Black History

Grant Blankenship / GPB

Andrea Lewis said that, as a pilot, her favorite part of flying is actually putting the aircraft back on the ground.

“I love just being able to travel,” Lewis said. “Basically with the Georgia Air National Guard I've been able to travel around the world in this jet.”

Courtesy of AP Images

A new radio documentary will highlight the roots of gospel music during Black History Month. The four-part documentary is called "Gospel Roots of Rock and Soul," and Grammy Award-winning gospel musician, Cece Winans will host the program. 

Bob Marovich is a historian and founder of the Journal of Gospel Music. He spoke with "On Second Thought" host Virginia Prescott about his contributions to the project. Marovich also told how Rosetta Tharpe, Aretha Franklin and Chance the Rapper have all incorporated praise music into hip-hop and rhythm and blues.


Youtube

Former Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams became the first African-American woman to deliver a response to the State of the Union Tuesday night.

Luis Sandoval, Simon David

An upcoming documentary aims to highlight Atlanta soul musician Lee Moses for a new era. The documentary, "Time and Place," focuses on Moses' life and the soul scene in Atlanta during the 1970s. The documentary takes its name from Moses' solo album. The album has become a staple of Southern soul despite not finding commercial success when it was released. 

 

Filmmaker Simon David stopped by "On Second Thought" to discuss the documentary and how it traces Atlanta's soul scene through those who remember it. Doris Moses, Lee Moses' widow, also joined the conversation.

 

wikipedia.commons

One night in 1955, 14-year-old Emmett Till was visiting his family in Mississippi when he was kidnapped by a gang of white men and killed after he whistled at a white woman in a grocery store.

 

The two men behind the crime were eventually acquitted by an all-white jury.

But the pictures of Emmett Till’s body during his open-casket funeral sparked outrage across the country and fueled the Civil Rights movement in the 1960’s.

 

 


Courtesy of Tom Roche/"Alley Pat: The Music is Recorded"

“On Second Thought” began celebrating Black History Month by learning about the man who was nicknamed the “Mouth of the South,” James “Alley Pat” Patrick. Atlantans heard the disc jockey in 1949 on the city’s first black-owned radio station, WERD. Patrick was born on Dec. 2, 1919, in Montezuma, Georgia. His radio career began in 1951 at WERD.  

In addition to hosting a radio show, Patrick was instrumental in the Civil Rights movement. He was friends with activists and leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr., Hosea Williams and Andrew Young. Patrick was also known as a bail bondsman, as he bailed out activists from jail during the 1960s.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louise_Shropshire#/media/File:Louise_Shropshire_1.jpg
Robert Anthony Goins Shropshire / wikipedia.commons

On Monday, the nation will honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

 

But today, we remember the woman who inspired one of the most powerful protest anthems of the Civil Rights movement.

  


Michael W. Twitty/@KosherSoul / Twitter

Culinary historian Michael Twitty traces his ancestry through food in "The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African-American Culinary History in the Old South." The memoir won the 2018 James Beard Foundation's Award for Book of the Year. In it, Twitty explores the complex question of who owns Southern food.

 

GPB's Tony Harris spoke with Twitty about why he wanted to wrestle with that question and his passion for food justice.

 

Zora Neale Hurston, the celebrated Harlem Renaissance writer and anthropologist, has a new bestseller out nearly 60 years after her death. She wrote "Barracoon: The Story of The Last 'Black Cargo'" almost a century ago. It’s the nonfiction story of Oluale Kossola, the last survivor of the African slave trade in the United States. Kossola was sold into slavery and taken from West Africa when he was 19.


Courtesy Chelsea Green Publishing

In 1920, African-American farmers owned 14 percent of all American farmland. Today, 45,000 black growers own just two percent of that land and the vast majority of them live in the South, according to census data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

A new book encourages a new generation of black farmers and places ownership of land and production of healthy food squarely on the path of self-determination for people of color. Leah Penniman, co-founder of Soul Fire Farm and author of "Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm's Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land," joined "On Second Thought" for a conversation about farming and food justice.


Rosa Duffy / ForKeepsBooks Instagram

For Keeps, a shop for rare and classic black books, recently opened on Auburn Avenue in Atlanta. Owner Rosa Duffy wants to make the shop a community space to explore the history of black literature and publishing.

"Atlanta already has a sense of appreciation for their blackness. We already have a huge community here," said Duffy. "So I feel very humbled and honored to be on Auburn Avenue, which has such a history behind it."

She stopped by "On Second Thought" to discuss her parents' influence on her reading and the process of opening a used bookstore in the city.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

When his sons were still in school, Macon artist Charvis Harrell says he was always frustrated by the lack of Black history in their history classes.  

 

“You know, it's just pick cotton and Martin Luther King,” Harrell said. “In between that time nothing else ever happened, you know?” 

 

Which Harrell knew wasn't true. So he made art inspired by overlooked history to keep around the house. The idea was to get his sons thinking, talking and questioning. 

 

In his show “Monuments For Heroes Which Have None” at the Mill Hill Community Center in Macon, Harrell does the same thing for the rest of us. 

 

 

Joe Jackson

When Joe Jackson started working for Delta Airlines in 1968, he didn't realize he would become the first black flight dispatcher in Atlanta. Jackson's Delta career started in Miami where he entered the field as a ramp agent.


