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Rachel Dolezal plans to write a book

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It has almost been a year since former Spokane, Washington, NAACP leader Rachel Dolezal was exposed as a white woman who claimed to be black.

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But Dolezal, who sparked outrage from critics who said she committed cultural appropriation and fueled conversation about self-identification and the concept of being transracial, said she doesn't have any regrets.

"I don't have any regrets about how I identify. I'm still me and nothing about that has changed," she said during an appearance on the "Today" show on Tuesday.

Dolezal was born to white parents in Lincoln County, Montana, in 1977. She came to media attention last June when her estranged parents publicly said that she is a white woman who was passing as black.

Dolezal later resigned from her position with the NAACP and was dismissed as chair of Spokane's police ombudsman commission. She also resigned from her position as education director at the Human Rights Education Institute in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, citing discrimination.

"I feel like moving forward," she told Savannah Guthrie. "It's been some work to rebuild and get things back on track with life. Looking at some new opportunities going into 2016."

Dolezal said she has some upcoming speaking engagements and that she recently completed a TED talk.

She also said that she is "looking forward to getting back into racial and social justice work" with plans to write a book about her racial identity and her personal experiences.

"I'm really excited to write the book and to address some of the issues that I've researched for many years, and I hope to eventually get back to teaching," said Dolezal, who previously taught classes in African-American studies at Eastern Washington University.

Dolezal said many people have reached out to her to tell her how they can relate to her and that those testimonies inspired her plans to write a book.

"I've heard a lot of stories from people around the world about their lives being somehow caught between boundary lines of race or culture or ethnicity," she said. "So this larger issue of if you don't fit into one box and if you don't stay there (for) your whole life from birth... what does that look like? Race is such a contentious issue because of the painful history of racism. Race didn't create racism, but racism created race."

'Harry Potter' fans compare Starbucks butterscotch latte to butterbeer

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Days after Starbucks released three limited-time drinks for Valentine's Day, the company has exposed a new coffee item that used to exist only on the coffee chain's secret menu.

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The limited-edition drink is called the smoked butterscotch latte and is available at participating stores nationwide for an unknown amount of time.

According to Starbucks, the smoked butterscotch latte "combines espresso with steamed milk and smoked butterscotch sauce, finished with a sprinkling of smoky butterscotch topping, perfectly crafted to give Starbucks customers new and sophisticated flavors."

“The smoky flavor balances the subtle sweetness of the butterscotch,” said Christal Canzler, whose team develops new handcrafted espresso beverages for Starbucks. “It acts as a savory ingredient that enhances the coffee.”

Many Harry Potter fans are comparing the sweet latte to the popular butterbeer drink mentioned in J.K. Rowling's series. 

Most people responded to the drink positively, saying Starbucks' rendition of the butterscotch beverage is spot on with what they imagined.

Others compared the latte to Rowlings' creation, saying the drink was tasty but not similar to what butterbeer probably tastes like. 

Overall, the response to the new drink is generally positive, but Starbucks lovers and Harry Potter fans should remember one thing: no matter how similar you think the smoked butterscotch latte tastes like butterbeer, you should probably order it using Starbucks' signature name.

Pat Conroy diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, says “I intend to fight.”

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Beloved author Pat Conroy, whose muscular, vivid prose has brought to life the storied streets of historic Charleston, the punishing rigor of a military academy much like his alma mater The Citadel and his own troubled childhood, has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He tells his fans he’s ready for a fight.

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He went to Facebook to tell his fans about his diagnosis. 

<script>(function(d, s, id) {  var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];  if (d.getElementById(id)) return;  js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id;  js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&amp;version=v2.3";  fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script>Hey out there,I celebrated my 70th birthday  in October  and realized that I’ve spent my whole writing life trying to...Posted by Pat Conroy on Monday, February 15, 2016

His publisher Doubleday went to Twitter to send their thoughts to the writer.

Conroy is known for his books "The Great Santini and "The Prince of Tides."

New Harry Potter book: Yes it's a new book; no, it's not what you think

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Twitter and Facebook were abuzz Wednesday when word got out that there would be an eighth Harry Potter book coming out later this year. 

But J.K. Rowling hit social media to clarify what exactly will be hitting bookstore shelves. 

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Scholastic is releasing "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child," but it is not part of the series of best-selling books, Entertainment Weekly reported. 

Rowling said the book is a script only. It is not a novel and it is not a prequel.

"The Cursed Child" happens 19 years after "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" Rowling and Scholastic both have confirmed.

"Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" will be released July 31.

The date has some significance in the Potter world. According to Scholastic, July 31 is Harry's birthday.

'To Kill a Mockingbird,' 'Frozen' to get Broadway runs

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Two stories, that couldn't be more opposite will both be on the the Great White Way.

"To Kill a Mockingbird" will be coming to Broadway for the first time, The New York Times reported.

And it has a big name adapting the story for the stage: Aaron Sorkin. 

