Monday, February 6, 2012: Pioneer TV journalist Belva Davis overcame racism and sexism to become the first black female news anchor on the West Coast. She tells her story in her memoir Never in My Wildest Dreams: A Black Woman’s Life in Journalism. It’s now out in paperback. Then, Frank X Walker’s book of poems, Isaac Murphy: I Dedicate This Ride, was inspired by a 19th century jockey who rode three Kentucky Derby winners. The son of a slave, Murphy’s success earned him wealth and international fame. In the early years of thoroughbred racing, most of the jockeys were African-American. As the profession became more lucrative, black jockeys were replaced by whites.
Tuesday, February 7, 2012: Today marks the 200th anniversary of writer Charles Dickens’s birth. The author of A Christmas Carol, A Tale of Two Cities and others, Dickens was the Victorian era’s most beloved writer. Biographer Claire Tomalin’s new book Charles Dickens: A Life sheds light on the life of this famous writer.
Wednesday, February 8, 2012: When Pastor Robert Jeffress called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints a cult on national television last year, Mormons and even some non-Mormons took offence. But the incident proved that although the LDS church continues to grow in numbers, there are still many people who don’t understand who or what they are. With Mormon presidential hopeful Mitt Romney campaigning fiercely for the Republican nomination, Matthew Bowman’s book The Mormon People: The Making of an American Faith offers context and explanation for this sometimes mysterious religion. Then, Paul Bachmann, host of SiriusXM Pops (channel 75) and director of Public Radio programming on SiriusXM, talks with Bob about the classical music categories in this year’s Grammy Awards, held on Sunday, February 12th in Los Angeles.
Thursday, February 9, 2012: The Grammy-nominated wind quintet Imani Winds commissioned a special piece from contemporary composer Mohammed Fairouz to chronicle events from the Lebanese Civil War. Bob talks with Imani Winds members Monica Ellis and Mariam Adam and Fairouz about this work, titled Jebel Lebnan (Mount Lebanon.)
Friday, February 10, 2012: Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times joins Bob to discuss the latest political news. Next, “extraordinary rendition,” “enhanced interrogation,” and “waterboarding” seem like modern products of the War on Terror, but Vanity Fair editor Cullen Murphy makes the argument that all sprung “directly from the practices of the medieval Roman Catholic Church.” He explores the idea in his new book, God’s Jury: The Inquisition and the Making of the Modern World. Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Kathy Heffernan. Every parent knows the morning wail of small children — “I don’t want to go to school!” Heffernan’s son Sam was part of the protesting chorus, until he met his sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Hogan. Heffernan says other teachers had seen a boy who refused to pay attention, but Mrs. Hogan recognized Sam as a knowledgeable, capable student who loves to read. Her reward was a Valentine’s Day box of chocolates.