10 Memorial Day Facts That Will Change The Way You See This Holiday

Though modern Memorial Day celebrations are centered around barbecues, beach trips, and blow-out sales, the holiday’s history is much more meaningful than that. A tradition that began during the Civil War, Memorial Day was, in its earliest form, the simple practice of honoring fallen soldiers by decorating their grave sites. During the years following the bloodiest war in American history, the country struggled to come together as a whole again and repair itself from four years of death and destruction, and as a way to start the healing process and honor those who had lost their lives, several southern states began to observe and publicize Memorial Day celebrations. Northern states soon followed suit with their own tradition, Decoration Day, and over the next 100 years, Memorial Day was celebrated nationwide unofficially until it was finally declared a federal holiday in 1971.

Now, over a century later, Memorial Day seems to have fallen out of focus and become less about honoring the past and more about taking advantage of a day off. While the tradition of decorating graves is still alive and well, and many cities host parades and other official celebrations to mark the day, the holiday’s traditions and history seem to have gotten lost in the noise of sizzling hamburgers and kids splashing in the pool.

In case you need a reminder of the meaning of this patriotic holiday, here are 10 Memorial Day facts that will change the way you celebrate.


  1. Memorial Day Has Its Roots In The Civil War

The Civil War was the deadliest conflict in U.S. history, and after its conclusion, the country had to create its first national cemeteries to accommodate all the bodies of fallen soldiers. In the late 1860s, Americans began the tradition of decorating the graves of fallen heroes in their towns and cities. From that tradition, Memorial Day was born.

  1. Recently Freed Slaves Organized One Of The First Commemorations

In 1865, recently freed slaves, teachers, missionaries, and soldiers joined forces in Charleston, S.C., to honor the over 250 deceased Union soldiers buried in a Confederate prison camp. The group worked together to properly rebury the bodies, and when their work was done, they came together with community members, school children, social and aid organizations, and more to remember the fallen dead and decorate their new burial sites. It is considered one of the earliest Memorial Days in the U.S.


  1. Memorial Day Was Once Called Decoration Day

In its earliest days, Memorial Day went by another name in the northern states — Decoration Day. Organizers in several cities and states began the spring tradition of decorating graves of soldiers and taking time to remember their sacrifices.


  1. The Holiday Was “Founded” By General John A. Logan

General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic, a veteran soldier of the Mexican-American and Civil War who would later become a celebrated politician, was the man behind one of the first Decoration Days. In 1868, he started the celebration we now call Memorial Day, a special day he proclaimed was meant to honor Americans who died “in defense of their country during the late rebellion” and beyond.


  1. More Than 260,000 Graves Are Decorated In Arlington

While a lot of Memorial Day’s history seems to be often forgotten, one tradition remains: decorating the graves of soldiers. In the Arlington National Cemetery, the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, otherwise known as the Old Guard, has been putting flags on the more than 260,000 graves every Memorial Day for over 60 years. The tradition is known as “Flags In.”


  1. Some Southern States Still Celebrate Confederate Memorial Day

Decoration Day in the northern states was meant to honor the fallen soldiers of the Union Army, but southern states wanted to honor their dead brothers and sisters, too. Confederate Memorial Day is still a state holiday in several southern states, including Texas, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina, and its traditions include ceremonies, grave decorating, re-enactments, and church services.


  1. Red Poppies Are The Symbol Of The Holiday

The tradition of wearing red poppies to honor Memorial Day started in 1915 and was inspired by a World War I poem by John McCrae, “In Flanders Fields.” After Moina Michael, an American war secretary, read the poem whose lines include “In Flanders fields the poppies blow/ Between the crosses, row on row,” Michael began wearing a silk poppy to honor fallen soldiers and eventually started selling them to her friends and coworkers, and even campaigned for them to become an official symbol of memorial. In 1921, the American Legion adopted the poppy as their symbol and still sells them on Memorial Day today.


  1. Waterloo, New York Is Recognized As The Birthplace Of Memorial Day

May different cities and towns, including Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day, but Waterloo, New York, is officially considered the starting place of the holiday. Thanks to a presidential proclamation in 1966, Waterloo, a town that has held a Memorial Day celebrated annually since 1866, is the only town that can make that claim to fame, though many others still try.


