Sometimes volunteer work expands to a more international scale. Committing to the Youth Council may reward young people with travel opportunities or scholarships.
In 2003, NAACP President and CEO, Kweisi Mfume, appointed Brandon Neal, the National Youth and College Division Director. Currently, Stefanie L. Brown serves as the NAACP's National Youth & College Division Director. A graduate and former Student Government President at Howard University, Stefanie previously served as the National Youth Council Coordinator of the NAACP.

Mission of the Youth & College Division
"The mission of the NAACP Youth & College Division shall be to inform youth of the problems affecting African Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities; to advance the economic, education, social and political status of African Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities and their harmonious cooperation with other peoples; to stimulate an appreciation of the African Diaspora and other people of color’s contribution to civilization; and to develop an intelligent, militant effective youth leadership."

ACT-SO program
Since 1978 the NAACP has sponsored the Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) program for high school youth around the United States. The program is designed to recognize and award African American youth who demonstrate accomplishment in academics, technology, and the arts. Local chapters sponsor competitions in various categories of achievement for young people in grades 9–12. Winners of the local competitions are eligible to proceed to the national event at a convention held each summer at locations around the United States. Winners at the national competition receive national recognition along with cash awards and various prizes.

Coretta Scott King

Coretta Scott King (April 27, 1927 – January 30, 2006) was an American author, activist, and civil rights leader. The widow of Martin Luther King, Jr., Coretta Scott King helped lead the African-American Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.
Mrs. King's most prominent role may have been in the years after her husband's 1968 assassination when she took on the leadership of the struggle for racial equality herself and became active in the Women's Movement.

Civil rights movement
Coretta Scott King played an extremely important role in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Martin wrote of her that, "I am indebted to my wife Coretta, without whose love, sacrifices, and loyalty neither life nor work would bring fulfillment. She has given me words of consolation when I needed them and a well-ordered home where Christian love is a reality." However, Martin and Coretta did conflict over her public role in the movement. Martin wanted Coretta to focus on raising their four children, while Coretta wanted to take a more public leadership role.
Coretta Scott King took part in the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955 and took an active role in advocating for civil rights legislation. Most prominently, perhaps, she worked hard to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Not long after her husband's assassination in 1968, Coretta approached the African American entertainer and activist Josephine Baker to take her husband's place as leader of The Civil Rights Movement. After many days of thinking it over Baker declined, stating that her twelve adopted children (known as the "rainbow tribe") were " ... too young to lose their mother. Shortly after that Coretta decided to take the helm of the movement herself.
Coretta Scott King broadened her focus to include women's rights, LGBT rights, economic issues, world peace, and various other causes. As early as December 1968, she called for women to "unite and form a solid block of women power to fight the three great evils of racism, poverty and war," during a Solidarity Day speech.
As leader of the movement, Coretta Scott King founded the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta. She served as the center's president and CEO from its inception until she passed the reins of leadership to son Dexter Scott King.
She published her memoirs, My Life with Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1969.
Coretta Scott King was also under surveillance by the Federal Bureau of Investigation from 1968 until 1972. Her husband's activities had been monitored during his lifetime. Documents obtained by a Houston, Texas television station show that the FBI worried that Coretta Scott King would "tie the anti-Vietnam movement to the civil rights movement. A spokesman for the King family said that they were aware of the surveillance, but had not realized how extensive it was.
Coretta Scott King with her husband
Martin Luther King, Jr


Family life
Coretta Scott and Martin Luther King, Jr., were married on June 18, 1953, on the lawn of her mother's house; the ceremony was performed by Martin Jr.'s father, Martin Luther King, Sr.. After completing her degree in voice and piano at the New England Conservatory, she moved with her husband to Montgomery, Alabama in September 1954.
The Kings had four children:
Yolanda Denise King (November 17, 1955 – May 15, 2007)
Martin Luther King III (October 23, 1957 in Montgomery, Alabama)
Dexter Scott King (January 30, 1961 in Atlanta, Georgia)
Bernice Albertine King (March 28, 1963 in Atlanta, Georgia)
All four children later followed in their parents' footsteps as civil rights activists.

Childhood and education
Coretta Scott King was the third of four children born to Obadiah "Obe" Scott (1899–1998) and Bernice McMurray Scott (1904–1996) in Marion, Alabama. She had an older sister named Edythe, born in 1925, and a younger brother named Obadiah Leonard, born in 1930. An older daughter, Eunice Scott did not survive childhood. The Scotts owned a farm, which had been in the family since the American Civil War, but were not particularly wealthy. During the Great Depression the Scott children picked cotton to help earn money. Obe was the first black in their neighborhood to own a truck. He had a barber shop in their home. He also owned a lumber mill, which was burned down by white neighbors.
Though uneducated themselves, Coretta Scott's parents intended for all of their children to be educated. Coretta quoted her mother as having said, "My children are going to college, even if it means I only have but one dress to put on. The Scott children attended a one room elementary school 5 miles (8 km) from their home and were later bussed to Lincoln Normal School, which despite being 9 mi (14 km) from their home, was the closest black high school in Marion, Alabama, due to racial segregation in schools. The bus was driven by Coretta's mother Bernice, who bussed all the local black teenagers.
Coretta Scott graduated valedictorian of Lincoln Normal School in 1945 and enrolled at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Edythe Scott already attended Antioch as part of the Antioch Program for Interracial Education, which recruited non-white students and gave them full scholarships in an attempt to diversify the historically white campus. Coretta said of her first college:
Antioch had envisioned itself as a laboratory in democracy, but had no black students. (Edythe) became the first African American to attend Antioch on a completely integrated basis, and was joined by two other black female students in the fall of 1943. Pioneering is never easy, and all of us who followed my sister at Antioch owe her a great debt of gratitude.

