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Playlist: Black History Month: Hours

Compiled By: PRX Editors

Ruby Elzy Credit: <a  href="http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/van.5a51960">Carl Van Vechten</a>
Image by: Carl Van Vechten 
Ruby Elzy
Curated Playlist

One-hour specials for Feb.

Here are one-hour specials that are recommended by our editorial staff.

For more options, see pieces under 49 minutes and series picks.

You can also find other pieces for Black History Month by using our search.

How we pick our Editors' Picks.

Hour+ (49:00+)

The View from Room 205

From WBEZ | 59:00

"The View from Room 205" is a one-hour documentary that takes an unflinching look at the intersection of poverty and education in this country. It tells the story of a fourth grade classroom at William Penn Elementary, a public school in one of the nation’s poorest neighborhoods, North Lawndale on Chicago’s West Side. The documentary weaves together human stories in the school, from the children to their teacher to the principal, and pulls back to explain the big picture. It looks at poverty’s hold on school achievement and explores the unintended consequences of a core belief driving school reform today – that poverty is no excuse for low achievement.

Room_205_prx_crop_small

The View from Room 205 is a one-hour documentary that takes an unflinching look at the intersection of poverty and education in this country. It tells the story of a fourth grade classroom at William Penn Elementary, a public school in one of the nation’s poorest neighborhoods, North Lawndale on Chicago’s West Side. The documentary weaves together human stories in the school, from the children to their teacher to the principal, and pulls back to explain the big picture. It looks at poverty’s hold on school achievement and explores the unintended consequences of a core belief driving school reform today – that poverty is no excuse for low achievement.

Peabody Award-winning reporter Linda Lutton of WBEZ Chicago spent months reporting from Penn and the neighborhood around the school. Her work tackles fundamental questions about how we educate poor children, and whether schools can actually overcome poverty. It documents—often painfully—how we struggle and fail to lift poverty’s burdens off children. It is an hour that is personal, up-close, story-driven, and of far-reaching national importance.

Stations airing this special can find images, audiograms and suggested language for social media in this toolkit. Addititonally, you can download the pdf under the Additional Files section in this piece page. 

"On Being" with Krista Tippett: Ruby Sales

From On Being with Krista Tippett | Part of the "On Being" with Krista Tippett Specials series | 58:00

Where does it hurt? That’s a question the civil rights icon Ruby Sales learned to ask during the days of that movement. It’s a question we scarcely know how to ask in public life now, but it gets at human dynamics that we are living and reckoning with. At a convening of 20 theologians seeking to reimagine the public good of theology for this century, Ruby Sales unsettles some of what we think we know about the force of religion in civil rights history, and names a “spiritual crisis of white America” as a calling of this time.

Onbe_master_rgb_square__1__medium_small Where does it hurt? That’s a question the civil rights icon Ruby Sales learned to ask during the days of that movement. It’s a question we scarcely know how to ask in public life now, but it gets at human dynamics that we are living and reckoning with. At a convening of 20 theologians seeking to reimagine the public good of theology for this century, Ruby Sales unsettles some of what we think we know about the force of religion in civil rights history, and names a “spiritual crisis of white America” as a calling of this time.

The Stradivarius of Singers: A Tribute to Leontyne Price

From The WFMT Radio Network | 58:29

One of the most renowned and beloved singers of the 20th century, American soprano Leontyne Price rose to superstardom at a time when African-American artists were only just beginning to achieve major recognition in the operatic world. Price, who turns 90 in February, is celebrated by Roger Pines, broadcast commentator for Lyric Opera of Chicago, in a tribute covering her life and career in depth. In addition to representative recorded excerpts, the program features comments and reminiscences from numerous renowned American artists, among them Renée Fleming, Sondra Radvanovsky, Denyce Graves, and Eric Owens.

Leontyne_price__color__by_jack_mitchell_small

Please login to PRX.org to preview program audio.

This special is available free of charge to all affiliate stations and will be available for two broadcasts from January 2, 2017 through January 1, 2018.

For more information contact:

Estlin Usher at eusher@wfmt.com (p) 773-279-2112 
Tony Macaluso at tmacaluso@wfmt.com (p) 773-279-2114

The Stradivarius of Singers: A Tribute to Leontyne Price

One of the most renowned and beloved singers of the 20th century, American soprano Leontyne Price rose to superstardom at a time when African-American artists were only just beginning to achieve major recognition in the operatic world. Price, who turns 90 in February, is celebrated by Roger Pines, broadcast commentator for Lyric Opera of Chicago, in a tribute covering her life and career in depth. In addition to representative recorded excerpts, the program features comments and reminiscences from numerous renowned American artists, among them Renée Fleming, Sondra Radvanovsky, Denyce Graves, and Eric Owens.

The music sung by Leontyne Price is excerpted from the following:

Charpentier, Louise, “Depuis le jour”

Bizet, Carmen, Seguidilla

Verdi, La forza del destino, “Pace, pace”

Hymn, “Lead, kindly light”

Strauss, Die ägyptische Helena, “Zweite Brautnacht”

Gershwin, Porgy and Bess, “Bess, You Is My Woman Now”

(with William Warfield)

Barber, Hermit Songs, “At St. Patrick’s Purgatory”

Puccini, Tosca, Act I love duet (with David Poleri)

Poulenc, Dialogues des Carmélites, Prison Scene

Puccini, La rondine, “Chi il bel sogno di Doretta”

Massenet, Thaïs, “Dis-moi que je suis belle”

Verdi, Requiem, “Domine Jesu Christe” (with Fiorenza Cossotto,

Luciano Pavarotti, and Nicolai Ghiaurov)

Verdi, Il trovatore, “Tacea la notte”

Mozart, Don Giovanni, “Or sai chi l’onore”

Verdi, Aida, “O patria mia”

Barber, Antony and Cleopatra, Final Scene

Marx, “Marienlied”

Spiritual, “He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands”

Verdi, Un ballo in maschera, Love Duet (with Carlo Bergonzi)

Spiritual, “This Little Light of Mine”

Homemade Stories: The Struggle is Real

From WBEZ | 54:00

In this one-hour special, Homemade Stories: The Struggle is Real, award-winning storyteller Shannon Cason takes us on a journey that finds hope in struggle. From navigating Detroit’s overwhelmed criminal justice system, to searching for work and finding closed doors, to being a father after failing in marriage, to finding anchors in a sea of uncertainty, Shannon's stories are heartfelt, heartbreaking and hilarious all at once. But above all else, his stories are honest. Shannon Cason is the real deal.

Detroit__2__small

With modern scoring and skillful sound design, Detroit-raised storyteller Shannon Cason brings us stinging and side-splitting stories of life in this one-hour special, Homemade Stories: The Struggle is Real . From navigating Detroit’s overwhelmed criminal justice system, to searching for work and finding closed doors, to being a father after failing in marriage, to finding anchors in a sea of uncertainty.

Not only are Shannon’s stories raw accounts of struggle and hope, they’re the stuff of stand-ups. He has the remarkable ability to be heartfelt, heartbreaking and hilarious all at once. But above all else, his stories are honest. Shannon Cason is the real deal.

He’s been featured on The Moth (he’s a Moth GrandSLAM winner) and Snap Judgment (he was their 2013 Performance of the Year) and he’s the host of Shannon Cason's Homemade Stories from WBEZ Chicago (a podcast that just wrapped its sixth season).  Hear more of Shannon’s stories at wbez.org/podcasts or shannoncason.com.

Say it Loud: Great Speeches on Civil Rights and African American Identity

From American Public Media | Part of the American RadioWorks: Black History series | 59:00

New! "Say It Loud" traces the last 50 years of black history through stirring, historically important speeches by African Americans from across the political spectrum. With recordings unearthed from libraries and sound archives, and made widely available here for the first time, "Say It Loud" includes landmark speeches by Malcolm X, Lorraine Hansberry, Angela Davis, Martin Luther King Jr., Henry Louis Gates, and many others.

Say_it_loud_prx_small Say It Loud traces the last 50 years of black history through stirring, historically important speeches by African Americans from across the political spectrum. The documentary illuminates tidal changes in African American political power and questions of black identity through the speeches of deeply influential black Americans. With recordings unearthed from libraries and sound archives, and made widely available here for the first time, Say It Loud includes landmark speeches by Malcolm X, Angela Davis, Martin Luther King Jr., James Cone, Toni Morrison, Colin Powell, and many others.

Bringing the rich immediacy of the spoken word to a vital historical and intellectual tradition, Say It Loud reveals the diversity of ideas and arguments pulsing through the black freedom movement. Say it Loud is a sequel to the American RadioWorks documentary, Say it Plain. A companion book and CD set, Say It Loud: Great Speeches on Civil Rights and African American Identity, is now available from The New Press.

Re:Defining Black History

From Al Letson | Part of the State of the Re:Union: Season Four series | 53:23

During a month selected to celebrate “history,” we certainly are treated to a lot of the same familiar stories: the battles won for Civil Rights, the glory of Martin Luther King Jr.’s words, the hardships endured by slaves. And as important as those narratives are for us to collectively remember, many others get lost in trumpeting the same heroic tales. In this hour, State of the Re:Union zeroes in some of those alternate narratives, ones edited out of the mainstream imagining of Black History, deconstructing the popular perception of certain celebrated moments. From a more complicated understanding of the impact of the Civil Rights Act of ’64 on Jackson, Mississippi… to a city in Oklahoma still trying to figure out how to tell the history of one particular race riot… to one woman’s wrangling with her own personal racial history.

Screen_shot_2014-01-03_at_12 State of the Re:Union
Re:Defining Black History

Host: Al Letson
Producers: Tina Antolini and Delaney Hall

DESCRIPTION: During a month selected to celebrate “history,” we certainly are treated to a lot of the same familiar stories: the battles won for Civil Rights, the glory of Martin Luther King Jr.’s words, the hardships endured by slaves. And as important as those narratives are for us to collectively remember, many others get lost in trumpeting the same heroic tales. In this hour, State of the Re:Union zeroes in some of those alternate narratives, ones edited out of the mainstream imagining of Black History, deconstructing the popular perception of certain celebrated moments. From a more complicated understanding of the impact of the Civil Rights Act of ’64 on Jackson, Mississippi… to a city in Oklahoma still trying to figure out how to tell the history of one particular race riot… to one woman’s wrangling with her own personal racial history.

