Thursday, July 4, 1996

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  • Independence Day and Race in America

    Today is the 4th of July, the day the American colonies declared their Independence from England in 1776. While many Americans will hang flags, participate in parades, watch fireworks and wax patriotic, Independence Day is not a cause for celebration for all. For Native Americans, it is yet another bitter reminder of colonialism which brought disease, violence, genocide and destruction of their culture and way of life. For African Americans, Independence Day did not extend to them — while white colonists were declaring their freedom from the crown, that liberation was not shared with millions of Africans captured, beaten, separated from their families and forced into brutal slavery thousands of miles away from home. Later on Democracy Now — we’ll fast forward to explore the legacy of that original sin — On this Independence Day Special, we’ll hear the story of an amazing friendship between an exalted Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan and a black civil rights activist — a story that offers hope for healing in our racially divided nation.

  • The Best of Enemies: Race and Redemption in the American South

    Theirs is a profoundly American story — a story of racial hatred, and redemption, in the American South. It’s a story of an unlikely friendship between black and white, an unbelievable relationship that formed at the height of the civil rights movement of the 1960s and continues to this day. He was the Exalted Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan in Durham, North Carolina. She was the leader of the United Organizations for Community Improvement, a militant black protest group. White racist C.P. Ellis and African American activist Ann Atwater met during the battle over school desegregation.... and they have been friends and allies ever since. Journalist Osha Gray Davidson tells their powerful story in his new book The Best of Enemies, just nominated for Pulitzer Prize.