%s1 / %s2

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.

New In 2020

Making Beyoncé

From WBEZ | 54:00

Beyoncé Knowles-Carter is a media mogul. A philanthropist. A feminist hero. But before the Grammys, the platinum records and Destiny’s Child, there was just a shy girl growing up in Houston.

In this hour-long special, we'll hear from many of the people instrumental in the very beginning of her career as we follow Beyoncé from the stages of local talent shows to her first crack at a record deal with the group Girls Tyme.

Playing
Making Beyoncé
From
WBEZ

Making_beyonce_logo_1400x1400_small

Beyoncé Knowles-Carter is a media mogul. A philanthropist. A feminist hero. But before the Grammys, the platinum records and Destiny’s Child, there was just a shy girl growing up in Houston.
In this hour-long special, we'll hear from many of the people instrumental in the very beginning of her career as we follow Beyoncé from the stages of local talent shows to her first crack at a record deal with the group Girls Tyme.

Ida B. Wells' Battle to Uncover the Truth

From Humankind | Part of the Humankind Specials series | 52:58

Born to enslaved parents on a Mississippi plantation during the Civil War, Ida B. Wells emerged as a powerful investigative journalist. She overcame death threats and published widely in her quest to document the domestic terrorism against African Americans that came to be known as lynching. Ida Wells published the first major study of that crime. A close associate of Frederick Douglass, she helped to found the NAACP and advocated the right to vote for women and black Americans. Her amazing life story is finally gaining recognition, nearly 90 years after her death.

Among those heard: NY Times correspondent Nikole Hannah-Jones, who led the "1619 Project" on the history of enslaved peoples in America; Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, which in 2018 established the first national memorial to victims of lynching; Smith College Prof. Paula Giddings, principal biographer of Ida B. Wells; David Blight, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of 'Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom' and Yale historian. Includes readings from Ida B. Wells and Frederick Douglass.

Ida_b

Born to enslaved parents on a Mississippi plantation during the Civil War, Ida B. Wells emerged as a powerful investigative journalist. She overcame death threats and published widely in her quest to document the domestic terrorism against African Americans that came to be known as lynching. Ida Wells published the first major study of that crime. A close associate of Frederick Douglass, she helped to found the NAACP and advocated the right to vote for women and black Americans. Her amazing life story is finally gaining recognition, nearly 90 years after her death.

Among those heard: NY Times correspondent Nikole Hannah-Jones, who led the '1619 Project' on the history of enslaved peoples in America; Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, which in 2018 established the first national memorial to victims of lynching; Smith College Prof. Paula Giddings, principal biographer of Ida B. Wells; David Blight, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of 'Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom' and Yale historian. Includes readings from Ida B. Wells and Frederick Douglass.

The Freed People

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

Written and Produced by David Freudberg, in association with WGBH. This one-hour Humankind documentary examines how America responded to a massive refugee crisis, when four million newly emancipated slaves needed shelter, employment, education and the basic rights at the close of the Civil War. Hear historians, brief readings from letters of people who were there, performances of "Negro Spirituals" and more.

Image_1-12-18_at_8 Written and produced by David Freudberg, this one-hour documentary examines a time when the United States faced an unprecedented refugee crisis: 4 million slaves had been emancipated, primarily from plantations where they’d been held captive, following the bloody Civil War. Most possessed no more than the clothes on their backs and were now suddenly homeless and jobless. 

Where would they go? How would they reunite with loved ones, who may have been sold to a distant owner and never heard from again? How would people who’d been abused – sometimes savagely – and cheated out of compensation for their labors, and even legally prohibited from learning to read and write, now make the transition to a free life? 

In this production, we find out about the Freedmen’s Bureau, established by Congress to help this population as the war drew to a close. It established 3,000 schools for ex-slaves. We learn about the journey of these millions of newly freed people toward citizenship. And we hear about the spiritual faith that enabled them to hang on against past horrors and the new hostility they would now face -- the terrorist backlash against emancipation including the Ku Klux Klan, which arose in this period.

Featured are leading historians of Reconstruction: Edna Greene Medford of Howard University, David Blight of Yale University and Abigail Cooper of Brandeis University. Also included are actual voices of emancipated slaves late in life (recorded in the 1940s), as well as brief readings from letters by ex-slaves, educators who traveled south to teach the freed people and others.

 

Black History Special: Black, Brown and Beige: Duke Ellington’s Historic Jazz Symphony

From WFIU | Part of the Night Lights Classic Jazz: Specials series | 59:02

In 1943, Duke Ellington debuted a landmark 43-minute musical portrayal of the African-American experience at Carnegie Hall. We'll hear music from it as well as commentary from Wynton Marsalis, Ellington biographer Harvey Cohen, and Ellington himself.

