Civil Rights

8.17.16: The Man With Made-Up Memories & Blood Brother

Aug 17, 2016

Dr . Martin Luther King Jr, Emmit Till, Medgar Evers  -  many sacrificed their lives during America's struggle  for civil rights. So did Jonathan Daniels, a white student from New Hampshire.Today, the authors of a new biography dig into Daniels' life and activism.

Plus, what makes up a memory? For years, filing cabinets or computer folders were used as metaphors for how our brains store and retrieve memories - the truth is a lot less reliable. One man's near-death experience reveals a lot about how and what we remember.

Ben Beltran via Flickr CC /

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?

What Protest Songs Sound Like in 2016

Jan 12, 2016
Nicholas Balanon via flickr Creative Commons /

Nina Simone, along with Sam Cooke, Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger and countless others made important contributions to the rich canon of protest songs during the civil rights movement. A canon so strong, that the term "protest song" often conjures images of artists from the 1960s.

11.11.15: Veterans Day

Nov 11, 2015
kataaca via Flickr CC /

Since World War II, as many as 100,000 service members have been “less than honorably discharged” for being gay. Now, four years after the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” gay vets look to change the record. Today, what goes into rewriting history. And prior to the Civil War, images of battle were the stuff of legends and mystery – then came the photographs of Alexander Gardner. Plus, other stories about our nation’s veterans. 

iamhenry / Flickr CC

Despite being the widest-ranging and most comprehensive piece of civil rights legislation in American history, the Americans with Disabilities Act doesn't enjoy the same historical treatment as other, better known civil rights landmarks. We speak with author Lennard J. Davis who has chronicled the surprising and compelling history of the law in his new book, Enabling Acts: The Hidden Story of How the Americans with Disabilities Act Gave the Largest U.S. Minority its Rights.

Giving Matters: MLK Holiday in N.H.

Jun 6, 2015
Minnesota Historical Society

New Hampshire was the last state in the union to officially celebrate a holiday honoring Martin Luther King by name. It took 20 years of trying, but proponents of the King holiday finally won out.

In recent years America has marked 50 years since a number of key moments in the civil rights movement. The March on Washington. The murder of Medgar Evers. The Bloody Sunday at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma.

This year marks a half century since a killing that hits closer to home.

Jonathan Daniels, a native of Keene, New Hampshire, was killed in the summer of 1965. And Keene State College is holding a series of events this year about Daniels’ life and legacy.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

On Sunday, clergy from local Lutheran, Congregational, and Unitarian churches -- plus a rabbi -- honored the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. at New Hope Baptist Church in Portsmouth.

Reverend Arthur L. Hilson reminded his speakers -- including Portsmouth Major Bob Lister and Police Chief Stephen DuBois -- that they stood behind the very pulpit Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. preached at in Portsmouth 63 years ago.  

We talk with African Americans living in northern New England about the Civil Rights protest that helped change the course of racial history in the U.S. Fifty years later, Americans are still contemplating the legacy of that day and debating the extent to which Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream of racial equality has been fulfilled.


jendubin via Flickr Creative Commons

Though political parties have long been responsible for drawn-out decision making in Congress, Michael Lind, writer and Salon columnist, believes that geography has also served as a formidable catalyst for inter-American dispute. Michael joins us to talk about his recent article for Salon, “The White South’s Last Defeat,” where he suggests that the root of the problem isn’t traced to the left or right, but rather, points north and south.

When community leaders wanted justice for the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, they went knocking on the door of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division. And that's been happening a lot lately.

Memories of the Movement

Feb 13, 2012
<a href="">Wisconsin Historical Images</a> via Flickr/Creative Commons

The years of the Civil Rights Movement are counted among the most volatile, yet vibrant, in American history. In our Black History month special, Memories of the Movement, The Tavis Smiley Show celebrates the courage, conviction and commitment of the everyday people who made extraordinary contributions to American social progress. The program holds poignant, humorous, unheard or little known stories from a number of well-known civil rights icons including stories from Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, Danny Glover, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., Dr.