BILLBOARD (:59)
Incue: From PRX and WJCT
Outcue: But first, this news.

News Hole: 1:00-6:00 

SEGMENT A (12:29)
Incue: From WJCT in Jacksonville, Florida…
Outcue: When SOTRU continues.

A. Should It Be More Than 28 Days?

We open the hour with a conversation between Host Al Letson and Filmmaker Shukree Tilghman about whether the idea of Black History Month is still relevant.  Two years ago Shukree, wrote and directed documentary entitled "More then a Month" about whether one month is long enough—shouldn’t we expand the celebration of Black History to be year round? Al and Shukree discuss the movie, and whether black history month is antiquated or still necessary in what some people are labeling a “Post Racial” America. 

B. Recovering the History of the Riot 

At the Mayo Demonstration School in Tulsa, students learn about the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot -- one of the country’s most devastating incidents of racial violence -- in some surprising ways. This approach to teaching the Tulsa Race Riot isn’t true of all schools in the city. Tulsa has a long, fraught history when it comes to dealing with the legacy of the riot and many people would prefer to forget this dark chapter of the city's past. It wasn’t until 2001, eighty years after the riot, that the state released an official report of what happened. A park commemorating the event wasn’t completed until 2010. And race riot curriculum in the public schools has been so scattershot that the state senate passed a bill in 2012, mandating that it must be taught.

In this story, we explore what exactly happened in 1921, and how the history of the riot has been written and re-written over the years. We'll look into how the memory of the riot was lost for almost a generation, and meet some of the people who’ve fought to keep the history of the riot alive. In addition to spending time at the Mayo Demonstration School, we’ll speak with Scott Ellsworth, the foremost historian of the riot, who began uncovering the untold story of the event for his undergraduate thesis at age 20.

SEGMENT B (18:59)
Incue: I'm Al Letson and this is State of the Re:Union
Outcue: PRX-dot-ORG

A. Recovering the History of the Riot
(Completion of piece started in previous segment) 

B. Farish Street and the Flip Side of the Civil Rights Act of ‘64
July 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the landmark legislation that desegregated commercial public spaces. While celebration of the integration that the Act prompted is certainly warranted, this story will explore the complexity of the aftermath of the legislation in one city: Jackson, Mississippi. 

Our story centers on Farish Street in Jackson, which, during its heyday in the early 20th century, was known as “Little Harlem.” It was a bustling entertainment district, home to clubs and bars like the Crystal Palace and the Alamo Theater, where the likes of Sammy Davis Jr., Cab Calloway and Louis Armstrong performed. Beyond that, it was all the commercial center of black Jackson, with legal firms, doctors, banks, restaurants retail stores—all black-owned and patronized by black customers. During the early 1960s, Farish Street was also the hub of Civil Rights activists’ efforts in Jackson; it’s where Medgar Evers had his NAACP field office. 

One of those thriving Farish Street businesses—the one, in fact, just downstairs from Evers’ office-- was the Big Apple Inn. It was opened in the early 20th century by a Mexican immigrant who initially had a hot tamale cart on Farish Street, and branched out to selling pig ear sandwiches when he got a brick-and-mortar storefront. The Big Apple is still there today, now its fourth generation of ownership with proprietor Geno Lee, and is still doing a brisk business of “ears and smokes” (pig ear sandwiches and smoked sausage sandwiches). But nearly all of Farish Street around the Big Apple is dramatically changed. Once the heart of black Jackson, it’s now a ghost town of empty storefronts and vacant lots. What happened to Farish Street? 

Some in Jackson think the turn in Farish Street’s fortunes came with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. As our partner in this story, the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi, reports Geno Lee believes that when integration was federally mandated, African Americans welcomed the opportunity to spend money on the white side of town. As an unintended consequence, however, black businesses suffered from neglect and many soon closed. “Desegregation was great for the black race,” Lee says. “But it was horrible for the black businessmen.” Other Jackson residents have echoed this sentiment, unanimously citing desegregation as the root cause of Farish Street’s decay.

SEGMENT C (18:59)
Incue: You're listening to State of the Re:Union
Outcue: to bring them back together. (music tail)

A. Recruiting R&B for the Movement

Certain songs are forever linked to the Civil Rights Movement. “We Shall Overcome,” “Oh Freedom,” even spirituals like “This Little Light of Mine,” bring to mind images of the sit-ins, street protests, the 1968 March on Washington… This music has become iconic, a soundtrack to the era. But the music of the movement went far beyond those staples. It turns out folk songs and gospel music didn’t resonate with every audience the movement wanted to reach. If you’re going into a ghetto and want to connect with the young black people there in the 1960s, singing “If I Had a Hammer” would go over like a lead balloon. And so, alongside the familiar anthems, movement musicians started repurposing popular R&B songs, revising the lyrics to fit their anti-segregation message. One of the groups to do this was a gathering of some seminary students involved in the protests in Nashville in 1960 who called themselves the Nashville Quartet. There was a popular R&B song at the time called “You Better Leave My Kitten Alone,” predictably about love and jealousy. The Nashville Quartet switched up “kitten” for “segregation,” and suddenly had quite a pointed tune: “You better leave segregation alone/ because they [white folks] love segregation like a hound dog loves a bone.” They took the Ray Charles song “Moving On,” a ballad about progressing beyond a bad romance, and switched the relationship to a racial one. “Segregations’s been here from time to time / but we just ain’t gonna pay it no mind // IT’s moving on—It’s moving on—It’s moving… // Old Jim Crow’s moving on down the track / He’s got his bags and he won’t be back.”

Today, if you’re trying to reach a young audience with your message, you wouldn’t use old folks songs—you’d use hip hop. Civil Rights activists back in the day were just as savvy, using the sound of their generation to reel people in.

B. Becoming Multiracial
Damali Ayo built her career on being a professional black person. As she says, everything she did was always about being black. She traveled around the country giving talks called “You Can Fix Racism!” She spoke at MLK days and Black History Month events at colleges all around the country. As a visual artist, she did a show where she asked hardware store paint departments to match paint to her skin color. As a street performer she panhandled for reparations, asking white strangers to give her money, that she paid out to black people as they passed by. And then, a few years ago, she discovered that she was half-white. It radically changed the way she thought about herself, her work, and her place in the world.

C. Final Montage and Monologue In this final segment, we hear voices from the hour talking about the versions of history that we miss, and why it’s important to include them. 

Al wraps up the hour with a final monologue touching on the idea that this Greatest Hits version of African-American history implies that we’re finished, that the problems have been solved… when these alternate narratives reveal the work still to be done. 

PROGRAM OUT @ 59:00 

Re:Defining Black History is available on PRX without charge to all public radio stations, and may be aired an unlimited number of times prior to January 31, 2017. The program may be streamed live on station websites but not archived. Excerpting is permitted for promotional purposes only. 

State of the Re:Union is presented by WJCT and distributed by PRX.  Major funding for the State of the Re:Union comes from CPB, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Delores Barr Weaver Fund at The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida.

Thanks for your consideration of State of the Re:Union with Al Letson. 

 

Sound Opinions Presents: Music of the Civil Rights Movement

From Sound Opinions | Part of the Sound Opinions Specials series | 54:00

Sound Opinions explores the music of the Civil Rights Era. From Bob Dylan to Odetta to the Staples Singers, hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot remark upon the impact music made on the fight for civil rights in the 1960s.

Mlk_small Professional music critics Jim and Greg discuss influential and game-changning music from the 1960s that provided a soundtrack to the civil rights movement. They analyze tracks by artists like Sam Cooke, The Staple Singers, Bob Dylan, Nina Simone and more. They also chat with former Chicago WVON DJ Herb Kent.

Can Do: Stories of Black Visionaries, Seekers, and Entrepreneurs

From The Kitchen Sisters | 54:00

A new Kitchen Sisters and PRX exclusive, "Can Do: Stories of Black Visionaries, Seekers, and Entrepreneurs," is hosted by Alfre Woodard, Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actress. These stories come from The Kitchen Sisters collection -- stories of black pioneers, self-made men and self-taught women, neighborhood heroes and visionaries. People who said "yes we can" and then did.

Woodard_small

A man tapes the history of his town with a scavenged cassette recorder, a woman fights for social justice with a pie, a DJ ignites his community with a sound. Join us for this richly produced and deeply layered hour long special that resonates for Black History Month, or any month.  Produced by The Kitchen Sisters (Nikki Silva & Davia Nelson) and Roman Mars.
 
"Can Do" is supported in part by the Reversioning Project of the Public Radio Exchange at PRX.org and The CPB, The Corporation for Public Broadcasting. 

Going Black: The Legacy of Philly Soul Radio (One Hour Special)

From Mighty Writers | Part of the Going Black: The Legacy of Philly Soul Radio series | 59:00

Starting in the 1950s, Black radio stations around the country became the pulse of African-American communities, and served as their megaphone during the Civil Rights and Black Power movements. "Going Black" examines the legacy of Black radio, with a special focus on the legendary WDAS in Philadelphia. Hosted by Sound of Philadelphia (TSOP) music producer and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Kenny Gamble, a 1-hour version and 2-hour version of this documentary special are both available.

Georgie_woods_1__small "Going Black: The Legacy of Philly Soul Radio " examines the legacy of Black radio, with a special focus on the legendary WDAS in Philadelphia. The story of Black radio in Philadelphia is actually the story of a music that would have gone undiscovered, of Civil Rights and progress in the African-American community, and of how the radio medium has changed in the last century. The documentary special is hosted by legendary Sound of Philadelphia (TSOP) music producer and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Kenny Gamble . For more about the program, visit our website: www.mightyradio.org .

