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Free Press staff, wire reports

Stories by Free Press staff, wire

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It’s not over yet

Just days after the U.S. Senate acquits former President Trump, Congressman Bennie Thompson of Mississippi files a lawsuit to hold him responsible for inciting insurrection at the U.S. Capitol

One thing is for certain, there was no surprise.

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Va. Senate moving against GOP Sen. Amanda Chase

The state Senate is lowering the hammer on GOP Sen. Amada Chase of Chesterfield for speaking and whipping up the crowd at a pro-Trump rally in Washington on Jan. 6 before the mob stormed the U.S. Capitol.

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Sister of man killed by police enters governor’s race

The sister of Marcus-David Peters, who was shot and killed by a Richmond Police officer in 2018 during what has been described as a mental health crisis, has formally announced her candidacy for Virginia’s gubernatorial race.

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Colorado young scientist and app creator named Kid of the Year

A 15-year-old Colorado high school student and young scientist who has used artificial intel- ligence and created apps to tackle contaminated drinking water, cyberbullying, opioid addiction and other social problems has been named TIME magazine’s and Nickelodeon’s first Kid of the Year.

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VMI appoints Black interim superintendent amid shakeup

The Virginia Military Institute has selected a retired U.S. Army major general to serve as its interim superintendent amid a leadership shakeup that followed a newspaper article describing allegations of persistent racism at the school.

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Charges dismissed against Sen. Lucas

A Richmond judge dismissed charges on Monday that were filed against the highest-ranking Black state senator and several other Portsmouth officials after police said that she and others conspired to damage a Confederate monument in the Hampton Roads city.

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African-American astronaut pilots SpaceX capsule to International Space Station

SpaceX’s newly launched capsule with four astronauts arrived Monday at the International Space Station, piloted by Navy Cmdr. Victor Glover, 44.

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VMI superintendent resigns after probe ordered of ‘ongoing structural racism’

The superintendent of Virginia Military Institute resigned Mon- day, a week after Gov. Ralph S. Northam and other state officials ordered an investigation into what they characterized as a culture of “ongoing structural racism” at the college.

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’Relentless racism’: Probe ordered of VMI after news report of racist incidents

State officials have ordered an outside investigation into the Virginia Military Institute following a report in The Washington Post that described Black cadets and alumni as facing “relentless racism.”

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Voter registration deadline extended through Oct. 15

Virginians have until 11:59 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15 to register to vote because of a 48- hour extension negotiated in court after the state’s online voter registration system went down Tuesday because of an accidentally severed cable.

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Judge Barrett’s confirmation to U.S. Supreme Court expected to sail through Senate

Anti-abortion Judge Amy Coney Barrett is on her way to a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Madman

First 2020 presidential debate is derailed by President Trump’s rantings, falsehoods and interruptions of Democratic candidate Joe Biden

In a debate performance that left even his Republican supporters shaking their heads, President Trump stunningly refused to condemn racist, white supremacist groups.

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Tennis champion Naomi Osaka brings racial justice to her Grand Slam win

Naomi Osaka capped a transformative U.S. Open by winning her third Grand Slam title and challenging millions of people watching across the globe last Saturday to “start talking” about racial justice.

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Kanye West appeals judge’s ruling keeping his name off Virginia ballot

Rapper Kanye West is appealing a ruling by Richmond Circuit Court Judge Joi Jeter Taylor that would keep his name off the presidential ballots in Virginia.

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Trump uses Black people to defend him at RNC

President Trump has aggressively asserted control over the Republican National Convention, a four-day event that started Monday and featured African-Americans defending the president’s history of racist rhetoric and actions. Former NFL star Herschel Walker, speaking on the opening night, defended President Trump, whom he called a “personal friend,” and said he isn’t a racist.

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’Black Lives Matter’ mural to be painted along Grace Street in Downtown

A 200-foot “Black Lives Matter” mural will be painted Downtown near the State Capitol.

