47 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. was in Memphis, Tennessee helping to bring national attention to the struggles of a group of sanitation workers on strike for better wages and working conditions. He led marches and gave speeches – and was shot and killed on April 4, 1968. To mark the anniversary, Bob talks with three people who worked with King in Memphis. Maxine Smith led the city’s chapter of the NAACP from 1962 until 1996. Frank McRae was a local white minister who supported the sanitation workers marching for their rights and dignity. Benjamin Hooks was a friend of King’s and went on to serve as executive director of the NAACP.
We’ll get an update on the academic scandal at the University of North Carolina from history professor Jay Smith and whistleblower Mary Willingham. She is the former learning specialist who worked in the athletic department with “student-athletes” who were not equipped to complete college courses. Their new book is titled Cheated.
On April 5, 1968, the day after Martin Luther King was killed, a teacher in Riceville, Iowa stepped into her classroom to teach her students a lesson of a lifetime. Jane Elliott conducted a bold experiment on her students, making them understand what discrimination feels like first hand. Some called her technique “evil” and “Orwellian” — said it abused the children’s’ trust. Others championed her as a brilliant educator on par with Plato and Aristotle. Almost all of the students involved in the experiment said it strengthened their character. Bob talks to Elliott about why, decades later, her exercise still matters.