Angie Thomas’ novel, The Hate U Give, tells the story of Starr, a young woman of color, who turns toward activism after witnessing the murder of her friend Khalil by a police officer when she is 16 years old. The novel is closely modeled after Thomas’ experiences as a student, and on the stories of several of the young men who have been victims of racialized police violence in recent years. Listen to this audio story to hear the author talk about what inspired her to write this groundbreaking novel.
Current Event May 9, 2018
The National Memorial for Peace and Justice opened in Montgomery, Alabama. This memorial is devoted to the more than 4,000 African Americans who were lynched between 1877 and 1950. Killing for an alleged offense and without a legal trial was allowed in some parts of the South during this time period. Visitors are reminded of what happened in our past and encouraged to confront America’s continued racial divide. Listen to this story about this memorial that helps us to remember the thousands of Americans who were killed because of racism.
Current Event April 30, 2018
Two black men were arrested at a Starbucks store in Philadelphia. They were there for a business meeting and when they didn’t order drinks, the manager called the police. The men were arrested on suspicion of trespassing and were later released. Starbucks is now conducting racial bias education for all employees at their 8,000 stores. Implicit bias is our automatic processing of negative stereotypes that become embedded in our brains. The workshop is hoping to take a step toward retraining people’s brains to see others differently. Listen to hear more about the ways people can override our racial bias.
Current Event April 26, 2018
The shooting of Stephon Clark, an unarmed black man killed by police in Sacramento, California, sparked outrage and demands for police reform. In Sacramento there is a call to rebuild communities of color. Stephon’s brother, Ste’Vante Clark is part of a group of new activists, called Build. Black. Coalition. They want to lessen the disparity around education, job opportunity, and housing, which affects the people living in predominantly black neighborhoods. Listen to hear more about how this tragic event is sparking activism to try to transform black communities.
Current Event April 25, 2018
In 1967, President Johnson addressed the nation after five days of rioting that was motivated by racial inequality in Detroit. Johnson announced a commission on civil disorders, which would attempt to explain why so many of the country’s cities erupted in riots. The National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, called "The Kerner Report," determined that white racism and the black frustration at lack of economic opportunity was the cause of the riots. Many people at the time disagreed with the conclusions. Listen to learn more about the Kerner Report and what this report can tell us about racial tensions today.
Current Event April 18, 2018
Fifty years ago Martin Luther King, Jr. flew to Memphis to support sanitation workers during a strike. In 1968 the working conditions were so dangerous for trash collectors that two men were killed on the job. The workers organized to demand better working conditions and higher pay. In a climate of racism they demanded to be treated with humanity and respect as men. When King traveled to Memphis, he was assassinated. Listen to this story to hear how Memphis has changed in the last 50 years.
Current Event April 17, 2018
A group of Dallas teens are learning history on their spring break. They are taking a civil rights tour from Dallas to Brownsville, Texas and places in-between to learn more about Mexican-American history. Students are watching traditional Aztec dances, learning about community responsibility, and hearing from Mexican-American activists. Listen to hear more about this program and how it’s inspiring students to learn about and be proud of their history.
Current Event April 10, 2018
In the United States during the era of slavery, it was illegal for all African Americans, enslaved and free, to learn to read and write. But in 1863 the first school for freed slaves opened and by the end of the 19th century, black colleges supported civil rights activism and helped redefine what it meant to be black in America. A new documentary tells about the history of black colleges and the goals of these educational institutions. Listen to this story to hear more about the creation and development of historically black colleges and universities.
Current Event March 1, 2018
The movie about the superhero Black Panther is a phenomenon. The stars of the movie are black actors and it takes place in a fictitious African country that was never colonized by Europeans. The Black Panther has characters who are rulers of kingdoms, inventors, creators of advanced technology, and fierce women warriors who protect the king. Crowdfunders across the U.S. are raising money to take entire groups of kids to see this movie. Listen to this story to hear the reaction of fifth grade students after they saw the Black Panther.
Current Event February 28, 2018
A recent report by the Southern Poverty Law Center finds that most high school seniors do not fully understand the history of slavery in the U.S. The study also finds that educators often are not provided with good materials, training, or standards for teaching students about slavery in American schools. It’s an uncomfortable subject, and many curriculum materials guide teachers to highlight heroes, such as Harriet Tubman, before teaching about the realities of slavery. Listen to this story to hear about problems and possible solutions to understanding the history and of slavery and its relevance today.
Current Event November 20, 2017
More than 600,000 Rohingya have fled from their homes in Myanmar, also known as Burma, into Bangladesh since the end of August to escape the violence from the Burmese military. The Rohingya are a Muslim minority in a majority Buddhist country, and the violence has been called “ethnic cleansing” by some. The Burmese government’s stance is that their actions are in response to the attacks by an armed group of Rohingya against the Burmese police. Listen to hear about this crisis and what the Burmese government and United States government are doing to help the Rohingya.
Author Richard Wright is well known for his novel "Native Son" and autobiography “Black Boy." These books explore what it was like to grow up black and poor in America during the 1930s and 40s. Although Wright became famous for his writing, some Americans, including his own daughter, are still discovering who Richard Wright is and why his writing is significant. Listen to learn more about the impact Richard's Wright’s experiences and writing had on his daughter, his readers, and aspiring writers.
Published in 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin changed the way Americans viewed slavery and was a driving force that steered the political direction of the country during the 1850s as well. For many Americans, the characters in the novel are familiar, although their names have taken on new and unexpected meanings, and the novel’s theme still resonates today. Listen to learn more about the cultural impact of Uncle Tom’s Cabin in America and discover Harriet Beecher Stowe’s inspirations for writing the novel as well as how the novel still reminds us of what “freedom” means today.
American doctors rely on clinical trials to determine which drugs to use in treatment. Researchers have found that clinical trials have not been effective in creating drugs for America’s diverse population. When clinical trials are too homogeneous, they can miss important potential discoveries. Patients who are diverse ethnically and racially can respond differently to medications, leading to dire consequences in some cases. Listen to learn how a lack of diversity in clinical trials affects patients and how researchers are trying to fix it.
Current Event October 19, 2017
Even though Mark Twain died more than 100 years ago, a new book was recently published based on his writing. Taking 16 pages of handwritten notes by Mark Twain, two authors collaborated to write a children’s book based on the bedtime stories Twain told his children. They discuss decisions they made throughout the process, including the main character’s race, and the goal they set as they wrote the story. Listen to hear more about this collaboration and the challenges of writing this book.
Current Event October 18, 2017
The white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA in August brought hundreds of people carrying shields, guns, and torches who marched while shouting racist chants. Many people shared photos of these marchers to publicly identify them as racists. But there was at least one person misidentified. A university professor was flooded with people threatening him online because he looked like someone who attended the rally. This event highlights the fact that most people are not experts at identification. Listen to this story to hear the consequences of being mistaken for someone else in the era of social media.
Current Event October 13, 2017
The football field has become a field for demonstrations. American football quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s silent protest against racial injustice consisted of kneeling during the national anthem at the start of NFL games. After President Donald Trump attacked NFL players who have knelt during the anthem, other athletes were inspired to kneel as well, while others locked arms and stood during the anthem. One point of view is that those who kneel are disrespecting the flag, veterans, and America and another is that politics should be removed from football games, and another is that Kaepernick is not showing disrespect and he has the right to protest injustice. Listen to this story and then debate: What do the national anthem protests mean?