Today, a lot of people don't know what the term "Black radio" means. But starting in the 1950s,
Black radio stations around the country became the pulse of African-American communities, and served as their megaphone during the Civil Rights and Black Power movements. Stations like WDAS in Philly, WDIA in Memphis, WWRL and WBLS in NYC, WHUR and WOL in DC, WERD in Atlanta, WVON in Chicago, WLAC in Nashville, WMRY in New Orleans and KWBR in San Francisco featured radio personalities with styles all their own who played records you'd never get to hear on mainstream radio. Beyond being hip radio stations, these were pipelines into the Black community where you'd get the latest news on current events and the Civil Rights Movement — at a time when the mainstream media wasn't covering these stories from a Black perspective.

The documentary features conversations with well-known disc jockeys, radio professionals, record company executives, musicians, journalists and scholars. Listeners will hear first-person accounts of Civil Rights events and rare archival audio of Black radio air checks from the 60s and 70s, including a 1964 interview with Malcolm X, just a few months before his assassination. The documentary also includes a soundtrack featuring R&B, jazz, gospel and soul hits from the 50s through the 80s, especially from the Sound of Philadelphia .

A 1-hour version and 2-hour version of this documentary special are both available, along with a series of short companion non-narrated pieces.

Pike County, OH: As Black as We Wish to Be

From Al Letson | Part of the State of the Re:Union: Season Three series | 53:53

In this episode Al Letson and guest producer Lu Olkowski visit a tiny town in the Appalachian foothills of Ohio where, for a century, residents have shared the common bond of identifying as African-American despite the fact that they look white. Racial lines have been blurred to invisibility, and people inside the same family can vehemently disagree about whether they are black or white. It can be tense and confusing. As a result, everyone’s choosing: Am I black? Am I mixed race? Or, am I white? Adding to the confusion, there’s a movement afoot to recognize their Native-American heritage.

Sotru_profile-pic_01_small State of the Re:Union
Pike County, Ohio: As Black as We Wish to Be

Host: Al Letson
Producer: Lu Olkowski

In this episode Al Letson and guest producer Lu Olkowski visit a tiny town in the Appalachian foothills of Ohio where, for a century, residents have shared the common bond of identifying as African-American despite the fact that they look white. Racial lines have been blurred to invisibility, and people inside the same family can vehemently disagree about whether they are black or white. It can be tense and confusing. As a result, everyone’s choosing: Am I black? Am I mixed race? Or, am I white? Adding to the confusion, there’s a movement afoot to recognize their Native-American heritage.

Billboard (:59)
Incue: From PRX and WJCT
Outcue: But first, this news.

News Hole: 1:00-6:00

SEGMENT A (12:29)
Incue: From WJCT in Jacksonville, Florida
Outcue: PRX-dot-ORG

A-1. The Hard History of Two Towns:
To outsiders, the town of Waverly, Ohio and the neighboring community of East Jackson may not seem all that different. But to residents of the area the distinction is clear, people from East Jackson are black, regardless
of their complexion or the color of their hair. Residents share their memories and the unusual history of these two towns.

SEGMENT B (18:59)
Incue: You're listening to …
Outcue: State of the Re:Union

B-1. The Standoff
In a family that's proud to be black, what happens when a daughter decides that she's white? One family's complicated struggle with race and perception.

SEGMENT C (18:59)
Incue: I'm Al Letson and you're listening
Outcue: to bring them back together.

C-1. The Other Choice
In an area that draws distinct lines between black and white, some residents are making another choice and identifying themselves as Native American. Enter the Catawba Tribe of Carr's Run, and a new controversy between relatives of how they identify themselves and one another.

PROGRAM OUT @ 59:00

LANGUAGE ADVISORY - DUE TO THE SPECIFIC NATURE OF THIS EPISODE, SOME SEGMENTS FEATURE THE "N-Word" IN THE FOLLOWING PLACES:
Seg A: 7:58 and 10:23
Seg B: 9:38, 13:58, 14:00, 14:08, 14:10, 14:15
Seg C: 9:44, 9:52

Pike County, OH: As Black as We Wish to Be is available on PRX without charge to all public radio stations, and may be aired an unlimited number of times prior to January 31, 2017. The program may be streamed live on station websites but not archived. Excerpting is permitted for promotional purposes only. 

State of the Re:Union is presented by WJCT and distributed by PRX.  Major funding for the State of the Re:Union comes from CPB, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Delores Barr Weaver Fund at The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida.

Thanks for your consideration of State of the Re:Union with Al Letson. 

 

Bayard Rustin: Who Is This Man?

From Al Letson | Part of the State of the Re:Union: Season One series | 53:53

Discover the words and wisdom of an unsung hero of the Civil Rights movement who changed the course of American history.

Rustin240_240_small
State of the Re:Union
Bayard Rustin: Who Is This Man?

Host: Al Letson
Producer: Tina Antolini

Description: MLK Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech has become the shorthand of the Civil Rights Movement - but we might never have heard it, if it were not for another man, who’s largely been forgotten by history: Bayard Rustin. In this program hour, we explore the life and legacy of Mr. Rustin, a black, gay, Quaker who brought Gandhian non-violent protest to the Civil Rights movement in America.

BILLBOARD (:59)
Incue: From WJCT in Jacksonville, Florida...
Outcue: But first, this news.

News Hole: 1:00- 6:00

SEGMENT A (12:29)
Incue: From WJCT in Jacksonville, Florida
Outcue: You're listening to State of the Re:Union

SEGMENT B (18:59)
Incue: “You’re listening to State of the Re:Union”
Outcue: “State of the Re:Union.”

SEGMENT C (18:59)
Incue: You're listening to State of the Re:Union
Outcue: is to bring them back together. (music tail)

Bayard Rustin: Who Is This Man? is available on PRX without charge to all public radio stations, and may be aired an unlimited number of times prior to January 31, 2017. The program may be streamed live on station websites but not archived. Excerpting is permitted for promotional purposes only. 

State of the Re:Union is presented by WJCT and distributed by PRX.  Major funding for the State of the Re:Union comes from CPB, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Delores Barr Weaver Fund at The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida. 

Thanks for your consideration of State of the Re:Union with Al Letson. 

 

The Power of African-American Art

From Al Letson | Part of the State of the Re:Union: Season Five series | 53:52

State of the Re:Union has made it an annual tradition to commemorate Black History Month with a special episode exploring lesser known corners of African-American history. This year, State of the Re:Union recognizes Black History Month through the lens of African-American art, the role it has played in social movements and everyday life, and why it matters both to the black community and the United States as a whole. From a poem celebrating Nina Simone and her powerful voice for social change, to the story of the surprising event that sparked the hip-hop cultural revolution, to unsung heroes of the culinary arts, SOTRU provides a rich hour of art as a window into African-American history, and how communities have been transformed by it.

Sotru_profile-pic_01_small State of the Re:Union
The Power of African-American Art

Host: Al Letson
Producers: Al Letson, Tina Antolini, Delaney Hall

Description:
State of the Re:Union has made it an annual tradition to commemorate Black History Month with a special episode exploring lesser known corners of African-American history. This year, State of the Re:Union recognizes Black History Month through the lens of African-American art, the role it has played in social movements and everyday life, and why it matters both to the black community and the United States as a whole. From a poem celebrating Nina Simone and her powerful voice for social change, to the story of the surprising event that sparked the hip-hop cultural revolution, to unsung heroes of the culinary arts, SOTRU provides a rich hour of art as a window into African-American history, and how communities have been transformed by it.

Billboard (:59)
Incue: From PRX and WJCT
Outcue: But first, this news.

News Hole: 1:00-6:00

SEGMENT A (12:29)
Incue: From WJCT in Jacksonville, Florida…
Outcue: When State of the Re:Union returns.

From the spirituals that slaves sung to the writings of poet Claude McKay to Public Enemy’s fierce rhymes, SOTRU looks at how African-American art has been used to speak out against injustice. Professor Farah Jasmine Griffin walks us through a timeline of African-American art that has been used to call attention to social issues and protests.


SEGMENT B  (18:59)
Incue: From WJCT in Jacksonville…
Outcue: P-R-X-dot-O-R-G

A. Blackout
Back in the summer of 1977, two young DJs named Disco Wiz and Grandmaster Casanova Fly were spinning records for a growing crowd on a busy street corner in the Bronx.

Around 9:30pm that night – July 13th – the city experienced a massive blackout, with power failing in all five boroughs. Looting, arson, and rioting happened across the city, but Disco Wiz and Grandmaster Casanova Fly have their own theories about how the blackout influenced the creative life of the Bronx and the birth of hip hop.

B. Love Letter to U Street
Hip hop and the Bronx. New Orleans and jazz. Detroit and house music. Art and place have always been linked in the history of black culture.

In Washington D.C., a neighborhood called the U Street Corridor used to be the center of black music, theater, and dance in the city. Everybody from James Brown to Pearl Bailey to Redd Foxx to Duke Ellington used to perform there. But then Dr. Martin Luther King was shot, and the neighborhood burned in the riots that followed his death.

D.C. poet Patrick Washington tells the story of U Street, its slow rebirth, and how it’s changed because of gentrification in the past few years.


SEGMENT C (18:59)
Incue: You're listening to State of the Re:Union
Outcue: ... to bring them back together. (music tail)


A. The Jemima Code
When Toni Tipton Martin was reporting for the L.A. Times, years ago, she noticed something about the cookbook section of the paper. There were no cookbooks by black people. “That just didn’t jive with my experience,” says Martin, who is African American herself. “It didn’t make sense to me that African Americans didn’t give any contribution at all.” So, Toni began on a search to find the voices of the African American cooks who were absent from the bookstore shelves and cookbook reviews. Every new city or town she went to, she’d visit an antiquarian bookstore, scour the shelves. And the books began to surface: usually self-published or community cookbooks, often women, but black cooks from every walk of life, from servants in 19th century homes, to the owners of Southern restaurants. She decided to launch a project she called The Jemima Code, because, at its heart, its mission was to take the image of Aunt Jemima, of black cook as unsophisticated laborer, and turn that stereotype on its head.  And what a vision of African-American culinary artistry the Jemima Code provides. Starting in 1827, and following the social arc of black history, she has the voices of cooks from just after the Civil War’s freedom, from the Harlem Renaissance, the emerging black middle class who were caterers in the early 20th century, from political dissidents in the 1960s. In this piece, Toni tells the story of the Jemima Code, and we met two of the chefs it documents, both of whom deserve more mainstream recognition for their work in the culinary arts than they’ve gotten.

