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Race and Democracy
52 minutes | a month ago
Episode 68 – Racial Justice and the Tech Community: A Conversation with Brett Hurt
Brett Hurt is the CEO and co-founder of data. world, a Public Benefit Corporation (and Certified B Corporation) focused on building the modern catalog for data and analysis as well as the world’s largest collaborative public data catalog.
42 minutes | 2 months ago
Ep. 66 – For the Sake of Peace: Black Conflict Studies with Charles Chavis and Ajanet Rountree
Charles L. Chavis, Jr. is Assistant Professor of Conflict Analysis and Resolution and History and Director of the John Mitchell, Jr. Program for History, Justice, and Race, at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University. Before joining the S-CAR, he served as the Museum Coordinator for the Lillie Carroll Jackson Civil Rights Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. Chavis is a historian and museum educator whose work focuses on the history of racial violence and civil rights activism and Black and Jewish relations in the American South, and the ways in which the historical understandings of racial violence and civil rights activism can inform current and future approaches to peacebuilding and conflict resolution throughout the world. His areas of specialization includes Civil Rights oral history, historical consciousness, and racial violence and reconciliation.He has received over twenty-five grants, awards and fellowships from organizations including, the Robert M. Bell Center for Civil Rights in Education, Knapp Family Foundation, American Jewish Archives, The National Museum of African American History and Culture, National Trust for Historic Preservation, National Park Service, and the American Historical Association.His current project, (In) Visible Stories: Salvaging Untold Histories of Marginalized Communities, is an intergenerational oral history curriculum project focusing on the personal meaning that is found within marginalized communities. The first phase of this project focuses on Baltimore, Maryland focusing on the intersections of history, memory, and identity in the life of Baltimore youth. The collaborators see the collective memory of racial violence, politics and civil rights, as being central to combating racism and inequality within the United States education system.Charles Chavis has published more than twenty-five refereed articles, reference articles, essays, reviews, op-editorials, chapters and government reports and is author of the upcoming book, ‘Maryland, My Maryland’: The Lynching of Matthew Williams and the Politics of Racism in the Free State (John Hopkins University, 2021) and editor of For the Sake of Peace: Africana Perspectives on Racism, Justice, and Peace in America (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020). Ajanet Rountree is a masters student and graduate assistant in anthropology at the UAB Institute for Human Rights
48 minutes | 2 months ago
Ep. 65 – How the Hip Hop Generation Transformed Democracy: A Conversation with Bakari Kitwana
An internationally known cultural critic, journalist, activist, and thought leader in the area of hip-hop, youth culture, and Black political engagement, Bakari Kitwana is the Executive Director of Rap Sessions, which for the last fourteen years has conducted over 150 town hall meetings around the nation on difficult dialogues facing the hip-hop and millennial generations. He is the collaborating writer for pioneering hip-hop artist Rakim’s new book Sweat The Technique: Revelations on Creativity From The Lyrical Genius (Amistad, 2019) and the 2019-2020 Nasir Jones HipHop Fellow at the W.E.B. Dubois Research Institute / Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. The former Editor-in-Chief of The Source magazine, where he wrote and edited hundreds of articles on hip-hop, youth culture, politics and national affairs, Kitwana co-founded the first ever National Hip-Hop Political Convention. The gathering brought over 4000 18-29 year-olds to Newark, NJ in 2004 to create and endorse a political agenda for the hip-hop generation. Kitwana is the author of Why White Kids Love Hip-Hop and co-editor (with David Orr, Andrew Gumbel and William Becker) of the forthcoming Democracy Unchained: How to Rebuild Government For the People (The New Press, 2020). His groundbreaking 2002 book The Hip-Hop Generation popularized the expression the hip-hop generation and has been adopted as a coursebook in classrooms at over 100 college and universities. Kitwana has been Editorial Director of Third World Press, a senior media fellow at The Jamestown Project, Artist-in-Residence at the Center for the Study of Race Politics and Culture at the University of Chicago, and has served on the organizing committee for the 2013 Black Youth Project convening that launched the millennial Black activist group BYP100.
46 minutes | 3 months ago
Ep. 64 – Struggle for Justice: Civil Rights Photography with Don Carleton
Dr. Don Carleton is the founding director of The University of Texas at Austin’s Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, which was organized in 1991. Prior to the creation of the Briscoe Center, he served from October 1975 through November 1979 as founding director of the Houston Metropolitan Research Center (HMRC), an urban history archives program sponsored by Rice University, the University of Houston, and the City of Houston. At HMRC, he established The Houston Review: A Journal of History and Culture of the Gulf Coast. From December 1979 until 1991 he served as the director of the University’s Eugene C. Barker Texas History Center. A native of Dallas, Texas, Carleton earned his doctorate in U. S. history at the University of Houston.
