African American

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP)- Virginia is moving toward decriminalizing simple possession of marijuana.

The state House on Monday passed a decriminalization bill with bipartisan support. The state Senate is expected to pass its own version shortly.

Gov. Ralph Northam has signaled his support for the measure. If passed, the legislation would scrap criminal charges for possessing marijuana and replace them with small fines.

Supporters have argued the measure is needed in part because African Americans are disproportionately charged with drug crimes.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — At a time when states are debating the removal of Confederate monuments, Maryland is adding bronze statues of two of the state's famous black historical figures to the Maryland State House.

The statues of abolitionists Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass will be unveiled Monday night in the Old House Chamber. That's the same room where slavery was abolished in Maryland in 1864.

The unveiling comes as the state has taken steps to reflect its rich black history.

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Salisbury will be create a memorial that marks the lynching of African Americans in Wicomico County.

The Lynching Memorial Task Force will work to create the permanent monument.

Mayor Jake Day’s announcement is part of an effort by Maryland to note the history of lynchings in the state.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that at least three black men were lynched in Salisbury.

One took place in 1898 when Garfield King was accused of shooting a white man.

Don Rush

When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down school segegration in 1954, many black students found a hostile backlash at the previous all white schools they attended. In part 2  Delmarva Public Radio's Don Rush takes a look at what happened to those students and the efforts to renovate the old African American school in Hockessin that was part of the historic decision.

Charlottesville Police Badge

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - Figures released by the Charlottesville Police Department show African Americans made up over half of arrests over the past years for mostly petty crimes associated with drugs, recidivism and socio-economic status.

The Daily Progress of Charlottesville reports the police department recently released data covering March 30, 2014, to March 28, 2019.

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HAMPTON, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and other state officials will visit a historic African-American cemetery in Hampton later this week to celebrate an easement that will protect the site.

The Daily Press reports the William Tucker 1624 Society will kick off its commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first Africans in English North America with a ceremonial easement signing.

The easement will protect the two-acre Tucker Family Cemetery. An ancestor of the Tucker family is believed to be the first African-American born in North America.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A campaign consultant helping a Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Virginia has attacked the NAACP and cities with large African-American populations.

News outlets report that Rick Shaftan, who is working for Corey Stewart's Senate campaign, has posted disparaging comments about African Americans on social media in past years. He also said that the NAACP is "more violent" than the KKK.

Shaftan used an expletive in January when discussing Baltimore replacing a confederate statue. He was also critical of New Orleans and Ferguson, Missouri.

Don Rush

BALTIMORE (AP) - A new study says black workers in Baltimore earn far less than whites, regardless of industry.

The Baltimore Sun cites the study released Monday that says blacks in the city earned about half of what white workers earned, a median of $38,688 compared to $76,992.

The Associated Black Charities of Maryland says it commissioned the study to better understand racial patterns of employment. It says understanding is the first step toward removing systemic barriers that block people of color from opportunities.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland House of Delegates has voted to expand the number of licenses allowed to grow medical marijuana to increase minority business ownership.

The House voted 121-16 for the measure on Thursday. The bill now goes to the Senate.

The number of allowed growers would rise from 15 to 20. The measure also would cap the number of marijuana processors at 25.

None of the companies licensed so far to grow marijuana in Maryland has a black owner, even though about one-third of the state's population is black.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland House of Delegates is scheduled to vote on whether to expand the number of licenses allowed to grow medical marijuana to increase minority business ownership.

The House is set to vote on the bill Thursday.

The number of allowed growers would rise from 15 to 20. The measure also would cap the number of marijuana processors at 25.

None of the companies licensed so far to grow marijuana in Maryland has a black owner, even though about one-third of the state's population is black.

Salisbury City Seal

The first African American to serve on the Salisbury city council could be honored with a small park or garden on land once owned by Gertrude Shockley.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that council member April Jackson who represents the district where it is located said she would like the land turned into a garden with benches and flowers.

Shockley was appointed to the council in 1987 to fill a vacancy after Norm Conway’s resignation.

She was later elected to the seat in May of 1990…and served until her death in March of 1991.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - A medical marijuana company is seeking an emergency motion forbidding the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission from issuing any final licenses to grow the drug.
The Baltimore Sun reports that Alternative Medicine Maryland asked a Baltimore judge on Monday to issue a temporary injunction since the commission appears poised to grant final licenses.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Dover Police Deputy Chief Marvin Mailey Jr. has been named the city's 14th chief of police, after taking over day-to-day operations for nearly four months.
News outlets report that in a special meeting, the City Council unanimously voted Thursday to name Mailey as the next chief of police.

New Castle County Police

NEWCASTLE, Del. (AP) - Lt. Col. Vaughn Bond Jr. has been appointed the first African-American police chief to lead the New Castle County Police Department.

News outlets report County Executive Matthew Meyer nominated Bond on Tuesday. Officials say Bond served as interim chair after his predecessor retired last year.

Meyers says our goal was to find the best person to move this department forward.

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WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court is mainly ruling for African-Americans in Virginia who say lawmakers packed 12 legislative districts with black voters to make other districts whiter and more Republican.

The justices said Wednesday that a lower court that upheld the 12 districts used the wrong legal standard when it determined that race did not play too large a role in creating the districts.

African-Americans made up at least 55 percent of eligible voters in each district.

The minority caucuses in Maryland General Assembly say they are backing a measure that would limit the state’s cooperation with deportation authorities.

This is the first time that the Latino, black and Asian American Pacific Islands caucuses have banded together for a new law.