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Sorkin is best known for his big-screen hits like "The Social Network" and "The American President," and his small-screen shows like "The West Wing" and "The Newsroom."

"To Kill a Mockingbird" will be directed by Tony Award winner Barlett Sher.

It will hit the stage for the 2017-2018 Broadway season. 

A year later, Disney will bring mega-hit "Frozen" to Broadway, CNN reported.

The announcement was made on Frozen's new Broadway Twitter account.

It will be previewed in the summer of 2017, in an unnamed location, and will land in New York City in spring 2018.

The team that brought "Frozen" to life in movie theaters is reuniting for the stage version. Jennifer Lee will write the show, while Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez will compose the music. 

J.K. Rowling releases names, locations of 4 fictitious wizarding schools

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People everywhere learned about the most famous wizarding school in 1997 when J.K. Rowling released the first "Harry Potter" novel. 

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Hogwarts, headed by Albus Dumbledore, was a revered school for young witches and wizards to learn about spells, potions and other magical affairs. 

In the fourth book in the series, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," Rowling introduced the Triwizard Tournament, which shed the most light on two other schools -- Beauxbatons Academy of Magic and Durmstrang Institute

But now Rowling has revealed information about four more schools that exist in the wizarding world.

The 50-year-old author and screenwriter of "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" introduced Ilvermorny, Uagadou, Mahoutokoro and Castelobruxo.

The new details give excited Potter fans information about seven of the schools in total. Rowling has said that there are 11 schools registered with the International Confederation of Wizards in total. 

Rowling wrote on Pottermore

"The number of countries that have their own magical school is minuscule compared to those that do not. This is because the wizarding populations of most countries choose the option of home schooling. Occasionally, too, the magical community in a given country is tiny or far-flung and correspondence courses have been found a more cost-effective means of educating the young."

Here's a bit of information about the new schools Rowling revealed:

Castelobruxo

Prounounced "Cass-tell-o-broo-shoo"

This Brazilian school can be found hidden within the South American rainforest. To Muggles, it looks like a ruin, but for those who can see it in its full glory, the castle, carved into a golden rock, looks like a temple. Students wear bright green robes and are especially skilled in Herbology and Magizoology. Castelobruxo offers popular exchange programs for wizarding students at other schools who wish to study Latin magical creatures like flora and fauna.

Ilvermorny

Pronounced "Ill-ver-morn-ee"

Rowling released the name of this school, but held back details about its location and student body. The map on the site suggests it's on the East Coast of some country or continent. Many think it's the American school Rowling has alluded to. If so, Rowling has said the North American school is not in New York and that "indigenous magic was important in the founding of the school." She once said, "If I say which tribes, location is revealed."

Mahoutokoro

Prounounced "Mah-hoot-o-koh-ro" 

This school, located in Japan, has the smallest population of students out of all 11 wizarding schools. The school is comprised of a palace called Mahoutokoro, which is made of mutton-fat jade and is situated at the peak of the volcanic island of Minami Iwo Jima. At Mahoutokoro, students receive enchanted robes when they begin their first term. The magical robes change and grow in color and length as students' grow in height and size and as their learning increases. Upon arrival, the robes are a faint pink color and they turn gold if high grades are acheived in every subject. They turn white if a witch or wizard illegally practices magic or breaks wizarding code. The school is known for having a strong and dedicated Quidditch team. 

Uagadou 

Pronounced "Wag-a-doo"

Uagadou, the largest of all wizarding schools, is one of few wizarding schools in Africa that have flourished. The only address ever given is "Mountains of the Moon," and people say the school is carved out of the side of a mountain and disguised by a mist, so it looks like it's floating in mid-air. Students who graduate from this school have particularly strong skills in Astronomy, Alchemy and Self-Transfiguration. Here, many witches and wizards conduct spells using just their pointing fingers or through hand gestures. Unlike Hogwarts, Uagadou invites young magical people to attend the school by sending Dream Messengers to children as they sleep. Selected students wake up to find a token in their hand with a special inscription. 

Discover four additional wizarding schools from around the world on Pottermore: https://www.pottermore.com/writing-by-jk-rowlingPosted by J.K. Rowling on Friday, January 29, 2016

What happened to Peter Rabbit? New Beatrix Potter tale to be published

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One of childhood's most beloved children's stories is getting a new book.

A story by Beatrix Potter went undiscovered for years, but it will be published for the first time in September.

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"The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots" was found two years ago in a letter Potter sent to her publisher in 1914. It mentioned "a well-behaved prime black Kitty cat, who leads rather a double life," referring to an unedited version of the story, The Guardian reported.

<script>(function(d, s, id) {  var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];  if (d.getElementById(id)) return;  js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id;  js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&amp;version=v2.3";  fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script>Ever wondered what happened to Peter Rabbit when he grew up?Posted by The Guardian on Tuesday, January 26, 2016

A search through a London archive found three handwritten manuscripts and a rough color sketch of the main character. It also contained a pencil sketch of the villain, Mr. Tod.

