So Candidate Trump went to a Black church last week

He donned a prayer shawl that was given to him by the Detroit pastor of the church he visited, Great Faith Ministries, and said he was there to learn. And he spoke (here’s his full speech). Of course, he spoke. Trump has struggled to gain traction in the African American community, and I’m not sure […]

No more charges on the murder of Freddie Gray

All remaining charges have been dropped in the death of Freddie Gray, the 25-year old African American who died in the hands of police in April 2015. He was picked up healthy. He was removed from the van with a broken neck. What more is there to say about this? That no one is responsible […]

In preparation for the Oscars:

How about a racial Bechdel test? We’ll call it the DuVerney Test. Here’s a criteria: Movies like “The Birth of a Nation” are helping to write the next chapter of American cinema. And, to an extent, that’s true of Sundance at its best…It’s also where numerous selections pass the Bechdel test (movies like the very […]

White people can be unbearably tender

So a friend of mine, the Rev. Dr. Shelley D. Best, posted this selfie on Facebook a few months back: If you can’t read what she wrote to accompany the selfie, it says: In a room full of folks talking about us (and the educational achievement gap) that don’t look like us… hmmmm … I saw […]

What I know so far about Frog Hollow, USA

I am working on a book for Wesleyan University Press on the Hartford neighborhood known as “Frog Hollow,” which is in sight of the state capitol, and it’s slow-going because I am easily distracted by the little anecdotes I keep coming across: During Prohibition, there was a neighborhood speak-easy named “The House of Three Knocks,” […]

I wrote this for Mother Courant on Sunday

After talking to Bishop John Selders, of Kinloch, Missouri, and pastor at Hartford’s Amistad Congregational Church, I realized he was making some excellent points: People who express surprise or dismay about the protests surrounding the mysterious death of African American men at the hand of some police officers really should read their Declaration of Independence. […]

Some of the kids are alright in Connecticut — some

In the tenth of a series on school segregation in the eastern states, UCLA’s The Civil Rights Project finds that Connecticut’s efforts at desegregation have been largely successful — though there is still much work to be done, particularly in charter schools. From the report’s executive summary:   The white share of the total public […]

Leave Gabby’s hair alone

For all kinds of reasons I don’t understand, the Interwebs have been burning up over Olympic darling Gabby Douglas’s hair. (Go to Google, type in “Gabby Douglas,” and the Google Gods helpfully add “hair” to the end of that. Sad to know even the Google Gods objectify.) If you’ve been watching the Olympics — and […]