Civil Rights

Rowan Moore Gerety / Northwest News Network

Voters in Yakima will elect their first Latino city councilor today, after a lawsuit brought by the ACLU forced the city to create a new electoral map. Even before the results come in, some residents of the new majority-Latino districts feel that change is already underway.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Washington’s Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island is home to 252 sex offenders. These are men -- and one woman -- who’ve completed their prison sentences but are deemed too dangerous to release. The state is supposed to offer treatment to all of them so they can have the chance to get out. But advocates say a group of disabled residents are languishing in unconstitutional conditions that give them little hope of ever leaving the island.

The NAACP is standing behind the besieged president of the Spokane chapter, at least for the time being.

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A Eugene convenience store violated the civil rights of a disabled customer when it refused to allow a woman entrance with her service animal. That is Monday's ruling from BOLI -- The Bureau of Labor and Industries.



A 30-year-old novel has just been translated to English but keeps its Spanish name, "Muerte En Una Estrella." The author is Sergio Elizondo, and the translators are Rosaura Sanchez and Beatrice Pita. Our reviewer Alan Cheuse says it crackles.

As part of NPR's "Book Your Trip" series, TV critic Eric Deggans looks at a different kind of summertime journey, described in two books that became TV shows: PBS's documentary Freedom Summer, debuting tonight, and The Hallmark Channel's The Watsons Go to Birmingham.



This is FRESH AIR. Ellen Willis was the first rock critic for The New Yorker is. She was also a radical feminist writer and activist. Her work appeared in the Village Voice, where she was a columnist, as well as in Rolling Stone and The Nation.

Martin Luther King may not have had a vote in Congress, but he and the movement he helped lead were integral to getting the civil rights bill introduced. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of that bill, now known as the Civil Rights Act.

Among other things, the act outlawed discrimination in public accommodations — including restaurants, hotels and motels — ending the era of legal segregation in those places.

If you've been browsing bookstores this summer, you'll probably notice there are, in some places, whole tables devoted to books about the civil rights movement. The 50th anniversary of the March on Washington has focused national attention on movement history and most everything related to it.

While the cynics among us might argue that America's high ideals and lofty rhetoric rarely transcend their inscriptions on stone, few would disagree that the 1963 March on Washington was one of the nation's finest hours. It was a transformational moment, and a portent for future blows to segregation and injustice.