  1. Activists Use The Day To Bring Attention To POWs And Soldiers MIA

This Memorial Day marks the 29th Rolling Thunder Annual Memorial Day Demonstration, an activist tradition started by Vietnam War veterans that seeks to bring attention to prisoners of war and soldiers missing in action. For nearly three decades, thousands of bikers descend on Washington, D.C., each Memorial Day weekend to not only raise awareness for their cause, but to remember those soldiers missing or lost, to visit memorials, and to hear speeches from other veterans, supporters, and politicians.


  1. Memorial Day’s Moment Of Silence Is A Law

When Memorial Day’s moment of silence comes around on Monday, you shouldn’t just observe it because it’s respectful, but because it’s the law. In 2000, Congress passed legislation declaring 3 p.m. local time the National Moment of Remembrance, and in 2010, Barack Obama released a Presidential Proclamation asking all Americans to observe the moment.



Serena Williams Exclusive interview on GMA

International tennis icon Serena Williams said that she is now motivated to “work harder” for her family when she returns to the court after giving birth to her daughter, Olympia.

“I’m having the best time as a mom,” Williams, 36, told “GMA” anchor Robin Roberts. “I just walked out and was giving her extra hugs and extra kisses.”

The 23-time Grand Slam winner said Olympia brings out “patience in me.”

“And I love that about her,” she added.

Williams welcomed her daughter on Sept. 1, 2017, along with husband Alexis Ohanian, whom she wed in November 2017.


In her new HBO Docu-series, “Being Serena,” she gives fans unprecedented access to some of the most intimate moments over her whirlwind past year.

She said she hopes Olympia will be able to look back at the series when she is older.

“When I was younger my dad … always shot video of myself and our whole family,” Williams said. “I wanted to do the same thing for Olympia. And I wanted to start with, you know, her in my belly.”

“I wanted to just kind of shoot some stuff,” she added. “So one day I would be able to go back … and show her.”

Williams added that the series offers fans a look at a side of her life they may not have seen before.

“When I’m on the court, that’s not necessarily me. That’s just my tennis two hours of the day,” she said. “There’s the mom, I can say now. There’s the wife, I can say now.”

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“It’s just me,” she added. “It’s just Serena. I’m just being myself.”

Williams also opened up about her recent health scare after she gave birth to her daughter. Despite having an easy pregnancy, she said things took a drastic twist shortly after going into labor.

During her “amazing” pregnancy, Williams said she “didn’t have a day of morning sickness.”

“I didn’t have anything wrong,” she added. “Then I got to the hospital, and then I had to have an emergency C-section.”

“Then everything was fine for the first, like, you know, eight to 12 hours,” she said. “Then it was after that that things started going crazy.”

In an interview with Vogue magazine earlier this year, Williams revealed that she underwent multiple operations after sustaining a pulmonary embolism the day after her emergency cesarean section.

The international tennis champ told ABC News that she has “dealt with a lot of issues” with her health in the past, including “blood clots in my lungs” and “everywhere in my body.”

“So I was like, OK, if I have this symptom, I need to tell someone straightaway that, you know, we need to run these tests,” she said. “So when I did have the symptom, that’s what I did.”

Williams added that she is aware that had she not communicated with her doctors, “things could’ve ended up different.”

Serena Williams prepares to serve to Zarina Diyas, of Kazakhstan, during the first round of the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament in Indian Wells, Calif., March 8, 2018. Williams won 7-5, 6-3, in her first match in more than a year.

Crystal Chatham/AP

She’s still in the process of fully recovering from the medical ordeal, she said, adding that “it hasn’t been easy for me.”

She said her husband has been a huge support for her during the entire process.

Earlier this year, Ohanian surprised Williams with multiple billboards to welcome her back to the tennis world after she gave birth. The billboards referred to her as the “G.M.O.A.T.” or the “Greatest Momma of All Time” and featured photos of her and Olympia.

“I was so surprised,” Williams said of when she first saw the billboards. “I was like, ‘Aww, that’s so nice,’ and then I saw another one, I was like, ‘Wow, this is crazy,’ and then it was four. I just really was lost for words. And I was crying.”

Williams’ advice for her friend Meghan Markle: ‘Eat cake’

Williams also shared some of her wedding day advice for her friend Meghan Markle, who has her own big day coming up next month.

