10-20-2019  1:37 am   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Washington State to Vote on Affirmative Action Referendum

More than two decades after voters banned affirmative action, the question of whether one's minority status should be considered in state employment, contracting, colleges admissions is back on the ballot

Merkley Introduces Legislation that Protects Access to Health Care for Those Who Cannot Afford Bail

Under current law, individuals in custody who have not been convicted of a crime are denied Medicare, Medicaid, and veterans’ benefits

New County Hire Aims to Build Trust, Transparency Between Community and Public Safety Officials

Leneice Rice will serve as a liaison focused on documenting and reporting feedback from a community whose faith in law enforcement has been tested

Hank Willis Thomas Exhibit Opens at Portland Art Museum

One of the most important conceptual artists of our time, his works examine the representation of race and the politics of visual culture

NEWS BRIEFS

GFO Offers African Americans Help in Solving Family Mysteries

The Genealogical Forum of Oregon is holding an African American Special Interest Group Saturday, Oct. 19 ...

Third Annual NAMC-WA Gala Features Leader on Minority Business Development

The topic of the Washington Chapter of the National Association of Minority Contractors' event was 'Community and Collaboration' ...

Building Bridges Event Aims to Strengthen Trust Between Communities

The 4th Annual Building Bridges of Understanding in Our Communities: Confronting Hate will be held in Tigard on...

The Black Man Project Kicks Off National Tour in Seattle

The first in a series of interactive conversations focused on Black men and vulnerability takes place in Seattle on October 25 ...

Protesters Rally in Ashland to Demand 'Impeach Trump Now'

Activists are rallying in Ashland Sunday Oct, 13 to demand impeachment proceedings ...

Video shows coach disarming, embracing Oregon student

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Authorities have released a video that shows part of a former Oregon football star's successful effort to disarm a student who brought a shotgun to a Portland high school.The video released Friday by the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office shows Keanon Lowe and...

Parents guilty of starving 5-year-old daughter to death

BEND, Ore. (AP) — A jury has convicted a Redmond couple of starving their 5-year-old adopted daughter to death.The Bulletin reports by unanimous jury verdicts Friday after a weekslong trial, Sacora Horn-Garcia and Estevan Garcia were found guilty of murder by abuse and criminal...

Vaughn scores twice, Vandy upsets No. 22 Missouri 21-14

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Derek Mason wants it known he's the best coach for the Vanderbilt Commodores.Riley Neal came off the bench and threw a 21-yard touchdown to Cam Johnson with 8:57 left, and Vanderbilt upset No. 22 Missouri 21-14 on Saturday with a stifling defensive...

No. 22 Missouri heads to Vandy, 1st road trip since opener

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Missouri coach Barry Odom knows only too well the dangers of going on the road and how a few mistakes can prove very costly.While some of his players my not remember that stunning loss at Wyoming to open this season, Odom hasn't forgotten."We're going to treat it just...

OPINION

Atatiana Jefferson, Killed by Police Officer in Her Own Home

Atatiana Jefferson, a biology graduate who worked in the pharmaceutical industry and was contemplating becoming a doctor, lived a life of purpose that mattered ...

“Hell No!” That Is My Message to Those Who Would Divide Us 

Upon release from the South African jail, Nelson Mandela told UAW Local 600 members “It is you who have made the United States of America a superpower, a leader of the world" ...

Rep. Janelle Bynum Issues Response to the Latest Statement from Clackamas Town Center

State legislator questions official response after daughter questioned for ‘loitering’ in parking lot ...

Why Would HUD Gut Its Own Disparate Impact Rule?

"You can’t expand housing rights by limiting civil protections. The ’D’ in HUD doesn’t stand for ‘Discrimination’" ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

New Emmett Till marker dedicated to replace vandalized sign

GLENDORA, Miss. (AP) — A new bulletproof memorial to Emmett Till was dedicated Saturday in Mississippi after previous historical markers were repeatedly vandalized.The brutal slaying of the 14-year-old black teenager helped spur the civil rights movement more than 60 years ago.The...

