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Bookcover for "The Groundbreaking"
Icon Books Ltd / Icon Books Ltd

  On 31 May 1921, in the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma, a mob of white men and women reduced a prosperous African American community, known as Black Wall Street, to rubble, leaving countless dead and unaccounted for, and thousands of homes and businesses destroyed.

But along with the bodies, they buried the secrets of the crime.  Scott Ellsworth, a native of Tulsa, became determined to unearth the secrets of his home town. Now, nearly 40 years after his first major historical account of the massacre ("Death in a Promised Land: The Tulsa Race Riot of 1921"), Ellsworth returns to the city in search of answers.

Book cover for The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre
University of Oklahoma Press / University of Oklahoma Press

On the evening of May 31, 1921, and in the early morning hours of June 1, several thousand white citizens and authorities violently attacked the African American Greenwood District of Tulsa, Oklahoma. In the course of some twelve hours of mob violence, white Tulsans reduced one of the nation’s most prosperous black communities to rubble and killed an estimated 300 people, mostly African Americans.

In "The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre: A Photographic History," Historian and Black Studies professor Karlos K. Hill presents a range of photographs taken before, during, and after the massacre, mostly by white photographers.

Karlos K. Hill is Associate Professor and Chair of the Clara Luper Department of African and African American Studies at the University of Oklahoma and the author of "Beyond the Rope: The Impact of Lynching on Black Culture and Memory."

Book cover for "Let's Talk Race"
New Society

"Let's Talk" Race confronts why white people struggle to talk about race, why we need to own this problem, and how we can learn to do the work ourselves and stop expecting Black people to do it for us.

Written by specialists in race relations and parents of two adopted African American sons, Fern Johnson and Marlene Fine, the book provides unique insights and practical guidance, richly illustrated with personal examples, anecdotes, research findings, and prompts for personal reflection and conversations about race.

Book cover for "Black Girl, Call Home"
Berkley

It is National Poetry Month and we talk this morning with poet Jasmine Mans about her new collection: "Black Girl, Call Home." The collection explores the intersection of race, feminism, and queer identity. It is a deeply emotional and personal ode to the places we come from, and a piercing meditation on identity.

Mans caused a stir when a video of her performing her poem “Footnotes for Kanye” went viral on YouTube. Since then, she has continued to build a following through her live performances at venues like the Kennedy Center and Broadway’s New Amsterdam Theater and on stages across the country,

Her new book "Black Girl, Call Home" is inspired and informed by her own life and offers an important perspective on the world we live in. Poems from the collection have been featured by Elle and O, The Oprah Magazine, part of the national dialogue about issues and events that deeply affect people of color.

Book cover for "The Devil You Know" and author photo of Charles M. Blow
Harper

Acclaimed New York Times columnist and author Charles M. Blow never wanted to write a “race book.” But as both physical and psychological violence against Black people seemed only to increase in recent years, culminating in the historic pandemic and protests of the summer of 2020, he felt compelled to write a new story for Black Americans.

His new book is "The Devil You Know."

Book cover art for "Raceless" by Georgia Lawton
Harper Collins

From The Guardian’s Georgina Lawton comes "Raceless," a moving examination of how racial identity is constructed through the author’s own journey grappling with secrets and stereotypes, having been raised by white parents with no explanation as to why she looked black.

In the aftermath of her father’s death and propelled to action by her grief, Georgina decided to unravel the truth about her parentage and the racial identity her family had long denied her. She left England and the strained dynamics of her home life to live in black communities around the world. It was in these countries that Georgina was able to explore her identity and learn what it meant to navigate the world as a black woman.

The new book "400 Souls" is a unique one volume community history of African Americans. The editors Ibram X. Kendi and Keyshia Blaine have assembled 90 brilliant writers, each of whom takes on a five year period of that 400 year span.

The writers explore their periods through a variety of techniques: historical essays, short stories, personal vignettes, and fiery polemics. They approach history from various perspectives. Through the eyes of towering historical icons are the untold stories of ordinary people through places laws and objects.

Book cover - "The Life I'm In"
Scholastic Inc. / Scholastic Inc.