The measure would forbid keeping undocumented immigrants longer than local guidelines despite a request from federal authorities.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Wilmington's new mayor, council president and other elected officials will take their oaths of office Tuesday.

Mike Purzycki, who was elected mayor in November, will be sworn in at an inauguration event downtown, along with the city's new council president Hanifa Shabazz and treasurer, Velda Jones Potter. Shabazz and Potter will become the first women and first African Americans to hold their offices.

The swearing-in ceremony will take place in the evening, during the organizational meeting of the Wilmington City Council.

William & Mary logo

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (AP) - Next year will mark 50 years since William & Mary welcomed its first black residential students.

The university says in a press release that it's planning to commemorate the event throughout the next academic year.

Karen Ely, Lynn Briley and Janet Brown arrived as freshmen in 1967. They graduated in 1971. 

A university committee plans to celebrate the women's role in the school's history at major events such as commencement. A possible symposium, speaker series and special programming are also being considered.

Vaughn Bond has made history.

As Lt. Colonel he has achieved the second highest rank an officer can get in the New Castle County Police Department.

The Wilmington News Journal reports it is the highest rank ever achieved in the 209 year history of the force by an African American officer.

Bond told the News Journal that it took some time for him to realize the historical significance of his promotion.

He said it was all about timing noting that Corporal Robert Snow blazed the trail for African Americans in the late 1960’s.


PORTSMOUTH, Va. (AP) - Prosecutors in Virginia have won a rare conviction of a white former police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teen suspected of shoplifting.

The guilty verdict Thursday was for voluntary manslaughter, a lesser charge than the original first-degree murder count. And the jury recommended a 2  1/2 year prison sentence for Stephen Rankin, a punishment far below the decade prosecutors had sought.

A Nation Divided

Jun 16, 2016
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As Virginia's only Latino state lawmaker, Alfonso Lopez made it his first order of business to push for a law granting in-state college tuition to immigrants living in the U.S. illegally since childhood.

The bill died in committee.

So Lopez tried again the next year. And the year after that.

Now, in his fifth year in office, Lopez is gearing up for one more attempt in 2017. 

"If we had a more diverse (legislature) and more Latinos in the House of Delegates," he says, "I don't think it would be as difficult."

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ISLE OF WIGHT, Va. (AP) - A private school in southeast Virginia says three students have been disciplined for using "blackface" to depict an African-American character in a video.

Isle of Wight Academy Headmaster Benjamin Vaughn says the video was presented in a senior government class that illustrated a landmark Supreme Court case. One of the students in the video is in blackface representing an African-American woman.

The Daily Press reports that the video was made several weeks ago but came to light this week through social media.

BALTIMORE (AP) - Former Maryland Democratic congressman and former head of the NAACP Kweisi Mfume has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, her campaign says.

The Clinton campaign announced Mfume's endorsement in a news release on Monday.

Mfume says Clinton has a track record of working for everyday people, especially on issues important to the African American and Latino communities.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A state lawmaker says the issues of African Americans in the state senate are not addressed.

The Virginian-Pilot reports Portsmouth Democratic Sen. Louise Lucas, who is African-American, criticized the Democratic leadership this week, saying there has been a disparate treatment of black lawmakers in the Virginia legislature.

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ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (AP) - Students at a Maryland high school staged a walkout and protested a video depicting a student calling African-Americans inferior.

Multiple news outlets report dozens of students at Mount Hebron High School in Ellicott City walked out of their classes Tuesday morning in response to the 30-second video which surfaced online last week.

The video depicts a white Mount Hebron High School student disparaging the Black Lives Matter movement and calling African-Americans an inferior race.

Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture

Ruth Starr Rose painted some of the most iconic images of an African American family on the Eastern Shore during some of the most segregated times in America. However, her images caught a dignity and strength of character not seen in many of the depictions of the time. Delmarva Public Radio's Don Rush looks at her portraits of the Moaney family in part 1. Her work is being displayed at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture through April 3rd.

The new Labor Secretary in Delaware has gotten high praise from a coalition of ministers and the NAACP after accusations have swirled around agency of racist atmosphere in the agency.

Patrice Gilliam-Johnson is African American and has known Governor Jack Markell for decades.

She is chairwoman of the Organizational Dynamics program at Wilmington University.

The appointment comes after 73 year-old John McMahon announced his retirement as his agency faced accusations of racism in a report by the coalition of ministers.

Delaware Labor Secretary John McMahon is stepping down amidst allegations of workplace racism in his agency.

He announced yesterday that he will be retiring at the age of 73.

The issue of racism in Delaware state government has gotten the attention of Governor Jack Markell who recently received a report by African American leaders that found state employees complaining of a racially hostile environment.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that Markell is expected to name a replacement in the coming days and he praised him for his work during the Great Recession.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Supporters of presidential candidate Donald Trump are suing Virginia election officials over a state GOP requirement that 2016 primary voters sign a statement affirming they are Republicans.

In a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday, three black pastors said such a "loyalty oath" would violate their civil rights and would discriminate against African-American and Hispanic voters.

sons of confederate veterans logo

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) - The prospect of a Confederate battle flag flying in a holiday parade in Roanoke has prompted civil rights officials to call on the city to ban the Civil War symbol of the South.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans are scheduled to march Friday in The Roanoke Times Dickens of a Christmas parade.

At a news conference Saturday, the president of the city chapter of the NAACP called on city officials to banish the flag from the parade route, according to the Times.