B. Al’s Experience of the Arts
In this final segment of the episode, host Al Letson reflects on the importance of African-American art in his life, and in his development as an artist, himself.

PROGRAM OUT @ 59:00

Promo Transcript:  On the next State of the Re:Union Toni Tipton-Martin writes about food, and when she began researching old cookbooks written by African Americans, it upended all of the stereotypes.
“This mammie character that was flipping pancakes and taking care of the children was not the woman that was on the pages of these books.” African Americans in the culinary arts, that’s on the next State of the Re:Union.

The Power of African-American Art is available on PRX without charge to all public radio stations, and may be aired an unlimited number of times prior to January 31, 2017. The program may be streamed live on station websites but not archived. Excerpting is permitted for promotional purposes only. 

State of the Re:Union is presented by WJCT and distributed by PRX.  Major funding for the State of the Re:Union comes from CPB, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Delores Barr Weaver Fund at The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida.

Thanks for your consideration of State of the Re:Union with Al Letson. 

 

State of Siege: Mississippi Whites and the Civil Rights Movement

From American Public Media | Part of the American RadioWorks: Black History series | 59:00

New! Mississippi occupies a distinct and dramatic place in the history of America’s civil rights movement. No state in the South was more resistant to the struggle for black equality. No place was more violent. Drawing on newly discovered archival audio and groundbreaking research on the civil rights era, State of Siege brings to light the extraordinary tactics whites in Mississippi used to battle integration and the lasting impact of that battle in American politics today.

State_of_siege_promo_image_prx_small Mississippi occupies a distinct and dramatic place in the history of America’s civil rights movement. No state in the South was more resistant to the struggle for black equality. No place was more violent. While the history of civil rights activists has been well documented in radio and television, the stories and strategies of their white opponents are less well known.

Using newly discovered archival audio, along with oral histories and contemporary interviews, State of Siege brings to light the extraordinary tactics whites in Mississippi used to battle integration. Their strategies ranged from organizing a massive network of citizens councils to promote white supremacy, to establishing a state-run spy agency to disrupt civil rights activism.

The program also traces the rise of the Ku Klux Klan, and illuminates the way whites came to both accommodate and defy the mandates of civil rights legislation in the mid-1960s. Ultimately, what happened during the civil rights era in Mississippi had a profound and lasting impact on American politics to the present day.

Humankind: Justice Denied

From Humankind | Part of the Humankind Specials series | 58:59

How could a nation founded on a Declaration that "all men are created equal" permit slavery? Nowhere was this contradiction more stark than at the Supreme Court, which formally ruled in the Dred Scott case that black people have "no rights" -- a decision Abraham Lincoln adamantly opposed. In this one-hour Humankind special, produced in association with WGBH/Boston, we'll learn about harsh public reaction when federal judges enforced slavery through fugitive slave laws and the Dred Scott ruling.

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Ideal for broadcast around M.L. King Day or Black History Month, this one-hour Humankind special examines the fascinating historical role played by U.S. federal courts in enforcing slavery. Produced in association with WGBH/Boston.

We revisit how a Boston judge's decision to order a runaway slave returned to his Virginia owner provoked the largest abolitionist protest the nation had ever seen. Then an in-depth look at the Supreme Court's famous Dred Scott ruling -- adamantly opposed by Abraham Lincoln -- that blacks "have no rights a white man is bound to respect". To what extent did these and other cases inflame tensions leading to the Civil War and damage the reputation of the federal judiciary? Featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning Lincoln historian Eric Foner, Museum of African-American History director Beverly Morgan-Welch, Duke Univ. law professor Paul Finkelman as well as dramatic readings from Frederick Douglass and others.

Rethinking Religion - The Harlem Renaissance: Music, Religion, and the Politics of Race, Part 1

From Jim Luce | Part of the Rethinking Religion series | 59:00

From The Columbia University Institute For Religion, Culture and Public Life, and the Luce Group, an exploration in words and music of how music, religion, and politics intersected during this rich period in African American history.

Harlemgraphicmedium_small During the vibrant years of the Harlem Renaissance, music, religion, and spitituality were interconnected -- not just in the religious setting of the church, but in the jazz club, the dance hall, the rent party, even the political street rally.  Writer Carl Hancock Rux, Reverend Calvin Butts of the Abyssinian Baptist Church, historian Farah Griffin, Professors Josef Sorett and Obery Hendricks, and others explore these powerful interconnections.  Includes the voices of Langston Hughes, poet Sterling Brown, Marcus Garvey, as well as readings from Hughes, Arna Bontemps, and musician James Reese Europe.  Music includes Count Basie, Chick Webb, The Abyssinian Baptist Church Choir, Geri Allen, The Original Five Blind Boys of Alabama, Duke Ellington, Ma Rainey, Ella Fitzgerald, James Reese Europe's 369th US Infantry "Hell Fighters" Band, Mahalia Jackson, Ron Carter Big Band, Fats Waller, James P Johnson, WIllie The Lion Smith, Courtney Bryan, The Abyssinian Baptist Choir and more.  

Black History Month specials (Series)

Produced by With Good Reason

With Good Reason Specials for Black History Month

Most recent piece in this series:

A Curse Upon the Nation (hour)

From With Good Reason | Part of the Black History Month specials series | 53:54

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In her new book “A Curse Upon the Nation: Race, Freedom and Extermination in America and the Atlantic World,” Kay Wright Lewis explores the black perspective on racial extermination. Also: Paula Seniors talks about her forthcoming book, which studies the lives of African American working class communist women and the link between the struggle for black civil rights and international revolution.

Later in the show: D.W. Griffith’s Civil War epic Birth of a Nation is notorious for its racist scenes. Avi Santo discusses the recent short film, Our Nation, which tells the story of a young African American teenager’s response to the film in Norfolk, Virginia in 1915. And: A recent book by Emile Raymond tells the little-known story of how black actors and entertainers in Hollywood contributed their money, connections, and fame to aid the civil rights movement.

Audrey and Frank Peterman

From American Public Media | Part of the The Promised Land series | 54:00

If Frank and Audrey Peterman have their way, many more of their fellow black Americans will visit our national parks. They take host Majora Carter to Yosemite, where she crawls through a hundred-foot cave and meets Yosemite’s only black park ranger.

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On a 10-week tour of 16 national parks in 1995, Frank and Audrey Peterman were awed by the beauty of America and warmed by the friendliness of fellow campers. But among all of the park tourists, the Petermans saw only two fellow African-Americans.

After discovering that many blacks felt no connection with the parks, the Petermans took action: they started a program called “Keeping It Wild,” aimed at encouraging black Americans to visit the nation’s parks and other public lands that they help pay for with tax dollars. As Frank notes, “If you are not involving the communities who will make up a larger percentage of the voting population in the future, how do you then expect them to make decisions that will protect these places for posterity?”

H
ost Majora Carter joins the Petermans and a group of teens from inner-city Houston as they crawl through a wondrous 100-foot cave in Yosemite. And we meet Shelton Johnson, Yosemite’s only black park ranger, who is quick to point out that less than 1 percent of the park’s visitors are African-American — a statistic that’s bound to change if Frank and Audrey Peterman have their way.

William's Leap For Freedom

From Sue Zizza | 52:57

SueMedia Productions, in conjunction with the National Audio Theatre Festivals, (NATF) is offering "William’s Leap for Freedom" for Stations to broadcast during Black History Month 2011.

Hosted by Dion Graham, this one hour audio drama is available through the PRX to stations for free. This original play is based on the life of freed slave William Wells Brown. The performance was recorded live at the June 2010 NATF workshop in West Plains, Missouri and stars Mirron E. Willis as Wells Brown, and features Barbara Rosenblat along with a multi-voice cast.

"William’s Leap for Freedom" is a two part drama; a play within a play. Beginning with a fictionalized conversation between William Wells Brown and Mr. Polite, this audio dramatization then introduces part two of the play which features selected portions of "The Escape or Leap for Freedom," as it relates to the tale of three slaves, Cato, Glen and Melinda. Brown often stated that this play specifically was autobiographical. The couple, Glen and Melinda, did exist, while Cato is Brown himself.

This production, directed by Renee Pringle, with assistance from mentor Sue Zizza was post produced by SueMedia Production’s David Shinn.

Willim_wells_brown_small SueMedia Productions, in conjunction with the National Audio Theatre Festivals (NATF) is offering William's Leap for Freedom for stations to broadcast during Black History Month (February) 2011.

Hosted by Dion Graham, this one hour audio drama is available through the PRX for free. This original play is based on the life of freed slave William Wells Brown. The performance was recorded live at the June 2010 NATF workshop in West Plains, Missouri and stars Mirron E. Willis as Wells Brown and features Barbara Rosenblat along with a multi-voice cast.

William's Leap for Freedom is a two part drama; a play within a play. This performance, was adapted for audio from the stage play, William Wells Brown's Leap for Freedom written for the stage by Dr. Cheryl Black of the University of Missouri Department of Theatre.

Dr. Black's play was written and produced in 2008 for the Missouri State Historical society's Missouri History in Performance Theater. In 2009 it was adapted for the National Audio Theartre Festivals by Renee Pringle of NPR, with assistance from mentor Sue Zizza.

Beginning with a fictionalized conversation between William Wells Brown and Mr. Polite, this audio dramatization then introduces part two of the play which features selected portions of The Escape or Leap for Freedom, as it relates to the tale of three slaves, Cato, Glen and Melinda.  Brown often stated that this play specifically was autobiographical.  The couple, Glen and Melinda, did exist, while Cato is Brown himself.