47 minutes | 3 months ago
Ep. 63 – Black Spartacus: The True Story of the Haitian Revolt with Sudhir Hazareesingh
Sudhir Hazareesingh FBA (18 October 1961) is a British-Mauritian historian. He has been a fellow and Tutor in Politics at Balliol College, Oxford since 1990. Most of his work relates to modern political history from 1850; including the history of contemporary France as well as Napoleon, the Republic and Charles de Gaulle. Hazareesingh is the son of Kissoonsing Hazareesingh, a Cambridge- and Sorbonne-educated historian in his own right, who was a notable figure in Mauritian public life as a Mauritius Times writer and Principal Private Secretary to Seewoosagur Ramgoolam. Hazareesingh’s book Black Spartacus: The Epic Life of Toussaint Louverture was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in September 2020. It was shortlisted for the 2020 Baillie Gifford Prize. Described in The Guardian as “a tour de force: by far the most complete, authoritative and persuasive biography of Toussaint that we are likely to have for a long time.” Black Spartacus was BBC Radio 4’s “Book of the Week” from 16 November 2020, read by Adrian Lester.
41 minutes | 3 months ago
Ep. 62 – Jonathan Eig on Muhammad Ali: Race, War, and Democracy
Ken Burns calls Jonathan Eig a “master storyteller.” Joyce Carol Oates calls his book, Ali: A Life, “an epic of a biography.” Eig is the author of five books, three of them New York Times best sellers. He was born in Brooklyn and graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. A former staff writer for The Wall Street Journal, Eig has also written for The New York Times, The New Yorker online, and The Washington Post. Prior to The Wall Street Journal, he worked as a feature writer for Chicago magazine and as a news reporter for The Dallas Morning News and The New Orleans Times-Picayune.
45 minutes | 4 months ago
Ep. 61 – Georgia on My Mind: Atlanta and the Legend of the Black Mecca with Maurice Hobson
Dr. Maurice Hobson is an Associate Professor of African American Studies and Historian at Georgia State University. He earned the Ph.D. degree in History, focusing in African American History and 20th Century U.S. History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research interests are grounded in the fields of African American history, 20th Century U.S. history, comparative labor, African American studies, oral history and ethnography, urban and rural history, political economy, and popular cultural studies. He is the author of award-winning book titled The Legend of the Black Mecca: Politics and Class in the Making of Modern Atlanta with the University of North Carolina Press. Dr. Hobson engages the social sciences and has created a new paradigm called the Black New South that explores the experiences of black folk in the American South, with national and international implications, since WWII. For this, he has served as an expert witness in court cases and as a voice of insight for public historical markers, monuments and museum exhibitions.
42 minutes | 4 months ago
Ep. 60 – Black Women in Theatre: A Conversation with Lisa B. Thompson
Lisa B. Thompson is professor of African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the author of three books, Beyond The Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class(University of Illinois Press, 2009), Single Black Female (Samuel French Inc., 2012), and Underground, Monroe, and The Mamalogues: Three Plays (Northwestern University Press, 2020). Her scholarship focuses on issues of identity, representation, and performance in contemporary African American culture. Thompson’s award-winning plays, which have been produced off-Broadway, throughout the US, and internationally, explore African American history and culture through the lens of the middle class. Professor Thompson’s teaching has been recognized by the Texas Exes and the Warfield Center for African and African American Studies. Her work has received support from the American Council of Learned Societies; Harvard University’sW. E. B. DuBois Research Institute; the University of Texas at Austin Humanities Institute; the Michele R. Clayman Institute for Gender Research; the University of California’s Office of the President; the Five Colleges; Stanford University’s Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity; Hedgebrook; the Millay Colony for the Arts; and MacDowell.