“I just think it’s so important to enjoy the moment,” Williams said. “You know, and eat cake. I didn’t get to eat mine at the wedding.”

Williams added that they “forgot” to eat the cake because they were “having so much fun.”

“If I could give her any advice, it would just be to enjoy the preparation, enjoy the planning,” Williams added. “It goes so fast.”

Williams added that “we’ll see if I can make it” to the royal wedding between Markle and Prince Harry, which she says falls during one of her tournaments.

At the moment, she’s focused on preparing for the French Open, her first Grand Slam since giving birth.

She said she feels “honored” to have the “reception of everyone” as she prepares to hit the court again.

“It actually makes me want to work harder. It makes me want to do better,” she said. “Most of all, I just want to do it for me, and for … my family.”



Jada Pinkett Smith’s Facebook Watch Talk Show With Daughter, Willow Smith, And Mother, Adrienne Banfield-Norris Sets Premiere

The talk show is described as a series of groundbreaking, intimate and candid conversations. The weekly format brings together three generations of women with three very different viewpoints as they reveal their personal experiences and thoughts about today’s most compelling issues. Red Table Talk will premiere on Facebook’s video platform, Facebook Watch, on Monday, May 7.

In the ten-episode series, Jada, Willow and Adrienne will be joined by friends and celebrity guests as they explore social issues and topics that have touched the family.

“I’ve done a lot of sharing and growing on Facebook. Being able to engage with the Facebook Watch community in such a deeply personal way is amazing, and I’m excited to be part of something new,” said Jada Pinkett Smith. “Red Table Talk is about raw truth, love and deep passion. My mother is old school, Willow is new school, and I find myself right in the middle.”

The episodes will follow this format: On Mondays, Pinkett Smith will introduce the week’s topic; viewers will post comments and share their personal stories on Facebook; and on Wednesdays, the show will stream live on Facebook Watch from the Smith home, where the women will answer fan questions and open the conversation to the community.

“As a 17-year-old, it’s important for me to be able to talk openly about what’s going on in my life…there have been too many times I have felt alone,” said Willow Smith. “I feel like the only real valuable thing in life is sharing what we’ve gone through. Conversation, storytelling, pain, pleasure, joy, happiness and communicating that to each other is all that life really is. And for real, we put it #AllOnTheTable.”

Pinkett Smith executive produces the series with Ellen Rakieten (The Oprah Winfrey Show) and Miguel Melendez.


Film Academy Board Member Resigns with Dramatic Letter: “We Have Failed”

Producer Bill Mechanic waved goodbye to the Academy with a scorching letter addressing the “long and boring” Oscars telecast, among other issues.

Producer and former Fox chief Bill Mechanic has resigned from his post on the Academy’s Board of Governors—but not with a quick goodbye and a step to the side. Instead, Mechanic took the incendiary route, writing a lengthy letter to Academy President John Bailey and detailing all the ways the Academy has allegedly failed its members and the film community at large. He railed against the bloated length and status of the Oscars, the way inclusive membership has been handled, the response to the #MeToo movement, and the long-awaited Academy Museum, which has for years been a source of anxiety for the organization.

“I feel I have failed the organization,” Mechanic wrote, according to Variety, which posted his letter in full. “I feel we have failed the organization.”

The Academy confirmed Mechanic’s exit with a statement on Tuesday: “The Academy thanks William Mechanic for his five years of service on the board of governors, where he represented the members of the executives branch.”

Mechanic’s fiery letter shows a board member at odds with the organization he was tasked to represent. He began by writing that he had “a great love and respect for the Academy,” but realized the environment had become “fractured.” One of the first issues he addressed in the letter was the way the Academy decided to handle inclusion among its membership ranks.

“We have settled on numeric answers to the problem of inclusion, barely recognizing that this is the industry’s problem far, far more than it is the Academy’s,” he wrote. “Instead we react to pressure. One governor even went as far as suggesting we don’t admit a single white male to the Academy, regardless of merit!”

He continued by taking aim at the Oscars telecast itself, which he claimed had yet to modernize. “We have kept to the same number of awards, which inherently means a long and boring show, and over the past decade we have nominated so many smaller independent films that the Oscars feel like they should be handed out in a tent,” he said.

