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Playlist: The Economy: An Historical Perspective

Compiled By: PRX Editors

 Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/andrewjbrown/">Andy Beez</a>
Image by: Andy Beez 

Take a look back at unemployment, financial panics, strikes, popular entertainment, and jobs to understand just how much has changed -- and how much hasn't -- in the American economic narrative.

Surviving the Depression and Segregation

From KUT | 07:09

When Ben Sifuentes' father died in 1938, he was only 10 years old. The oldest of five kids, Sifuentes did whatever he could to help the family in an era of severe discrimination against Mexican-Americans. An affecting first-person oral history.

Image002_small Retired pharmacist Ben Sifuentes was only 10 years old in 1938 when his father died, the year after his grandfather died. The oldest of five kids, Sifuentes did whatever he could to help feed his family in an era before food stamps, before free school lunch, and when Mexican-Americans faced severe discrimination. This is a first-person oral history.

Action Speaks! - What Now? 1937: The Flint, Michigan United Auto Workers Sit-In

From Action Speaks Radio | 58:58

A look at the famous UAW sit-down strike against General Motors as compared to the current state of today's labor movement. Part of a series called Action Speaks! Underappreciated Dates that Changed America presents What Now?

Flintsit-in_small Action Speaks! is a series of contemporary topic-driven panel discussions framed by the theme "Underappreciated Dates that Changed America."  Each panel draws three or four experts, academics, creatives, and other relevant guests into an open-ended discussion with the larger community in the casual atmosphere of the downtown Providence arts organization, AS220.  Action Speaks! has partnered with RI's NPR station, WRNI, since 1995, and holds the honor of being been the first locally generated show aired on the station. Now you can tune in nationwide to Action Speaks! to hear host Marc Levitt and an endless parade of perceptive intellects and insightful audience members!

The spring season of Action Speaks: Underappreciated Dates that Changed America is organized around the theme ‘What Now?’ With our country mired in its worst economic collapse since the great depression, history can be a guide for what actions our nation should or shouldn’t take to provide for its citizens and whether or not it is time to re-set our priorities.

Featured Guests:

Richard McIntyre, PhD is Professor of Economics and Director of the University of Rhode Island Honors Program at The University of Rhode Island. He has written and published extensively in the fields of international and comparative political economy and labor relations. McIntyre is the author Are Worker Rights Human Rights? (University of Michigan Press, 2008) and editor of the New Political Economy book series for Routledge Press.

Travis James Rowley is a conservative republican and native of the state recently named the most democratic in our nation, Rhode Island (Gallup, 2009). A 2002 Brown University graduate, Rowley co-founded the Foundation for Intellectual Diversity at Brown University, an independent 501(c)3 committed to the promotion of underrepresented ideas, beliefs, and perspectives through lectures, conferences, publications, and academic programs at academic institutions in southern New England, including his liberal alma mater. Rowley is the chair if the RI Young Republicans and works as an independent financial advisor for New York Life Insurance Company. Rowley is the author of Out of Ivy: How a Liberal Ivy Created a Committed Conservative (BookSurge Publishing, 2006) and a frequent contributor to the Providence Journal.

Rachel Miller serves as the Rhode Island director of Jobs with Justice, a strongly pro-union non-profit organization with a national presence of around 40 local coalitions. These coalitions bring together labor unions, community organizations, religious groups, and student groups in their fight for economic and social progress in workplaces and communities. Jobs with Justice works on the direct concerns of the labor movement, such as first contract campaigns and organizing, as well as broader economic issues, including affordable housing and health care.

 


 

Action Speaks!, a co-production of AS220 and the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, would like to thank The National Endowment for the Humanities who provided major funding to our program; our Media Partners: WRNI, RIPBS & the Providence Phoenix.  Thanks to The What Cheer? Brigade for our intro music.

Find out more at http://actionspeaksradio.org/ 


Contact the production crew at actionspeaksradio@as220.org with any feedback, ideas for future shows for press info or to request a personalized ID. You can also write to us at Action Speaks! c/o AS220 Main Office, 95 Mathewson St. Dreyfus #204, Providence RI 02903. If you are a radio station and wish to receive a CD of Action Speaks! please visit Creative PR's website: creativepr.org to make a request or contact them at info@creativepr.org / 1-888-233-5650. After December 2009, please contact actionspeaksradio@as220.org with any CD requests.


Ten Cents a Dance

From With Good Reason | 28:56

During and despite the Great Depression, the entertainment industry worked overtime. Some of the roughest years in American history produced what many consider to be the greatest era of popular music. Elliot Majerczyk looks at the songs that became the soundtrack of the ‘lost generation’ and helped pull America through the hard times.

Great-depression_soup_line_small During and despite the Great Depression, the entertainment industry was working overtime.  The roughest years in American history produced what many consider the greatest era of popular music.  Elliot Majerczyk looks at the songs that became the soundtrack of the ‘lost generation’ and helped pull America through the hard times. He says that given the state of the economy, we may get to hear more songs like these in the near future.  Also: Historians Nigel Sellars  and Eric Rauchway explain that Roosevelt’s New Deal originally focused on regulation and stimulating the industrial economy.  It was not until 1935 when the Second New Deal began putting millions of people to work that most Americans felt relief from the Great Depression.

Skywalkers of Akwesane

From Helen Borten | Part of the A Sense of Place: Third Season series | 29:20

For over a hundred years the Mohawks of Akwesasne, a reservation on the New York-Canada border, filled the positions of ironworkers on the high-steel crews of bridges and skyscrapers in Manhattan. Famous for their skill, daring, and major contributions to the skyline of New York, these men plied a difficult modern craft while cleaving to ancient tribal customs. An intimate portrait of an unusual occupation and the Native Americans who made it their own.

Default-piece-image-2 For over a hundred years the Mohawks of Akwesasne, a reservation on the New York-Canada border, pursued the occupation of ironworkers, one of the most dangerous jobs in construction. Mohawks were on the high steel crews of every bridge and skyscraper in Manhattan, commuting between job and their 12-hour-distant home every weekend, and became famous for their skill, daring and major contribution to the skyline of New York. This is the story of men plying a difficult craft in the modern world while cleaving to tribal customs in an ancient world -- a balancing act that has taken its toll in lives and relationships. An honest, intimate and informative portrait of an unusual occupation and the Native Americans who made it their own.

Nightfall in Chester County

From Helen Borten | Part of the A Sense of Place series | 29:29

In Pennsylvania farmland that was the first stop on the Underground Railroad, a strike by Mexican mushroom pickers polarizes a Quaker community. Produced in 1987.

Default-piece-image-2 In Pennsylvania farmland that was the first stop on the Underground Railroad, a strike by Mexican mushroom pickers polarizes a Quaker community. From historical chronicles of escaped slaves to the present-day inequalities of immigrants who also followed the North Star,this program traces the journey and ordeals of two groups who arrived at the same place,separated in time but connected by their hopes for a better life. One :30 Promo (click "listen" page, promo labeled "Segment 2")