Black History Month

A look at the issues facing the Black community and celebrating Black culture during the month of February.

Deputy fatally shoots Black man in North Carolina

A North Carolina deputy shot and killed a Black man while serving a search warrant on Wednesday, authorities said, spurring an outcry from community members who demanded law enforcement accountability and the immediate release of body camera footage.
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  • The Canadian Press

    N.S. man to serve community sentence for firing nail into young, Black co-worker

    PICTOU, N.S. — A Nova Scotia man who shot a young, Black co-worker with a nail gun received a conditional sentence on Friday from a judge who cited the province's history of racism in his decision. Provincial court Judge Del Atwood said construction worker Shawn Wade Hynes will serve his sentence in the community and carry out community service with a focus on respect in the workplace. Atwood ordered him to pay $2,080 in restitution to the victim, Nhlanhla Dlamini, and gave Hynes one year probation. The Trenton, N.S., resident was convicted of criminal negligence causing bodily harm and assault with a weapon in September 2019 for shooting Dlamini — who is in his 20s — with a framing nailer at a construction site in Abercrombie, N.S., on Sept. 19, 2018. Dlamini suffered a punctured lung from the 3.5-inch nail, was hospitalized for four days and was unable to work for more than a month. Atwood noted in his sentence of Hynes, who is white, that "anti-Black discrimination is a historic fact that is continuing." The judge said he believed the 45-year-old veteran worker viewed the young man — whose family is from South Africa — as "someone lesser, someone vulnerable." In addition, Atwood said the incident caused the wider African Nova Scotian community "to relive historic trauma." "Violence of this nature in the workplace operates to perpetuate structures of inequality in access to employment for communities that have experienced generations of formal and informal discrimination," said Atwood, who delivered the sentence in Pictou, in northeastern Nova Scotia. "These injustices have gone on for generations and are continuing." The defence had argued for a suspended sentence and probation, saying that Hynes had suffered a great deal from negative publicity, that his actions were out of character and that he had never committed an offence before. The judge acknowledged those factors, but said they had to be weighed against "the unequivocal need for denunciation" of Hynes's actions. Under the terms of his conditional sentence, Hynes is required to remain on his property in Trenton, but is allowed to continue working, attend medical clinics, meet with his probation supervisor, attend to personal needs for five hours each week, and carry out his community work. According to the judge's sentencing statement, Hynes has returned to work after taking seven weeks of stress leave following his conviction. — By Michael Tutton in Halifax. This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 23, 2021. The Canadian Press

  • People

    Barack Obama Encourages Black Americans to Avoid ‘Cynicism’ and ‘Keep Marching’ Toward Progress

    The former president tells BET in a new interview that "there's too much left to do" in the push for social justice

  • Yahoo Sports

    Pass Her the Mic: Maggie Ntim's rise to becoming one of pro soccer's first Black female agents

    'I want to make sure the athletes I represent can also stand up for racial injustice or gender discrimination without fear of being reprimanded by their agent.'