39 minutes | 4 months ago
Ep. 59 – Eyes on the Prize – Civil Rights Then and Now: A Conversation with Paul Stekler
Paul Stekler is a nationally recognized documentary filmmaker whose critically praised and award-winning work includes George Wallace: Settin’ the Woods on Fire; Last Man Standing: Politics, Texas Style; Vote for Me: Politics in America, a four-hour PBS special about grassroots electoral politics; two segments of the Eyes on the Prize II series on the history of civil rights; Last Stand at Little Big Horn (broadcast as part of PBS’s series The American Experience); Louisiana Boys: Raised on Politics (broadcast on PBS’s P.O.V. series); Getting Back to Abnormal (which aired on P.O.V. in 2014); and 2016’s Postcards from the Great Divide, a web series about politics for The Washington Post and PBS Digital. Overall, his films have won two George Foster Peabody Awards, three Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Journalism Awards, three national Emmy Awards, and a special jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Dr. Stekler, who was RTF Chair from 2010 to 2017, has a doctorate in Government from Harvard University, where his work focused on Southern politics. He previously was a political pollster in Louisiana, while teaching at Tulane, and was the founder of Center for Politics and Governance at UT’s LBJ School of Public Affairs. His writing, on subjects like Hollywood blockbuster films, the greatest Texas documentaries, American politics and politics as depicted in documentary films has appeared in the Texas Observer, Texas Monthly, the International Documentary Association’s magazine, among other places, and in the book, “Killing Custer,” co-written with the late Native American novelist James Welch. Stekler was named film school Mentor of the Year in 2014 by Variety Magazine.
51 minutes | 4 months ago
Ep. 58 – How Black Women’s Activism Has Transformed American Democracy: A Conversation with Dr. Keisha Blain
Keisha N. Blain is an American historian and writer. She is an Associate professor of history at the University of Pittsburgh and President of the African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS). She is “one of the most innovative and influential young historians of her generation.”Blain is one of the nation’s leading scholars of African American history, African Diaspora Studies, and Women’s and Gender History. Upon completing her postdoctoral research in 2015, Blain accepted a faculty position at the University of Iowa for two years. While there, she received an American Postdoctoral Research Leave Fellowship from the American Association of University Women (AAUW). She also received a two year Summer Institute on Tenure and Professional Advancement Fellowship at Duke University during the summer. In 2017, Blain accepted a faculty position at the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of history. She co-edited Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism, and Racial Violence with Chad Williams and Kidada Williams in 2016. She became senior editor of Black Perspectives, the blog of the African American Intellectual History Society in 2016. In 2017, Blain was awarded the Roy Rosenzweig Prize for Innovation in Digital History from the American Historical Association (AHA).
41 minutes | 5 months ago
Ep. 57 – Reimagining Public Safety in Austin and America: A Conversation with Sukyi McMahon
Sukyi manages the Square One Project’s Roundtable on the Future of Justice Policy, and draws together academics, advocates, community leaders, and practitioners in three-day convenings to drive understanding and innovation in criminal justice reform. Sukyi hails from Austin, Texas, where she serves as the Board Chair at Austin Justice Coalition, a black-led grassroots organization focused on local and statewide criminal justice reform, educational justice, community empowerment, and civic engagement. She also sits on the board of Turkey City Writers Workshop, whose mission is to champion writers of color in the speculative fiction genre through sponsorship and mentorship at writing workshops. Most recently, she worked as the Policy Coordinator at Just Liberty, a bi-partisan 501(c)(4) dedicated to comprehensive criminal justice reform in Texas. At Just Liberty, she helped to build, manage, and engage a list of tens of thousands of criminal justice reformers across Texas. Sukyi also an appointed member of the City of Austin’s Human Rights Commission. Her formal education includes a B.A. and M.A. in Literature from Texas Tech University and Texas State University-San Marcos, respectively.
49 minutes | 5 months ago
Ep. 56 – The Power of the Vote: Election 2020 and Racial Equity: A Conversation with Ambassador Ron Kirk
Ron Kirk is Senior Of Counsel in Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher’s Dallas and Washington, D.C. offices. He is Co-Chair of the International Trade Practice Group and a member of the Sports Law, Public Policy, Crisis Management, and Private Equity Practice Groups. Ambassador Kirk focuses on providing strategic advice to companies with global interests. Prior to joining the firm in April 2013, Ambassador Kirk served as the 16th United States Trade Representative (USTR) and was a member of President Obama’s Cabinet, serving as the President’s principal trade advisor, negotiator, and spokesperson on trade issues. Ambassador Kirk was nominated to be United States Trade Representative by President Barack Obama and was confirmed by the United States Senate in 2009. The office of USTR is responsible for the development and oversight of U.S. trade policy, including strategy, negotiation, implementation and enforcement of multilateral, regional/bilateral and sector-specific trade agreements. Ambassador Kirk successfully negotiated the conclusion and Congressional passage of trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and Korea, and Russian’s entry in the World Trade Organization. He was also responsible for U.S. trade policy involving agriculture; industry; services and investment; intellectual property; environment; labor; development and preference programs. Ambassador Kirk draws upon more than 30 years of diverse legislative and economic experience on local, state, and federal levels. As the first African American Mayor of Dallas from 1995 – 2001, he earned a reputation for bringing together diverse coalitions to get things done. During his tenure as Mayor, Ambassador Kirk expanded Dallas’ reach to the world through a range of trade programs, including numerous trade missions. He also passed seven budgets that focused on the critical needs of the city while maintaining and even lowering taxes. His economic development efforts helped secure more than 45,000 jobs and investment of more than $3.5 billion in Dallas. To protect citizens he increased the public safety budget by $128 million, and while he was Mayor, Dallas saw its lowest crime rate in 20 years. Previously, Governor Ann Richards appointed him as Texas Secretary of State, he served as a legislative aide to U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen and he was named as chair of Texas’ General Service Commission. Ambassador Kirk also served as a City of Dallas assistant city attorney.
