The Hinge of History: Political, Racial and Economic

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Thasunda Brown Duckett, the next CEO of TIAA

Philosophers, historians, and politicians have been asking a profound question of late. Are we living at a hinge of history, a moment of tremendous change that will influence the future of democracy in the United States as well as the fate of our species?

Myriad technological advances, a massive pandemic, climate change, and racialized politics in the U.S. and elsewhere are all evidence of this hinge. Speaking to the United Nations Human Rights Council last week, Secretary-General António Guterres described the intersection of these forces. Reuters reported his warning that “white supremacy…


I am being whipsawed by too many conflicting currents driving culture, politics, business, and history in America. What’s enduring? What’s barely a blip? Do I cheer or hide under the covers?

That’s what I asked myself one week after President Joe Biden’s inauguration. It was also three weeks after rioters threatened the lives of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and then-Vice President Mike Pence. Although the riot failed to derail the transition of presidential power, five people were killed, including a Capitol policeman. …


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Nemo Allen/Courtesy of The Museum of the City of New York

Callie O’Connor, collections assistant in the Museum of the City of New York’s Costume and Textiles Collection, stands among gowns worn by Marian Anderson, who broke a color barrier when she sang the national anthem at President Dwight Eisenhower’s second inauguration.

“Be a credit to the race.”

“Don’t disgrace the race.”

Those were the admonitions I heard as a child in the 1950s. In essence, my elders were saying that as an African American girl, I shouldn’t contribute to the omnipresent, demeaning images of Black people in the media…


We have been seeing the stories for weeks now. Former government officials and influencers of all political persuasions have been giving President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris lots of advice. Suggestions include whom to hire, which policies to pursue, and even how to decorate a Cabinet secretary’s office.

George Shultz celebrated his 100th birthday last month. The former treasury secretary in the Nixon administration told a virtual audience at the U.S. Institute of Peace that he had shared an idea in a note to incoming Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. Dr. …


I know I’m not the only one who’s grateful that 2020 has ended!

After an incredibly busy year launching a new book and starting this column, I paused during the holiday season, took a couple of digital detox days (deliberately not turning on the computer), and began to try to put the past year into context. How could I hold two (or maybe three or more) conflicting thoughts in my head at the same time? 2020 was marked by so much death and misery and disruption, some of which might have been avoided with more coordinated federal leadership.

And yet…


A song in the 1954 holiday classic film, White Christmas, reminded me to “count my blessings.”

The title of my recently published book with Bonita Stewart used the term “A Blessing” in a different context. We wrote: “The dictionary defines a blessing as ‘a prayer,’ ‘a stroke of luck’ and ‘a seal of approval.’ A group of unicorns is called a ‘blessing.’ Myth has it that seeing a unicorn brings good luck and fortune to the observer. …


How often are you the only person of your gender or race in a professional setting? Do you even notice? Have you ever asked yourself this question?

In this season of recognizing social and racial injustices, the question is relevant. And there’s lots of data on the subject.

Truth be told, in my careers in journalism and business, in my decades of experience in nonprofit work and education, I have often been the “only.” When I was a copy kid at The Christian Science Monitor almost a half-century ago, I was an “only.” And I barely noticed.

It is only…


Women, Women of Color and Presidential Politics

House Majority Whip James Clyburn’s gratitude was palpable when he addressed Women of Color for Biden recently. Given his and their roles in jumpstarting Joe Biden’s previously losing presidential campaign before the South Carolina primary in February, Representative Clyburn praised the women who have been consistent allies of the Democratic party.

“Women of color have demonstrated their value to the political process over and over again and that value has been recognized in a major way with Joe Biden’s selection of Senator Kamala Harris to be his running mate. We have a woman…

Jacqueline Adams

Jacqueline Adams is an Emmy Award winning journalist. She is the co-author of “A Blessing: Women of Color Teaming Up to Lead, Empower and Thrive.”

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