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Free Press staff, wire reports

Stories by Free Press staff, wire

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Winsome Earle-Sears wants Supreme Court to limit race-based admissions

Virginia’s Black lieutenant governor and the state Conference of the NAACP are sharply divided over affirmative action in higher education admissions.

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W&M dedicates memorial to those who were enslaved by the university

William & Mary, the nation’s second oldest institution of higher education, dedicated a brick memorial last Saturday that honors people who were enslaved by the university.

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Abortion battle erupts with leaded U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion

America’s decades-old battle over abortion rights exploded anew on Tuesday as the U.S. Supreme Court authenticated a draft opinion leaked to the news outlet Politico that signaled the court will soon overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.

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Mask mandates dropped on all public transportation

GRTC riders no longer have to wear masks when they board a bus. Neither do travelers taking airplanes, trains or any other form of public transit.

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Democrats angered as Gov. Youngkin vetoes 25 bipartisan bills

Republican Gov. Glenn A. Youngkin vetoed 25 bills — including some that passed with broad bipartisan support — as he took action on more than 800 bills the divided legislature sent him during its regular session.

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Biden signs historic Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act

In a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden, President Biden sat at a small desk and put his signature on the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act that now makes lynching punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

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History maker

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is the first Black woman to be nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court. If confirmed, she would be only the third Black justice to serve on the nation’s highest court.

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on Wednesday took her first steps on her history-making journey to a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Suicide takes Miss USA 2019

Cheslie Kryst, who won the 2019 Miss USA pageant and worked as a correspondent for the entertainment news television show “Extra,” reportedly committed suicide Jan. 30.

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Willie O'Ree awarded Congressional Gold Medal

President Joe Biden on Monday signed legislation into law honoring Willie O’Ree, who became the first Black player to appear in a National Hockey League game, with a Congressional Gold Medal.

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National president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority dies after recent illness

Cheryl A. Hickmon, national president of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and chair of its National Board of Directors, passed away peacefully last Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022 at the age of 60, following a battle with a “recent illness,” according to the sorority’s national website.

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Scandal-scarred Sen. Joseph ‘Joe’ Morrissey pardoned by Gov. Northam

Richmond state Sen. Joseph D. “Joe” Morrissey received a pardon from former Gov. Ralph S. Northam for his misdemeanor conviction eight years ago that stemmed from his sexual relationship with his 17-year-old receptionist who later became his wife. -

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Sidney Poitier suffered from multiple health problems

Academy Award-winning actor Sidney Poitier, who died Jan. 6 at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif., at age 94, suffered from several health issues, according to information listed in his death certificate that was obtained Tuesday by TMZ and several other media outlets.

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City Council authorizes mayor to accept Lee monument and land from state

The traffic circle at Monument and Allen avenues where the giant monument to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee once stood will soon belong to the City of Richmond.

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Virginia to join vax mandate challenges under new GOP governor, AG

Virginia will join other Republican-led states and business groups in challenging Biden administration mandates intended to increase the nation’s COVID-19 vaccination rate once GOP Gov.-elect Glenn A. Youngkin and Attorney General-elect Jason Miyares take office, the two said in a statement last week.

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Councilwoman Stephanie Lynch charged with 2 misdemeanors

Fifth District City Councilwoman Stephanie Lynch has been charged with two misdemeanors after Richmond Police say she struck an unoccupied, parked SUV and failed to stop and notify the owner.

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Elusive copper cornerstone box pulled from Lee pedestal, opened

Conservation experts at the Virginia Department of Historic Resources pulled books, money, ammunition, documents and other artifacts Tuesday from a long-sought-after time capsule found in the remnants of a pedestal on Richmond’s Monument Avenue that once held a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

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Archbishop Desmond Tutu, lion of anti-apartheid movement, dies at 90

Mourners held a candlelight prayer ceremony outside the Soweto home of the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu on Wednesday, weeping over the memory not only of a world-renowned lion of the anti-apartheid movement but of a kind and loyal neighbor.

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Almanac, coin found in Lee monument time capsule

A rust-colored 1875 almanac, a cloth envelope and a silver coin were found Wednesday in a time capsule that had been buried beneath a towering statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee on Monument Avenue for more than 130 years.

