How the South Made Hubert Humphrey Care About Race

The Minnesota Liberal's Louisiana School Years Turned His 'Abstract Commitment' to Civil Rights Into 'Flesh and Blood'

It is one of the great ironies of 20th-century American history: Hubert Humphrey, the foremost proponent of civil rights among American politicians, had little contact with African Americans until age 28.

Humphrey’s distance from people who would benefit from his legislative prowess was a result of biography and history. He was born in 1911 in the tiny prairie hamlet of Wallace, South Dakota, which had no African Americans. In 1919, he moved with his family 50 miles southwest to slightly larger Doland, where he encountered only a few African-American highway workers …

More In: Civil Rights

Why Washington, D.C., Is the Most Undemocratic of Capitals

The City's Slaveholding Past, and Disenfranchised Present, Make Its Residents Dependents, Not Citizens

Every year about 20 million tourists come to Washington, D.C., to visit the marble monuments of American freedom and democracy. Few of them, however, realize that the 680,000 permanent residents …

Why Martin Luther King Had a 75 Percent Disapproval Rating in the Year of His Death

His Crusade to Confront Economic Injustice and the Vietnam War Angered Whites, While Younger Black Activists Had Lost Patience With His Nonviolent Tactics

According to an early 1968 Harris Poll, the man whose half-century of martyrdom we celebrate this week died with a public disapproval rating of nearly 75 percent, a figure shocking …

The Alabama Recording Studios Where Music Was Never Segregated

How the Muscle Shoals Sound Made a Rich Brew Out of Rock, Country, and R&B

Rod Stewart wasn’t pleased.

It was 1975, and the British rocker had traveled to Sheffield, Alabama, with a specific mission in mind: He wanted to record at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio …

How I Became the Voice of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

For 47 Years, I've Performed the Words of the Civil Rights Legend

A Biblical passage, Luke 12:48, states to whom much is given much is required. That is the attitude I have taken since I learned that I was given the gift …