30 minutes | 5 months ago
Ep. 55 – Leadership in a Time of Racial Crisis: A Conversation with Mark Updegrove
Mark K. Updegrove is the president and CEO of the LBJ Foundation. From 2009 to 2017, he was the director of the LBJ Presidential Library where, he hosted the Civil Rights Summit in 2014, which included Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter, and oversaw a major renovation of the Library’s core museum exhibits. Earlier in his career, he served as the publisher of Newsweek and president of Time magazine’s Canadian edition. Updegrove is the author of four books on the presidency including The Last Republicans: Inside the Extraordinary Relationship Between George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush and Indomitable Will: LBJ in the Presidency. As Presidential Historian for ABC News, he appears regularly on Good Morning America, and This Week, and has written for The New York Times, The Hill, Politico, The Daily Beast, Time, Parade, and National Geographic. He has conducted exclusive interviews with five U.S. presidents.
56 minutes | 5 months ago
Ep. 54 – Begin Again – James Baldwin’s American Ruins and Our Own: A Conversation with Dr. Eddie S. Glaude Jr.
Eddie S. Glaude Jr. is a scholar who speaks to the black and blue in America. His most well-known books, Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul, and In a Shade of Blue: Pragmatism and the Politics of Black America, take a wide look at black communities and reveal complexities, vulnerabilities, and opportunities for hope. Hope that is, in one of his favorite quotes from W.E.B Du Bois, “not hopeless, but a bit unhopeful.” Other muses include James Baldwin, Malcolm X, and Bobby “Blue” Bland. In addition to his readings of early American philosophers and contemporary political scientists, Glaude turns to African American literature in his writing and teaching for insight into African American political life, religious thought, gender, and class. He is chair of the Department of African American Studies, a program he first became involved with shaping as a doctoral candidate in Religion at Princeton. He is the current president of the American Academy of Religion. His books on religion and philosophy include African American Religion: A Very Short Introduction and Exodus! Religion, Race and Nation in Early 19th Century Black America, which was awarded the Modern Language Association’s William Sanders Scarborough Book Prize. Glaude is also the author of two edited volumes, and many influential articles about religion for academic journals. He has also written for the likes of The New York Times and The Huffington Post.
26 minutes | 6 months ago
Ep. 53 – Black Education, Racial Justice, and Equity: A Conversation with Sonya Douglass Horsford
Sonya Douglass Horsford currently serves as Associate Professor of Education Leadership in the Department of Organization and Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her research focuses on the politics of race in education leadership, policy, and reform. She is the Founding Director of the Black Education Research Collective (BERC) and Co-Director of the Urban Education Leaders Program (UELP) at Teachers College – an Ed.D. program for aspiring urban district leaders. Prior to joining Teachers College, Sonya served on the education leadership faculty at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her latest book, The Politics of Education Policy in an Era of Inequality: Possibilities for Democratic Schooling with Janelle T. Scott and Gary L. Anderson offers a critical analysis of education policy amid widening social inequality, ideological polarization, and the dismantling of public institutions in the U.S.A. She is an active member of Divisions A and L of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) and University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA) and currently serves as Chair of the Leadership for Social Justice SIG and Politics of Education SIG.
26 minutes | 6 months ago
Ep. 52 – Race in Cinema: A Conversation with Rebecca Campbell
Rebecca Campbell has served as chief executive of the Austin Film Society since 1998. Prior to joining AFS, she spent 12 years in the nonprofit sector, serving as Executive Director of two statewide California organizations, following which she earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Video and Film Production from the University of Texas at Austin. During her tenure, the Film Society has created and developed Austin Studios (a 20-acre film and creative media production facility), founded the Texas Film Hall of Fame (which has raised over $1.8 million for grants to Texas artists), built a home for its nationally recognized exhibition program at the AFS Cinema, and launched Austin Public, where Austin’s diverse mediamakers train and collaborate.