Ellington-bbb_small In 1943, Duke Ellington debuted a landmark 43-minute musical portrayal of the African-American experience at Carnegie Hall. We'll hear music from it as well as commentary from Wynton Marsalis, Ellington biographer Harvey Cohen, and Ellington himself.

Black History Month Special: The Songs of Razaf and Waller

From WFIU | Part of the Afterglow (Jazz and American Popular Song): Specials series | 59:00

Celebrate Black History Month with an exploration of the songs from one of the most influential songwriting duos of the 20th century: Andy Razaf and Fats Waller.

386px-fats_waller_edit_small It’s Black History Month, so on this show, I want to feature the music of two of the most important African-American songwriters from the first half of the 20th century: Andy Razaf and Fats Waller. Waller was born in Harlem, while Razaf was born into a royal family from Madagascar. But together they created some of the most beloved songs of the Great American Songbook, including “Ain’t Misbehavin” and “Honeysuckle Rose.” On this special, I’ll explore their songs, as performed by Louis Armstrong, Dinah Washington, and Sarah Vaughan.


The Classics

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. 

Race: Let' Talk About It: James Baldwin

From WHRV | Part of the Another View series | 54:31

On the next Another View, we begin our “Race: Let’s Talk About It” conversation with filmmaker Karen Thorsen, creator of the documentary “James Baldwin, The Price of a Ticket”. In his own words, Baldwin shares what it means to be black, poor, gifted and gay in a world that doesn’t understand that all men are brothers. Thorsen gives us insight on this iconic literary giant and civil and gay rights activist, along with the back story on the development of the film.

Anotherviewradio2_1__small

 

 

On the next Another View, we begin our “Race: Let’s Talk About It” conversation with filmmaker Karen Thorsen, creator of the documentary “James Baldwin, The Price of a Ticket”. In his own words, Baldwin shares what it means to be black, poor, gifted and gay in a world that doesn’t understand that all men are brothers. Thorsen gives us insight on this iconic literary giant and civil and gay rights activist, along with the back story on the development of the film.

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.

James Baldwin and Social Justice

From Philosophy Talk | Part of the Philosophy Talk series | 53:58

How can truth and love be harnessed to create a more just society?

Ubh-baldwin-contact-facebookjumbo-v3_small

Sometimes, we struggle to tell the truth -- especially when it's the truth about ourselves. Why did James Baldwin, a prominent Civil Rights-era intellectual and novelist, believe that telling the truth about ourselves is not only difficult but can also be dangerous? How can truth deeply unsettle our assumptions about ourselves and our relations to others? And why did Baldwin think that this abstract concept of truth could play a concrete role in social justice? The Philosophers seek their own truth with Christopher Freeburg from the University of Illinois, author of Black Aesthetics and the Interior Life.

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. 

 

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. 

 

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

From Dorothy Green Alcorn | 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.

Kscover_small

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.

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.

Black History Month specials (Series)

Produced by With Good Reason

With Good Reason Specials for Black History Month

Most recent piece in this series:

Americans Terrorism (promo)

From With Good Reason | Part of the Black History Month specials series | :31

Smach-the-klan-1004x618_small In 1979, members of the KKK shot and killed five labor and civil rights activists in Greensboro, North Carolina. Aran Shetterly, who is writing a book about the incident, says it still reverberates in the racial politics of Greensboro today.

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.

Peterman_3adjusted

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.

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.

Cover_small

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.

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

W.E.B. DuBois

From Philosophy Talk | Part of the Philosophy Talk series | 53:59

The life and thought of sociologist, historian, philosopher, editor, writer, and activist W.E.B. DuBois.

Wd1_small

W.E.B. DuBois was one of the most influential intellectuals of the twentieth century. The first African-American Ph.D. from Harvard University, DuBois died in Ghana after having renounced his American citizenship. In between he co-founded the NAACP and wrote The Souls of Black Folk (1903) as well as a number of other influential books that had a decisive impact on the development of African-American culture in the twentieth century. John and Ken discuss DuBois' life and thought with Lucius Outlaw from Vanderbilt University, auth or of On Race and Philosophy.

Black Solidarity

From Philosophy Talk | Part of the Philosophy Talk series | 53:59

Is there still a place for political unity among African-Americans?

Black-fist_small

From the abolition of slavery to the Black Power movement, black unity has been considered a powerful method to achieve freedom and equality.  But does black solidarity still make sense in a supposedly post-racial era?  Or should we be moving past all racial identities and identity politics?  And how should we think about racial solidarity versus class or gender solidarity?  In celebration of Black History Month, John and Ken join forces with Tommie Shelby from Harvard University, author of We Who Are Dark: The Philosophical Foundations of Black Solidarity.


Music Hours

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Default-piece-image-2

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 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.

Wqxr_logo_nofreq_small

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.

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

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.

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.

Mike_ptr_thumb_small

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.”

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.