His thoughts on this particular issue aren’t exactly surprising. Mechanic said back in December that he was not a fan of the rigorous way the Academy had responded to the ongoing conversation about sexual misconduct in the film industry. Specifically, Mechanic was against the passage of a new code of conduct stipulating that the Academy was opposed to “any form of abuse, harassment, or discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, disability, age, religion, or nationality.”

“This should be left to the companies people work for and to the police,” he said then. “Six months ago, all the moral police were silent. Was it wrong for people to be silent six months ago? Yes. Is it wrong to go overboard now? Yes. What you want is rationality to the process.”



Social Security checks are lower than many Americans expect, survey finds

Americans hoping to fund their post-work years on an average Social Security check of $1,410 a month may want to rethink their retirement savings plans.

Expectations for a secure retirement financed by monthly Social Security checks alone appear to be overly optimistic.That’s largely because of inflated estimates of what Americans expect to receive and the fact that many people retire early and start collecting years before they are eligible for full benefits, according to a new survey from the Nationwide Retirement Institute.

The new survey, obtained exclusively by USA TODAY, shows a lack of understanding about how to optimize benefits from the government safety net program and the outsize hopes many people have for Social Security.

Half of current retirees and 42% of future retirees say Social Security “is or will be” their “primary source” of retirement income, according to Nationwide’s recent online survey of 1,013  U.S. adults 50 years of age or older who currently collect Social Security or plan to.

The big reliance on Social Security is worrisome, mainly because the monthly stipend from the federal government, which the Social Security Administration says averaged $1,410 at the end of March, likely won’t be enough to fund retirees’ spending needs ranging from groceries to health care to housing, according to Tina Ambrozy, president of sales and distribution at Nationwide.

“There’s a major disconnect between what consumers think their Social Security benefit will be —  and cover — compared to reality,” Ambrozy says.

For example, future retirees who were surveyed expect to receive $1,628 on average each month. But those surveyed who are already in retirement say they are only collecting $1,257.

“That’s a big difference,” Ambrozy says. “It’s like taking a 25% pay cut.”

More than a quarter (27%) of Americans now in retirement say their monthly benefit is “less than expected.”

Another reason why Social Security checks are smaller than expected is this: The most common age current retirees started to collect benefits was 62 — the earliest age a person can do so, the survey found. The retirement age to receive full benefits is 67 for someone born in 1960 or later. Taking benefits early means a person receives less money every month.

Some of the top reasons people who have retired within the past 10 years and took Social Security early ranged from having health problems (21%) to needing the money (20%) to losing a job (9%), among others, the survey found.

A lack of knowledge and planning for Social Security is a big reason why recipients don’t maximize their benefit payout.

Nearly six of 10 (57%) future retirees think they are eligible for benefits sooner than they really are, and 63% said they were “not confident” in their knowledge of Social Security. Overall, 88% of those surveyed admitted they don’t know what factors determine how much their monthly benefit will be.

To maximize their Social Security benefits, people have to get up to speed on how the payouts are determined and map out a plan, just as they do with their 401(k) portfolios. The most important decision to get right is when to start taking benefits.




Want to be a high earner? 25 of America’s highest paying jobs


For working Americans, a job can provide a number of meaningful benefits. Dignity, identity, and a sense of purpose, to name a few. For most, however, these intangible perks are of secondary importance to the regular paycheck a full-time job provides.

While the kind of work one finds fulfilling is subjective, there is no debate about which jobs pay the most. The typical American working full-time earns $860 per week — or about $44,700 a year. In more than a dozen occupations, median earnings are well more than double that amount.

High-paying jobs are high paying for a reason. They tend to be highly specialized, often requiring years of advanced — and often expensive — education beyond high school and even college. They are also almost always high pressure and challenging positions that are growing in demand at pace with or faster than the overall job growth across all occupations.

24/7 Wall Street reviewed the latest median pay data from the U.S. Department of Labor to identify America’s 25 highest paying jobs.