In Sharon Flake's bestselling modern classic “The Skin I'm In,” readers saw into the life of Maleeka Madison, a teen who suffered from the ridicule she received because of her dark skin color. For decades fans have wanted to know the fate of the bully who made Maleeka's life miserable, Char.

Now in Sharon Flake's latest, “The Life I'm In,” we follow Charlese Jones, who, with her raw, blistering voice speaks the truths many girls face, offering insight to some of the causes and conditions that make a bully.

Turned out of the only home she has known, Char boards a bus to nowhere where she is lured into the dangerous web of human trafficking.

Sharon Flake won the Coretta Scott King Award for “The Skin I'm In.”

Book cover for "Stakes is High" - red and gray text on a black background
Bold Type Press / Bold Type Press

Mychal Denzel Smith’s last book, "Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching," was a powerful account of what it means being a young black man in America. In his follow up, he confronts the well-meaning liberal reaction to the 2016 election and calls on us all to reckon with who we are as Americans and, perhaps more importantly, who we want to be.

We have been invested in a set of beliefs about our American identity: our exceptionalism, the inevitable rightness of our path, and the promise that hard work and determination will carry us to freedom.

But in his new book, "Stakes Is High," Mychal confronts the shortcomings of these stories--and with the American Dream itself--and calls on us to live up to the principles we profess but fail to realize. He exposes the stark contradictions at the heart of American life, holding all of us, individually and as a nation, to account. We’ve gotten used to looking away, but the fissures and casual violence--of incarceration, poverty, misogyny, and racism--are ever-present. But there is a future that is not as grim as our past. In this profound work, Mychal helps us envision it, with care, honesty, and imagination.

Sarah Rogerson
albanylaw.edu / albanylaw.edu

Donald Trump campaigned for the presidency in 2016 with a pledge to bring down illegal immigration, famously blaming undocumented migrants from Mexico for a host of problems, including drugs and crime. In the four years since, how has this rhetoric translated into a wider immigration policy?

Immigration has not been a central theme of the race between Mr. Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee, but the future of some of the president’s hard-line policies at the border will be determined by the final results.

Albany Law School professor and director of the Immigration Law Clinic, Sarah Rogerson joins us to discuss.

Book cover for "What Were We Thinking?"
Simon & Schuster / https://www.simonandschuster.com/

As a book critic for The Washington Post, Carlos Lozada has read some 150 volumes claiming to diagnose why Trump was elected and what his presidency reveals about our nation. Many of these, he’s found, are more defensive than incisive, more righteous than right.

In "What Were We Thinking: A Brief Intellectual History of the Trump Era," Lozada uses these books to tell the story of how we understand ourselves in the Trump era, using as his main characters the political ideas and debates at play in America today. He dissects works on the white working class like "Hillbilly Elegy;" manifestos from the anti-Trump resistance like "On Tyranny" and "No Is Not Enough;" books on race, gender, and identity like "How to Be an Antiracist" and "Good and Mad;" polemics on the future of the conservative movement like "The Corrosion of Conservatism;" and of course plenty of books about Trump himself.

In J. Chester Johnson's new book "Damaged Heritage: The Elaine Race Massacre and a Story of Reconciliation" he tells the journey of two Americans - one black and one white. "Damaged Heritage" begins with an account of the 1919 Elaine Race Massacre which, though arguably the worst on record, has been widely unknown for a century due to a white-washing of our history.

Chester Johnson is a poet, essayist, and translator, he served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury Department under Jimmy Carter.

Ijeoma Oluo at UAlbany Sept 2019
Jackie Orchard

Ijeoma Oluo is a writer and speaker whose work on race has been featured in The Guardian, New York magazine, xoJane, Jezebel, and more. She is also an editor-at-large at The Establishment, and Seattle magazine named her "one of the most influential people" in Seattle.

In "So You Want to Talk About Race," Oluo offers a contemporary, accessible take on the racial landscape in America, addressing head-on such issues as privilege, police brutality, intersectionality, micro-aggressions, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the "N" word. Oluo answers the questions readers don't dare ask, and explains the concepts that continue to elude everyday Americans.