Congressional resolutions
Upon the news of her death, moments of reflection, remembrance, and mourning began around the world. In the United States Senate, Majority Leader Bill Frist presented Senate Resolution 362 on behalf of all U.S. Senators, with the afternoon hours filled with respectful tributes throughout the U.S. Capitol.
On August 31, 2006 following a moment of silence in memoriam to the death of Scott King, the United States House of Representatives presented House Resolution 655 in honor of her legacy. In an unusual action, the resolution included a grace period of five days in which further comments could be added to it.

Recognition and tributes
Coretta Scott King was the recipient of various honors and tributes both before and after her death. She received honorary degrees from many institutions, including Princeton University, Duke University, and Bates College. She was honored by both of her alma maters in 2004, receiving a Horace Mann Award from Antioch College and an Outstanding Alumni Award from the New England Conservatory of Music.
In 1970, the American Library Association began awarding a medal named for Coretta Scott King to outstanding African American writers and illustrators of children's literature.
Many individuals and organizations paid tribute to Scott King following her death, including U.S. President George W. Bush, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Black Justice Coalition, her alma mater Antioch College.
In 1997, Correta Scott King was the recipient of the Academy of Achievement Golden Plate Award.

In 2004, Coretta Scott King was awarded the prestigious Gandhi Peace Prize by the Government of India.
In 2006, the Jewish National Fund, the organization that works to plant trees in Israel, announced the creation of the Coretta Scott King forest in the Galilee region of Northern Israel, with the purpose of "perpetuating her memory of equality and peace," as well as the work of her husband. When she learned about this plan, King wrote to Israel's parliament:
"On April 3, 1968, just before he was killed, Martin delivered his last public address. In it he spoke of the visit he and I made to Israel. Moreover, he spoke to us about his vision of the Promised Land, a land of justice and equality, brotherhood and peace. Martin dedicated his life to the goals of peace and unity among all peoples, and perhaps nowhere in the world is there a greater appreciation of the desirability and necessity of peace than in Israel.”
In 2007, The Coretta Scott King Young Women's Leadership Academy (CSKYWLA) was opened in Atlanta, Georgia. At its inception, the school served girls in grade 6 with plans for expansion to grade 12 by 2014. CSKYWLA is a public school in the Atlanta Public Schools system. Among the staff and students, the acronym for the school's name, CSKYWLA (pronounced "see-skee-WAH-lah"), has been coined as a protologism to which this definition has given – "to be empowered by scholarship, non-violence, and social change." The school is currently under the leadership of Melody Morgan (Principal) and April Patton (Dean of Academics).
Super Bowl XL was dedicated to King and Rosa Parks. Both were memorialized with a moment of silence during the pregame ceremonies. The children of both Parks and King then helped Tom Brady with the ceremonial coin toss. In addition two choirs representing the states of Georgia (King's home state) and Alabama (Park's home state) accompanied Dr. John, Aretha Franklin and Aaron Neville in the singing the National Anthem.

Josephine Baker (1903-1986)

Josephine Baker, June 3, 1906 – April 12, 1975 was an American-born Afro-French dancer, singer, and actress. Nicknamed the "Bronze Venus," the "Black Pearl," and even the "Créole Goddess" in anglophone nations.
Baker was the first African American female to star in a major motion picture and to integrate an American concert hall, and to become a world-famous entertainer. She is also noted for her contributions to the Civil Rights Movement in the United States (she was offered the unofficial leadership of the movement by Coretta Scott King in 1968 following Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination, but turned it down), for assisting the French Resistance during World War II and for being the first American-born woman to receive the French military honor, the Croix de guerre.