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Civil rights groups to commemorate 57th anniversary of historic March on Washington

A series of events led by a coalition of civil rights groups such as the NAACP, the National Action Network and a coalition, including Martin Luther King III and the families of George Floyd, Eric Garner and Breonna Taylor, will commemorate the 57th anniversary of the historic March on Washington that was led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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Dems pull out big guns to energize virtual convention for Biden

Democrats launched the third day of their virtual national convention on Wednesday, with headliners broadening the focus from a multipart rebuke of President Trump to an energizing message of change in boosting former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential bid.

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Payback? Questions raised about charges against Sen. Lucas

State Sen. Louise Lucas of Portsmouth, a key power broker and one of the highest ranking African-Americans in the General Assembly, has been charged with conspiracy to damage a Confederate monument during protests in Portsmouth that also led to a demonstrator being critically injured when the statue was knocked down.

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Magic moment

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California, daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants, is first Black woman chosen as running mate by a major party’s presidential candidate

For the first time, a Black woman will be on a major party’s presidential ticket.

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Rep. John Lewis

A lion of the Civil Rights Movement and ‘conscience of Congress’ dies at 80

Congressman John Lewis of Georgia, a lion of the Civil Rights Movement whose bloody beating by Alabama state troopers in 1965 helped galvanize opposition to racial segregation, and who went on to a long and celebrated career in Congress, died late Friday, July 17, 2020. He was 80.

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Faculty votes to drop Lee name from Washington & Lee University

Faculty at Washington and Lee University voted on Monday to remove Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s name from the school.

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Arthur Ashe’s life story coming to the big screen

The life of legendary tennis great and local hometown hero Arthur Ashe Jr. will be told in a film by an Oscar-winning writer and an Indian movie producer and former international tennis competitor who once played Mr. Ashe and lost.

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Virginia to enter Phase Three of reopening on July 1

Restrictions on businesses and public gatherings across the state will be further relaxed beginning Wednesday, July 1, as Virginia moves into Phase Three of its reopening plan during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Legendary debate coach, Dr. Thomas F. Freeman Sr., dies at 100

Richmond native Thomas Franklin Freeman Sr. transformed historically black Texas Southern University into a national powerhouse in debate.

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Gov. Northam announces plan to reopen schools in the fall

Richmond Public Schools teachers and students are to return to in-person classes after a long summer break, but with strict new social distancing guidelines aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

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Delegate Carroll Foy announces historic bid for governor

Democratic state Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy formally launched her bid for Virginia governor Wednesday, using email and social media to make an initial appeal to voters in the era of the coronavirus pandemic.

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President Obama inspires Class of 2020, adroitly criticizes current leaders for mishandling pandemic crisis

Hours after former President Obama delivered two measured and inspiring na- tional commencement speeches to the Class of 2020 college and high school graduates last Saturday, social media lit up with comments of “Great speech, Mr. Obama. We miss you!” and “That’s what a president should be like. November 2020 can’t get here soon enough.”

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Obamas to deliver commencement addresses

Yes, they will! Former President Obama and his wife, former First Lady Michelle Obama, will salute the Class of 2020 in two separate virtual graduation ceremonies replacing the traditional end of high school and college.

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State executioner who turned against the death penalty dies at 67

For 17 years, Jerry Bronson Givens carried out death sentences as Virginia’s chief executioner. The Richmond native then spent the rest of his life crusading against the death penalty.

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Class of 2020 has hope in President Obama

Could Barack Obama deliver a national graduation address to students? Stay tuned.

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David C. Driskell, noted artist, art historian, curator and collector, dies at 88

David C. Driskell, one of the nation’s most influential African-American artists and a leading authority on black art, has died. He was 88.

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Sweeping changes signed into law by Gov. Northam

Democratic Gov. Ralph S. Northam has signed sweeping changes into state law that will allow people to vote up to 45 days before Election Day, remove jail time for possession of marijuana, impose new controls on gun sales and grant Richmond and other localities authority to remove Confederate statues from public property.

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Earl G. Graves Sr., founder of Black Enterprise magazine and champion for black economic empowerment, dies at 85

Earl G. Graves Sr., who inspired generations of African-Americans to build wealth through stories published in Black Enterprise, the magazine he founded, died Monday, April 6, 2020, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He was 85.