Book Cover for How to be an Antiracist and photo of Ibram X. Kendi
Author photo by Jeff Watts

Joe Donahue: Racism intersects with class and culture and geography and even changes the way we see and value ourselves. In his new book “How to Be an Antiracist”, Professor Ibram X. Kendi takes readers through a widening circle of antiracist ideas that look to help us see all forms of racism clearly understand their poisonous consequences and work to oppose them in our systems, in ourselves. Ibram X. Kendi is the founding director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University. He's also a columnist at the Atlantic and author of “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America”, which won the National Book Award for nonfiction. His latest is “How to Be an Antiracist”. 

5/29/20 Panel

May 29, 2020

    The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Professor Emeritus of History at Baruch College, CUNY and author of "Fight the Power: African Americans and the Long History of Police Brutality" Clarence Taylor, Assistant Professor at Albany Law School Ciji Dodds, and Professor in the School of Criminal Justice at UAlbany and an acclaimed mystery novelist Frankie Bailey.

   Jacqueline Kellachan from The Golden Notebook in Woodstock, NY joins us with this week's Book Picks.

List:
"Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You" by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
"Hands on The Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC" edited by Judy Richardson, Betty Gaman Robinson and others...
"The Fire Is Upon Us: James Baldwin, William F. Buckley Jr. And The Debate Over Race in America" by Nicholas Buccola
"No Visible Bruises: What We Don't Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us" by Rachel Louise Snyder
"Recollections of My Nonexistence" by Rebecca Solnit
"Long Bright River" by Liz Moore

Racial tension in America has become a recurring topic of conversation in politics, the media, and everyday life. There are numerous explanations as to why this has become a predominant subject in today’s news and who is to blame. Our next guest says, as Americans prepare once again to cast their Presidential ballots, it’s more important than ever to have a smart and thoughtful conversation about race.

In “Getting Smart About Race,” sociology professor Margaret Andersen discusses why racial healing should be an integral element of our everyday discussions surrounding race and how to move the conversation in a positive direction.

The Center for Talent Innovation (CTI) is a non-profit based in New York with with a two-fold mission: to conduct research that leverages talent across the divides of gender, generation, geography and culture and to create a community of senior executives united by an understanding that full utilization of the global talent pool is at the heart of competitive success.

CTI recently published a report entitled “Being Black in Corporate America: An Intersectional Exploration.” Julia Taylor Kennedy is an Executive Vice President at CTI and was a co-research lead on the study. She joins us to discuss the findings of the study and offer solutions.

In 2014 in the book "Dog Whistle Politics," Ian Haney López named and explained the coded racial appeals exploited by right-wing politicians over the last half century and thereby anticipated the 2016 presidential election. Now the country is heading into what will surely be one of the most consequential elections ever, with the Right gearing up to exploit racial fear-mongering to divide and distract, and the Left splintered over the next step forward. Some want to focus on racial justice head-on; others insist that a race-silent focus on class avoids alienating white voters.

Can either approach - race-forward or colorblind - build the progressive supermajorities necessary to break political gridlock and fundamentally change the country’s direction?

The new book is "Merge Left: Fusing Race and Class, Winning Elections, and Saving America."

Author photo of Jacqueline Woodson and book cover for "Red at the Bone"
Author photo by Tiffany A. Bloomfield

Jacqueline Woodson is the New York Times-bestselling and National Book Award-winning author of "Another Brooklyn" and "Brown Girl Dreaming."

Her latest novel, "Red at the Bone," tells how an unexpected teenage pregnancy pulls together two families from different social classes, and exposes the private hopes, disappointments, and longings that can bind or divide us from each other.

Three-time National Book Award Finalist Steve Sheinkin will be having a release party for his new book, “Born to Fly: The First Women's Air Race Across America” at the Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga Springs, New York on Tuesday, September 24 at 6 p.m.

"Born to Fly” is the story of the fearless women pilots who aimed for the skies and beyond. Just nine years after American women finally got the right to vote, a group of trailblazers soared to new heights in the 1929 Air Derby, the first women's air race across the U.S.

Through meditations on race, culture, and family, "One Day on the Gold Line" tells the story of a lesbian Jewish single mother raising a black son in Los Angeles.

A memoir-in-essays, it examines life’s surprising changes that come through choice or circumstance, often seemingly out of nowhere, and sometimes darkly humorous even as the situations are dire.

