Monday, February 9, 2015: Roger Mudd covered the Congress for CBS News in the glory days of network TV. His anchorman, Walter Cronkite, was partial to Washington stories, so the CBS bureau in the nation’s capital was The Place to Be, and that’s the title of Mudd’s memoir. Bob talks with Roger Mudd about the news business, Washington and the glory days of CBS television news. Then, as part of our month-long series of interviews on black history, we’ll hear the story of Rosetta Tharpe. She started singing at the Pentecostal church with her preacher mother. But soon Tharpe crossed over to rock-and-roll and was filling up DC’s Griffith Stadium with 20,000 fans. She was Americas first female “stadium rocker.” Bob talks to Gayle Wald, about her biography of Tharpe called Shout, Sister, Shout! The Untold Story of Rock-and-Roll Trailblazer Sister Rosetta Tharpe.
Tuesday, February 10, 2015: Associated Press political reporter Jesse Holland seeks to answer a big question about notable tourist attractions in the nation’s capital - “Where’s the Black history?” Holland walks and talks with Bob on Capitol Hill about the contributions that African Americans have made to historic sites. Holland writes about them in his book Black Men Built the Capitol: Discovering African American History In and Around Washington, D.C. Then, more hidden history. As the 19th century came to a close, America’s big cities worked out how to move people quickly and efficiently in, out and around town. Author Doug Most tells the story of mass transit in his book The Race Underground: Boston, New York, and the Incredible Rivalry that Built America’s First Subway. His book is just out in paperback.
Wednesday, February 11, 2015: MIT professor Craig Steven Wilder has documented a shocking history of Ivy League universities. Not only were they funded by slave-owners and built by slave labor, many actually had slaves working on the campus – imagine slaves being whipped in Harvard yard. Most of the universities have gone to great lengths to cover up this history that is just now being fully realized. Wilder’s book is titled Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities. Then, developmental psychologist Peter Gray has spent years studying the impact of children’s imaginative play on their growth and development. He shares his findings in the book Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life. Gray is a professor of psychology at Boston College and his book just came out in paperback.
Thursday, February 12, 2015: Peanuts and the gang are some of the most beloved comic characters of the American newspaper. Their creator, Charles Schulz drew the antics and quips of Charlie Brown, his dog Snoopy and their friends for fifty years, until his death 15 years ago today. Bob talks with both Schulz biographer David Michaelis and PBS director David Van Taylor about their surprising discoveries of the life of Charles Schulz. Then, Michael McDonald was a Doobie Brother and touring member of Steely Dan, but the blue-eyed soul singer is best known for his solo hits like I Keep Forgetting and the mysteriously-titled, Yah Mo B There, as well as his covers of Motown classics. McDonald is here on his 63rd birthday to discuss his long career with Bob.
Friday, February 13, 2015: Pioneering television 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. Then, Bob talks with one of his favorite singers, Jennifer Warnes. She had a run of Academy-Award worthy songs from films such as Norma Rae, Ragtime, An Officer and a Gentleman and Dirty Dancing. Warnes also talks about her professional relationship with Leonard Cohen. In 1987, she produced and recorded Famous Blue Raincoat – her tribute to Cohen.