25. Management analysts

  • Median weekly earnings: $1,499
  • Number of workers: 606,000
  • Projected job growth, 2016-2026: 14.3% (faster than average)
  • Workers with at least a bachelor’s degree: 78.3%

24. Marketing and sales managers

  • Median weekly earnings: $1,509
  • Number of workers: 994,000
  • Projected job growth, 2016-2026: 8.4% (as fast as average)
  • Workers with at least a bachelor’s degree: 69.5%

23. Physical scientists, all other

  • Median weekly earnings: $1,529
  • Number of workers: 270,000
  • Projected job growth, 2016-2026: 7.2% (as fast as average)
  • Workers with at least a bachelor’s degree: 100.0%

More: Career advice: 5 job trends to watch for in 2018

22. Financial analysts

  • Median weekly earnings: $1,530
  • Number of workers: 264,000
  • Projected job growth, 2016-2026: 10.9% (faster than average)
  • Workers with at least a bachelor’s degree: 87.4%

21. Mechanical engineers

  • Median weekly earnings: $1,534
  • Number of workers: 337,000
  • Projected job growth, 2016-2026: 8.8% (as fast as average)
  • Workers with at least a bachelor’s degree: 76.5%

20. Engineers, all other

  • Median weekly earnings: $1,561
  • Number of workers: 546,000
  • Projected job growth, 2016-2026: 6.4% (as fast as average)
  • Workers with at least a bachelor’s degree: 82.0%

19. Chemical engineers

  • Median weekly earnings: $1,626
  • Number of workers: 78,000
  • Projected job growth, 2016-2026: 7.5% (as fast as average)
  • Workers with at least a bachelor’s degree: 90.5%

18. Computer network architects

  • Median weekly earnings: $1,636
  • Number of workers: 100,000
  • Projected job growth, 2016-2026: 6.5% (as fast as average)
  • Workers with at least a bachelor’s degree: 58.7%

17. Environmental scientists and geoscientists

  • Median weekly earnings: $1,639
  • Number of workers: 80,000
  • Projected job growth, 2016-2026: 11.8% (faster than average)
  • Workers with at least a bachelor’s degree: 100.0%

16. Information security analysts

  • Median weekly earnings: $1,725
  • Number of workers: 94,000
  • Projected job growth, 2016-2026: 28.5% (much faster than average)
  • Workers with at least a bachelor’s degree: 67.6%

15. Aircraft pilots and flight engineers

  • Median weekly earnings: $1,736
  • Number of workers: 112,000
  • Projected job growth, 2016-2026: 3.5% (slower than average)
  • Workers with at least a bachelor’s degree: 73.9%

14. Judges, magistrates, and other judicial workers

  • Median weekly earnings: $1,742
  • Number of workers: 59,000
  • Projected job growth, 2016-2026: 5.8% (as fast as average)
  • Workers with at least a bachelor’s degree: 98.3%

13. Physician assistants

  • Median weekly earnings: $1,747
  • Number of workers: 97,000
  • Projected job growth, 2016-2026: 37.3% (much faster than average)
  • Workers with at least a bachelor’s degree: 92.3%

12. Computer hardware engineers

  • Median weekly earnings: $1,771
  • Number of workers: 73,000
  • Projected job growth, 2016-2026: 5.5% (as fast as average)
  • Workers with at least a bachelor’s degree: 76.1%

11. Software developers, applications and systems software

  • Median weekly earnings: $1,792
  • Number of workers: 1.4 million
  • Projected job growth, 2016-2026: 11.1%-30.7% (much faster than average)
  • Workers with at least a bachelor’s degree: 84.5%

10. Electrical and electronics engineers

  • Median weekly earnings: $1,803
  • Number of workers: 276,000
  • Projected job growth, 2016-2026: 6.5% (as fast as average)
  • Workers with at least a bachelor’s degree: 79.5%

9. Veterinarians

  • Median weekly earnings: $1,840
  • Number of workers: 60,000
  • Projected job growth, 2016-2026: 18.8% (much faster than average)
  • Workers with at least a bachelor’s degree: 100.0%

8. Nurse practitioners

  • Median weekly earnings: $1,841
  • Number of workers: 141,000
  • Projected job growth, 2016-2026: 36.1% (much faster than average)
  • Workers with at least a bachelor’s degree: 99.1%

7. Computer and information systems managers

  • Median weekly earnings: $1,843
  • Number of workers: 594,000
  • Projected job growth, 2016-2026: 12.0% (faster than average)
  • Workers with at least a bachelor’s degree: 73.9%

