In March, 1972, reporter Eleanor Fischer interviewed Congresswoman Bella Abzug as she was fighting to hold on to her congressional district in Manhattan encompassing, in part, the Battery, the Lower East Side, Little Italy, Chinatown, Greenwich Village and Chelsea. Representative Abzug talks about this effort to marginalize her. She also calls for pulling U.S. troops out of Vietnam, endorses Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm's campaign for the Presidency and (there may be some debate over it) lays claim to starting the honorific "Ms."
Marcus Garvey, the promoter of Pan-Africanism and black pride, had a vision of economic independence for his people. Those who followed him were called Garveyites. He was the founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, (UNIA) the single largest black organization ever. In the 1920s and 30s, the UNIA had an estimated six million followers around the world.
Hall-of-famer Monte Irvin talks about his time in baseball during a round table discussion led by host Walter James Miller.
It was the Great Depression. Nine young black men were hoboing, riding a freight train to Memphis, Tennessee in search of work, but their ride was cut short. At Scottsboro, Alabama the police hauled them off the train: the young men, ages 13 to 21, were accused of raping two white women who were on the train. For black men in the 1930s in the Deep South, such a charge could be fatal. Like so many others who had died by trial or lynching, the Scottsboro Boys (as they came to be called) were falsely accused, a fact that meant almost nothing. In March, 1931 eight of them were sentenced to death, while the fate of the ninth, 13-year-old Roy Wright, hovered dangerously close to life in prison before ending in a mistrial.
In 1961, a radio reporter named Eleanor Fischer spoke to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for a CBC called Project 62. As far as we know, these unedited interviews have never been presented in their entirety until now.
In this 1978 episode of Reader's Almanac, host Jack Sullivan interviews Richard Price, 28, on the publication of his third novel, Ladies’ Man.
In this 1959 episode of Recordings, E.T.C., Host Edward Tatnall Canby presents the "voices" of two canonical storytellers: Mark Twain and Hans Christian Andersen. Neither Twain nor Andersen is actually featured on these recordings, but Canby delights in the authenticity of Hal Holbrook's portrayal of Twain and Boris Karloff's readings of Andersen's tales.
The Archives Department celebrates the life of artist Will Barnet with this WNYC interview from 1972, precisely 40 years ago today. Last year, at the age of 100, Barnet had a widely acclaimed retrospective at the National Academy. The show highlighted a long and prolific career for an artist whose worked spanned - and survived - every important artistic movement in the 20th century. Barnet passed away yesterday.
David Durk, the New York police detective who teamed up with officer Frank Serpico to breach the aptly named 'blue wall of silence' died yesterday. His testimony before the Knapp Commission investigation into police corruption in 1971 made for some of the most moving public testimony ever broadcast. Writing in The New York Times Book Review, WNYC Director Mary Perot Nichols said it was largely thanks to Durk's persistence and contacts that their campaign against police corruption became a matter of public record. Above is an excerpt from his remarks on December 21, 1971.
In 1989 National Public Radio commissioned me to produce a Veterans Day documentary piece on General Smedley Butler, the consummate American soldier.
“I guarantee, that if I am elected, I will take over the White House, hang out, shoot pool, scratch my ass, and not do a damn thing. Which is to say, if you want something done, don't come to me to do it for you; you got to get together and figure out how to do it yourselves. Is that a deal?” - Utah Phillips
"Never blame a legislative body for not doing something. When they do nothing, that don't hurt anybody. When they do something is when they become dangerous." - Will Rogers