Early life
Baker was born Freda Josephine McDonald in St. Louis, Missouri, the daughter of Carrie McDonald. Her estate identifies vaudeville drummer Eddie Carson as her natural father. A biography written by her foster son Jean-Claude Baker stated:
“ … (Josephine Baker's) father was identified (on the birth certificate) simply as "Edw" … I think Josephine's father was white—so did Josephine, so did her family … people in St. Louis say that (Josephine's mother) had worked for a German family (around the time she became pregnant). (Carrie) let people think Eddie Carson was the father, and Carson played along … (but) Josephine knew better.”
Her mother, Carrie, was adopted in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1886 by Richard and Elvira McDonald, both of whom were former slaves of African and Native American descent.
When Baker was eight she was sent to work for a white woman who abused her, burning Baker's hands when she put too much soap in the laundry. She later went to work for another woman.
Baker dropped out of school at the age of 12 and lived as a street child in the slums of St. Louis, sleeping in cardboard shelters and scavenging for food in garbage cans. Her street-corner dancing attracted attention and she was recruited for the St. Louis Chorus vaudeville show at 15. She then headed to New York City during the Harlem Renaissance, performing at the Plantation Club and in the chorus of the popular Broadway revues Shuffle Along (1921) with Adelaide Hall and The Chocolate Dandies (1924). She performed as the last dancer in a chorus line, a position in which the dancer traditionally performed in a comic manner, as if she was unable to remember the dance, until the encore, at which point she would not only perform it correctly, but with additional complexity. Baker was then billed as "the highest-paid chorus girl in vaudeville."
On October 2, 1925, she opened in Paris at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, where she became an instant success for her erotic dancing and for appearing practically nude on stage. After a successful tour of Europe, she reneged on her contract and returned to France to star at the Folies Bergères, setting the standard for her future acts. She performed the Danse sauvage, wearing a costume consisting of a skirt made of a string of artificial bananas.
Baker's success coincided (1925) with the Exposition des Arts Décoratifs, which gave birth to the term "Art Deco", and also with a renewal of interest in ethnic forms of art, including African. Baker represented one aspect of this fashion.
In later shows in Paris she was often accompanied on stage by her pet cheetah, Chiquita, who was adorned with a diamond collar. The cheetah frequently escaped into the orchestra pit, where it terrorized the musicians, adding another element of excitement to the show.

Legacy
Place Joséphine Baker" in the Montparnasse Quarter of Paris was named in her honor. She has also been inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame and the Hall of Famous Missourians. Her name has also been incorporated at Paris Plage, a man-made beach along the river Seine "Piscine Joséphine Baker".
Two of Baker's sons, Jean-Claude and Jarry (Jari), grew up to go into business together, running the restaurant Chez Josephine on Theatre Row, 42nd Street, New York, which celebrates Baker's life and works.
Baker's iconic performance style has also been influential. Diana Ross, a long-time admirer of Baker, performed in Bob Mackie-designed outfits similar to Baker's and reenacted similar poses of the latter in many photo sessions. During the 1980s, Ross moved to Paris for one year, to research Baker's life for a feature film project Ross hoped to mount. Whitney Houston pays tribute to Baker in her "I'm Your Baby Tonight" music video to represent the Harlem Renaissance. Baker's banana skirt, in particular, has made numerous media appearances. A dancer wore one in Sir-Mix-A-Lot's 1991 video for "Baby Got Back".
In 2009, a musical based on Baker's war experiences was headed for Broadway. The musical has a book by Ellen Weston and Mark Hampton, music by Steve Dorff and lyrics by John Bettis. [24] At the time, Deborah Cox was being mentioned as a possibility for the title role, but—as of 2010—the musical has not yet appeared on Broadway.

Civil rights activism
Although based in France, Baker supported the American Civil Rights Movement during the 1950s. She protested in her own way against racism, adopting 12 multi-ethnic orphans, who she called the "Rainbow Tribe. They were: Akio (Korean son), Jeannot, or Janot (Japanese son), Luis (Colombian son), Jari (Finnish son), Jean-Claude (French son), Moïse (Israeli son), Brahim (Algerian son), Marianne (French daughter), Koffi (Ivorian son), Mara (Venezuelan son), Noël (French son), and Stellina (Moroccan daughter). For some time she lived with all of her children and an enormous staff in a castle, Château de Milandes, in Dordogne, France. Baker bore only one child, stillborn in 1941, an incident that precipitated an emergency hysterectomy.
She refused to perform for segregated audiences in the United States. Her insistence on mixed audiences helped to integrate shows in Las Vegas, Nevada.
In 1951, Baker made charges of racism against Sherman Billingsley's Stork Club in New York, where she had been refused service. Actress Grace Kelly, who was at the club at the time, rushed over to Baker, took her by the arm and stormed out with her entire party, vowing never to return (and she never did). The two women became close friends after the incident. Testament to this was made evident when Baker was near bankruptcy and was offered a villa and financial assistance by Kelly (who by then was princess consort of Rainier III of Monaco).
Baker also worked with the NAACP. In 1963, she spoke at the March on Washington at the side of Martin Luther King, Jr. Wearing her Free French uniform emblazoned with her medal of the Légion d'honneur, she was the only woman to speak at the rally. After King's assassination, his widow Coretta Scott King approached Baker in Holland to ask if she would take her husband's place as leader of the American Civil Rights Movement. After many days of thinking it over, Baker declined, saying her children were "… too young to lose their mother.

