Black History

Bessie Stringfield: The Motorcycle Queen of Miami

Sep 22, 2016
Cover art courtesy of Joel Christian Gill | Author photo courtesy of NHIA

From intrepid explorers to hearty pioneers to Jack Kerouac's drug addled odyssey, the road trip is a staple of American literature and folklore. Stories of crossing the nation are allegories for freedom, expanding opportunities, and often escape.

The little known story of an African American woman crossing the country eight times during the 1930s and 40s is remarkable enough. The fact that Bessie Stringfield did it—alone—on a motorcycle is downright astonishing.

Ben Beltran via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/7uuhG8

In the 1968 Olympic games, American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos stood on the medal stand - with the eyes of the world upon them - and raised their fists to the sky. Today, John Carlos talks about athletic activism today and the force of that protest nearly fifty years ago.

Plus, the multi-million dollar industry of suffering. A filmmaker explores why people pay money to grind through obstacle courses races through mud, icy ponds and electric shocks? Are we primitive beings taking flight from desk jobs? Or does running through fire just make for a better Facebook post?

k2parn / Flickr/CC

With its 'lily-white' reputation, the Granite State doesn't often highlight the role that people of color have played throughout its history. A new documentary aims to reveal those hidden stories though, and their importance to the state's history. 


1.18.16: Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Jan 18, 2016
Minnesota Historical Society via flickr Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/9aeK91

Think Civil Rights era, and you think the south...home to Jim Crow, the Ku Klux Klan, and peaceful marchers set upon by police dogs. Selma, Birmingham, Little Rock. Well, how about Boston and Brooklyn?  Today we celebrate Martin Luther King Day with a history of progress and regression in a region that considered itself blind to race. 

Also today, the songs of Nina Simone, Sam Cooke, Bob Dylan and Pete Seeger provided a soundtrack for an era of optimism and anger. If we have indeed entered a new Civil Rights era, what do today's protests songs sound like?

Plus, the untold story of one of Martin Luther King Jr's confidantes, businessman Stanley Levison.

beisbolsinaloa / Flickr/CC

A new book by UNH historian Jason Sokol describes what he calls the region’s 'conflicted soul’ when it comes to race. Sokol explores the discrepancies between the North’s image as haven from the segregated south, and the harsh realities that African Americans faced in black neighborhoods from Boston to Brooklyn.

This program originally broadcast on February 12, 2015.

GUEST:

Al_HikesAZ via Flickr CC / //flic.kr/p/5eSsvr

The National Park Service reports that only 7% of annual park visitors are African American. On today’s show, we delve into environmental and cultural history to find out why the story of the American outdoors is so white.

Then, from clamshell tweezers to electrolysis, we’ll take a look at America’s history of hair removal, and what it reveals about shifting views of racial and social status.

Plus, is technology killing the jewelry industry? We’ll find out why global sales of fine jewelry have been sluggish since the global recession.

Mark Stevens via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/oWwRHM

According to a report from the National Park Service only 7% of annual park visitors are African American. On today’s show, we delve into environmental history and cultural studies to find out why the story of the American outdoors is so white.

Then, environmentalists have taken many tacks to get people to be “greener”: the doomsday approach, education, shame. Now new research suggests another way to increase green behaviors: a salary. Why paying people an hourly wage decreases environmentally-friendly behaviors.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Joel Christian Gill

Whether it’s a catchy theme song, or a single image - think Mary Tyler Moore tossing her cap into the air – some TV credit sequences are etched in our minds. Today we listen for the greatest TV opening sequences of all time. Plus, a look at a graphic novel that reveals the untold stories of African-American history…including that of Richard Potter, for whom the New Hampshire town of Potter Place is named. Then, tis the season for mosquitoes, black flies, and ticks. How are you preventing pesky bites? We sample the rainbow of bug repellant…from witch hazel to DEET.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.


In this new approach to the Civil War, Wineapple provides the reader with a sense of the passions and tragedies of the era, including character studies of the vibrant and flawed personalities behind the scenes.

GUEST:

  • Brenda Wineapple – teaches literature at both New York's New School University and Columbia University.  Wineapple is also professor of modern literary and historical studies at Union College.  Her previous book is White Heat: the Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson.
Carl Van Vechten

Nashua resident Rawn Spearman (1920-2009) was a long-standing student of Harlem renaissance poet Langston Hughes. The actor and baritone singer, spent time at MacDowell Colony working on a documentary about Hughes. And in 2001 was awarded the Lotte Jacobi Living Treasure Award by Gov. Shaheen. 

In 1997, he organized a performance of  Ask Your Mama, 12 Moods for Jazz,  Hughes epic poem, designed to be performed with music. Spearman's performance at the Capital Center for the Arts sold out.

Broadside quoting Marquis de Lafayette, issued 1800-1899 / Rare Books Collection, Boston Public Library, Flickr Creative Commons

Back in 1779, 20 slaves made the case for their freedom before the New Hampshire General Court.  After noting it wasn’t the right time, the body postponed the decision “to a more convenient opportunity.” 

Lawmakers never took that opportunity, and 14 of the petitioners died as slaves. 

But on Wednesday, a Senate committee unanimously passed the bill.