Parents sue Virginia school district over racist 2017 video

HENRICO, Va. (AP) — The parents of a Virginia student who say their son was assaulted and bullied by his middle school football teammates in an incident captured on video two years ago are suing the school system.The video, which showed football players simulating sex acts on black students...

Team abandons FA Cup qualifier after racial abuse

LONDON (AP) — An FA Cup qualifier between Haringey Borough and Yeovil was abandoned Saturday when the home team walked off the field after one of its players was racially abused.Haringey, a London-based non-league club, walked off in the 64th minute after claims its Cameroonian goalkeeper...

ENTERTAINMENT

Adam Lambert: Happy to see more LGBTQ artists find success

NEW YORK (AP) — Adam Lambert, who rose on the music scene as the runner-up on "America Idol" in 2009, says he's happy to see more mainstream LGBTQ artists find major success."I think it's less taboo to be queer in the music industry now because there's so many cases you can point to like,...

Jane Fonda returns to civil disobedience for climate change

WASHINGTON (AP) — Inspired by the climate activism of a Swedish teenager, Jane Fonda says she's returning to civil disobedience nearly a half-century after she was last arrested at a protest.Fonda, known for her opposition to the Vietnam War, was one of 17 climate protesters arrested Friday...

Naomi Wolf and publisher part ways amid delay of new book

NEW YORK (AP) — Naomi Wolf and her U.S. publisher have split up amid a dispute over her latest book, "Outrages."Wolf and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt announced separately Friday that they had "mutually and amicably agreed to part company" and that Houghton would not be releasing "Outrages."...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Capital hill: Astros, Nats put World Series eyes on pitching

Gerrit Cole, Max Scherzer and a slew of aces get the World Series started in Houston, then the scene shifts to...

After delay, New Orleans to demolish cranes at hotel site

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — After two days of delays, New Orleans officials are hoping to use a series of controlled...

Where you die can affect your chance of being an organ donor

WASHINGTON (AP) — If Roland Henry had died in a different part of the country, his organs might have been...

Botswana, calm for decades, faces surprising election fight

GABORONE, Botswana (AP) — Botswana's ruling party faces the tightest election of its history on Wednesday...

Swiss choose new parliament, vote could see Green gains

BERLIN (AP) — Voters in Switzerland are electing a new national parliament, with recent polls suggesting...

Bolivians pick between Evo Morales and change in tight vote

LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — South America's longest-serving leader is seeking an unprecedented fourth term in...

McMenamins
Kam Williams, Special to The Skanner

Editor's Note: This interview is re-posted from February of this year.

Henry Louis "Skip" Gates, Jr. was born in Piedmont, W Vi on Sept.16, 1950, to Henry, Sr. and Pauline Coleman. Today, he is a world-renowned scholar and educator and the Alphonse Fletcher Professor at Harvard University.
In his capacity as a public intellectual, he has served as host of "African-American Lives," a PBS series which employs a combination of genealogy and science to reconstruct the family trees of the descendants of slaves. And just last year, he co-founded "The Root," a sophisticated website dedicated to the concerns of the black intelligentsia.
Here, in conjunction with the celebration of the bicentennial of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, Professor Gates discusses two new projects revolving around the 16th President, his book, "Lincoln on Race and Slavery," and his PBS special, "Looking for Lincoln."