Personal life
There is evidence to suggest that she was bisexual. One of her adopted sons, Jean-Claude Baker, writing in his book Josephine: The Hungry Heart, states that she was involved in numerous lesbian affairs, both while she was single and married, and mentions six of her female lovers by name. Clara Smith, Evelyn Sheppard, Bessie Allison, Ada "Bricktop" Smith, and Mildred Smallwood were all African-American women she met while touring on the black performing circuit early in her career. She was also involved with the writer Colette, and possibly with Caroline Dudley Reagan, who ran the Paris extravaganza La Revue Nègre.
Not mentioned, but confirmed since, was her affair with Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Baker wrote that affairs with women were not uncommon with Josephine throughout her lifetime.
Jean-Claude Baker interviewed over 2,000 people while writing his book. He was quoted in one interview as saying,
"She was what today you would call bisexual, and I will tell you why. Forget that I am her son, I am also a historian. You have to put her back into the context of the time in which she lived. In those days, Chorus Girls were abused by the white or black producers and by the leading men if he liked girls. But they could not sleep together because there were not enough hotels to accommodate black people. So they would all stay together, and the girls would develop lady lover friendships, do you understand my English? But wait wait...If one of the girls by preference was gay, she'd be called a bull dyke by the whole cast. So you see, discrimination is everywhere.

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Rosa Parks

Rosa Louise McCauley Parks (February 4, 1913 – October 24, 2005) was an African-American civil rights activist, whom the U.S. Congress called "the first lady of civil rights", and "the mother of the freedom movement.
On December 1, 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, Parks, age 42, refused to obey bus driver James Blake's order that she give up her seat to make room for a white passenger. While her action was not the first of its kind to impact the civil rights issue (see also Lizzie Jennings in 1854, Irene Morgan in 1946, Sarah Louise Keys in 1955, Claudette Colvin on the same bus system nine months before Parks), Parks' individual action of civil disobedience created further impact by sparking the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
Parks' act of defiance became an important symbol of the modern Civil Rights Movement and Parks became an international icon of resistance to racial segregation. She organized and collaborated with civil rights leaders, including boycott leader Martin Luther King, Jr., helping to launch him to national prominence in the civil rights movement.
At the time of her action, Parks was secretary of the Montgomery chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and had recently attended the Highlander Folk School, a Tennessee center for workers' rights and racial equality. Nonetheless, she took her action as a private citizen "tired of giving in". Although widely honored in later years for her action, she suffered for it, losing her job as a seamstress in a local department store. Eventually, she moved to Detroit, Michigan, where she found similar work. From 1965 to 1988 she served as secretary and receptionist to African-American U.S. Representative John Conyers. After retirement from this position, she wrote an autobiography and lived a largely private life in Detroit. In her final years she suffered from dementia, and became involved in a lawsuit filed on her behalf against American hip-hop duo OutKast.
Parks eventually received many honors ranging from the 1979 Spingarn Medal to the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal and a posthumous statue in the United States Capitol's National Statuary Hall. Her death in 2005 was a major story in the United States' leading newspapers. She was granted the posthumous honor of lying in honor at the Capitol Rotunda.

Awards and honors
Parks received most of her national accolades very late in life, with relatively few awards and honors being given to her until many decades after the Montgomery Bus Boycott. In 1979, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People awarded Parks the Spingarn Medal, its highest honor, and she received the Martin Luther King Jr. Award the next year. She was inducted into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame in 1983 for her achievements in civil rights. In 1990, she was called at the last moment to be part of the group welcoming Nelson Mandela, who had just been released from his imprisonment in South Africa. Upon spotting her in the reception line, Mandela called out her name and, hugging her, said, "You sustained me while I was in prison all those years. In 1992, she received the Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Award along with Dr. Benjamin Spock and others at the Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston, Massachusetts.
On September 9, 1996, President Bill Clinton presented Parks with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor given by the U.S. executive branch. In 1998, she became the first recipient of the International Freedom Conductor Award given by the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. The next year, Parks was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest award given by the U.S. legislative branch and received the Detroit-Windsor International Freedom Festival Freedom Award. Parks was a guest of President Bill Clinton during his 1999 State of the Union Address. That year, Time magazine named Parks one of the 20 most influential and iconic figures of the twentieth century. In 2000, her home state awarded her the Alabama Academy of Honor, as well as the first Governor's Medal of Honor for Extraordinary Courage. She was awarded two dozen honorary doctorates from universities worldwide, and was made an honorary member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.

The Rosa Parks Library and Museum on the campus of Troy University in Montgomery was dedicated to her on December 1, 2000. It is located on the corner where Parks boarded the famed bus. The most popular items in the museum are the interactive bus arrest of Mrs. Parks and a sculpture of Parks sitting on a bus bench. The documentary Mighty Times: The Legacy of Rosa Parks received a 2002 nomination for Academy Award for Documentary Short Subject. She collaborated that year in a TV movie of her life starring Angela Bassett.
In 2002, scholar Molefi Kete Asante listed Parks on his list of 100 Greatest African Americans.
On October 30, 2005, President George W. Bush issued a proclamation ordering that all flags on U.S. public areas both within the country and abroad be flown at half-staff on the day of Parks' funeral.
Metro Transit in King County, Washington placed posters and stickers dedicating the first forward-facing seat of all its buses in Parks' memory shortly after her death, and the American Public Transportation Association declared December 1, 2005, the 50th anniversary of her arrest, to be a "National Transit Tribute to Rosa Parks Day. On that anniversary, President George W. Bush signed Pub.L. 109-116 , directing that a statue of Parks be placed in the United States Capitol's National Statuary Hall. In signing the resolution directing the Joint Commission on the Library to do so, the President stated:
By placing her statue in the heart of the nation's Capitol, we commemorate her work for a more perfect union, and we commit ourselves to continue to struggle for justice for every American.
On February 5, 2006, at Super Bowl XL, played at Detroit's Ford Field, long-time Detroit residents Coretta Scott King and Parks were remembered and honored by a moment of silence. The Super Bowl was dedicated to their memory.
As part of an effort to shed the image left after the disastrous 1967 riot, in 1976 Detroit renamed 12th Street "Rosa Parks Boulevard.
In the Los Angeles County MetroRail system, the Imperial Highway/Wilmington station, where the Blue Line connects with the Green Line, has been officially named the "Rosa Parks Station".
Nashville, Tennessee renamed MetroCenter Boulevard (8th Avenue North) (US 41A and TN 12) in September 2007 as Rosa L. Parks Boulevard.
In Grand Rapids, Michigan, a plaza in the heart of the city is named Rosa Parks Circle.
On July 14, 2009, the Rosa Parks Transit Center opened in Detroit at the corner of Michigan and Cass Avenues.