47 minutes | 6 months ago
Ep. 51 – The Torture Letters – Reckoning with Police Violence: A Conversation with Laurence Ralph
Laurence Ralph is a Professor of Anthropology at Princeton University. He earned both a Ph.D. and also a Master of Arts degree in Anthropology from the University of Chicago, and a Bachelor of Science degree from Georgia Institute of Technology where he majored in History, Technology, and Society. Laurence has published articles on these topics in various venues. In 2014 Laurence’s first book, Renegade Dreams: Living Through Injury in Gangland Chicago, was published by the University of Chicago Press. This book grapples with the consequences of the “war on drugs” together with mass incarceration, the ramifications of heroin trafficking for HIV-infected teenagers, the perils of gunshot violence, and the ensuing disabilities that gang members suffer. Investigating this encompassing context allows him to detail the social forces that make black urban residents vulnerable to disease and disability. Renegade Dreams received the C. Wright Mills Award from the Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP) in 2015. Laurence’s latest book, Torture Trees: Police Violence from Chicago to the War on Terror, explores a decades-long scandal in which 125 were tortured while in police custody. Torture Trees will also be published by the University of Chicago Press.
49 minutes | 6 months ago
Ep. 50 – Race, Humanism, and the Search for the Common Faith: A Conversation with Greg Epstein
A prominent leader in the national movement to build positive, inclusive, and inspiring humanist communities, Greg M. Epstein has served the country’s rapidly growing population of non-religious people for nearly two decades. Described as a “godfather to the [humanist] movement” by The New York Times Magazine in recognition of his efforts, Epstein was also named “one of the top faith and moral leaders in the United States” by Faithful Internet, a project coordinated by the United Church of Christ with assistance from the Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society. Since 2005, Greg has served as the Humanist Chaplain at Harvard University. He has also served, since 2018, as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Office of Religious Life as Humanist Chaplain at MIT and Convener for Ethical Life. He also currently serves as ethicist in residence and columnist for TechCrunch, a leading publication chronicling the tech industry. Greg has also served in an advisory capacity for a diverse range of interfaith and humanist institutions, including Boston Mayor Martin Walsh’s Interfaith Advisory Task Force and the Advisory Board of the Secular Student Alliance. He also supported “The Inclusive America Project,” an initiative of the Aspen Institute co-chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. From 2008-2014, he served on the Executive Committee of the Harvard Chaplains, with a term as vice president. Greg is a frequently-quoted expert on humanism, religion and ethics. Greg authored the New York Times bestselling book, “Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe.” His writing has appeared on CNN, Newsweek, The Washington Post, Salon, Cognoscenti and WBUR. His work has also been widely discussed in the national and international media, including the New York Times, CNN, Boston Globe, and on dozens of radio and television programs.
37 minutes | 6 months ago
Ep. 49 – Smoketown – Black Pittsburgh’s Forgotten Renaissance: A Conversation with Mark Whitaker
Mark Whitaker spent three decades as a reporter, writer, and editor for Newsweek Magazine and in 1999 became the first African-American to lead a national newsweekly. In 2007, he joined NBC News and the following year replaced the late Tim Russert as Washington Bureau Chief. In 2011, Mark was appointed Managing Editor of CNN Worldwide, overseeing day-to-day news coverage across all television and digital platforms as well as the original programming team that created CNN Films and acquired Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown.” In 2011, Mark published “My Long Trip Home,” the story of his turbulent upbringing in a broken interracial home. Widely acclaimed, the memoir was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and a Hurston-Wright Legacy Award. Mark’s latest book, “Smoketown: The Untold Story of the Other Great Black Renaissance,” chronicles the remarkable cultural and political legacy of black Pittsburgh, where Mark’s father grew up and his grandparents ran funeral homes. Barnes & Noble selected “Smoketown” as a featured book for Black History Month 2018, and—in a starred review—Kirkus Reviews hailed it as “an expansive, prodigiously researched, and masterfully told history.”
64 minutes | 7 months ago
Ep. 48 – The Black Image in American Popular Culture: A Conversation with Van Lathan
Van Lathan is an established host and media personality from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He can be heard weekly on “The Red Pill” podcast, which garners over 50,000 listeners per episode, as well as on the podcast Higher Learning with Rachel Lindsay. Van’s passion for sports, entertainment, and news comes across in his reporting and insightful interviews. At present, Van resides in Los Angeles and is developing both film and television projects. Join Peniel and Van in their discussion of black representation in American pop culture on this week’s episode of Race and Democracy.
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