Across America:


N.C. honors Coast Guard captain born a slave

RODANTHE, N.C. — The state Transportation Department has dedicated a bridge along the Outer Banks to a U.S. Coast Guard captain who went from being a slave to the first African-American to command a life-saving station.

The state dedicated the Pea Island Interim Bridge as the Captain Richard Etheridge Bridge in a ceremony Tuesday at the Rodanthe-Waves-Salvo Community Building.

The bridge replaced the temporary metal bridge that spanned a breach opened during Hurricane Irene in 2011 along N.C. Highway 12.

Etheridge became the leader of the Pea Island Life-Saving Station, an all African-American unit credited with saving many lives. The Coast Guard awarded Etheridge and his crew a medal for the rescue of those aboard the E.S. Newman during a hurricane in 1896.

Etheridge died in 1900.

10 Tennessee sites included in new U.S. civil rights trail

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Ten Tennessee churches, courthouses, schools, museums and other landmarks are now stops on a new civil rights trail, officials said Wednesday.

Gov. Bill Haslam, U.S. Sen Lamar Alexander and state tourism commissioner Kevin Triplett announced the Tennessee sites on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail on Wednesday at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis.

Tourism officials say the U.S. Civil Rights Trail launched earlier this year, highlighting more than 100 sites in 14 states where activists fought for social equality and challenged segregation in the 1950s and 1960s.

The Tennessee sites are the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel, Clayborn Temple and the Mason Temple Church of God in Christ in Memphis, The Civil Rights Room at the Nashville Public Library, Clark Memorial United Methodist Church, Davidson County Courthouse and the Witness Walls, Woolworth on 5th, Fisk University and Griggs Hall at American Baptist College in Nashville, and The Green McAdoo Cultural Center and Clinton 12 statues in Clinton.

“The U.S. Civil Rights Trail is a journey of discovery and education about events that shifted the course of history for our country and for our state,” Haslam said in a statement. profiles each landmark. The website features interviews, an interactive map, photographs and 360-degree video.

‘Black Panther’ screening halted after slur shouted

SPARTA, N.J. — Police in New Jersey say a movie theater had to halt a showing of “Black Panther” after a woman yelled a racial slur, upsetting the rest of the audience.

Sparta Police Lt. John Lamon said Tuesday the woman was “extremely intoxicated” and was not yelling at anyone in particular. reports police did not file charges, as only one person at the Sunday showing could identify the woman who yelled the slur.

Police say the witness declined to sign a complaint.

Lamon says the woman was banned from the theater, and the rest of the audience was given vouchers to return at another time to see the film.

“Black Panther” broke box office records when it opened this weekend with approximately $235 million in ticket sales.

Parents group wants officer in every district

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Parents in one South Carolina school district are calling on officials to place a police officer in every school in the district after the latest school shooting in Florida.

The Richland 2 Black Parents Association said in a news release Tuesday that every school in the district needs a school resource officer. The parents point out the northeast Columbia school district has officers in its high schools, but not in its elementary schools.

They note the other two school districts in Richland County have an officer into each school.

District Two Superintendent Baron Davis says the district has a procedure to ensure officers can quickly get to those schools that do not have an assigned officer. Davis says the school also conducts shooter drills twice each year.

False story says Trump nixed Obama library

CHICAGO — President Trump hasn’t canceled federal funding for former President Barack Obama’s library, despite claims in a story circulating on social media. The Obama Foundation says private donations are paying for the construction and it’s not relying on federal money to administer its collection of documents.

The false story on the Convenile site declares that President Trump has canceled $8 million for his predecessor’s “free house and library.”

The story also claims Trump rejected the idea of a new home for Michelle Obama on the top floor of the building. Kate Berner, a spokeswoman for the Obama foundation, says drawings for the presidential center in Chicago never included an apartment.

Existing presidential libraries are run by the National Archives and Records Administration. The foundation announced last spring it would break from that tradition. NARA spokesman James Pritchett says the Archives will administer Obama’s documents but the center will receive no federal dollars.

