Madison Gray, Online Journalist

A Portfolio of Madison Gray's Work

Archive for the ‘NewsOne.com’ Category

Bail Equals Inequality: The Kalief Browder Case & Why Freedom Costs Money

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For the three years Kalief Browder sat in New York’s Rikers Island, he probably wondered what the difference would have been if his family could have posted the $3,000 bail that would have gotten him out of the jail and back on the street to await trial.

Instead he languished there, just a couple football fields away from LaGuardia Airport, experiencing the pre-trial punishment that inmates endure — for being accused of stealing a backpack. The then 16-year-old insisted he was innocent, that there was no reason for him to be locked up.

Ultimately he did get out, he tried to assume a normal life. Work, family, friends. But the malnourishment, the fights with other inmates, the beatings by guards (which were caught on video), the nightmarish conditions he lived in were etched in his mind.

Last weekend, the demons still inside got to be too much. He had tried to commit suicide before, but was unsuccessful. This time, his internal struggles led him to tie an air conditioner cord around his neck and hang himself.

He was only 22.

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Written by Madison J. Gray

August 6, 2015 at 4:16 am

Posted in NewsOne.com

In Baltimore, The Revolution Was Not Televised, But It Was Effective

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We may think the revolution was in fact televised, but the cameras seemed more interested in rioting, vandalism, the burning of cars and buildings and a well-meaning mom doing what mothers do: smacking her kid upside the head.

With the news that all six officers involved in the case have been given multiple charges from negligence to second-degree murder, the focus has now been placed on where it always should have been: on the death of Freddie Gray and the cops at whose hands he died.

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Written by Madison J. Gray

August 6, 2015 at 4:09 am

Posted in NewsOne.com

Don’t Act Brand New! “Coon Songs” Have A Long History In This Country

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Everybody digs “Empire,” but if there was ever a time we needed “Soul Train” back in our lives, it’s now.

By now the fallout from the video of the University of Oklahoma’s chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon chanting about “n*****s” never getting in and hanging people from trees has spread far enough that it’s become the talk of classrooms, dinner tables, water coolers and for damn sure newsrooms.

Still, it’s puzzling as to why everybody seems to be behaving like those SAE members were the first to commit this sin.

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Written by Madison J. Gray

August 6, 2015 at 3:57 am

Posted in NewsOne.com

Free Community College: The Best Idea Since the GI Bill

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One summer about a million years ago, when I was 18, I went to community college to take some classes to transfer back to the university I was attending. At the time, I didn’t think much about the experience or what a place like that meant to the people who took those courses with me.

Looking back now, there was much more to that place than I realized, and it meant much more to the people sitting in those classrooms with me than I thought back then.

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Written by Madison J. Gray

August 6, 2015 at 3:53 am

Posted in NewsOne.com

Ted Gustus, Coaching Legend and His Formula for Transforming a Young Life

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When Ted Gustus was a boy, he found his mother dead, lying on the floor of their railroad flat in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant. In the background, Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come” was playing.

Both of them, mother and child, were affected by her alcohol abuse. But Gustus was no victim. Simultaneously, he experienced a death and a birth of sorts.

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Written by Madison J. Gray

August 6, 2015 at 3:50 am

Posted in NewsOne.com

The Eloquence of Shouting “Burn This B*tch Down!”

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If you haven’t seen it, there’s a video circulating of Mike Brown’s stepfather, Louis Head standing outside the Ferguson, Mo., police headquarters shouting “Burn this b*tch down!” in an unbridled rage, which of course is exactly what those unsympathetic to his family’s ordeal needed to see. NewsOne was one of the outlets that caught his display on camera.

It’s not for us to determine if he’s sorry for his outburst when he heard that the killer of his stepson would not face state charges, and maybe he wishes in retrospect that he had chosen different words at the time. But to me, he said exactly the right thing.

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Written by Madison J. Gray

August 6, 2015 at 3:48 am

Posted in NewsOne.com

When Black Men Cannot Vote

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Either I’m three days late or two years early on this one.

Whichever way you look at it, we’ve got a problem when it comes to a segment of the electorate being unable to vote, their interests thus being ignored.

On Tuesday, 83 million people voted in the midterm elections, by and large selecting Republican candidates — because Democrats made a conscious effort to distance themselves from President Barack Obama (how’d that work out, guys?).  But 5.85 million people were unable to vote because they were in prison, on probation, or otherwise had their voting rights stripped from them because they were convicted of a crime, despite completing their sentences.

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Written by Madison J. Gray

August 6, 2015 at 3:34 am

Posted in NewsOne.com