6. Aerospace engineers

  • Median weekly earnings: $1,892
  • Number of workers: 137,000
  • Projected job growth, 2016-2026: 6.1% (as fast as average)
  • Workers with at least a bachelor’s degree: 86.3%

5. Lawyers

  • Median weekly earnings: $1,901
  • Number of workers: 781,000
  • Projected job growth, 2016-2026: 8.2% (as fast as average)
  • Workers with at least a bachelor’s degree: 98.3%

4. Physicians and surgeons

  • Median weekly earnings: $1,918
  • Number of workers: 815,000
  • Projected job growth, 2016-2026: 12.8% (faster than average)
  • Workers with at least a bachelor’s degree: 99.5%

3. Pharmacists

  • Median weekly earnings: $1,923
  • Number of workers: 254,000
  • Projected job growth, 2016-2026: 5.6% (as fast as average)
  • Workers with at least a bachelor’s degree: 97.6%

2. Architectural and engineering managers

  • Median weekly earnings: $1,999
  • Number of workers: 128,000
  • Projected job growth, 2016-2026: 5.5% (as fast as average)
  • Workers with at least a bachelor’s degree: 84.7%

1. Chief executives

  • Median weekly earnings: $2,296
  • Number of workers: 1.1 million
  • Projected job growth, 2016-2026: -3.9% (Decline)
  • Workers with at least a bachelor’s degree: 69.5%


‘Your Debt Is Completely Gone’: Church Helps 4,000 Families with a $10.5M Blessing

More than 4,000 families had an extra special Easter when a megachurch in Texas blessed them in an extraordinary way.
The Covenant Church in Carrollton, Texas usually spends hundreds of thousands of dollars to advertise for their Easter services, but this year they decided to do something different with the money.
The church set aside and donated $100,000 to an organization, RIP Medical Debt, that purchases medical debt for pennies on the dollar and relieves families of their financial burdens.
In turn, more than 4,000 families in a 5-mile radius of each of the church’s five campuses had their medical debt completely paid off.
Senior Pastor Stephen Hayes made the announcement at the end of his sermon on Easter Sunday, tearing up as he thanked the members of his congregation for their generous giving hearts that made it all happen.
Hayes said, “Because you gave above and beyond what was needed… 4,229 families this week will be getting a letter in the mail saying, ‘Your debt is completely gone.'”
The medical debt paid off totaled more than $10.5 million.
“We decided to put up $100,000. Man, can I tell you it is the easiest decision we have ever made,” Hayes said. “It ended up paying off $10,551,618 in total debt that is paid and gone forever.”
Hayes then used the moment to remind his congregation that they all have received a similar letter in life.
“If you can imagine what those people this week will be feeling when they receive the letter you sent them saying their debt is paid,” Hayes said. “I prayed 100-fold that you would feel in reading the letter He wrote to you in the book of John 19:30. …Hey, your debt of sin is paid. You are covered. He wrote a letter to us too.”
According to NBC-DFW, Hayes knows the heavy burden of medical debt because he was hit by a car when he was 17 and spent 12 days in intensive care.

Winnie Mandela dies. Here are five things to know about the anti-apartheid icon

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the former wife of Nelson Mandela and an anti-apartheid figure in her own right, has died at age 81.
“She died after a long illness, for which she had been in and out of hospital since the start of the year,” said family spokesman Victor Dlamini said in a statement, reported the BBC. “She succumbed peacefully in the early hours of Monday afternoon surrounded by her family and loved ones.”
1. ‘Mother of the Nation’
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, known in South Africa as the “Mother of the Nation” for her struggle against white minority rule, was married to Nelson Mandela for 38 years, including the 27 years he was imprisoned on Robben Island near Cape Town, according to CNN. The couple had two daughters together before divorcing in 1996, two years after Nelson Mandela became South Africa’s first black president.