KW: Hi Dr. Gates, I'm honored to have this opportunity to speak with you.
SG: No, it's my pleasure.
KW: Where should I start? What approach did you take in terms of producing your new PBS series on Lincoln?
SG: Lincoln's myth is so capacious that each generation of Americans has been able to find its own image reflected in the mirror of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln is our "Man for All Seasons." There's a Communist Lincoln, a Republican Lincoln, Lincoln the writer, Lincoln the orator, Lincoln the atheist, Lincoln the Christian, Lincoln the war criminal, Lincoln the Savior of the Union, the Confederate Lincoln, the African-American Lincoln, etcetera. So, I wanted to look at all these myths about Lincoln, deconstruct them, and see what the actual man was like. And, frankly, I also wanted to confront the complexity of his attitudes towards slavery and racial equality, which weren't exactly the same thing. For, while he was fundamentally opposed to slavery, it took him a while to embrace racial equality.
KW: As a person who majored in black studies, I appreciated the fact that you included Lerone Bennett and a discussion of his 650-page biography of Lincoln, "Forced into Glory." Bennett's ordinarily overlooked when it comes to Lincoln scholars, since he indicts the 16th President as a racist who very reluctantly freed the slaves.
SG: Thank you. First of all, I admire Lerone Bennett. When I was 18, I read his essay in Ebony Magazine, "Was Abe Lincoln a White Supremacist?" At the time, I didn't have the intellectual sophistication to judge his evidence. But of course it was a shock when I read it.
KW: Did you enjoy doing research for the series?
SG: It was a delight! [Chuckles] Doing this film was a learning experience for me, because I hadn't explored much of the Lincoln scholarship other than George Fredrickson's last book. [Big Enough to Be Inconsistent: Abraham Lincoln Confronts Slavery and Race] I went back to read Lincoln's own words and what historians had to say about him.
KW: What did you learn?
SG: That he was an enormously complex man… that he had his flaws, but he changed. He progressed. He changed during the Civil War. Through the efforts of Frederick Douglass and the achievements of the 200,000 black men who fought in the Union Army, he came to have new respect for black people. And, in fact, in his last speech he advocated the right to vote for the black veterans and for the "very intelligent Negroes." That's what made John Wilkes Booth kill him. Booth was in the audience, and said, "That's it. That means [N-word] citizenship. And I'm going to run him through." So, Lincoln literally gave his life for espousing black rights.
KW: On the show, historian Doris Kearns Goodwin says, "It's not Lincoln's fault that he was mythologized. Lincoln had to live in his times." You responded to her by saying, "Doris was right," and "I've come to admire him." How did you get to that point?
SG: I really got to that point in the middle of that interview. I had been walking around upset with Lincoln's reluctance to support equal rights and his determination to free the slaves but to encourage them to migrate to Panama, Haiti or Liberia. Doris said, "You're upset because you feel like you've been lied to. But Lincoln didn't lie to you. The historians did." There's a cult of Lincoln among some historians who feel almost like they're the disciples of Christ. Lincoln is like a secular Christ in America. So, once I could get straight about who to be upset with, I was fine.
KW: Another thing you said which upset me was when you spoke about Lincoln's being the seminal story in American History. Do you really think that Lincoln has replaced the Founding Fathers, the Declaration of Independence and the rest of the Colonial Period?
SG: Oh, sure, absolutely. The primal event in American History, other than the founding itself, is the Civil War, saving the Union, defending the Constitution, and redefining the Declaration of Independence to include all men, which Lincoln did. Lincoln was very consistent about that. So, whereas you can't have subsequent events without the founding, it really was the Civil War which was the truly great American Revolution.
KW: Tell me a little about "Lincoln on Race and Slavery."
SG: In this book, I examine three strands of thought. Imagine a braid of hair. Most of just us say, "Lincoln freed the slaves, therefore he liked black people." That's the braid, but it turns out the braid has three strands. One strand is how he felt about slavery; another is how he felt about racial equality, and the third is colonization. We find contradictory impulses in Lincoln at least through 1863 when he finally begins to do the right thing, and all three strands are re-connected into a new braid.
KW: What do you think about our new president?