Potter planned to finish the story, but was interrupted by World War I, marriage, sheep farming and colds. 

Potter died in 1943 and the story went unfinished.

Quentin Blake has lent his colors to the story. Blake illustrated Roald Dahl's books like "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."

"The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots" will be published in September by Frederick Warne & Co, the original publisher for Potter's books. 

Black History Month - how it began

Americans have recognized black history annually since 1926, first as "Negro History Week" and later as "Black History Month." What you might not know is that black history had barely begun to be studied-or even documented-when the tradition originated. Although blacks have been in America at least as far back as colonial times, it was not until the 20th century that they gained a respectable presence in the history books.

Blacks Absent from History Books

We owe the celebration of Black History Month, and more importantly, the study of black history, to Dr. Carter G. Woodson. Born to parents who were former slaves, he spent his childhood working in the Kentucky coal mines and enrolled in high school at age twenty. He graduated within two years and later went on to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard. The scholar was disturbed to find in his studies that history books largely ignored the black American population-and when blacks did figure into the picture, it was generally in ways that reflected the inferior social position they were assigned at the time.

Established Journal of Negro History

Woodson, always one to act on his ambitions, decided to take on the challenge of writing black Americans into the nation's history. He established the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (now called the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History) in 1915, and a year later founded the widely respected Journal of Negro History. In 1926, he launched Negro History Week as an initiative to bring national attention to the contributions of black people throughout American history.

Woodson chose the second week of February for Negro History Week because it marks the birthdays of two men who greatly influenced the black American population, Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. However, February has much more than Douglass and Lincoln to show for its significance in black American history. For example:

  • February 23, 1868:W. E. B. DuBois, important civil rights leader and co-founder of the NAACP, was born.
  • February 3, 1870:The 15th Amendment was passed, granting blacks the right to vote.
  • February 25, 1870:The first black U.S. senator, Hiram R. Revels (1822-1901), took his oath of office.
  • February 12, 1909:The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded by a group of concerned black and white citizens in New York City.
  • February 1, 1960:In what would become a civil-rights movement milestone, a group of black Greensboro, N.C., college students began a sit-in at a segregated Woolworth's lunch counter.
  • February 21, 1965:Malcolm X, the militant leader who promoted Black Nationalism, was shot to death by three Black Muslims.

Romance author Jackie Collins dies at 77

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Best-selling author Jackie Collins died of breast cancer Saturday at age 77.

People first broke the news, reporting Collins kept her stage 4 cancer diagnosis private for more than six years.

In her last interview with People earlier this month, she said she was happy with her decision to keep the diagnosis private and continue working. (Video via CBS)

>> PHOTOS: Notable deaths in 2015

"I've written five books since the diagnosis, I've lived my life, I've traveled all over the world, I have not turned down book tours and no one has ever known until now when I feel as though I should come out with it," Collins told People.

Many of her books made it to The New York Times bestsellers list, and several were turned into movies and miniseries — like "Lucky," "Hollywood Wives" and "The Stud," which stars her sister Joan Collins. (Video via Umbrella Entertainment)

Collins is best known for her sultry stories set in the glamour of Beverly Hills.

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"If I find that my characters want to have sex, then I just go with it. But I don't control the characters, they control me," Collins told The Insider.

Her family said she was "a trailblazer for women in fiction and a creative force." (Video via Jackie Collins)

Instead of flowers, the family asks that donations be sent to the Susan G. Komen breast cancer organization and to Penny Brohn Cancer Care.

This video contains images from Getty Images.

Harry Potter villain's name has been pronounced wrong this whole time

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Since Harry Potter took over pop culture, everything associated with the wizard's archnemisis Voldemort has equated to fear. And now an even scarier thought: Muggles and wizards alike should've felt his wrath a long time ago because apparently his name has been pronounced wrong the entire time.

"Lord Voldemort, himself!" one anchor said.

"There's a deep rage in Voldemort," Ralph Fiennes said.

"This is going to be Harry's last chance to finish the Voldemort problem," Daniel Radcliffe said.

Everyone pronounces the Harry Potter villain's name with a hard 'T': Voldemort, including Ralph Fiennes, who plays Voldemort in the movies as well as Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe.

But J.K. Rowling left Potter fans questioning the meaning of life (again) Wednesday night when she replied to a tweet concerning the correct pronunciation. Apparently the 'T' in Voldemort's name is silent, so it's actually pronounced "Vol-de-more." (Video via Warner Bros. / "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix")

Just take a moment really quickly to let that sink in.

Not to point wands or fingers, but if there's one person to blame for the mishap, it might be JK Rowling herself. After all, she consulted on the movies, meaning she had eight movies to correct the actors' pronunciation.

Although "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named" chimed in on the conversation in 2010. He posted a tweet saying, "Yo my names Voldemort & the t is silent, but don't say my name or imma get violent #FreestyleFriday."

Let's all be thankful he didn't get violent over this. 

This video includes images from Getty Images.

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