Explore The History of the Black Vote

“NBC News has assembled for the first time a record of the black vote for each competitive Democratic presidential campaign since exit polling began.”

According to NBC News, Black voters are likely to account for at least 25% of all ballots cast in the democratic party’s presidential primaries, more than tripling — almost quadrupling — the number of votes we accounted for just a few decades ago.

Take a stroll through history and learn more about the major societal changes that were made possible by help from Black voters.

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C-level diversity officers tackle diversity in law firms

The American Lawyer sat down with five law firm diversity executives to ask them about the current events and diversity-related trends they see on the job. These C-level executives include Fenimore Fisher of DLA Piper, Yusuf Zakir of Holland & Knight, Lloyd Freeman of Archer, Paulette Brown of Locke Lord and Kori Carew of Seyfarth Shaw.

A common thread that was shared among all responses was a need for these executives to be unapologetically courageous in addressing diversity issues and working to battle them.

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Judge Orders Psych Eval for Officer who killed Alton Sterling

A Louisiana judge has ordered the city of Baton Rouge to release the psychological evaluation that was used in the hiring of officer Blane Salamoni, who shot and killed 37-year-old Alton Sterling in front of a convenience store in 2016.

The order comes days after Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul apologized on behalf of the department for hiring Salamoni, admitting that the officer had a history of bad behavior prior to the shooting.

Sterling’s killing left many outraged and sparked national protests. Surveillance video from that night showed Sterling packing up the DVDs he was selling when one officer, Howie Lake II, confronted him. Officer Salamoni arrived to assist Lake, and seconds later, shot Sterling in the chest.

The officers were responding to a 911 call of a man with a gun at the store. 

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Cyntoia Brown walks free after serving 15 years of a life sentence

Cyntoia Brown has been released on parole after serving 15 years in prison. Brown was 16 years old when she was sentenced to life in prison for killing a 43-year-old man whom she said had hired her for sex. Though she claimed the killing was done in self-defense, she was tried as an adult and convicted of first-degree murder, first-degree felony murder, and aggravated robbery.

Brown’s story took social media by storm and garnered the attention of celebrities such as Kim Kardashian West who recognized the need for criminal justice reform and rallied for Brown’s release. In January 2019, then-Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam granted Brown a full commutation to parole. Brown will remain on parole for 10 years.

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Are clients with ‘Black-sounding’ names underserved?

A study conducted by Yale University lecturer Brian Libgober revealed that clients with Black-sounding names are less likely to get a response from lawyers in states with less legal competition.

Libgober’s California study found that clients with white-sounding names received 50 percent more replies than those with Black-sounding names. However, in a follow-up study conducted in Florida, Libgober found no evidence that lawyers were considering perceived race to determine whether or not to return calls.

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Where are the Black partners in big law?

According to The American Lawyer’s recently released Diversity Scorecard, the firm with the highest percentage of minority attorneys and partners — 32.5% and 23.9%, respectively — also has zero Black partners. Let that marinate.

Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy is a 371-lawyer immigration firm with its primary office in New York. Its top prize in the diversity ranking is a step in the right direction, but I must ask, where are the Black partners?

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New bill seeks penalty for placing racially motivated 911 calls

Oregon could adopt a new bill which would allow victims of racially motivated 911 calls to sue callers for up to $250. The catch is that victims of these calls would have to “prove the caller had racist intent, and that the caller summoned a police officer to purposefully discriminate or damage a person’s reputation.”

The measure, which was approved by the House on Monday, was created by Oregon’s three Black lawmakers in response to a wave of publicized incidents where predominately white civilians across the country have called the police to investigate Black people for simply existing in public while Black. 

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The National Black Lawyers Top 100 Names New Executive Director

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Black Lawyers Top 100 is pleased to announce that Annamaria Steward of Washington, D.C. has been named as its first Executive Director. She joins the organization with nearly 20 years of experience and a reputation for providing exceptional leadership.

Before joining The National Black Lawyers, Steward served as Director of Leadership and Strategic Development for the D.C. Bar and Associate Dean of Students at the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law. She is also a former president of the D.C. Bar, the largest unified bar in the country, and was the first African-American woman elected president of the voluntary Bar Association of the District of Columbia, a 148-year-old institution.

In her new role, Steward will be responsible for fostering organizational development which will include expanding the membership base, improving the breadth of membership benefits, and ultimately re-energizing the organization.

“It is important to me to recognize and celebrate African-American legal excellence,” Steward said. “I hope to harness the knowledge of these stalwarts of our profession to create a legal brain trust for our membership.”

As an attorney highly skilled in program design and implementation, strategic planning, and leadership development, Steward’s appointment will enable the organization to fulfill its mission for top tier African-American attorneys.

The National Black Lawyers is an honorary membership organization dedicated to promoting legal excellence. The organization’s membership is comprised of the nation’s most successful  African-American attorneys including legal giants like Willie Gary, Karen Evans, Ben Crump, and James Montgomery.

For more information about The National Black Lawyers, visit NBLtop100.org or follow The National Black Lawyers on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

New bill combats maternal mortality rates among black mothers


The Maximizing Outcomes for Moms through Medicaid Improvement and Enhancement of Services (MOMMIES) Act was introduced by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) as a way of battling maternal mortality, which disproportionately impacts Black mothers in America.

Medicaid covers nearly half of all births in the United States, and coverage for postpartum women is limited to 60 days after giving birth. The MOMMIES Act seeks to expand Medicaid coverage to include up to one full year after giving birth

“Black women are nearly four times as likely to die from complications related to pregnancy than white women,” Sen. Booker said. “By expanding Medicaid coverage for pregnant women, we can begin to stem the rising tide of maternal mortality and close the egregious racial gaps that exist in maternal and infant health outcomes.”

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‘Not Reaching’ pouch designed to save Black lives during traffic stops


When she heard the story of how 32-year-old Philando Castile was shot and killed by police in 2016, Jackie Carter decided that enough was enough.

Castile was driving with his girlfriend and her child when he was pulled over by Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez who claimed to see Castile reaching for his gun and fired several shots into the vehicle, killing Castile. In a video recording of the shooting, Castile can be heard saying he “wasn’t reaching” for his gun.

Carter’s device called “Not Reaching!” is a clear card-carrying pouch that clips onto the driver-side air vent. The pouch is designed to be a safe location for drivers to store the important documents that officers typically ask to see during routine traffic stops.

With more than 1,000 units sold, and even more given away, the “Not Reaching!” pouch could be the difference between life and death for Black drivers across the country.

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