ABOUT WILLIAM WELLS BROWN

Wells Brown was born a slave in Lexington, Kentucky in 1814.  It is said that his mother was the daughter of Daniel Boone and a black slave, while his father was known to be a member of the Wickliffe family of Kentucky and Louisiana.

Throughout his lifetime, Brown was a fugitive slave, a conductor on the Underground Railroad, an abolitionist, an anti-slavery lecturer, an historian, a medical doctor, and a poet.

Brown is the author of the first novel, the first drama, and the first travelogue published by an African American in the U.S.  His particular life experiences gave him a thorough education and with that came an understanding of human nature, and of American culture and society, from 1814 through 1884.

In 1856, Brown decided to stop giving lectures at paid abolitionist engagements and instead began performing his dramas.  Through drama he emphasized that all Americans, northern and southern, participated in deceptions necessary to support the system of slavery.

A popular form of drama at the time was the blackface minstrel.  Using minstrel comedy in reverse, Brown was able to dispel familiar stereotypes and ridicule the perpetrators of those misrepresentations.  In this way, Escape or Leap for Freedom is also a commentary on the minstrel style.

Brown consistently emphasized that blacks should use wit and trickery to fight against and survive their oppression, not heroic confrontation.  His dramas emphasize the oppressive circumstances of black and white women; sexual violence against black women; the emasculation of black men; the hypocrisy of the religious community, and the paradox of a system of slavery in America, the so-called land of liberty.

Brown was known as a trickster among scholars.  With guile, wit, and charm, he moved his white audiences to face issues without insulting them.

This production, directed by Pringle, with assistance from producer Sue Zizza was post produced by SueMedia Production's David Shinn.


Langston Hughes - I Too Sing America

From WQXR | 59:00

Langston Hughes, an enduring icon of the Harlem Renaissance, is best-known for his written work, which wedded his fierce dedication to social justice with his belief in the transformative power of the word. But he was a music lover, too, and some of the works he was most proud of were collaborations with composers and musicians.

Wqxr_logo_nofreq_small Langston Hughes, an enduring icon of the Harlem Renaissance, is best-known for his written work, which wedded his fierce dedication to social justice with his belief in the transformative power of the word. But he was a music lover, too, and some of the works he was most proud of were collaborations with composers and musicians.

On Wednesday, Feb. 1 at 9 pm - what would have been Hughes’ 110th birthday - WQXR kicks off Black History Month with the premiere of I, Too, Sing America: Music In The Life Of Langston Hughes , a one-hour radio special that shines a light on Hughes's lesser-known musical compositions.

Hosted by Terrance McKnight , WQXR host and former Morehouse professor of music, I, Too, Sing America will dive into the songs, cantatas, musicals and librettos that flowed from Hughes’ pen. As he did with his poetry, Hughes used music to denounce war, combat segregation and restore human dignity in the face of Jim Crow. His musical adventures included writing lyrics for stage pieces such as Black Nativity and Tambourines to Glory, works that helped give birth to the genre of Gospel Play, as well as songs for radio plays and political campaigns, and the libretto for Kurt Weill’s Street Songs.

I, Too, Sing America will also tell the dramatic tale of Hughes’ collaboration with William Grant Still , hailed today as “the Dean of African American composers.” For 15 years, against the backdrop of pre-Civil Rights racism, the two fought to see their opera become a reality. Their historic success came in 1949, when Troubled Island which told the story of Haitian revolution leader Jean-Jacques Dessalines – was staged by the New York City Opera, becoming the first opera by African Americans to ever be staged by a major company.

The documentary will include recordings of select pieces of Hughes’ musical works, some of which were never performed again in their entirety after their original production. It will also feature archival interview tape of William Grant Still discussing Troubled Island.

The Legacy of Massive Resistance

From With Good Reason | 59:00

In 1959, Prince Edward County, Virginia closed its schools rather than integrate. The closures lasted for five years, and the people who were denied an education in Prince Edward County as children are now sharing their story.

Prince_edward_county_sign_small In 1951, a group of African American students at Robert R. Moton High School in Prince Edward County, Virginia, organized a strike to protest the substandard school facilities provided for black students. The walkout, led by 16-year-old Barbara Johns, is one of the great unsung stories in the struggle for Civil Rights. The student strike occurred four years before the actions of actions of Rosa Parks and nine years before the sit-ins throughout the South.  Their story is one of courage and persistence against what seemed at the time like overwhelming odds.  Eight years after the student walkout, rather than succumb to a federal mandate to integrate, the state of Virginia closed down the public schools in Prince Edward County as part of a policy called Massive Resistance. The closure lasted five years.  The program features interviews with former students who participated in the strike and others who describe their wrenching experience of being locked out and the difficult decisions parents made to ensure education for their children. Also featured are interviews with historians who put the policy and legacy of Massive Resistance into context of the history of the Civil Rights movement in this country.

A Black History Month Special Program: "Truckin' My Blues Away"

From AARP Radio | Part of the Prime Time Radio series | 54:23

Prime Time Radio presents "Truckin' My Blues Away," a music-rich documentary that profiles four Southern bluesmen and the folklorist who is working to preserve their music and showcase it on the world stage.

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This music-rich hour-long special introduces listeners to the stories and sounds of four older Southern bluesmen—and to the efforts of Tim Duffy, founder of the Music Maker Relief Foundation, to help lift these musicians from poverty and obscurity. The musicians cover a wide swath of the South: Boo Hanks from Virgilina, Va.; Captain Luke from Winston-Salem, N.C.; Eddie Tigner from Atlanta; and Little Freddie King from New Orleans.

In their own words and performances, these men bring us the story of a music, an era and a culture that are uniquely American. The program is co-produced and co-written by Richard Ziglar and Barry Yeoman, who traveled around the South collecting interviews and field recordings of the musicians. Yeoman, who co-produced our Gracie Award-winning program "Picking Up the Pieces," narrates.

AARP's Web site will feature a multimedia package—complete with videos, an audio slideshow, and links for listeners who want to purchase CDs—at http://www.aarp.org/radio.

The Children of Children Keep Coming

From WNPR | 51:01

Through story and song, author Russell Goings has adapted his epic poem “The Children of Children Keep Coming” into an hour-long spoken word performance that delineates and celebrates the too often unsung African American cultural history.

Goings_small Through story and song, author Russell Goings has adapted his epic poem “The Children of Children Keep Coming” into an hour-long spoken word performance that delineates and celebrates the too often unsung African American cultural history.  His inspiration comes from friendship of iconic collagist Romare Bearden and from the voices of the ancestors.

Infused with the improvisational feel of jazz, this program celebrates the soulful spirits of ancestors through Goings’ masterfully poetic prose.  Narratives of historical figures Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Frederick Douglass and Phillis Wheatley intertwine with mythic characters Evalina, Banjo Pete and Black Tiny Shiny to tell the important story of the African American heroic journey.  

With introduction by acclaimed Tony Award winning Broadway actor Brian Stokes Mitchell, the radio adaptation of “The Children” will be available for broadcast on public radio stations nationwide starting Black History Month, February 2010.  It is the first part of a yearlong audio and lecture series exploring African-American narratives through art and storytelling, in partnership with WNPR – Connecticut Public Radio and Fairfield University.


Russell Goings graduated with honors from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1959.  He briefly played professional football, and then headed to Wall Street to become the first African-American brokerage manager for a New York Stock Exchange member firm.  Later, he became the first black owner of an investment firm, which managed the assets of some of the world’s largest companies along with many legendary athletes and entertainers.  He was founder of Essence Magazine and became the chairman of the Studio Museum in Harlem.  Goings is an inductee into the Wall Street Hall of Fame.  He spent thirteen years writing the “Children”, studying under Pulitzer Prize nominee and Fairfield University poetry professor Kim Bridgford. 

Say It Plain: A Century of African American Oratory

From American Public Media | Part of the American RadioWorks: Black History series | 59:59

This is one of five extraordinary hour-long documentaries from American RadioWorks chronicling America’s racial past and the long, dramatic struggle for civil rights. Hear them all.

Mlk_image When the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.'s I Have a Dream speech is broadcast each February to mark Black History Month, the magnetic cadence of his words is almost impossible to resist. King was a remarkable orator, but he was hardly alone. He was nurtured in a centuries-old African American tradition of spoken narrative and oral persuasion. Like black speakers before and after him, King testified to how America betrayed its founding ideals through slavery, segregation and racial bigotry. King and scores of other black orators sounded the charge against Jim Crow and stung the moral conscience of America. Many powered their messages with relentless optimism that one day change would come. They reminded Americans of how good they could be. Others offered a different version of utopia: a separate nation free of whites. This dramatic and moving program highlights a selection of landmark sermons, speeches and broadcasts by African American orators over the past century. From Booker T. Washington and Marcus Garvey, to Fannie Lou Hamer and Malcolm X, to Shirley Chisholm and Julian Bond, listeners will hear the stirring words of African American figures as they call for action on civil rights and the unmet promise of democracy. Say it Plain will give listeners a vivid audio portrait of black Americans exhorting the nation to make good on its democratic principles and, in so doing, actually changing the country.

Ruby Elzy: Black Diva of the Thirties

From Boyce Lancaster | 58:59

Ruby Elzy was one of George Gershwin's hand-picked leads for the original production of "Porgy and Bess." Hailing from the small Mississippi town of Pontotoc, Ruby Elzy's voice carried her to Ohio State University, Julliard, Broadway, and concerts coast to coast. Tragically, her life would end before she took the next step to the Metropolitan Opera stage in Aida.

Ruby1937_small Ruby Elzy was one of George Gershwin's hand picked leads for the original production of Porgy and Bess.  Hailing from the small Mississippi town of Pontotoc, Ruby Elzy's voice carried her to Ohio State University, Juilliard, Broadway, and concerts coast to coast.  Tragically, her life would end before she took the next step to the Metropolitan Opera stage in Aida.