Angie Maxwell is the Director of the Diane D. Blair Center of Southern Politics and Society, an associate professor of political science, and holder of the Diane D. Blair Endowed Professorship in Southern Studies at the University of Arkansas. Maxwell and Dean of the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences and a professor of political science at the University of Arkansas Todd Shields have written the new book "The Long Southern Strategy: How Chasing White Voters in the South Changed American Politics."

A former aide to Robert F. Kennedy and senior official in the Clinton administration, Peter Edelman has devoted his life to understanding the causes of poverty.

In one of the richest countries on Earth it has effectively become a crime to be poor. For example, in Ferguson, Missouri, the U.S. Department of Justice didn’t just expose racially biased policing; it also exposed exorbitant fines and fees for minor crimes that mainly hit the city’s poor, African American population, resulting in jail by the thousands. As Peter Edelman explains in "Not a Crime to Be Poor," in fact Ferguson is everywhere: the debtors’ prisons of the twenty-first century.

Peter Edelman is the Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Law and Public Policy and the faculty director of the Center on Poverty and Inequality at Georgetown University Law Center.

Rucker C. Johnson is the Chancellor's Professor in the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and a faculty research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research

We are frequently told that school integration was a social experiment doomed from the start. But as Johnson demonstrates in "Children of the Dream," it was, in fact, a spectacular achievement.

Drawing on longitudinal studies going back to the 1960s, he shows that students who attended integrated and well-funded schools were more successful in life than those who did not and this held true for children of all races.

The Arts Mid-Hudson Folk Arts Program, Latinx Project, the Reher Center for Immigrant Culture and History, the Hudson Valley LGBTQ Center, and Kingston City Hall present “The Spaces Between;” a series of exhibitions and programs facilitating exploration of the social spaces of marginalized status in American culture.

“The Spaces Between” challenges traditional views of "marginalized status" by considering the many ways people can be marginalized, including the undocumented community, the LGTBQ community, and the immigrant community through an exploration of statuses related to race, gender, and sexual identity. The project runs through September.

Elinor Levy is the Folk Arts Program Manager at Arts Mid-Hudson and she joined us to tell us more.

Suzan-Lori Parks’ “Topdog/Underdog” won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for drama and was the number-one choice in last year’s New York Times list of “The 25 Best American Plays Since ‘Angels in America.’” The play is now being performed at Shakespeare & Company through September 8th.

In the play: two brothers, Lincoln and Booth, are locked in a battle of wits and struggle to come to terms with their identity and what history has handed them, even their names.

Director Regge Life; actors Deaon Griffin-Pressley and Bryce Michael Wood joined us.

Recent events have turned the spotlight on the issue of race in modern America, and the current cultural climate calls out for more research, education, dialogue, and understanding. "Race and Social Change: A Quest, A Study, A Call to Action" focuses on a provocative social science experiment with the potential to address these needs.

Author Max Klau explains how his own quest for insight into these matters led to the empirical study at the heart of this book, and he presents the results of years of research that integrate findings at the individual, group, and whole system levels of analysis.

André Braugher In "A Human Being, Of A Sort" At Williamstown Theatre Festival
Williamstown Theatre Festival - Joseph O'Malley

André Braugher is a Golden Glove and Emmy Award winner best known for his roles in "Homicide: Life on the Street" and the current NBC sitcom, "Brooklyn Nine-Nine." He is currently starring in the Williamstown Theatre Festival's World-Premiere production of Jonathan Payne's "A Human Being, of a Sort."

Braugher plays a Southern convict named Smokey who is guarding the Bronx Zoo's most sensational exhibit: Ota Benga, a Congolese pygmy. 

Based on a true story, the play takes place in 1906, the public's fascination intensifies and protestors call for Ota's release, Smokey must grapple with the fact that his own freedom depends on another black man's captivity. 

"A Human Being, of a Sort" is directed at Williamstown by Whitney White and runs through July 7.

Jonathan M. Metzl is the Frederick B. Rentschler II professor of sociology and psychiatry at Vanderbilt University and director of its Center for Medicine, Health, and Society. He is the author of several books and a prominent expert on gun violence and mental illness.

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