Montgomery Bus Boycott
That evening, Nixon conferred with Alabama State College professor Jo Ann Robinson about Parks' case. Robinson, a member of the Women's Political Council (WPC), stayed up all night mimeographing over 35,000 handbills announcing a bus boycott. The Women's Political Council was the first group to officially endorse the boycott.
On Sunday, December 4, 1955, plans for the Montgomery Bus Boycott were announced at black churches in the area, and a front-page article in The Montgomery Advertiser helped spread the word. At a church rally that night, those attending agreed unanimously to continue the boycott until they were treated with the level of courtesy they expected, until black drivers were hired, and until seating in the middle of the bus was handled on a first-come basis.
Four days later, Parks was tried on charges of disorderly conduct and violating a local ordinance. The trial lasted 30 minutes. Parks was found guilty and fined $10, plus $4 in court costs. Parks appealed her conviction and formally challenged the legality of racial segregation. In a 1992 interview with National Public Radio's Lynn Neary, Parks recalled:
“ I did not want to be mistreated, I did not want to be deprived of a seat that I had paid for. It was just time... there was opportunity for me to take a stand to express the way I felt about being treated in that manner. I had not planned to get arrested. I had plenty to do without having to end up in jail. But when I had to face that decision, I didn't hesitate to do so because I felt that we had endured that too long. The more we gave in, the more we complied with that kind of treatment, the more oppressive it became.
On Monday, December 5, 1955, after the success of the one-day boycott, a group of 16 to 18 people gathered at the Mt. Zion AME Zion Church to discuss boycott strategies. The group agreed that a new organization was needed to lead the boycott effort if it were to continue. Rev. Ralph David Abernathy suggested the name "Montgomery Improvement Association" (MIA). The name was adopted, and the MIA was formed. Its members elected as their president a relative newcomer to Montgomery, a young and mostly unknown minister of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
That Monday night, 50 leaders of the African American community gathered to discuss the proper actions to be taken in response to Parks' arrest. E.D. Nixon said, "My God, look what segregation has put in my hands!" Parks was the ideal plaintiff for a test case against city and state segregation laws. While the 15-year-old Claudette Colvin, unwed and pregnant, had been deemed unacceptable to be the center of a civil rights mobilization, King stated that Mrs. Parks was regarded as "one of the finest citizens of Montgomery—not one of the finest Negro citizens, but one of the finest citizens of Montgomery. Parks was securely married and employed, possessed a quiet and dignified demeanor, and was politically savvy.

Death and funeral
Parks resided in Detroit until she died of natural causes at the age of 92 on October 24, 2005, about 7:00 pm EDT, in her apartment on the east side of the city. She and her husband never had children and she outlived her only sibling. She was survived by her sister-in-law, 13 nieces and nephews and their families, and several cousins, most of them residents of Michigan or Alabama.
City officials in Montgomery and Detroit announced on October 27, 2005 that the front seats of their city buses would be reserved with black ribbons in honor of Parks until her funeral. Parks' coffin was flown to Montgomery and taken in a horse-drawn hearse to the St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church, where she lay in repose at the altar on October 29, 2005, dressed in the uniform of a church deaconess. A memorial service was held there the following morning. One of the speakers, United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, said that if it had not been for Parks, she would probably have never become the Secretary of State. In the evening the casket was transported to Washington, D.C., and taken, aboard a bus similar to the one in which she made her protest, to lie in honor in the U.S. Capitol.
On October 28, 2005, the United States House of Representatives approved a resolution passed the previous day by the United States Senate to honor Parks by allowing her body to lie in honor in the Capitol. Since the founding of the practice of lying in state, or honor, in the Rotunda in 1852, Parks was the 31st person, the first American who had not been a U.S. government official, and the second non-government official (after Frenchman Pierre L'Enfant) to be paid this tribute. She was also the first woman and the second black person to lie in honor. An estimated 50,000 people viewed the casket there, and the event was broadcast on television on October 31, 2005. This was followed by another memorial service at a different St. Paul AME church in Washington on the afternoon of October 31, 2005.
For two days, she lay in repose at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit. Parks' funeral service, seven hours long, was held on Wednesday, November 2, 2005, at the Greater Grace Temple Church in Detroit. After the funeral service, an honor guard from the Michigan National Guard laid the U.S. flag over the casket and carried it to a horse-drawn hearse, which had been intended to carry it, in daylight, to the cemetery. As the hearse passed the thousands of people who had turned out to view the procession, many clapped and cheered loudly and released white balloons. Rosa was interred between her husband and mother at Detroit's Woodlawn Cemetery in the chapel's mausoleum. The chapel was renamed the Rosa L. Parks Freedom Chapel just after her death. Parks had previously prepared and placed a headstone on the selected location with the inscription "Rosa L. Parks, wife, 1913–.

Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman, born Araminta Ross; c. March 1822 – March 10, 1913) was an African-American abolitionist, humanitarian, and Union spy during the American Civil War. After escaping from slavery, into which she was born, she made thirteen missions to rescue more than 70 slaves using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad. She later helped John Brown recruit men for his raid on Harpers Ferry, and in the post-war era struggled for women's suffrage.
As a child in Dorchester County, Maryland, Tubman was beaten by various masters to whom she was hired out. Early in her life, she suffered a head wound when hit by a heavy metal weight. The injury caused disabling seizures, narcoleptic attacks, headaches, and powerful visionary and dream activity, which occurred throughout her entire life. A devout Christian, Tubman ascribed the visions and vivid dreams to revelations from God.
In 1849, Tubman escaped to Philadelphia, then immediately returned to Maryland to rescue her family. Slowly, one group at a time, she brought relatives out of the state, and eventually guided dozens of other slaves to freedom. Traveling by night, Tubman (or "Moses", as she was called) "never lost a passenge. Large rewards were offered for the return of many of the fugitive slaves, but no one then knew that Tubman was the one helping them. When the Southern-dominated Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, requiring law officials in free states to aid efforts to recapture slaves, she helped guide fugitives farther north into Canada, where slavery was prohibited.
When the American Civil War began, Tubman worked for the Union Army, first as a cook and nurse, and then as an armed scout and spy. The first woman to lead an armed expedition in the war, she guided the Combahee River Raid, which liberated more than 700 slaves in South Carolina. After the war, she retired to the family home in Auburn, New York, where she cared for her aging parents. She became active in the women's suffrage movement in New York until illness overtook her. Near the end of her life, she lived in a home for elderly African-Americans which she had helped found years earlier.

Legacy
Harriet Tubman, widely known and well-respected while she was alive, became an American icon in the years after she died. A survey at the end of the twentieth century named her as one of the most famous civilians in American history before the Civil War, third only to Betsy Ross and Paul Revere. She inspired generations of African Americans struggling for equality and civil rights; she was praised by leaders across the political spectrum.
When she died, Tubman was buried with military honors at Fort Hill Cemetery in Auburn. The city commemorated her life with a plaque on the courthouse. Although it showed pride for her many achievements, its use of dialect ("I nebber run my train off de track") – apparently chosen for its authenticity – has been criticized for undermining her stature as an American patriot and dedicated humanitarian. Still, the dedication ceremony was a powerful tribute to her memory, and Booker T. Washington delivered the keynote address. The Harriet Tubman home was abandoned after 1920, but was later renovated by the AME Zion Church. Today, it welcomes visitors as a museum and education center.
Bradford's biographies were followed by Earl Conrad's Harriet Tubman: Negro Soldier and Abolitionist. Conrad had experienced a great difficulty in finding a publisher – the search took four years – and endured disdain and contempt for his efforts to construct a more objective, detailed account of Tubman's life for adults. Several highly dramatized versions of Tubman's life had been written for children – and many more came later – but Conrad wrote in an academic style to document the historical importance of her work for scholars and the nation's memory. The book was finally published by Carter G. Woodson's Associated Publishers in 1942. Despite her popularity and significance, another Tubman biography for adults did not appear for sixty years, until Jean Humez published a close reading of Tubman's life stories in 2003, and Larson and Clinton both published their biographies in 2004.
Tubman was celebrated in many other ways throughout the nation in the twentieth century. Dozens of schools were named in her honor, and both the Harriet Tubman Home in Auburn and the Harriet Tubman Museum in Cambridge serve as monuments to her life. In 1937 the gravestone for Harriet Tubman Davis was erected by the Empire State Federation of Women's Clubs; it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. In 1944, the United States Maritime Commission launched the SS Harriet Tubman, its first Liberty ship ever named for a black woman. In 1978, the United States Postal Service issued a stamp in honor of Tubman as the first in a series honoring African Americans. She is commemorated together with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Amelia Bloomer, and Sojourner Truth in the calendar of saints of the Episcopal Church on July 20. In 1999, the Canadian government designated the Salem Chapel, British Methodist Episcopal Church in St. Catharines as a National Historic Site of Canada due to its association with Tubman. In 2002, scholar Molefi Kete Asante included Harriet Tubman on his list of the 100 Greatest African Americans. In 2008, Towson University named Tubman House, a new residence hall in the campus' West Village development, after Tubman.