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Justice Goodwyn to become second Black chief justice of Virginia Supreme Court

Virginia will soon have its second Black chief justice of the state Supreme Court.

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Pharrell to NSU grads: ‘You have the ability to create the city, life that you deserve’

NORFOLK Grammy Award-winning musician Pharrell Williams told the newest graduates of Norfolk State University on Saturday to act like “the emerging majority” and help develop the area’s businesses and culture.

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Gov. Northam calls for elimination of state tax on groceries

Virginians would pay a smaller tax on groceries and receive an income tax rebate of up to $500 under outgoing Gov. Ralph S. Northam’s budget proposal rolled out on Tuesday.

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Top Dems energize Va. voters to turn out for McAuliffe

With the clock winding down to Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 2, Virginia’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe is calling in the national heavy-hitters to get voters to turn out to the polls.

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Pharrell Williams says ‘toxic energy’ tanked 2nd ‘Something in the Water’ in Va. Beach

Hometown or no hometown, music superstar Pharrell Wil- liams is pulling his hugely successful “Something in the Water” music festival out of Virginia Beach.

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Martinsville Seven pardoned

Gov. Ralph S. Northam uses his power to help right a decades-old wrong in which seven Black men from Martinsville were executed in 1951 without due process

It took 70 years, but the Martinsville Seven have finally been pardoned.

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First wave of Afghan evacuees arrive at Fort Lee

It has been nearly two weeks since the first flight evacuating Afghans who worked alongside Americans in Afghanistan brought more than 200 people, including scores of children and babies in arms, to resettlement in the United States, and officials at Fort Lee are calling the operation a success so far.

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Pulitzer-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones chooses Howard University after tenure tug-of-war with UNC

Acclaimed journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, who won a Pulitzer Prize last year for her groundbreaking work on the legacy of slavery in the “1619 Project” that she spearheaded for the New York Times Magazine, announced Tuesday that she will not join the faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill following an extended tenure fight marked by allegations of racism and conservative backlash about her work.

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Cosby freed

After spending 3 years behind bars for drugging and assaulting a woman in 2004, entertainer Bill Cosby was released from prison on a legal technicality, drawing mixture of public praise and criticism

Pennsylvania’s highest court threw out Bill Cosby’s sexual assault conviction and released him from prison Wednesday in a stunning reversal of fortune for the comedian once known as “America’s Dad.”

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Virginia hopes to remove time capsule along with Lee statue

If a court clears the way, the state of Virginia expects to remove not just a soaring statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from Richmond’s historic Monument Avenue, but also a little-known piece of history tucked inside the massive sculpture’s base: A 134-year-old time capsule.

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Simone Biles wins 7th title

There’s no disputing that Simone Biles is a champion. After Sunday, she is now a champion seven times over.

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Olympian and activist Lee Evans, who took iconic stand at 1968 Mexico City Games, dies at 74

Lee Evans, the record-setting sprinter who wore a black beret in a sign of protest at the 1968 Summer Olympics and then went on to a life of humanitarian work in support of social justice, died Wednesday, May 19, 2021, at age 74.

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’I have lived through the massacre every day’

She was just 7 years old when the white mob stormed through her neighborhood, killing every man they could find, raping defenseless women and burning to the ground virtually every building in a 35-block area.

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Former U.S. Sen. John Warner dies at 94

Flags are flying at half-staff over the nation’s capital in honor of former U.S. Sen. John W. Warner of Virginia who died Tuesday, May 25, 2021, at age 94.

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Pervis Staples, member of famed Staple Singers, dies at 85

Pervis Staples, whose tenor voice complimented his father’s and sisters’ in the legendary gospel group The Staple Singers, was remembered during a funeral service Monday, May 17, as a great singer and a great brother.

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Tax time

Monday, May 17. That’s the deadline for Virginians to file their federal and state income taxes for the year 2020.

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Thomas F. “Tom” Farrell II, Dominion Energy CEO, dies day after he retires

Thomas F. “Tom” Farrell II, who led Dominion Energy for more than a decade and was a powerful force in Virginia business and politics, died Friday, April 2, 2021, one day after stepping down from his post as the company’s executive chairman. He was 66.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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