In the year 2000, soprano Ruby Elzy was one of the first inductees into the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame. Sixty-five years earlier, she was chosen by George Gershwin to create the role of Serena in Porgy and Bess. Ruby appeared in feature films with Paul Robeson and Bing Crosby. She attended The Ohio State University and Juilliard School of Music and performed on Broadway, in Hollywood, and on national radio.
Ruby would have been one of the first black artists to appear in grand opera had she lived beyond her 35 years. 
  This program is based upon the book Black Diva of the Thirties - The Life of Ruby Elzy, by David E. Weaver, published by the University Press of Mississippi.  Archival recordings for this program were also provided by Mr. Weaver.

James McGrath Morris, ETHEL PAYNE: THE FIRST LADY OF THE BLACK PRESS

From Francesca Rheannon | 59:01

We talk with acclaimed biographer James McGrath Morris about his just-released biography, Ethel Payne, First Lady Of The Black Press. Few Americans today have ever heard of Ethel Payne, much less understood the giant role she played in reporting the story -- and advancing the agenda -- of the civil rights movement in America. Through Payne's riveting personal story, Morris takes the reader on an inspiring journey through the civil rights movement -- and a greater understanding of issues that continue to resonate strongly today.

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The great civil rights struggles of the mid-twentieth century, with their emphasis on non-violent political action, depended crucially on press coverage to gain impact -- and, ultimately, success. But their stories may have gone untold were it not for newspapers like the Chicago Defender and other organs of the black press. They broke the stories that the white mainstream media picked up and disseminated to a wider audience. Yet few in that wider audience even knew of the existence of the black press.

Perhaps no reporter was more important Ethel Payne. Dubbed “the First Lady of the black press,” she told the world about a young leader emerging out of the civil rights movement in Atlanta named Martin Luther King, Jr. She told the story of Emmet Till’s mother, who had to view the badly mutilated body of her 14 year old son after the brutal beating that took his life. She hammered a nail into the coffin of McCarthyism when she reported on the persecution of a lowly African-American Pentagon employee absurdly accused on being a Communist spy.

The first African American woman to be part of the Washington Press Corps, she courageously buttonholed presidents with searching questions about racial prejudice and civil rights. Unlike many of her colleagues then and now, she was no mere stenographer but held the powerful to account for their policies and views.

Yet few Americans have ever heard of Ethel Payne, much less understood the giant role she played in reporting the story -- and advancing the agenda -- of civil rights in America. Now, a terrific biography of Payne has just come out from Harper Collins, written by my guest this hour, James McGrath Morris.  Through Payne’s riveting personal story, he takes the reader on an inspiring journey through the civil rights movement -- and a greater understanding of issues that continue to resonate strongly today. The book is “Eye on the Struggle: Ethel Payne, the First Lady of the Black Press.”

In addition to Eye on the Struggle, James McGrath Morris is the author of the acclaimed biography Pulitzer: A Life in Politics, Print, and Power and two other books.

Black History Special - We Shall Overcome: Civil-Rights Jazz

From WFIU | Part of the Night Lights Classic Jazz: Specials series | 58:59

Find many more Black History Month music hours from WFIU including Black Vocal Harmony Groups of the 1930's-40's, Black Pride Soul Jazz and more from WFIU's series, Night Lights Classic Jazz.

We-shall-overcome-image_small There was a strong relationship between jazz and civil rights in 20th-century America; musicians and many critics as well were advocates for equal rights for African-Americans, and jazz provided a cultural bridge between blacks and whites that helped to work as a force for integration. In the post-World War II era black musicians began to speak up, directly and indirectly, against racial injustice, and they also began to record works with titles or lyrics that referred explicitly to the struggle for equality.

This program includes music from Nina Simone (her take on the legendary anti-lynching song “Strange Fruit”), Sonny Rollins (his instrumental version of “The House I Live In,” first sung by Frank Sinatra in 1945, and co-written by Abel Meeropol, who also wrote “Strange Fruit”), John Coltrane (a live and complete performance of “Alabama” taken from Ralph Gleason’s Jazz Casual TV show), and Max Roach’s powerful “Prayer/Protest/Peace” from the 1960 album We Insist! Freedom Now Suite.

Black History Special!: Suite History - Four Jazz Composers and the African-American Odyssey

From WFIU | Part of the Night Lights Classic Jazz: Specials series | 58:58

From the 1940s to the 1990s, several jazz composers undertook large-scale orchestral compositions that portrayed the journey of black people from Africa to enslavement in America, and beyond. "Suite History" features music from such works by Ellington, Nelson, Carter and Marsalis.

Suite_history_small From the 1940s to the 1990s, several jazz composers undertook several large-scale orchestral compositions that portrayed the journey of black people from Africa to enslavement in America, emancipation, and the subsequent difficulties and complexities of life in a racist and segregated country. This program offers music from such extended works by Duke Ellington, Oliver Nelson, John Carter and Wynton Marsalis, as well as commentary from historian Michael McGerr.  Perfect for Black History Month, but usable year-round.

A Beautiful Symphony of Brotherhood: A Musical Journey in the Life of Martin Luther King, Jr.

From WQXR | 58:00

In this hour-long special from WQXR and WNYC, host Terrance McKnight interweaves musical examples with Dr. King's own speeches and sermons to illustrate the powerful place that music held in his work--and examines how the musical community responded to and participated in Dr. King's cause.

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Martin Luther King, Jr. grew up listening to and singing church songs, and saw gospel and folk music as natural tools to further the civil rights movement.

In this hour-long special from WQXR and WNYC, host Terrance McKnight interweaves musical examples with Dr. King's own speeches and sermons to illustrate the powerful place that music held in his work--and examines how the musical community responded to and participated in Dr. King's cause.

Terrance McKnight is WQXR's Evening Host. He came to WQXR from WNYC, which he joined in 2008. He brings to his position wide and varied musical experience that includes performance, teaching and radio broadcast. An accomplished pianist, McKnight was also a member of the Morehouse College faculty, where he taught music appreciation and applied piano.

Chasing the Crescent Moon: The Story of Dr. Frempong and Sickle Cell Disease

From Aaron Schwartz | 59:00

A documentary exploring sickle cell disease and an extraordinary doctor who is fighting the illness in Philadelphia and West Africa.

Crescentlogowithoutfill_small A genetic disease mostly affecting those of African descent, sickle cell produces debilitating pain and a life sometimes cut short, especially for the undiagnosed. And as a burden largely borne by the underprivileged, sickle cell is not just a medical problem, but a social one. Chasing the Crescent Moon explores the challenges posed by sickle cell through the story of one physician and the lives he has touched. Dr. Kwaku Ohene-Frempong grew from a child of Ghanaian cocoa farmers to become a Yale scholar, an Olympic athlete, and one of the most important international warriors against sickle cell. He also bore a son who suffers from the disease. In his greatest accomplishment, Dr. Frempong established the only city-wide newborn screening for sickle cell in all of West Africa, where 1 in 50 babies suffers from the illness. The documentary relates Dr. Frempong's remarkable journey as well as the dramatic stories of his coworkers, staff, patients and their families. Set in Ghana and Philadelphia, the documentary travels from the high tech Comprehensive Sickle Cell Clinic that Dr. Frempong heads at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia to his overcrowded Ghanaian clinic. The stories educate, advocate and entrance, conveying the unusual medical and social burdens faced by those fighting sickle cell. Available free to all stations. The program includes two 59-second breaks (with music beds) at 22:56 and 40:49.

Max Roach--Drums Unlimited

From Ben Shapiro | 53:59

Master drummer Max Roach recounts his own extraordinary journey, from the era of the Jim Crow south to the creation of modern jazz, from the civil rights years to far-reaching experiments in percussion. With thrilling music and storytelling help from friends like Dizzy Gillespie.

Max_small Imagine a musician single-handedly redefining what an instrument can do, elevating it to a whole other level. That's what the late Max Roach did for the drums. Whether its Jazz or rock or funk, there isn't a drummer today who isn't somehow influenced by what Roach played. But that's only a part of Max Roach's story, which spanned the Harlem Renaissance, the development of modern jazz, right up to hip hop and multi-media. Over a fifty-year career he blazed his way across genres as percussionist, bandleader and composer. Max Roach tells his story with frankness and a characteristic sharp wit, supported by "special guests" including Dizzy Gillespie, and noted drummers Paul Motion and Art Taylor. Max Roach--Drums Unlimited is narrated by Kenny Washington, a host of shows on public radio and Sirius, and himself a well-known jazz drummer. Washington brings his own drum-knowledge to the table, as well as a friendship with Max Roach. Max Roach passed away in August, 2007, and this original special pegs to either end-of-year "obit", or to his birth date, January 10. Despite its timeliness now with his recent passing, the show is evergreen for any future use.

King Stories: (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.)

From Dorothy Green | 54:26

King Stories is a one hour documentary of captivating stories told by close friends and associates of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Host Julian Bond, along with insiders—Ralph Abernathy, David Garrow, Dick Gregory, Mark Lane and Larry Williams—share rarely documented stories about the personal and private sides of Martin Luther King, Jr.

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King Stories  is a one hour documentary of captivating stories told by close friends and associates of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Host Julian Bond, along with insiders—Ralph Abernathy, David Garrow, Dick Gregory, Mark Lane and Larry Williams—share rarely documented stories about the personal and private sides of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Notably one of the most significant Americans in the 20th Century, Dr. King is an iconic figure. But who was the man? King Stories offers snapshots into his personality and character. We begin with Dr. King’s precocious teenage years followed by close-ups of behind the scenes accounts of day-to-day life on the road marching and protesting for American black civil rights. We hear a moving account of Dr. King’s last conversation just minutes before he was struck down by a sniper’s bullet, and the disclosures of the investigation into his murder.

Can You Hear Me?

From Claire Schoen | Part of the ILLUMINATIONS: Jewish Culture in the Light of the World series | 59:01

A documentary exploring the history of conflict and coalition between blacks and Jews in America.