SG: I think Barack Obama is going to be one of the best presidents in the history of this republic.
KW: Is there a question you've never been asked, that you wish someone would?
SG: [Chuckles] I've pretty much been asked everything… Here's one: Why do I do what I do?
KW: Why do you do what you do?
SG: Because I love black people, and my goal is to restore black history from on the grand scale, the broad sweep of history, down to the level of each black person's family tree.
KW: Speaking of family trees, will there be a third season of African-American Lives?
SG: My next series is called "Faces of America," where I'll be tracing the roots of two Jewish-Americans, two Arab-Americans, two Latino-Americans, two Asian-Americans, two West Indian-Americans, two Irish Americans and an Italian-American. So, we'll be employing the same genetics and genealogy format, but for the broader American public. I'm very excited about it.
KW: When I interviewed Lisa Kudrow, she told me a similar British TV-series is helping her trace her roots which had sort of hit a dead end with the Holocaust as far as she knew.
SG: Yeah, these genealogy shows are popping up everywhere now. And most of them are the sons and daughters of African-American Lives, so I'm very proud of that.
KW: I remember you traced most of your roots back to Ireland.
SG: Only on my father's side. I definitely have something called the U Neill Haplotype on my father's sign, which means I'm related to 8% of all the men in Ireland. [Chuckles]
KW: The Tasha Smith question: Are you ever afraid?
SG: Sure, I was afraid the American people weren't going to do the right thing and overcome centuries of discrimination by voting for the better candidate. A month ago, my 95 year-old father had pneumonia and I was afraid.
KW: 95! God bless him!
SG: Thanks. A little fear is a good thing. Being paralyzed by fear, however, is not a good thing.
KW: Why did you stay at Harvard during the great exodus of so many other African-American professors after they were mistreated by then Harvard President Larry Summers (who is now in the Obama administration?
SG: I stayed to defend what I, Cornel West, Anthony Appiah, former Harvard President Neil Rudenstine and our other colleagues had all built. I felt that it would be vulnerable, if I left. That's why I stayed, and it was the right decision.
KW: How are Harvard students different from Princeton students?
SG: I've never taught Princeton students.
KW: Wait, I live in Princeton, and I used to see you around town and even met you here at an NAACP function.
SG: I was at the Institute for Advance Study while on leave from Harvard. But I didn't teach. I was on sabbatical. However, I would imagine that the students are just as smart and as energetic and wonderful as the students at Harvard. They're from the same gene pool. [Chuckles]
KW: The Columbus Short question: Are you happy?
SG: I'm a very happy person. My life has been such a fantasy, I'm sometimes afraid that I'm going to wake up and it'll turn out that I've been in a coma.
KW: That's the vibe you give off, like Alicia Keys, who has a very grounded vibe.
SG: Yeah, she's very centered.
KW: The bookworm Troy Johnson question: What was the last book you read?
SG: A biography of Alain Locke by Leonard Harris and Charles Molesworth.
KW: The Rudy Lewis question: Who's at the top of your hero list?
SG: My mother, Pauline Coleman Gates, who is deceased, and my father, Henry Louis Gates, Sr.
KW: What was the biggest obstacle you've ever had to overcome?
SG: I had an infected hip replacement, a 300,000 white blood cell count, which is huge. So, I had to have emergency surgery, because I could have died. I wasn't frightened, but that was the biggest obstacle. That's when you've descended into the valley of the shadows, and you have to fight to come back. And fortunately, I made it.
KW: The music maven Heather Covington question: What music are you listening to?
SG: I almost exclusively listen to Soul Street on XM Radio, Channel 60. It's R&B from the Fifties and Sixties. I'm just an old-school black man.
KW: The Laz Alonso question: How can your fans help you?
SG: I want them to watch my programs and then give me their feedback and tell me what they think. That's the best way they can help.
KW: What advice do you have for young black kid who wants to follow in your footsteps?
SG: Overall, by staying in school, deferring gratification and believing in the power of education is the way that we can help ourselves as a people.
KW: How do you want to be remembered?
SG: As a man who loved black people, and who fought to preserve their great cultural traditions!
KW: Thanks again for the time, Dr. Gates.
SG: Thank you, buddy.

To see a trailer for Looking for Lincoln hosted by Skip Gates, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p91V-BHfe6k

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