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NASA pioneer Katherine Johnson takes her place among the stars

Three African-American astronauts joined hundreds of other mourners Saturday, March 7, at a funeral service for trailblazing mathematician and NASA pioneer Katherine G. Johnson.

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Katherine G. Johnson, trailblazing NASA mathematician immortalized in the film 'Hidden Figures,' dies at 101

Katherine G. Johnson, the mathematical genius whose calculations took her from a behind-the-scenes job in a segregated NASA as portrayed in the film “Hidden Figures” to a key role in sending humans to the moon, died on Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, at her residence at an assisted living facility in Newport News.

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Kobe Bryant's legacy felt in Richmond, around the world

Purple and gold-themed tributes of praise have sprung up as Richmond and communities in Virginia and around the world recognize the life and accomplishments of the late basketball star Kobe Bryant, an 18-time All-Star who won five NBA championships during his 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers.

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Gov. Northam issues temporary weapons ban

Fearing a repeat of the deadly violence that engulfed Charlottesville more than two years ago, Gov. Ralph S. Northam declared a temporary state of emergency Wednesday that would ban all weapons, including guns, knives, sticks, bats, chains and projectiles, from Capitol Square through the weekend and until Tuesday.

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Judge Damon J. Keith, civil rights and judicial icon, dies at 96

U.S. Appeals Court Judge Damon J. Keith, who decided many of the nation’s most important school desegregation, employment discrimination and government surveillance cases during his more than 50 years on the federal bench, died Sunday, April 28, 2019, at his home in Detroit surrounded by family.

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Local couple in Paris bears witness to Notre Dame fire

George K. Martin of Mechanicsville and his wife, Anita, arrived in Paris on Sunday night and made a sightseeing list that included some of the top tourist spots in the City of Lights, including Notre Dame Cathedral.

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Tiger Woods roars back to win Masters Tournament

Tiger’s back! The fallen hero and crippled star is now a Masters champion again. The 43-year-old Tiger Woods thrilled viewers — and himself — as he rallied to win the Masters Tournament for the fifth time on Sunday in a comeback that goes well beyond the two-shot deficit he erased before a delirious audience that watched memories turn into reality at Augusta National.

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What’s in a kiss? Wilder accused of sexual impropriety by VCU student

Aging political lion L. Douglas Wilder allegedly propositioned a Virginia Commonwealth University student who was young enough to be his great-granddaughter and has ended up receiving what amounts to an embarrassing and highly public slap from the young woman.

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Herring breaks silence on blackface; GOP offers reward for evidence

The Republican Party of Virginia is offering a $1,000 reward for photographic evidence of Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring in blackface.

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Lt. Gov. Fairfax compares ‘rush to judgment’ against him to Jim Crow-era lynching

With his political career in tatters, embattled Democratic Lt. Gov. Justin E. Fairfax took a stand against his critics in the final moments of the 2019 General Assembly session.

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Bennett College meets fundraising goal

Bennett College, a historically black all-women’s college in North Carolina that was facing loss of accreditation and possible closure because of financial problems, has exceeded its $5 million fundraising goal.

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State air board approves controversial Buckingham County compressor

A historic African-American community in pristine Buckingham County will have to learn to live with a noisy, smelly, potentially polluting piece of equipment, a state agency ruled this week.

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Noted NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, at 100, writing her autobiography

Retired NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, who turned 100 last summer, has waited long enough to tell her own story.

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Senate passes major criminal justice reform package

The U.S. Senate voted 87-12 Tuesday to usher in the most substantial change to the 1990s tough-on-crime sentencing laws that have ballooned the federal prison population and created a criminal justice system that is seen as costly and unfair.

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Gov. Northam announces plan to boost education spending

Just days after a major march in Richmond calling for more state dollars for public education, Gov. Ralph S. Northam announced Tuesday that his next proposed budget will include $268.7 million in additional school funding, including increased spending for new school construction, at-risk students and money to boost teachers’ pay.

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