Courtesy Kentucky National Guard

World War I, which ended with an armistice agreement 100 years ago, transformed life in the United States. The "war to end all wars" also introduced a new chapter in African-Americans' fight for equal rights. About one million African-Americans registered for the draft and nearly 370,000 African-Americans enlisted in the U.S. military during World War I. Along with the activist W.E.B. Du Bois, many of those who served hoped that a war fought in the name of democracy would, at its end, make American society truly democratic as well.

David Davis, a professor of English at Mercer University, spoke with us about the atmosphere African-Americans met overseas in the war and the environment to which they returned after the armistice. 


Credit: Jekyll Island Georgia

A slave ship known as "The Wanderer" landed off Georgia's coast at Jekyll Island just 50 years after U.S. law banned the importation of slaves. Its inhumane and horrendous journey contributed to the origin story of Georgia's Gullah Geechee community.


Courtesy Yale Law School/Henry Holt and Co.

Eunice Hunton Carter was New York's first African-American assistant district attorney. The Atlanta native was the granddaughter of slaves, and now her grandson, Stephen Carter, is bringing her story to light. 


Stephen Fowler / GPB News

“The consequences of any of us staying home really are profound, because America is at a crossroads."

That was the message from former President Barack Obama, who campaigned at a historically black college for Democrat Stacey Abrams, who could become the country’s first black female governor.

Mary Frances Early UGA Black African-American Graduate
University of Georgia / Twitter

The first class of women graduated from the University of Georgia in 1918, one hundred years ago. Their resiliency changed higher education, but they were segregated.

 

UGA admitted the first black woman, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, in 1961. She inspired Mary Frances Early to attend the school a year later, and Early became the first black UGA graduate. She graduated in 1962 with a master's degree in music education.

 

We spoke to her about the barriers she faced in admission, the isolation of being the only black student on campus, and the way her legacy inspires students today.

 


Flickr

Christina Ham's play "Nina Simone: Four Women" follows the activism and creative legacy of the fiercely talented Nina Simone.

 

The woman known as "The High Priestess of Soul" aspired to be America's first black classical pianist, and left a lasting impression on music that resonates today.

 

We spoke with director Michele Shay and actors Adrienne Reynolds, Wendy Fox-Williams, Jordan Frazier, and Regina Marie Williams on the way the characters each represent a different aspect of Simone's life.

 


Cecilio Ricardo, U.S. Air Force

Aretha Franklin died yesterday at the age of 76. Raised in Detroit, her career spanned decades and genres, from gospel to jazz to her signature sound as the Queen of Soul. 

Chuck Reece is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of magazine The Bitter Southerner.

After hearing of Franklin’s passing, he published an essay called “Aretha Goes Home.”

Vox

Amy Sherald, the artist who painted the lovely portrait of Michelle Obama, was influenced by Piet Mondrian's geometric paintings and the quilts stiched by the Gee's Bend ladies. The ladies are from a tiny peninsula in Wilcox County, Alabama. The generations of women descend from slaves and live mostly in isolation. From discarded clothes like worn jeans and corduroy pants, they create vibrant geometric shapes stitched into quilts.  


Katina Rankin/Twitter

The U.S. Department of Justice has reopened the murder case of Emmett Till, the African-American teenager killed the summer of 1955. The 14-year old was from Chicago visiting relatives in Mississippi. He was kidnapped, tortured, and killed for allegedly whistling at a white woman.


LinkedIn / Wikimedia Commons

There are some famous statues on Wall Street: the Charging Bull, the Great Bear and another one that went viral last year on social media — a young girl, chin up, hands firmly on her hips. She's the Fearless Girl, and she now has some company in New York's male-dominated financial district. Lauren Simmons became the only full-time female floor broker at the New York Stock Echange in March, when she joined Rosenblatt Securities. She's from Marietta, Georgia and a graduate of Kennesaw State University.


Atlanta Voice

The newly created city of South Fulton is the only one in the U.S. with black women leading every major role of the judicial system.

 

 

 


 

Coretta Scott King was not just the wife of the late civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. She was also an accomplished activist in her own right.

 

She traveled the world and advocated for racial and social equality for people of all walks of life.

 

In 1968, the same year her husband was assassinated, Scott-King founded the King Center, which has served as a base of operations for modern day activism.

 

 

 

 

Library of Congress

African-American history goes far beyond Black History Month in February. Today we talked about the presentation of history and how it’s changing and confronting new layers of truth. Recently, several museums and African-American exhibits have been built around the country.


 

Austin History Center / Austin Public Library

June 19 is Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. However, many people have never heard of the holiday or even celebrate it. Historian and storyteller Lillian Grant Baptiste joined us from Savannah to give the history of Juneteenth and why people should celebrate the holiday.


National Park Service

April 4, 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King Jr. Today, we paid tribute to King's legacy by talking to the people who knew him, portrayed him and were inspired by him. 

This week we’re hearing how some descendants are passing along Gullah heritage to the next generation. Patricia West is a writer and professor at Savannah State University. She was inspired to document her family’s roots after discovering her great great-grandmother’s grave on a trip to the family cemetery. 

The Scott-West family is also looking for ways to celebrate their history. Later this week, we will join them at the centuries-old cemetery where their American heritage begins, for a libations ceremony honoring ancestors.

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February is Black History Month here in the United States. Since 1976, every president has set aside the month to honor and remember African American history.

But is designating one month just for Black History appropriate? We tackle that question in the first part of our series about Black History Month.

We discuss this idea with Daniel Black. Black is an award-winning novelist and an African American Studies Professor at Clark Atlanta University.