African American History
Sunday, January 18, 2015
Friday, July 05, 2013
Today's show is a best-of, so we won't be taking any calls. But the comments page is always open!
Actor Alan Alda talks about his career and his interest in science and medicine – particularly dyslexia. Then, the rock band They Might Be Giants perform in studio and talk about how to navigate the music business in the age of the Internet. Plus, author Isabel Allende on her new novel; an anthropologist makes the case that sanitation workers are the city’s heroes; the Black Fives and Brooklyn’s basketball past; and the local history of the American Revolution.
Monday, February 18, 2013
By Charis Conn
Amiri Baraka died January 9th after weeks of failing health. He was 79. A playwright, poet, critic and activist, Baraka was one of the most prominent and controversial African American voices in the world of American letters. Speaking at the Overseas Press Club ( and airing on WNYC) in 1965 following the release of his Obie award-winning play The Dutchman, Baraka presented himself as a no-nonsense artist who was not about to compromise his message for anyone. The talk catches Baraka (still known as Leroi Jones) at the height of his radical voice in the 1960s and is critical because it was delivered just four days before the assassination of Malcolm X.
The writer and activist LeRoi Jones (who would later be known as Amiri Baraka) speaks here on February 17, 1965, four days before the assassination of Malcolm X, an event that catapulted him from a charismatic Greenwich Village maverick into a radicalized black nationalist in Harlem.
Monday, January 21, 2013
Walter White, head of the NAACP, ponders race and foreign relations at the Great Hall of Cooper Union, in New York City, in this 1949 recording.
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Long before rap, there was “the dozens” – the African-American street rhyming tradition that author Elijah Wald defines as “halfway between ‘yo mama’ jokes and rap freestyle battling.” He joins us to share the surprising musical history of the R-rated comedic insults.
Friday, March 09, 2012
In poet Kevin Young's new book, "The Grey Album: On the Blackness of Blackness," Young offers a remarkable, encyclopedic essay on the history of African-American culture. Young explores how African-American culture and American culture have affected one another. The book, part prose and part essay, also explores how African-American culture has become an essential and inextricable part of American culture.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Henry Louis Gates Jr., professor at Harvard University, director of the W.E.B. DuBois Institute for African and African American Research, as well as the author of Life Upon These Shores: Looking at African American History 1513-2008, continues this month's series on African American history. This week: music and popular culture, including Billy Eckstine, Thriller and the television show Roots.
Friday, December 16, 2011
Henry Louis Gates Jr., professor at Harvard University, as well as director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research and author of Life Upon These Shores: Looking at African American History 1513-2008, continues this month's series with a discussion about African-American history in the World War II and pre-Civil Rights era.
Thursday, December 08, 2011
Henry Louis Gates Jr., professor at Harvard University, author of Life Upon These Shores: Looking at African American History 1513-2008, and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, continues this month's series on African American history with a discussion about the "New Negro Movement" of the early 20th century.
Thursday, December 01, 2011
Henry Louis Gates Jr., professor at Harvard University, as well as director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, kicks off this month's series on African American history with chapters from his new book, Life Upon These Shores: Looking at African American History 1513-2008. This week: the colonies and the history of the slave trade.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
On Tuesday, to mark the 150-year anniversary of the start of the Civil War, we aired a segment featuring two African-American men whose ancestors fought with the confederate army. Nelson Winbush and Stan Armstrong said they are proud of their relatives' military service. But to some of our listeners the segment smacked of misinformation. Did African-Americans fight in the Confederate Army in the Civil War? And if so, did they do so out of free will or as enslaved people?
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Today is the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. And while history buffs all appreciate the influence that the war had over the future well being of our nation – it can be easy to gloss over the details of the war. Like who fought in it. Joining us to talk about the history of black confederate soldiers is Stan Armstrong, director of a documentary called "Black Confederates: The Forgotten Men in Gray.” Stan’s great-great-grandfather was a black confederate soldier.