“She kept the memory of her imprisoned husband Nelson Mandela alive during his years on Robben Island and helped give the struggle for justice in South Africa one its most recognisable faces,” the Africa National Congress said in a statement, reported National Public Radio.
2. Anti-apartheid crusader
While Nelson Mandela served his long prison sentence, Madikizela-Mandela also faced detention by South Africa’s apartheid government for her campaign to end white minority rule, reported The Times of London. She was placed after house arrest and at one point banished to a small town in the Orange Free State, a province of South Africa.
In 1969, she was incarcerated for 18 months in solitary confinement at Pretoria Central Prison, where she was beaten and tortured.
“My whole body was badly swollen, I was passing blood,” she wrote in her memoir, reported The Washington Post. “The whole experience is so terrible, because I had left little children at home in bed and I had no idea what had happened to them.”
3. Tainted by scandal
In 1991, Madikizela-Mandela was convicted of ordering the 1988 kidnapping of four youths in Soweto, South Africa, reported The New York Times. Her followers carried out the kidnappings to try to discredit a Methodist minister at whose home the youths had been staying. The body of one, a 14-year-old, was found with his throat cut. Madikizela-Mandela was sentenced to six years in prison for kidnapping but South Africa’s highest appeals court trimmed the sentence to fines and time served.
She was expelled from the United Democratic Front, an umbrella group of organizations fighting apartheid, and separated from Nelson Mandela in 1992, with their divorce becoming final in 1996.
Named deputy minister of arts, culture, science and technology in 1994 by Nelson Mandela following his election as South Africa’s first black president, Madikizela-Mandela was later forced to resign amid allegations of influence peddling, bribery and misuse of government funds.
4. Return to politics
In the late 2000s, Madikizela-Mandela re-emerged as one of the nation’s most popular politicians, reported ABC News, serving as a member of parliament. In 2016, she received the Order of Luthuli in Silver for her contribution to the fight against apartheid.
5. Her legacy
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, also an icon of the anti-apartheid movement, released a statement Monday praising “Mama Winnie” and wishing that she might “rest in peace and rise in glory,” according to CBS News.
“She refused to be bowed by the imprisonment of her husband, the perpetual harassment of her family by security forces, detentions, bannings and banishment,” Tutu said. “Her courageous defiance was deeply inspirational to me, and to generations of activists.”
Actor Idris Elba, who played Nelson Mandela in the film “Long Walk to Freedom,” tweeted: “Rest in peace Mama Winnie. My heart is heavy right now. You lived a full and important life contributing to the liberation of a nation by force and ACTUAL ACTIVISM.”

“In the darkest hours of the struggle to free South Africa, with Nelson Mandela in prison, the face of hope and courage was #Winnie Mandela. May she forever rest in #Power,” wrote the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr.



Melissa Harville-Lebron: The First Black Woman to Own a NASCAR Team

Diversity in sports racing is lacking as only a few people of color are part of racing organizations such as the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR). But Melissa Harville-Lebron is a Black American woman that owns a NASCAR team franchise.

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The 47-year old started her career in the entertainment industry when she worked as an intern at Sony Music. She already launched her own music label in 2005 while working for New York City’s Department of Correction Office. But after a severe asthma attack ten years later, she had to retire early.

Yet it seems that it had been a blessing in disguise. In 2014, she took the risk and opened a multifaceted entertainment company, W.M. Stone Enterprises, Inc. She then created E2 Northeast Motorsports and just recently, she signed a deal with NASCAR, making her the first black woman to own a NASCAR team.


It all started unexpectedly when she brought her sons, Eric and Enico, to a NASCAR experience event. She told Black Enterprise, “I got invited to a NASCAR experience and I brought my boys along thinking that it would discourage them from driving.”

However, her sons loved the sport even more and so she learned to also love her sons’ passion. As she got more involved in the sport, she noticed the lack of diversity since it is dominated mostly by white males. So she decided to bridge the gap and create her own team.

Her team, E2 Northeast Motorsports, is the first multicultural team to race competitively in NASCAR. It consists of four black and Latino drivers, two in the Camping World Truck Series and two in the Whelen All-American Series, and two of which are her sons.

On February 16, her team also competed in its first race in the Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) at Daytona where Scott Stenzel finished 15th place at Daytona.

In a statement, she said, “This team truly exemplifies diversity that is sure to attract a younger multicultural fan base. It’s an honor to announce that Stenzel is now a part of this racing family.”

She also emphasized the relevance of her endeavor. She said, “It’s important for our culture to push generational wealth to our children. It’s important to lead by example. All too often our children see negative images of our culture and I think it’s very important for people of our culture actually succeeding in business.”


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