Monday, February 23, 2015: With the end of the Civil War and the passage of the 13th Amendment, 4 million former slaves embarked on new lives with the promise of freedom. But labor laws and practices that arose during the post-Emancipation era effectively created new forms of slavery in the South that persisted well into the 20th century. Bob talks with Sam Pollard director of a documentary based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Douglas A. Blackmon that explores this little-known history of forced labor. Both the book and the film are called Slavery By Another Name. Then we revisit music and conversation with the American Spiritual Ensemble. The group was founded by Everett McCorvey in 1995 and is based in Lexington, Kentucky. Dr. McCorvey and twenty-five members of the Ensemble discuss and perform examples of the American Negro spiritual — music created by slaves with African roots and biblical text.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015: Bob talks with Lakesia Johnson about women such as Sojourner Truth, Angela Davis, and Michelle Obama. Johnson is an English professor and the author of Iconic: Decoding Images of the Revolutionary Black Woman which documents the lives and trials of African American women who refuse to be stereotyped. Then, Bob talks with actress and writer Annabelle Gurwitch about her book of essays titled I See You Made an Effort: Compliments, Indignities, and Survival Stories from the Edge of 50. Every day, more than 10,000 Americans cross that threshold – and like Gurwitch – start receiving targeted mail from the AARP. This coming-of-middle-age story covers that and other topics like aging out of your wardrobe, options for retirement and navigating the beauty counter at the department store. Gurwitch’s book just came out in paperback.
Wednesday, February 25, 2015: Bob talks with public broadcasting’s Tavis Smiley who takes a closer look at the final year of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life in his book titled Death of a King. It’s a book Smiley calls his “personal love letter to Dr. King,” but he also doesn’t shy away from writing about King’s flaws and mistakes. Then, Bob visits with Michael Eric Dyson to evaluate the fate of Black America over the past 40 years — how it has advanced, where it hasn’t, and how black leaders can best affect racial justice going forward. Dyson is the author of many books, including April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Death and How It Changed America.
Thursday, February 26, 2015: Randall Kennedy is one of this country’s leading thinkers. He teaches law at Harvard and comments extensively on race, politics, and our judicial system. He talks with Bob about his book titled The Persistence of the Color Line: Racial Politics and the Obama Presidency. Racial “passing” is a controversial topic in American history. Bob talks with author Marcia Dawkins about her book Clearly Invisible: Racial Passing And The Color Of Cultural Identity.
Friday, February 27, 2015: In This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible, award-winning civil rights scholar Charles Cobb Jr. describes how the Second Amendment became an integral part of survival and liberation for blacks in America — from the troublesome years of Reconstruction through the civil rights movement. Then we go further back in the archives, for Bob’s 2008 visit with Cobb to discuss an earlier book - On The Road to Freedom: A Guided Tour of the Civil Rights Trail. Cobb takes us to places where pioneers of the movement marched, gathered, spoke, taught, where they were arrested, and where they lost their lives.