2019 Year in Review
12/26/2019, 11:11 a.m.
Letitia James is sworn into office as the first African American and first woman to serve as New York State Attorney General. The New York Amsterdam News publishes it 100th “Trump Must Go!” editorial. Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam grants clemency to Cyntoia Brown, 30, who is serving a life sentence for murder; she says she was a victim of sex trafficking. Brown is released in August but will remain on supervised parole for 10 years. The Democrats take control of the House of Representatives while the Republicans increase their control of the U.S. Senate. Black 27-year-old Jameek Lowery dies 48 hours after he walks into a police headquarters in Paterson, N.J. sweating, foaming at the mouth asking officers for water. The incident is caught on video and posted to social media. Police say Lowery died from spinal meningitis, however, his family believes the death is suspicious. Pres. Donald Trump makes the case for his proposed border wall in a primetime televised address to the nation. Black, Long Island high school teacher Andrea Bryan files a lawsuit against the Commack School District after she says she’s endured racial discrimination and harassment. The federal government shutdown which began on Dec. 22, 2019 ends totaling 35 days; it impacted more than 800,000 government workers. The shutdown was caused by the U.S. Congress and Pres. Donald Trump not agreeing on an appropriations bill to fund the operations of the federal government for the 2019 fiscal year, or a temporary continuing resolution that would extend the deadline for passing a bill. It is the longest U.S. government shutdown in history. Multiracial Stage and screen actor Carol Channing passes away at age 97. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand announces her candidacy for U.S. president. Renewed interest in the R. Kelly sexual abuse case occurs after cable network channel Lifetime airs the six-part documentary “Surviving R. Kelly.” The series included detailed accounts from Kelly’s alleged victims and their families. Protest are held outside of Sony Headquarters in New York demanding that RCA Records drop Kelly. The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute rescinds activist and author Angela Davis’s Fred Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award, saying she “does not meet all of the criteria.” Critics say the decision was made because of Davis’s vocal support for Palestinian rights and the movement to boycott Israel. Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julían Castro announces his candidacy for U.S. president. Dominique Sharpton Bright, the daughter of Rev. Al Sharpton, welcomes her first child, Marcus Al Sharpton-Bright, with husband Dr. Marcus Bright. Hampton University and Columbia University’s women’s basketball team play each other in matchup in the city. Hampton lost 88-63. Police in Portland, OR kill 36-year-old, Black Andre Gladen who was schizophrenic and legally blind. His family believes police used excessive force. South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg announces his candidacy for U.S. president. The Congressional Black Caucus kicks off the new year with 55 members, the most it’s ever had. Shock erupts in Brooklyn when allegations surface that the son of Bishop Ben Gibson of Progressive Baptist Church of Brownsville, Matthew Gibson, sexually abused his own 14-year-old daughter. Attorney General James wins in a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s decision to demand a question about citizenship information on the 2020 Census. 7 Grains Health Food in Harlem celebrates over 40 years in business. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is celebrated on what would have been the civil rights leader’s 90th birthday. Amsterdam News editor Nayaba Arinde is honored by the Plainfield Area Club of Frontiers International Inc.’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day program in New Jersey. Former Chicago officer Jason Van Dyke is sentenced to 81 months in prison for fatally shooting Laquan McDonald in 2014. A terrorist attack by the Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab in Nairobi, Kenya at DusitD2 Hotel and the Commission on Revenue Allocation leaves more than 20 people dead. Political consultant Roger Stone is charged with seven counts in the 2017–2019 Special Counsel’s investigation, including obstruction of justice and witness tampering. City officials announced they will pay $3 million to the family of Kalief Browder, a Black man who remained in jail at Rikers Island for three years unable to make bail. Two years after his release, when he was found not guilty, he committed suicide. Black actor and singer Jussie Smollett, best known for his role on the primetime drama “Empire,” claims to be the victim of a racially charged and homophobic attack in Chicago. Grammy Award-winning R&B singer James Ingram dies at age 66. The U.S. Postal Service unveils its 42nd stamp in the Black Heritage series honoring famed tap dancer and actor Gregory Hines. Former Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes dies at age 83. As a polar vortex moves through the city dipping temperatures well below freezing, thousands of NYCHA residents are without heat. Flights are halted into New York’s LaGuardia Airport due to shortages of air traffic control staff, as a result of the ongoing government shutdown. Hip hop activist Nehanda Abiodun dies at age 68. Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., in partnership with its Educational Advancement Foundation, announces the establishment of the AKA-HBCU Endowment Fund, which is created to bolster the financial stability of Black colleges. Former DC37 leader Stanley Hill dies at age 82.