The White House says President Trump’s proposed budget, which came months after the foundation announcement, calls for spending $5 million less on the overall presidential library system.

Motown event to honor Black family-owned businesses

DETROIT — Detroit’s Motown Museum is organizing an event to celebrate the entrepreneurial legacy of the Gordy family and Black family-owned businesses in honor of Black History Month.

The event, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled for Feb. 28 at TechTown. The program will be moderated by Paul Riser Jr., one of the business incubator’s managing directors and son of Motown Records’ musician and arranger Paul Riser Sr.

Presentations will include a history of the Gordy family’s migration to Detroit and its role in shaping the company founded by Berry Gordy Jr. in 1959. The museum was opened in 1985 by Gordy’s sister, Esther Gordy Edwards.

Representatives from other black businesses are expected to share their successes and failures, as well as offer advice to budding entrepreneurs.

University can’t strip Confederate name from hall

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — A Tennessee panel has voted against letting Middle Tennessee State University strip the name of a Confederate general from one of its buildings.

According to The Tennessean , the Tennessee Historical Commission on last Friday denied the request to rename the ROTC building dedicated to Nathan Bedford Forrest.

MTSU spokesman Jimmy Hart said the commission denied the university’s request in a 15-7 vote, failing to receive the two-thirds vote required by state law.

University President Sidney McPhee recommended the change in 2016 under a task force’s recommendation that was formed in 2015 after the Charleston, South Carolina deadly mass shooting of a Black church.

The university could appeal the decision in the courts.

Pastor accused in Sunday school robbery is held

TOLEDO, Ohio — An Ohio judge has set bond at $75,000 for a man described by police as a gun-wielding pastor who helped rob a teacher during a Sunday school class at his church.

The Blade in Toledo reports a judge set matching bond amounts on Tuesday for 49-year-old Anthony Morris and his 46-year-old wife, Zelda.

They were jailed on aggravated robbery charges after the alleged confrontation at St. Paul’s AME Zion Church. Their 19-year-old daughter was sought on the same charge.

Court records didn’t immediately list attorneys for the couple.

Police say the teacher alleged that the teen grabbed her hair, the pastor threw her to the ground and held a gun on her, and the pastor’s wife punched her and took items from the woman’s purse, including a cellphone and stun gun.

Attorney wants confession thrown out

INDIANAPOLIS — A judge is being asked to throw out a confession from a Guatemalan man living illegally in the U.S. who’s charged in a drunken-driving crash that killed Indianapolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson and his Uber driver.

The attorney for 37-year-old Manuel Orrego-Savala filed a motion Tuesday in Marion County court, arguing that Orrego-Savala’s statements to a state trooper after the Feb. 4 crash shouldn’t be allowed because he wasn’t first read his rights.

Orrego-Savala faces four felony charges for the Indianapolis crash that killed Jackson and his driver, Jeffrey Monroe. Prosecutors say Orrego-Savala had a blood-alcohol level of 0.19 percent, which is more than twice the legal limit of .08 percent. Authorities say Orrego-Savala was deported from the U.S. in 2007 and 2009 and was back in the country illegally.

His next court hearing is set for March. 27.

KKK chapters drop steeply despite ‘hate group’ surge

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — An organization that tracks far-right extremists says the number of Ku Klux Klan chapters in the U.S. is plummeting as a new generation of khaki-clad racists rejects hoods and robes for a “hipper” brand of hate.

The Southern Poverty Law Center said in a report Wednesday that its count of Klan groups fell from 130 in 2016 to 72 last year.

SPLC Intelligence Project Director Heidi Beirich says the Klan seems to be “collapsing” because younger white supremacists are turned off by its “old-school” traditions.

The Alabama-based law center reported a surge in neo-Nazi groups — from 99 in 2016 to 121 last year. And it counted a total of 954 active “hate groups” in 2017, an increase of 4 percent over the previous year.

— Compiled from The Associated Press

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