Civil Rights

Tennessee House of Representatives (Photo: John Partipilo)

Education committee drops discussion of Black history education

BY: - September 17, 2021

Chattanooga Democratic Rep. Yusef Hakeem says he is “surprised and disappointed” the Joint Legislative Education Committee won’t be discussing a bill he introduced during legislative session to provide the study of Black history to public school students.  In April, HB1460 was deferred to summer study, which typically means a bill has little traction. Hakeem wrote […]

(Photo: Getty Images)

Legislators put bail bond industry under the microscope

BY: - September 15, 2021

West Tennessee bail bond agent Shelly Alexander wept Tuesday as she told lawmakers how she once refused to bail her daughter out of jail for a meth arrest. Alexander knew her daughter had a “habit” and would go right back to debilitating drugs if she bailed her out. In fact, she told other bail agents […]

COMMENTARY
American president Woodrow Wilson (1856 - 1924) gives a speech to Congress, Washington DC, 4th December 1917. (Photo by FPG/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Editor’s column: Presidential precedent exists for drastic action in times of crisis

BY: - September 12, 2021

On Thursday, President Joe Biden announced a six-prong strategy to try to get the current surge of COVID-19 under control. His platform includes fairly non-controversial steps that include making home COVID testing kits more readily available and extending the mask mandate in commercial air travel.  But the leading piece of Biden’s plan is one that […]

COMMENTARY
A Sept. 3 photo Gov. Bill Lee posted on his official Instagram page showed him enjoying dove hunting season in Humphreys County. (Photo: Gov. Bill Lee Instagram)

Commentary: ‘Unapologetic American exceptionalism’ exists in a whitewashed world

BY: - September 7, 2021

I follow Gov. Bill Lee on Instagram.  He’s probably not the first person that comes to mind when one thinks of cutting edge, visual social media.  I don’t follow him because I’m a fan of his policies or his plaid shirts or even his folksy, staged pictures in Anytown, Tennessee.  I definitely don’t follow him […]

Gov. Bill Lee addresses members of the 112th General Assembly at the opening of a special session dedicated to education. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Feds open civil rights probe of Lee mask order

BY: - August 30, 2021

The federal government opened a civil rights probe Monday of Gov. Bill Lee’s executive order on masks, threatening to take action against Tennessee if it finds a violation of U.S. law. The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights informed Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn it opened a “directed investigation” into whether the state is […]

U.S. Capitol. Photo by Russ Rohde/Getty Images

House passes voting rights bill but Senate approval unlikely

BY: - August 24, 2021

The U.S. House on Tuesday passed, 219-212, along party lines a bill to reinstate a core section of the Voting Rights Act — a direct rebuke to state laws the bill’s supporters say have restricted voting rights. The bill, named for the late civil rights icon and longtime Georgia Democratic U.S. Rep. John R. Lewis, […]

Ernest "Rip" Patton photographed in the Nashville Public Library, January 2021. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Freedom Rider Ernest “Rip” Patton dies at 81

BY: - August 24, 2021

Ernest “Rip” Patton, Jr., a member of the Freedom Riders, has died at the age of 81.  Patton’s death was posted on the Facebook page of The Freedom Riders Museum on Tuesday. The Montgomery, Alabama museum dedicated to the Civil Rights Movement did not give a cause of death.  In February, Senior Reporter Anita Wadhwani […]

Tennessee House of Representatives (Photo: John Partipilo)

State lawmakers look to levy punishments on those aiding undocumented immigrants

BY: - August 13, 2021

Lawmakers speculated Thursday on how the state can further regulate companies providing services to undocumented immigrants under federal contracts and if the state can levy stricter punishments on those aiding undocumented immigrants.  The questions came during a meeting of the Joint Study Committee on Refugee Issues, which was formed after a group of migrant children […]

Drama Bryant, 38, with her brother Jay, 32, on the front porch of their family's home in Greene County. She is his primary caretaker. (Photo: John Partipilo

Tennessee families struggle with state agencies to get home-based care for those with disabilities

BY: - July 29, 2021

MOHAWK, Tenn. — Drama Bryant’s entire life has revolved around caring for her little brother, Jay, who — at 32 years old — requires 24/7 assistance as a result of congenital conditions that leave him unable to eat, bathe, go the bathroom, speak or walk unassisted. Jay Bryant has Down syndrome and autism, suffers seizures, […]

The nearly 3,000-pound bust of Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest loaded onto a flat-bed truck for transport to the Tennessee State Museum. (Photo: John Partipilo)

House Speaker wants more elected “voices” on monument decisions

BY: - July 26, 2021

In the wake of the State Building Commission vote to relocate the busts of Nathan Bedford Forrest and two U.S. admirals, House Speaker Cameron Sexton is set to push for a change in state law, likely to involve more legislators in future decisions to move statues. Sexton issued a statement last week saying, “From the […]

Forrest carted out of Capitol in straps and chains

BY: - July 23, 2021

Strapped and chained, the bust of Confederate Lt. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest was lowered by a boom and unceremoniously rolled out of the second floor of the State Capitol Friday morning, more than 40 years after legislators voted to place him there. The Rev. Venita Lewis, a 40-year civil rights activist, cheered the removal as […]

State Rep. London Lamar, D-Memphis, stands with activist Justin Jones in front of the soon-to-be-gone bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Years in the making, Forrest busting out of State Capitol

BY: - July 22, 2021

Black lawmakers have been fighting for years to relocate Confederate Lt. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest’s bust from the State Capitol. They were in reserved celebratory mood Thursday. Finally, after a 5-2 vote Thursday by the State Building Commission, including a rare one cast by Gov. Bill Lee, the bust is bound for the State Museum. […]