Alabama Slavery Apology, Yale Anniversary

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Tony Cox scans the day's headlines for news affecting black life and culture. Thursday's roundup includes Alabama's apology for slavery and Yale's celebration of the 150th anniversary of its first black student's graduation.

TONY COX, host:

From NPR News, this is NEWS & NOTES. I'm Tony Cox.

Let's kick things off with headlines. And today, we start in Alabama. More than 40 years after civil rights activists marched from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama's Republican Governor Bob Riley has signed an official apology for his state's role in slavery. The bill cleared the Democrat-controlled legislature last week, and Governor Riley signed it into law earlier today. At the signing, Riley said, quote, "slavery was evil, and I believe all Alabamians are proud of the tremendous progress we have made and continue to make," end quote. Alabama becomes the fourth state to declare its regret for slavery after Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina.

Our next headline takes us to the northeast. Yale University will soon celebrate the 150th anniversary of a very special graduation. In 1857, Cortlandt Van Rensselaer Creed earned his M.D. from Yale, making him the first African-American to earn any degree from the Ivy League powerhouse. After graduating, Creed practiced in New Haven and in Brooklyn, New York. He later served in the Civil War as a surgeon. This weekend's festivities will include a ceremony honoring Creed, an historical exhibition documenting his time at Yale and a campus reception for dozens of his descendants.

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