Canyouhearme_small Over the decades, the relationship between African Americans and Jewish Americans has been a push and pull of common interests and mutual recriminations. During the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's the Jewish concept of "Tikkun Olam" or Repairing the World was a driving force for young Jewish activists who went to the South to register Black voters and link arms with Black protesters. African Americans embraced these Jews as brothers and sisters from another oppressed group. However, with the rise of Black nationalism at home and increased turmoil in Israel, this hopeful period was followed by an angry break between the two groups, resulting in racism and anti-Semitism. "Can Your Hear Me" follows this saga and then looks at how these two cultures have worked towards reconciliation through a rediscovery of their common humanity. (Each of the 3 shows in this series can be broadcast as stand-alone programs.)

Black Women Make History/ Coretta Scott King & Carol Moseley Braun

From KSFR | Part of the Equal Time with Martha Burk series | 56:48

Equal Time series host Martha Burk explores the life of Coretta Scott King with biographer Barbara Reynolds, a founding editor of USA Today. Burk also interviews Carol Moseley Braun, the first and only Black woman elected to the U.S. Senate. Includes audio from Coretta King's 1996 Atlanta speech.

King_small Dr. Barbara Reynolds spent many hours with Coretta Scott King over a period of 25 years, recording her thoughts and stories of the civil rights struggle as partner to Martin Luther King Jr., and her continuing activism for many causes after his death.  Following an audio clip from one of Coretta King's speeches, Reynolds talks about what Mrs. King wanted to leave as a legacy, why she felt she was not a mere helpmate, and her dreams for the future of race relations in the United States and around the world.

Carol Moseley Braun discusses her historic victory as the first and only Black woman elected to the U.S. Senate, including ethics charges brought against her and dismissed.  She explores her childhood in a segregated society, and her subsequent time as Ambassador to New Zealand, ending with her assessment of where Black women and men are today in achieving political, economic, and social equality.
 
Full single file version includes both interviews, divided into 4 segments (2 x 30 sec. breaks midway in each half, 2 x 30 sec at bottom of hour).  See detail in Timing and Cues.


Separate modules are Coretta King Module (2 x 30 sec breaks midway) and and Moseley-Braun Module ( 2 x 30 sec midway).  See detail in Timing and Cues.

The Writ Writer - part 1

From Guy Rathbun | 58:57

This is a story that begs to be told. It’s long overdue.
The year was 1919. The place: Phillips County, Arkansas.

What became a watershed moment in black history, this is the story of Scipio Africanus Jones, and one man’s gallant and courageous effort to fight murder convictions brought against 134 black sharecroppers, 12 of whom were sentenced to die in the electric chair.

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Very few are aware of what became known as “The Elaine Massacre,” where hundreds of blacks were murdered and five white men were killed. Nor are many aware that Scipio Jones, a black attorney from Little Rock, Arkansas succeeded against all odds, and brought about the reversal of several lower court decisions. His tenacity resulted in the release of all of the imprisoned black sharecroppers; this included the 12 men sentenced to die.

Louis Armstrong's New Orleans, with Wynton Marsalis

From Joe Bevilacqua | Part of the Joe Bevilacqua Documentaries series | 58:50

Recorded in the French Quarter of New Orleans, this hour features jazz great Wynton Marsalis, jazz author and historian Donald Newlove, WNYC Radio talk show host Leonard Lopate, members of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and others.

Armstrong_small Louis Armstrong's New Orleans, with Wynton Marsalis Veteran radio producer Joe Bevilacqua hosts this entertaining, informative hour, recorded in the French Quarter of New Orleans and featuring jazz great Wynton Marsalas, jazz author and historian Donald Newlove, WNYC Radio talk show host Leonard Lopate, members of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and others, on the origins of jazz, and the life and music and legendary trumpeter, LOUIS ARMSTRONG. Also featured is the music of Armstrong throughout his long career, and rare recordings, including rare audio from a 1957 CBS TV documentary, with Edward R. Murrow. A REVIEW: ***** Informational, Polished, Sound Rich Joe Bevilacqua strikes again with this superb documentary on the life and music of Louis Armstrong. The rich tapestry of music, interviews and sound from the streets of New Orleans is expertly produced. In addition to some rare recordings, the program includes interviews with Wynton Marsalas and others that really add to what is primarily a music program, rather than detract from the focus of the program. The sound quality is excellent, and the vintage recordings have been cleaned up well. The program is both entertaining and informative, and held my interest for the entire hour. This program would fit well as a special hour in any local jazz program, and I highly recommend it. (Producer) (Editorial Board) Phil Corriveau, Wisconsin Public Radio February 19, 2006 Perfect for Black History Month Special! And check out Joe Bevilacqua's VALENTINE'S "WEEK" themed programming at: http://www.prx.org/series/23013

Peace Talks Radio: Ralph Bunche - Profile in Peace (59:00/54:00/29:00)[Black History Month Offering]

From Good Radio Shows, Inc. | Part of the Peace Talks Radio: Weekly Hour Long Episodes series | 58:54

A conversational profile of Ralph Bunche, the sometimes overlooked African-American who excelled in the world of diplomacy. Bunche negotiated tirelessly across the globe for the United Nations for over 25 years after World War II, winning a Nobel Peace Prize for peacemaking work in the Middle East and helping to bring independence from colonial rule to many Africans and Asians.

Ralphbunche1_small Peace Talks: The radio series about peacemaking and nonviolent conflict resolution strategies. This is one of many newscast friendly hours that are currently available from Good Radio Shows, Inc. and producer Paul Ingles. In the middle part of the 20th century, if there was a news story about a peacemaking mission around the globe, chances are it contained the name of African-American diplomat Ralph Bunche. A scholar of world affairs and race relations, Bunche was recruited from academia first into the U.S. State Department, then into the fledgling United Nations. He stepped boldly onto the world stage as a peace negotiator and advocate for the liberation of peoples of color from colonial rule. Along the way, he was targeted and cleared of communist allegations, criticized as a pawn of the white establishment, and ultimately heralded as a role model for all in human relations. Today on Peace Talks, a profile in peace featuring Ralph Bunche. We'll highlight just a few chapters from this remarkable life, and try to take away some lessons about peacemaking as we talk with Bunche's UN colleague and biographer Sir Brian Urquhart, William Greaves, a filmmaker who produced a PBS documentary on Bunche, Tonya Covington, a diversity trainer inspired by Bunche, and with Ralph Bunche Jr., son of the late Ralph Bunche.

Humankind: Meeting Hate With Love -- Stories of King and Gandhi

From Humankind | 59:02

Explorations on the non-violence philosophies shared by King and Gandhi.

Kingbannerorange277_small SEGMENT 1: More than an advocate of racial equality, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was a practitioner of peaceful resistance to prejudice, and in this documentary we explore the philosophical and historical roots of King's non-violent movement. SEGMENT 2: Further explorations of non-violence with Mahatma Gandhi's grandson, Dr. Arun Gandhi (now in his 70s) who as a troubled teenager was tutored daily by the spiritual / political leader, gaining an intimate glimpse into the life and beliefs of a remarkable twentieth century figure.

The Undiscovered Explorer: Imagining York

From Claire Schoen | 01:03:13

Through a rich weave of music, interviews, performance and dramatic readings, this program tells the story of York, William Clark's slave and the only African American member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Narrated by Danny Glover.

Glover1_small The Undiscovered Explorer: Imagining York explores the making of an American myth. This hour-long audio documentary, narrated by Danny Glover, is a production of Oregon Public Broadcasting. Through a rich weave of music, interviews, performance and dramatic readings, this program tells the story of York, William Clark's slave and the only African American member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. York's story is both heroic and tragic. He began life as the childhood playmate of Clark, but at age 12 their relationship was transformed into that of master and slave. On the Expedition, York experienced a rare level of freedom and equality, working shoulder to shoulder with white men. Upon their return, the other members of the Corps of Discovery were welcomed home with gifts and praise. York was plunged back into bondage and subservience, which ultimately shattered his life. The facts of York's story are based on fragmentary evidence. Forbidden by law to read and write, York left no written record of his own. We only know about him through the writings and stories of others. Depictions of York have changed through time, always colored by the social era in which they are told. York has been characterized as a valiant hero, an insolent and sulky slave and a happy, dancing darkie. Yet, how York himself really felt about his experiences remains a total mystery. Today, artists and historians continue to give words to this man who has no voice in history. Poetry, opera and rap -- all in York's "voice" -- are being performed as part of the current bicentennial celebration of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. A look at how York is portrayed through history opens the door to many questions about American society at large and about how history is recorded, remembered and created. It is this aspect of York -- the "Invisible Man" who exists only as a reflection of ourselves -- that informs this documentary.

Amazing Grace

From Canadian Broadcasting Corporation | 50:34

The story of "Amazing Grace"- a piece of music that has an extraordinary impact on American history.

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Author Steve Turner's book "Amazing Grace: the story of an America's Favourite Song" unearths the fascinating background of a piece of music that's had an extraordinary impact. It's been a hymn of redemption. A song of comfort. A gospel favourite, a bagpipe standard, a folksong, a civil rights anthem, the most popular song for funerals. It's the song people turned to after 9/11, Columbine, the Oklahoma City bombing, and the Challenger tragedy. There are at least 450 recorded versions of it - everyone from Elvis to Mahalia Jackson. The English man who created the lyrics, John Newton, the "wretch" of the first verse, had an unbelievable life. And yet its roots are more American than anything else.

Steve Turner has written about Marvin Gaye, The Beatles, Jack Kerouac, and Van Morrison. He's published his articles about music in Rolling Stone and The London Times.

A Small Southern Town: The Nation's Capital In Slave Times

From Richard Paul | 54:10

A dramatization of the largest mass-escape of slaves in American history.