  • The New York Times

    Columbus Grapples With Police Shootings That Have Taken Black Lives

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — A bullet hole in a garage near her sister’s house marks the place where Adrienne Hood’s son, who was Black, was shot and killed by police officers in Columbus in 2016. Hood said her son’s death opened her eyes to a city and a Police Department that have been enveloped in controversy for years. The more she learns, she said, the more she feels disappointed. Since the death of her 23-year-old son — killed after exchanging gunfire with two plainclothes police officers who, she said, did not identify themselves as officers — 26 people have been shot to death by law enforcement in Columbus, according to Mapping Gun Violence. Four of the deaths occurred in the past four months. Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York Times “It’s becoming more and more clear that there is no respect for Black bodies and Black communities,” Hood said. Police killings in Ohio’s capital city have not attracted the same attention as higher-profile cases in places like Louisville, Kentucky, Minneapolis and Ferguson, Missouri. But the death this week of Ma’Khia Bryant, a 16-year-old Black girl who was shot at four times by a white police officer after she lunged at someone with a knife, was only one of the several that have led to vigorous protests in Columbus over the past year. Last week, eight days before Bryant’s death, police shot and killed a Black man at a Columbus hospital during a struggle as officers attempted to arrest him. Body camera footage showed officers in a standoff with the man, Miles Jackson, before a shot could be heard, possibly from Jackson’s weapon, and they opened fire. In a year that has seen protests over police shootings unfold in Columbus with regularity and intensity, the death of Jackson on April 12 unleashed a particularly furious demonstration. Protesters broke through a door at Police Headquarters, according to the Columbus Department of Public Safety, and one of them assaulted an officer with a club. Although almost 30% of residents are Black, 85% of the police force is white. Yet slightly more than half of all use-of-force cases in 2017, the most recent year surveyed, were directed at Black residents, according to an operational review. Columbus has boomed in recent years, its population of 898,500 now larger than that of Seattle, Denver and Boston. Wealthy tech companies have helped fuel the city’s growth, pumping up trendy bars and restaurants to support their young and well-paid employees. But much of that growth has been on the perimeter of the city and near the bustling campus of Ohio State University. In neighborhoods like Bryant’s, many of them east of Interstate 71, parents who grew up in the city often fear for their children’s safety every time they walk out the door — sometimes worrying about the police. “People across the country think Columbus is a great place to live, but if you go to these other neighborhoods, they’ll tell you that they’re suffering, that they’re being terrorized,” said Sean Walton, a lawyer who has represented the families of people killed by police officers in Columbus, including Hood. “There are these two tiers, and one is thriving while the other is suffering in ways that are a matter of life and death.” That dichotomy has played out several times over the past year. In December, Andre Hill, a Black man, was standing in his garage when two officers approached. Earlier in the evening, a neighbor had called and complained about a suspicious vehicle. When two officers pulled up to the scene, they walked toward the garage and shined their flashlights inside. Hill turned and walked slowly toward them, but an officer, Adam Coy, opened fire within seconds, killing him. No weapon was recovered at the scene, and Coy was fired and charged with felony murder. Several weeks before that, about 7 miles north of downtown, Casey Goodson Jr. had stopped for sandwiches for his family on the way home from the dentist. Goodson, a 23-year-old Black man, parked and walked to the house. He had just slipped his key in the door when he was shot six times. Deputy Jason Meade of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office said that he and other deputies had seen Goodson waving a gun at them from his car and that he had not responded to verbal commands at his front door. His family said Goodson was listening to music on his earphones and might not have heard the warnings or recognized the plainclothes officers as deputies. The coroner later confirmed that Goodson had been shot in the back. Goodson held a concealed weapon license, and a gun was recovered from the scene. The authorities have declined to say if the gun was in his hand, his pocket or his car. Hood, whose son, Henry Green V, took on a fatherly role in the family after his parents divorced, said she saw the latest police shootings as a continuation of a disturbing legacy in her home city. She pointed to a Justice Department investigation in 1999 that found that Columbus police officers had a history of excessive force and false arrests and that the victims of more than 300 misconduct complaints examined were “frequently” Black, or else young, female or low-income white people. More than 20 years later, Hood said, Black residents still worry about unfair treatment. Hearing about the most recent deaths, of Goodson, Hill and Bryant, she said, “has been heart-wrenching.” In the wake of the policing protests that rocked the city last year, over George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis and other cases in Columbus, so many police misconduct complaints had been filed that the City Council designated a special prosecutor and spent more than $600,000 for a law firm to investigate the allegations. The former police chief, Thomas Quinlan, sometimes marched with protesters. The police changed their policy on pepper spray and body cameras in June, saying they would no longer spray nonviolent crowds, and in September ordered that traffic vests go over riot gear so body cameras could be attached to them. In November, a ballot initiative to create a Civilian Police Review Board passed in a landslide, 74% to 26%. But the latest high-profile killings have soured improving relations. In January, Quinlan, a 30-year veteran of the force, was demoted to a deputy chief. “Columbus residents have lost faith in him and in the division’s ability to change on its own,” Mayor Andrew Ginther said in a statement. The Columbus Division of Police did not respond to a request for comment, although the department was quick to release body camera footage, 911 calls and other detailed information about the officers’ fatal encounter with Bryant. “It’s a tragedy,” said Michael Woods, the interim chief. “There’s no other way to say it. It’s a 16-year-old girl.” During a news conference on the case on Wednesday, Ginther said the city also faced a “bigger societal question.” “How do we as a city and a community come together to ensure that our kids never feel the need to resort to violence as a means of solving disputes, or in order to protect themselves?” he said. The city's 176 homicides in 2020 were the most of any year on record. So far, 2021 is outpacing last year, according to The Columbus Dispatch. Many of them have happened in neighborhoods like Bryant’s, where residents say the spike in shootings has been met with aggression from police officers struggling to contain the violence. At Brother’s Finest Barbershop near the North Linden neighborhood, one that has been particularly hard-hit by gun violence, suspicion of the police runs deep. The barbershop is less than a mile from where Goodson was killed last year. One of the barbers working on Thursday, Javontae Robinson, 27, said the police have done little to build the personal relationships that were key to winning the trust of residents. “They need better training and better education,” Robinson said. “They need to be around the Black community more, come to our block parties and barbecues and get familiar with the community.” “Things won’t get better until they do that,” he said. This article originally appeared in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company

