President Barack Obama re-elected: In a year overwhelmingly dominated by politics, there was no bigger story than the president’s resounding 51 to 47 percent victory over Mitt Romney in the general election. Now comes the hard part, governing with a right-wing House of Representatives.
’47 Percent’: Gov. Romney was already something of an underdog in his campaign against the president, but when video leaked of the GOP nominee essentially calling 47 percent of the country freeloaders, he alienated voters and never really recovered.
‘Obamacare’ upheld: In a contentious 5-4 decision in the heat of the 2012 presidential campaign, the Supreme Court upheld the president’s signature domestic achievement — health care reform. Obama’s re-election all but assures the law’s full implementation over the next few years.
Obama endorses gay marriage: After a lot of “soul searching” and “evolving” President Obama finally changed his official position on gay marriage, wholeheartedly endorsing it. Fears that black voters would revolt proved unfounded on Election Day.
Voter ID laws: Republican-backed voter ID laws (ostensibly passed to combat so-called ‘voter fraud’) were a source of fear and fury for African-American voters all over the country. Yet most of them were struck down prior to Election Day and they did little to suppress the minority vote.
The Trayvon Martin case: The killing of an unarmed black teen in Sanford, Fla. galvanized the entire nation. While his shooter’s trial goes on, his death provoked spirited debate about “Stand Your Ground Laws” and racial profiling in America.
Jesse Jackson Jr’s downfall: Once heir to a rich political legacy and a rising star in Democratic politics, Rep. Jackson Jr’s fall from grace was swift and odd. After disappearing for months for what was later revealed to be mental health treatment, he was forced to resign from Congress under a cloud of ethics investigations.
Gabby Douglas wins gold: Of all the breakout stars of the 2012 Olympic Games in London, none was more exciting and inspiring than 16-year-old Gabby Douglas. She ignored haters (who trashed her hair and family life) and became the first African-American to take home individual gold in gymnastics.
The death of Whitney Houston: Despite a troubled past, the 48-year-old R&B icon seemed poised for a comeback this year with a prominent role in the musical ‘Sparkle’. Instead, the celebrated singer died tragically under the influence of drugs, ironically on the night before the year’s annual Grammy Awards.
Jay-Z opens the Barclays: After years of debate and delays, the Nets finally brought sports back to Brooklyn with a brand new stadium christened by hometown sensation and the team’s part owner — Jay-Z.
Hurricane Sandy: The election’s ‘October Surprise’ turned out to be a devastating hurricane which obliterated parts of the Tri-State area. The president’s co-operation with GOP NJ governor Chris Christie infuriated Republicans, but may have helped him win re-election.
Frank Ocean ‘comes out’: The breakout R&B star made headlines with a small blog post in which he admitted is first love was a man. Amazingly, his admission mattered little to his fans, who helped turn his album ‘Channel Orange’ into one of the year’s biggest hits.
Senator Tim Scott: The rising GOP star is set to become the first black Republican senator since Massachusetts’ Ed Brooke, thanks to the resignation of South Carolina’s Jim DeMint. Advocates for diversity in the U.S. Senate will sure get more than they bargained for with Scott.
Susan Rice’s failed bid for secretary of state: We’ll never know if President Barack Obama would have nominated UN ambassador Susan Rice for secretary of state, because Republicans ended her bid before it even began. Some saw the attacks on Rice’s reaction to the terrorist attack in Libya (which claimed the life of an American ambassador) as sexist and racially insensitive. Still, she is rumored to have a prominent role in the upcoming Obama administration.
The tragedy in Newtown: After several horrific mass shootings (including one at a ‘Dark Knight Rises’ screening in Aurora, Colorado) the country was horrified by one of the worst in history. Twenty children, ages 6 and 7, were among the victims of an attack on Sandy Hook Elementary School. Obama, in tears, called for renewed gun control in response.
Chris Brown and Rihanna reunite: After their infamous 2009 domestic dispute many music fans assumed (or hoped) that this embattled couple would stay as far away from each other as possible. Instead they spent much of this year collaborating, tweeting provocative photos of each other and quite possibly rekindling a romance.
LeBron gets his ring: The NBA’s biggest star was lambasted for his decision to join the Miami Heat, and he was ridiculed again when they came up short in the Finals last year. However, this year LeBron James silenced his critics with a championship victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder in just 5 games.
Kevin Clash controversy: The puppeteer behind the beloved Elmo character on ‘Sesame Street’ has his reputation destroyed this year when multiple men came forward to accuse him of having sexual relationships with them when they were underage. His nearly 30-year career on the children’s program is now over.
Chavis Carter case: This Arkansas youth’s alleged suicide in the back of a police car shocked many Americans who could simply not accept the cops’ version of the events. The case remains unresolved and the family of Carter is still seeking justice for their son.
‘Think Like a Man’ hits big: The romantic comedy (based on Steve Harvey’s best seller) was a big surprise hit at the box office proving their was life for black films not made by Tyler Perry. In fact, this year’s big black flop was Perry’s attempt at becoming an action star, ‘Alex Cross’, fell flat.
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2012 was a groundbreaking year for black America.
President Barack Obama was re-elected to a second term as president with over 50 percent of the vote. Gabby Douglas’ triumph at the Olympic Games was an inspiration. And the death of Trayvon Martin riveted the nation.
These were just a few of the stories that shook up the world and dominated theGrio’s news coverage throughout the year.
Being an election year, 2012 was dominated by politics, but there were also developments in the world of pop culture and sports as well.
Check out our slideshow of the biggest events of the year — and let us know, what do you think is the most important story of the past year?
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