Smallsouthern_small Hear the first person accounts of people who lived in slavery; the voices of those who worked to end slavery and those who strove to keep it in "A Small Southern Town: The Nation's Capital In Slave Times." In this special designed for African American History Month, listeners will hear of one family's role in one of the largest mass escapes of slaves in American history. "A Small Southern Town" combines dramatic readings of first person accounts from slave times with modern day analysis to shed light on little known aspects of slave life and slave times in the Nation's Capital. ----------------------------------------- Richard Paul offers these suggestions for reading on subjects covered in his two-part program on slavery: * Arguing About Slavery, by William Lee Miller. Published by Alfred A. Knopf, c. 1996. Available at bookstores. * Personal Memoir of Daniel Drayton: For Four Years and Four Months A Prisoner (For Chairty's Sake) In Washington Jail including A Narrative Of the Voyage and Capture Of The Schooner Pearl. Published by Negro Universities Press, c. 1855. Available at the DC Historical Society. * Fugitives of the Pearl, by John Paynter. Published by Associated Publishers, Inc., Washington, DC, c. 1930. Available at the DC Historical Society. * The Life of Josiah Henson, Formally a Slave, Now an Inhabitant of Canada, by Josiah Henson, c. 1849. Available at the Montgomery County Historical Society. Newspaper Articles * "Uncle Tom's Montgomery County Cabin" by Michael Richman, The Washington Post, Wednesday December 10, 1997; Horizon section; Pg. H05 * "Escape on the Pearl: Years Before the Civil War, 77 Washington Slaves Made a Risky Bid for Freedom" by Mary Kay Ricks, The Washington Post, Wednesday August 12, 1998; Horizon section; pg. H01

Peace Talks Radio: Martin Luther King Jr.'s Path To Nonviolence (59:00/54:00)

From Good Radio Shows, Inc. | Part of the Peace Talks Radio: Weekly Hour Long Episodes series | 59:01

Martin Luther King Jr.'s journey to a philosophy of nonviolence and his lasting legacy as a peace proponent is recalled in interviews with his daughter, Yolanda King, and one of King's top colleagues in the civil rights movement, Dr. Dorothy Cotton. This program is also available in a 29:00 version.

Yolandaking_small IMPORTANT: Please have your local announcer read the following script before and after this show. "The following (preceding) program, featuring an interview with Yolanda King, the daughter of the late Martin Luther King Jr., was recorded in 2004. Yolanda King died, at the age of 51, May 15, 2007." PROGRAM DESCRIPTION: Two women with very close ties to Martin Luther King Jr. reflect on how King developed into one of the great moral and political philosophers of the 20th century and how his philosophies might still guide the world through troubled times today. Dr. Dorothy Cotton was the highest ranking female in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, founded by Dr. King. From 1960 to 1972 Dr. Cotton was the educational director for SCLC and worked very closely with Dr. King. The late Yolanda King was the eldest daughter of Dr. King. She was an internationally known motivational speaker and actress whose personal mission in life was to inspire positive social change and world peace. Ms. King died in May of 2007 at the age of 51. Ms. King and Dr. Cotton were interviewed separately in 2004 by phone by show host Carol Boss. The entire program includes about 15 minutes of excerpts from talks by Dr. King, along with music by U2 ("Pride in The Name of Love") and 1960's recordings by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Freedom Singers. Newscast Compatible (but airing a newscast will pre-empt a compelling King speech clip). Program is split into two parts that can be run as separate half hours. The two 29 minute parts can stand alone and are separated by a minute long music bed. A 29:00 version of the program is also available on PRX: http://www.prx.org/piece/3124

The Life and Legend of Louis Armstrong: A Conversation with Biographer Terry Teachout

From AARP Radio | Part of the Prime Time Radio series | 59:55

The Life and Legend of Louis Armstrong and “Live a Little!” Learning to Live “A Pretty Healthy Life” on Prime Time Radio.

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When hundreds of recordings of Louis Armstrong’s private conversations recently became available at Queens College in New York, critic Terry Teachout was the first biographer to access them.  The result is “Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong,” an in-depth biography of the jazz great that’s full of new details about Armstrong’s personal and professional life.

 

Join us to hear highlights and musical examples of Armstrong’s groundbreaking style in this entertaining conversation between Teachout- drama critic of The Wall Street Journal- and our music-connoisseur host, Mike Cuthbert.  

 

Then … Dr. Susan Love and psychologist Ali Domar spend their professional lives investigating and improving women’s health. Now they have teamed up to write “Live a Little! Breaking the Rules Won’t Break Your Health.” In this educational half-hour with our willing – and male – pupil, host Mike Cuthbert, they encourage us to stress out less about the health rules and to “not get carried away with trying to live forever.”

Jump for Joy - Duke Ellington's Celebratory Musical

From WFIU | 59:05

Perfect for Black History Month (February), this one-hour special tells the story of Duke Ellington's musical "Jump for Joy."

495597639ee1206d07eo_small Ellington once said that Jump for Joy "was the hippest thing we ever did." The inspiration came from a late-night party, a convergence of Hollywood glamour and nascent civil-rights activism with one of America's greatest jazz orchestras. In the summer of 1941, as Americans warily regarded a world war that seemed to be edging ever closer to their shores, Duke Ellington staged what he would later call "the first 'social significance' show," Jump for Joy. Jump for Joy was an all-black musical revue that Ellington said "would take Uncle Tom out of the theater?and say things that would make the audience think." It featured the Ellington orchestra in its so-called "Blanton-Webster" years, playing at the peak of its powers, and up-and-coming African-American performers such as the actress Dorothy Dandridge, the blues singer Big Joe Turner, and the comedian Wonderful Smith. The poet Langston Hughes contributed a sketch entitled "Mad Scene From Woolworth's," and Ellington collaborator Billy Strayhorn took a significant hand in scoring the show. Created and presented in Los Angeles, Jump for Joy had at its center and periphery a host of legendary Hollywood figures. The musical was financed in part by the actor John Garfield; its director, Nick Castle, went on to become a famous choreographer for 20th Century Fox.. Charlie Chaplin stopped by rehearsals to give advice, Orson Welles offered to make the show a Mercury Theater production, and Mickey Rooney eagerly attempted to demonstrate his compositional talents by writing a song called "Cymbal Rockin' Sam" for Ellington's drummer Sonny Greer. Sid Kuller, who authored many of the revue's sketches and song lyrics, was a writer for MGM who had just knocked off The Big Store for the Marx Brothers. Jump for Joy opened at the Mayan Theater on July 10, 1941 and ran for 122 performances, with the Ellington orchestra playing in the pit every night as African-American performers spoke, sang, danced, and joked in rebellion against traditional representations of blacks in movies and musical theater. In a bold break with convention, Ellington expressly forbade the 60-member cast to "blacken up," or artificially darken their skin hues. "The show was done on a highly intellectual level," he recalled in his 1973 memoir Music Is My Mistress. "No crying, no moaning, but entertaining, and with social demands as a potent spice. The Negroes always left proudly with their chests sticking out." The show received mostly positive reviews, but the brash racial jubilation of songs such as "I've Got a Passport From Georgia" and "Uncle Tom's Cabin Is a Drive-In Now" provoked death threats, and one cast member was beaten as he left the theater. Although Ellington hoped to take the show to Broadway, its lack of stereotyping and its unabashed celebration of African-American pride made it an unlikely candidate for New York's Great White Way. After closing on September 29, 1941, it was revived for one week in November, and then again in Miami Beach in 1959 for an aborted two-week run. Although the musical has occasionally been recreated both onstage and in concert by others, and the original revue thoroughly documented by Ellington assistant Patricia Willard for a 1988 Smithsonian LP, Jump for Joy remains an important but often-overlooked chapter in the career of Duke Ellington. He later remarked that it paved the way for Black, Brown and Beige, his ambitious 1943 orchestral recreation of African-American history. It also served as an early salvo in the cultural struggle for equality. When a young San Francisco protester confronted Ellington in the early 1960s with the question, "When are you going to do your piece for civil rights?" Ellington replied, "I did my piece more than 20 years ago when I wrote Jump for Joy." WFIU's Jump for Joy: Duke Ellington's Celebratory Musical features nearly all of the music that Ellington's 1941 Blanton-Webster band recorded for the show, including the classic hits "I Got It Bad (and That Ain't Good)," "Rocks In My Bed," and "Chocolate Shake." Other highlights include a portion of comedian Wonderful Smith's monologue, a radio medley spot, and Ellington himself discussing the musical and its impact, more than 20 years after its debut. Guests include Ellington assistant and Jump for Joy scholar Patricia Willard, Smithsonian Masterworks Orchestra conductor David Baker, Ellington biographer John Edward Hasse, and cultural historian Michael McGerr. The program is written, produced, and narrated by WFIU announcer David Brent Johnson. Duke Ellington once said that Jump for Joy "was the hippest thing we ever did." As Patricia Willard notes, it fulfilled his lifelong criteria for success: "doing the right thing, at the right time, in the right place, with the right people." In an age when the film and theater industries presented African-Americans primarily as servants and porters, as fearful and clowning stereotypes, Duke Ellington dared to produce and grace a musical with the same dignity, wit, beauty, and unabiding hipness that he always brought to his band. Jump for Joy is a cultural milestone and another example of how this great American composer traversed the racial and aesthetic boundaries of his time.

The Black Experience

From West Virginia Public Broadcasting | 01:57:00

Dr. Della Taylor Hardman made it her mission to talk to influential and promising African Americans inside and outside of West Virginia. Her interviews became the local Charleston radio show "The Black Experience." A professor, artist, poet, columnist, and photographer, the title radio host was just one of many hats she wore. Narrated by Peabody award-winning journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault.

Della_brown_hardman__phd_001_small Dr. Della Taylor Hardman made it her mission to talk to influential and promising African Americans inside and outside of West Virginia. Her interviews became the local Charleston radio show "The Black Experience." A professor, artist, poet, columnist, and photographer, the title radio host was just one of many hats she wore.

Narrated by Peabody award-winning journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault, this documentary revisits some of Dr. Hardman’s interviews from that time and offers reflections on her life from friends and family. 

Interviewees include Ralph Abernathy, Ann Baker, William Warfield, Gwendolyn Brooks, Scatman Crothers, Clint Thomas, Mary Thomas, Dr. Margaret Cyrus Mills, Carmen McRae, and Dorothy West.

Major funding for The Black Experience comes from the West Virginia Humanities Council.  Additional funding provided by West Virginia American Water.