  • HuffPost

    GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert’s Hot Take On Fourth Of July Gets An Icy Reception

    The conspiracy theory-endorsing Colorado Republican’s bluster about Joe Biden and Independence Day was met with widespread mockery.


    The Internet says 'check in on your Black friends.' It's more complex than that.

    Some Black people say they appreciate when white people in their lives check in. But who checks in, how they check in, and why they check in matters.

  • HuffPost

    Mickey Guyton Almost Quit Country Before Her Song 'Black Like Me' Became A Hit

    The Grammy nominee tells Ellen DeGeneres she's "working hard" to make her genre more inclusive of diverse voices. "We're making strides," she said.


    'He was loved by so many': Daunte Wright, 20-year-old Black dad shot by police, remembered at a funeral packed with mourners

    Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black father in Minnesota, was fatally shot by police officer Kim Potter during a traffic stop this month.


    White cops have been convicted of killing a Black person before, but it's rare

    Despite convictions in recent years, there is little historical precedent for the conviction of a white police officer for killing a Black person.

  • CBC

    Federal government to replace stolen plaque honouring abolitionists Mary and Henry Bibb in Windsor

    The federal government is replacing the Mary and Henry Bibb plaque that was stolen from a Windsor park last month. The plaque valued at more than $6,000 — which is dedicated to the influential slavery abolitionist couple who lived in Windsor — was reported missing to Windsor police on March 26. On Thursday, Windsor-Tecumseh MP Irek Kusmierczyk announced that the government would install a new plaque in the summer. "The disappearance of the federal plaque recognizing [Mary and Henry Bibb] as Persons of National Historic Significance has been a painful episode for many members of our community, whether persons of African heritage or allies. The news of its replacement is a tremendous relief," Irene Moore Davis, president of the Essex County Black Historical Research Society, said in a news release. The city had restored the plaque during Black History Month in February to coincide with the Sandwich Town park's renaming from Mackenzie Hall Park to Mary E. Bibb Park. Mary E. Bibb, who was born to free parents in Rhode Island, moved to Windsor with her husband Henry in 1850. The following year, they first published The Voice of the Fugitive, an anti-slavery newspaper. "The restoration of this plaque has tremendous importance for our community, and it is critical to honouring the remarkable story of Mary and Henry Bibb while preserving and sharing an important chapter in the rich, proud Black history of our region," Kusmiercyzk said in a news release. For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here. (CBC)