African-American History Topics

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Search our vast archive of interviews with scholars, journalists, activists, key political figures, and authors.

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  • Fredhampton-web2
    Today marks the 40th anniversary of the death of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton. On December 4, 1969, Chicago police raided Fred Hampton’s apartment and shot and killed him in his bed. He was just 21 years old. Black Panther leader Mark Clark was also killed in the raid. While authorities claimed the Panthers had opened fire on the police who were there to serve a search warrant for weapons, evidence later emerged that told a very...
    December 04, 2009 | Story
  • Johnbrownweb
    Commemorations are being held in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Maryland today to mark the 150th anniversary of abolitionist John Brown’s raid on the arsenal at Harpers Ferry. We end today’s show with a reading of John Brown’s address to the court in Virginia that ordered his hanging. Actor Harris Yulin read his words as part of a larger reading of Howard Zinn’s classic work, A People’s History of the...
    October 16, 2009 | Story
  • Cornelwest-web
    Dr. Cornel West, the celebrated Princeton University professor of religion and African American studies, has just come out with his long-awaited memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud. In it, he writes, "Until now, I’ve never taken the time to focus on the inner dynamics of my soul." In a wide-ranging conversation, we speak to Dr. West about his upbringing, public healthcare, post-election disappointment, the role of...
    September 30, 2009 | Story
  • One week after the NAACP’s 100th anniversary celebrations, we speak to Princeton University professor Cornel West and Carl Dix of the Revolutionary Communist Party about the current state of Black America. West is a professor of religion and African American studies at Princeton University and the author of numerous books on race. Dix is a founding member of the Revolutionary Communist Party and was one of six GIs in 1970 who refused...
    July 22, 2009 | Story
  • On the last weekend of Black History Month, more than 6,000 people gathered in Los Angeles for the tenth annual State of the Black Union convention. We speak with founder and organizer Tavis Smiley. Smiley is host of Tavis Smiley on PBS and The Tavis Smiley Show from PRI. His latest book is Accountable: Making America as Good as its Promise. [includes rush transcript]
    March 02, 2009 | Story
  • Protests are continuing today outside the offices of the New York Post following the publication of a cartoon that critics say depicts President Obama as an executed chimpanzee. After a number of civil rights activists and organizations called for a boycott of the paper, the Post issued an apology of sorts last night. We hear some of the voices from Thursday’s protest, including the civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton. [includes rush...
    February 20, 2009 | Story
  • A series of protests are scheduled outside the New York Post today to condemn the publication of a cartoon that critics say depicts President Obama as an ape. We speak to New York State Senator Eric Adams and Institute for Policy Studies organizer and researcher, Dedrick Muhammad, the former national field director for Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network. [includes rush transcript]
    February 19, 2009 | Story
  • At 12:04 p.m. on Tuesday, before a record crowd of more than one million people, Barack Hussein Obama was sworn in, becoming the nation’s first African-American president. Obama laid his hand on the same Bible used by Abraham Lincoln at his inauguration in 1861. [includes rush transcript]
    January 21, 2009 | Story
  • Reverendjosephlowery2009inauguration
    Rev. Joseph Lowery gave the benediction at the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Lowery is a towering figure in the civil rights movement. In 1955, he helped lead the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Two years later, he and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. In 1965, Lowery led the march from Selma to Montgomery. At Tuesday’s inauguration, he began the benediction with the opening lines of the...
    January 21, 2009 | Story
  • More than 80 gala events took place across Washington, D.C. on Wednesday to celebrate the inauguration of President Obama. One of them was the Peace Ball, sponsored by Busboys and Poets and the Smithsonian National Postal Museum. The highlight of the night was special guest host, the legendary singer, actor and humanitarian, Harry Belafonte. We air his full remarks. [includes rush transcript]
    January 21, 2009 | Story