Year in review: July - December

6/20/2013, 10:56 a.m.
July Upon Charlie Rangel's re-election to the new 13th Congressional District in the Democratic primary,...
A presidential vow to excellence


  • After a 10-year fight with the city and the FDNY, the Vulcan Society wins when a federal judge signs off on a new department entrance exam that is fair to applicants of color.
  • A series of public hearings are held across the city regarding the passage of the Community Safety Act, which would bring major reforms to the NYPD and the way officers interacts with residents.
  • The NAACP files a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education and sues the city, alleging discriminatory admissions practices at elite public high schools.
  • Controversy swirls over the production of a biopic film about late singer Nina Simone when actress Zoe Saldana is cast for the role.
  • The family of Simone, as well as fans of the singer, voice their disapproval, as Saldana is Latina and fair skinned. Police fatally shoot Noel Polanco, who is unarmed, in Queens when he is pulled over.
  • President and CEO of the Abyssinian Development Corporation Sheena Wright leaves the organization to become president and CEO of the United Way of New York City.
  • The city's Department of Education announces 217 elementary and middle schools are at risk of closing because they are failing.
  • The nation watches as the presidential and vice presidential debates are held.
  • It is revealed that the city's Department of Health has been giving the morning-after pill to girls in several public schools as young at 14 as part of a new pilot program.
  • The contraceptive is given to girls in many cases without parents' knowledge. Former HUD official and professor Kermit Allen passes at age 102.
  • Hurricane Sandy rips through the city, causing massive devastation. The hurricane kills 53 people in New York and causes $18 billion in damage along with major flooding, mass power outages for several days and fires. As a result of the storm, the city is shut down for several days. FEMA, the Red Cross and other agencies are accused of a slow response, especially by poor residents in Staten Island, Rockaway, Queens and Brooklyn.


  • Obama is re-elected for a second term as president of the United States, beating Romney in a close race.
  • The election also results in Democrats maintaining a majority in the U.S. Senate and Republicans maintaining a majority in the House of Representatives.
  • Election Day occurs as the city recovers from Hurricane Sandy, making for a mess at the polls.
  • During the aftermath of the hurricane, several groups and organizations lend a helping hand to those devastated that FEMA and other federal agencies are accused of neglecting.
  • Food, gas, electricity, clothing, water and, in many cases, shelter become much-needed in several parts of the city.
  • Natina Reed of the R&B group Blaque dies at age 32. The New York Urban League Football Classic, slated to be played at Yankee Stadium, is cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy.
  • Court of Appeals Judge Theodore Jones dies at age 68.
  • Ken and Sarah Burns and David McMahon release a documentary about the "Central Park Five."
  • In the wake of Obama's re-election, residents of several states push for secession, most notably Texas.
  • Obama and former President Bill Clinton visit areas in New York affected by Hurricane Sandy.
  • Numbers released from the Coalition for the Homeless report that 20,000 children sleep in homeless shelters each night--an increase from 16,000 in the previous year.
  • The AmNews checks in on the Texas state Board of Education which previously proposed controversial changes to its texbooks for schools, including the eradication of slavery in America and civil and human rights for African-Americans.
  • After enduring months of allegations regarding his health and political career, Illinois Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. resigns.
  • After nearly 75 years in business, iconic Harlem bar Lenox Lounge announces it will close due to an increase in rent. Several high schools receive failing grades and are threatened with closure by the Department of Education.
  • One of the schools slated for closure is Brooklyn's Boys and Girls High School. Boxing champion Hector "Macho" Camacho is slain by gunfire at age 50.