AME Zion Church, illness, and death
At the turn of the 20th century, Tubman became heavily involved with the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in Auburn. In 1903, she donated a parcel of real estate she owned to the church, under the instruction that it be made into a home for "aged and indigent colored people. The home did not open for another five years, and Tubman was dismayed when the church ordered residents to pay a one-hundred-dollar entrance fee. She said: "They make a rule that nobody should come in without they have a hundred dollars. Now I wanted to make a rule that nobody should come in unless they didn't have no money at all. She was frustrated by the new rule, but was the guest of honor nonetheless when the Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged celebrated its opening on June 23, 1908.
As Tubman aged, the sleeping spells and suffering from her childhood head trauma continued to plague her. At some point in the late 1890s, she underwent brain surgery at Boston's Massachusetts General Hospital. Unable to sleep because of pains and "buzzing" in her head, she asked a doctor if he could operate. He agreed, and in her words, "sawed open my skull, and raised it up, and now it feels more comfortable. She had received no anesthesia for the procedure, and reportedly chose instead to bite down on a bullet, as she had seen Civil War soldiers do when their limbs were amputated.

African Americans are trying to search their Irish roots inspired by Barack Obama

Barack Obama was only a year old when John F. Kennedy, America's first Catholic president, landed in Dublin airport in the summer of 1963. The first official visit to Ireland from a US president, Kennedy was met by throngs of jubilant Irish men and women as he returned to his ancestral homeland 114 years after his great-grandfather fled famine and set off for America. Local policemen adorned in their best uniform - those without the latest issue weren't allowed near the presidential route – lined the streets, vainly attempting to push back the bustling crowds who excitedly greeted the leader of the free world. A photographer was brought to tears as Kennedy joined a choir of 300 boys as they sang ‘The Boys of Wexford', a ballad celebrating the Irish rebellion against British rule in 1798. Declaring Ireland to be the country closest to his heart, Kennedy would end his successful four-day visit a heroic figure to the Irish people, his visit etched in the fond memories of the republic.

About half of the people we spoke to were descended from slave owners and half from poor Irish immigrants.’
In 1850 Falmouth Kearney, the 19-year-old son of a shoemaker, left the Irish town of Moneygall for America, where he married Charlotte Holloway from Ohio. He was Mr Obama’s great-great-great-grandfather.

Barack Obam-aarrgh! The young 'Barry' dressed up as a pirate when he lived with his grandparents in Hawaii
Today, it would be difficult to find a more unlikely Barack Obama cheerleader than Jane de Montmorency Wright. The 75-year-old former Montessori supervisor, who worked in the school founded by Diane Guggenheim, has a long aristocratic lineage.
Her uncle, Sir Geoffrey de Montmorency, was governor of the Punjab from 1928 to 1933. At one point, the family owned a 4,800 acre estate including a mansion.
And, yet, Mrs Wright is Barack Obama’s cousin, well, sixth cousin, three times removed. That makes her his closest living Irish relative.

next generation of the family had to look abroad for work. Tom Kearney – the son of Joseph Jnr – emigrated to Ohio where he worked as a carpenter. His brother, William, remained at home and became a shoemaker, providing for the residents of Moneygall and Roscrea. He and his wife had two sons.
William named the eldest Joseph after his own father, and the younger Francis. Joseph followed his father into the family business and, in 1825, he married 21-year-old Phebe Donovan, a farmer’s daughter from Ballygurteen. They had a son, Falmouth, and a daughter, Margaret.
Francis, meanwhile, had joined his uncle Tom in Ohio, where he found himself a farm in the Appalachian Mountains in Pickaway County. But Francis’s life in Ohio was tragically short. He died, aged 44, in January 1848. In his will, he left his elder brother the farm.
Joseph Kearney sold off his family’s interests in Moneygall to raise the fare for his passage. Sailing from Liverpool on the Caroline Read, he arrived in America on April 25, 1849.
The following year, he was joined by his 25-year-old son Falmouth Carney and his daughter Margaret and her husband William Cleary. Falmuouth had also been working as a shoemaker in Moneygall. This trio also made their way directly to Ohio.
And so the Kearneys re-established themselves as farmers in Ross County, Ohio.
In 1852, Falmouth was married to Charlotte Holloway. Their great-grandson, Stanley Armour Dunham, was Barack Obama’s grandfather. Stanley, who passed in just 1992, apparently went by the name ‘Dunham Kearney’ in his younger years.
It’s a complicated history, but today the ancestors of a wigmaker called Michael Kearney can still be found on both sides of the Atlantic. In Moneygall there’s Henry Healy. In Bennettsbridge there’s Jane de Montmorency Wright.
And, of course, in the White House there’s Barack Obama.

