Black History

Rene Perez / Associated Press

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.

FLICKR

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. 

 

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