kente: Colorful woven fabric used
as blankets or cut and sewn into garments dating back to the 12th
century and originating in Ghana. Royalty and important figures in Ghana
society wore it during ceremonial events and special occasions. Kente
is derived from kenten, which means basket, and is typically in an
interlaced pattern. Kente is widely made and worn across West Africa and
is also a symbol of African-American pride.
keloid: A raised scar that can
develop after skin injury. During healing process, the skin cells
overproduce, creating a dense, dome-shaped formation. People of African
or Asian descent are more likely to get keloids than those with lighter
kicks: Slang for footwear.
Koran: Sacred book of Muslims, who
believe that it contains the words of Allah dictated to the prophet
Mohammed through the angel Gabriel. It is divided into 114 chapters or
suras, and is accepted as the foundation of Islamic law, religion,
culture and politics. (See Islam.)
Ku Klux Klan: Official name,
Knights of the Ku Klux Klan; founded in 1915, a secret organization
directed against blacks, Catholics, Jews and other groups. There are 42
separate organizations known as the Klan in America. Some do not use the
full name Ku Klux Klan, but all may be called that, and the KKK
initials may be used for any on second reference. The two largest Klan
organizations are the National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, based in
Stone Mountain, Ga., and the United Klans of America, based in
Tuscaloosa, Ala. An Imperial Board, composed of leaders from the various
groups, meets occasionally to coordinate activities. Capitalize formal
titles before a name: Imperial Wizard James R. Venable, Grand Dragon
Dale Reusch. Members are Klansmen or Klanswomen.
Kwanzaa: Swahili for first fruits
of the harvest; an African-American cultural holiday occurring Dec. 26
to Jan. 1 and derived from traditional African harvest festivals. A
candle is lit each day symbolizing Kwanzaas seven principles: unity
(umoja), self-determination (kujichagulia), collective work and
responsibility (ujamaa), cooperative economics (ujima), purpose (nia),
creativity (kuumba) and faith (imani). The candleholder is called a
kinara. Political activist Maulana Karenga is credited with creating
Kwanzaa in 1966.
Landmark court decisions
|Dred Scott vs. Sanford (1857) -
Supreme Court holds that Congress cannot prohibit slavery in the
territories, that black people are not citizens, and residence in a free
state does not confer freedom on them. The decision hastens start of
the Civil War by sweeping aside legal barriers to expanding slavery and
inciting anger in the North.
Civil Rights Cases (1883) -
Declaring the Civil Rights Act of 1875 unconstitutional, the Supreme
Court strikes it down. The court said social rights beyond federal
control, but black people cannot be excluded from juries. Congress
introduced the statute in 1870 and it became law on March 1, 1875. It
held that all persons, regardless of race, color, or previous condition,
were entitled to full and equal employment or accommodation in inns,
public conveyances on land or water, theaters and other places of public
Plessy vs. Ferguson (1896) -
Supreme Court decides that if segregated railroad cars offer equal
accommodations then such segregation is not discriminatory and does not
deprive black people of 14th Amendment rights to equal protection. The
separate but equal doctrine is not struck down until 1954 in Brown vs.
Board of Education of Topeka.
Guinn vs. United States (1915) -
Supreme Court rules that the grandfather clause that disenfranchised
most black Americans is unconstitutional. The clause adopted by Oklahoma
and Maryland exempted citizens from certain voter qualifications if
their grandparents had voted; obviously, this did not apply to those
whose grandparents lived before the 15th Amendment ratified.
Hansberry vs. Lee (1940) - Supreme Court rules that black citizens cannot be prevented from buying homes in white neighborhoods.
Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka (1954)
- Supreme Court unanimously overturns Plessey vs. Ferguson and declares
that segregated public schools violate the 14th Amendments equal
Gomillion vs. Lightfoot (1960) -
Supreme Court rules that drawing of election districts so blacks
constitute a minority in all districts violates the 15th Amendment.
Griggs vs. Duke Power Co. (1971) -
Supreme Court makes its first ruling on the job-bias provisions of
Civil Rights Act of 1964, declaring objective criteria, unrelated to job
skills, for hiring workers are discriminatory if minorities end up
Swann vs. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education (1971)
- Supreme Court upholds school busing for the purpose of ensuring
racial balance in areas where segregation has been official policy and
school authorities have not come up with a viable alternative to busing.
University of California Regents vs. Bakke (1978)
- Supreme Court rules that the University of California Medical School
at Davis must admit white applicant Allan Bakke, who argued that the
schools minority admissions program made him a victim of reverse
City of Richmond vs. J.A. Croson (1989)
- Supreme Court declares illegal a Richmond, Va., set-aside program
mandating that 30 percent of the citys public works funds go to
minority-owned firms. Such programs only legal if they redress
Busing Cases (1991-92) - Supreme
Court issues Oklahoma and Georgia rulings, saying school systems don't
have to bus students to overcome school segregation caused by segregated
Cappachione vs. Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools et al. (1999)
- Federal District Court Judge Robert Potter bars Charlotte-Mecklenburg
school system from using race to assign students to schools,
effectively ending court-ordered busing mandated in landmark Swann vs.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education case in 1971.
Tuttle vs. Arlington County (Va.) school board (1999) - Supreme Court rules the board cannot use a weighted admission lottery to promote racial and ethnic diversity.
Eisenberg vs. Montgomery County (Md.) Public Schools (1999)
- Supreme Court rules that the school board could not deny a students
request to transfer to a magnet school because of his/her race.
Links, Inc. The: Founded in 1946
by Margaret Hawkins and Sarah Scott in Philadelphia, now based in
Washington, a community-service group with 10,000 professional women of
color in 274 chapters in 42 states and three countries. Formed to
provide a chain of friendship among black women, services to youth and
families, and support of education and the arts.
lupus: Chronic disease that
affects immunity. Normally, the body's immune system makes proteins
called antibodies to protect against viruses, bacteria and other foreign
materials. Lupus causes the immune system to attack healthy tissues and
organs. It can harm various parts of the body, especially the skin,
joints, kidneys, lungs, brain and heart. Lupus most often affects black