National news

Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn, the highest-ranking African-American in Congress, on Wednesday blamed most of President Barack Obama's political problems on racism.
Clyburn, who's from South Carolina and is a close ally of the president, offered his views in response to a question about Obama's re-election prospects next year.
"I think they're improving every day," Clyburn said. "I think the president has been a good president, a great commander in chief."
Clyburn, who met his wife at a 1960 court hearing after spending a night in jail for having engaged in a civil rights protest in Orangeburg, S.C., then brought up Obama's race as the first black president.
"You know, I'm 70 years old," he said. "And I can tell you; people don't like to deal with it, but the fact of the matter is, the president's problems are in large measure because of the color of his skin."
Clyburn noted that he himself gets hate mail, racist phone calls and offensive faxes on a regular basis. Asked how that relates to the president, Clyburn retorted: "We have the same skin color; that's how it relates to him.
Vitamins linked to autism • Women who reported not taking prenatal vitamins immediately before and during a pregnancy were twice as likely to have a child with autism, University of California at Davis researchers reported Wednesday. If the women also had a mutation in a high-risk gene, they were seven times as likely to have a child with the developmental disorder, the researchers reported in the online edition of the journal Epidemiology.
House wants to bar abortion teaching • The House has passed legislation that would bar teaching health centers that receive federal funds under the new health care act from using the money to teach abortion techniques. Rep. Virginia Foxx, the sponsor of the measure, says she wants to make it "crystal clear" that taxpayer money is not being used to train health care providers to perform abortions.
Soldier sentenced • A U.S. soldier with mental health problems has been sentenced to 12½ years in military prison after pleading guilty of killing a suspected Taliban prisoner in his jail cell. Pfc. David Lawrence pleaded guilty of premeditated murder in a military court at Fort Carson in Colorado Wednesday.
Angle won't run • Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle said that she will not be a candidate in the September race to fill a vacant congressional seat in Nevada.
Liu drops bid • Goodwin Liu is withdrawing his nomination to an appeals court judgeship after Senate Republicans blocked a vote on his confirmation last week.

Whites say they are racism victims

The hell hasn’t frozen over just yet. But a new study might make you think it has. According to researchers at Tufts University, white Americans now believe that they are victims of racial bias more than Black Americans. Beyond that, whites actually believe the prejudice shown toward them has increased since the prejudice against African-Americans has decreased.

"It's a pretty surprising finding when you think of the wide range of disparities that still exist in society,” said Samuel Sommers, a psychologist at Tufts, “most of which show Black Americans with worse outcomes than whites in areas such as income, home ownership, health and employment.”

A full 11 percent of white Americans surveyed said that whites are “very much” targets of discrimination in the United States. By contrast, only two percent of Blacks believed they were “very much” targets of bigotry.

“These data are the first to demonstrate that not only do whites think more progress has been made toward equality than do Blacks, but whites also now believe that this progress is linked to a new inequality—at their expense," Sommers writes in the May issue of Perspectives on Psychological Science.

A nationwide sample of 208 blacks and 209 whites to complete questionnaires asking how much racial discrimination each group experienced from the 1950s onward. While both groups agreed on the amount of racial discrimination in the 50s, whites believe that racism against blacks decreased faster than blacks do. (Read: Rare Individuals Have No Racial Biases)

The biggest difference, however, was that whites believe that anti-white bias has increased as anti-black bias has decreased. On average, the researchers found, whites rated anti-white racism as more prevalent in the 2000s than anti-black bias by more than a full point on a 10-point scale. Eleven percent of whites said whites are currently "very much" targets of discrimination, compared with 2 percent of blacks who said blacks are "very much" discrimination targets.

The study suggests that whites see racial equality as a zero-sum game, in which one group wins at the other's expense.

"These data are the first to demonstrate that not only do whites think more progress has been made toward equality than do blacks, but whites also now believe that this progress is linked to a new inequality -- at their expense," Sommers and his colleagues wrote in May in the journal Perspectives on Psychological .

Films directed by Afro-Americans have more Afro-American characters

A study has suggested in the Hollywood movies directed by African-American directors have more African-American characters with speaking roles than movies not directed by African-Americans.

One fitting extrapolation of this small study is that the race of directors may really matter. And one key to diversifying content would be to diversify who is at the helm," said USC Annenberg’s Dr Stacy L Smith.

Project administrator Marc Choueiti, Smith and teams of undergraduate researchers annually viewed the top 100 grossing movies released theatrically in the United States and Canada since 2006.

This report had examined in particular the presence or lack thereof of African-Americans and other ethnicities in the top 100 grossing films from 2007 and 2008.

According to the research, five African-American directors headed up a total of six of those top 100 productions in 2008.

Nearly 63% of the characters with speaking lines in those six films were African-Americans. In the other top 94 films from the same year, less than 11 percent of the characters with speaking lines were African-Americans.

In 2007, 13% of overall speaking roles in the top 100 movies went to African-American characters, but that percentage rose to 50% in films with black directors.

This report had examined in particular the presence or lack thereof of African-Americans and other ethnicities in the top 100 grossing films from 2007 and 2008.

According to the research, five African-American directors headed up a total of six of those top 100 productions in 2008.

Nearly 63 percent of the characters with speaking lines in those six films were African-Americans. In the other top 94 films from the same year, less than 11 percent of the characters with speaking lines were African-Americans.

In 2007, 13 percent of overall speaking roles in the top 100 movies went to African-American characters, but that percentage rose to 50 percent in films with black directors.

Smith said that the recent findings from the same data set for female characters and female directors run along the same general lines.

"It could be that a person in a position of power is advocating on behalf of their group, but the flip side to this is that the people responsible for green-lighting the picture may be associating black directors and female directors with 'black' storylines or 'female' storylines.