As a rookie officer in Nashua, N.H., Sergeant Lakeisha Phelps owned a little blue sports car. “One of the troopers would stop me like every other night,” she says, laughing. Phelps worked midnight shifts, and arrived in Nashua around 11 at night.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

The Radisson ballroom was not yet full, and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump would not arrive for almost an hour. Already, the crowd chanted, “lock her up.” Peter Vincello from Raymond was on his way in, with his 15 year-old son.

“He kinda talked me into it. I was actually supporting Cruz in the primary.” But now, Vincello said, “He says all the right things, second amendment, getting the economy back, law and order.”

Emily Corwin

New analysis of state and county-wide data shows black and Hispanic people are arrested and incarcerated at higher rates in New Hampshire than whites are, and at more disproportionate rates than blacks and Hispanics nationwide.


Manchester Police Chief Nick Willard's uninhibited style has landed him in the spotlight recently. He’s been outspoken about the state's opioid crisis and has weighed in on political campaign disputes.

Most recently, he’s taken heat for comments about policing and race. But those who work with Willard say his actions often speak better than his words. 

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.


11.01.15: Incognito, Jedis, & Daylight Savings

Oct 30, 2015
Leo Reynolds via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/6pobVe

Michael Fosberg grew up in a middle-class white family – and didn’t discover until his early 30s that his biological father was black. Today, a conversation about race, identity and personal discovery with actor Michael Fosberg. Plus, whether you’re looking forward to brighter mornings or dreading the dark afternoons, daylight saving time is happening on Sunday. We’ll debunk the myths of daylight saving time., starting with its origins.

Farrukh via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/armk7P

Michael Fosberg grew up in a middle-class white family – and didn’t discover until his early 30s that his biological father was black. Today, a conversation about race, identity and personal discovery with actor Michael Fosberg.   Also today, autumn habits gone wrong. We’ll talk to a writer argues that apple- picking is a big fat scam. And, after more than twenty years of carved pumpkins and big crowds, Keene, New Hampshire will be quiet this weekend. We’ll ask residents how they feel about the loss of a long holiday ritual. 

Aaron Webb via Flickr CC / flic.kr/p/zfVaH

Police shootings and deaths of African-Americans in police custody have prompted calls for a national conversation about race. So, what do well-meaning white people have to add? We speak with the author of a new memoir urges white people to examine their privileged place in a stacked deck. Plus, the five words many parents dread: “where do babies come from?” A new book answers that question at a time where surrogacy, same sex couples, and fertility labs are challenging old norms and the standby response, “when a daddy really loves a mommy…” Today, we’re tackling the tough conversations. 

Chris Goldberg via Flickr CC / flic.kr/p/cjtwcN

Police shootings of unarmed black men and the deaths of African-Americans in police custody have prompted calls for a national conversation about racial inequality. So, what do well-meaning, privileged white people have to add? Today, the author of a new memoir urges white people to examine their privileged place in a stacked deck. Then, author and New Hampshire magazine editor Rick Broussard turns film director for Granite Orpheus, an experimental film project that sets the ancient myth of Orpheus against the torn-up streets of Concord.   

Night Owl City via Flickr CC / flic.kr/p/c3bZSd

As one of only six black pre-med students at Duke, Damon Tweedy was mistaken for a janitor…just one of many humiliations from the predominantly white field. Today, we’ll talk to Dr. Tweedy about the dearth of black doctors and what that means for people of color. Then, the trail of writers that have migrated from New York to New England to launch their careers have left a well-worn path. We’ll talk to two authors about the appeal of leaving the big apple for the natural beauty and quirky ways of New England.

Justin Valas / Flickr CC

With controversy over police tactics in African-American communities and the slaying of black churchgoers in South Carolina, we check in with the new president of the Manchester branch of the country’s oldest civil rights organization, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Hannah McCarthy/NHPR

  Leaders from a wide range of faiths stood before a group of roughly seventy people to mourn the murder of nine worshippers in Charleston and to call for peace, unity and change. 

Reverend Jared Rardin of South Congregational said now is the time for people to come together to discuss racism and tolerance.

White House Photograph Courtesy Gerald R. Ford Library

Before Carter versus Ford, presidential debates weren’t considered a necessary part of the election process, but today, the debate stage is like the Roman Coliseum.

On today’s show, we’ll look at the history of zingers, gaffes, and memorable moments from behind the podium. Then, with a pool of candidates growing at a near exponential rate, debate planning has become a headache for the GOP. We’ll look at how party leaders and the media could take advantage of the enormous field.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

Last year, 29 year old Robert Wilson was accused of a felony-level crime and faced the possibility of three and a half to seven years in prison. On Monday, after representing himself “pro se," the jury found him not guilty. 

Generally speaking, this doesn’t happen. Litigants represent themselves frequently in civil court, but rarely do criminal defendants argue by themselves before a jury. Wilson had even refused stand-by council.

epSos.de via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/dTUAhR

It’s presented as the be-all end- all metric by economists, politicians, and newscasters, but what exactly is GDP? 

On today’s show, the surprisingly fascinating process of measuring gross domestic product, and what this all important economic indicator overlooks.

Plus, the non-profit “Mars One” received over 200,000 applicants for its one way mission to Mars. A new short documentary follows three of the candidates as they vie for a trip they’ll never return from and a place in the history books.

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

Best of 2014 - How We Talk About Race In N.H.

Dec 30, 2014
Sean Hurley / NHPR

This spring, after racist remarks by Los Angeles Clippers Owner Donald Sterling and Wolfeboro Police Commissioner Robert Copeland, outrage dominated national headlines. Now, after events in Ferguson and New York City, race relations seem more fraught than ever, but a call for a more honest conversation about race still resonates.

This program originally aired on June 5, 2014.


Ferguson Decision: N.H. Reacts

Nov 25, 2014
Peter Snarr / Flickr/CC

We’re talking about the fallout in Ferguson. Protests broke out again last night after a grand jury decided not to indict Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed teenager Michael Brown this summer.  We’re talking about the reaction in Ferguson and what this means for civil rights, police force, and race relations across the country and in the Granite State.


Logan Shannon / NHPR

Among the things we take for granted in today’s America is knowing the time, which makes transportation, business and national events possible. This, however, was not always the case.

On today’s show, from building sewers to standardizing time, the invisible innovations that got us where we are today. And, protests in Ferguson, Missouri prompted calls for a national conversation about race and racism. A filmmaker asks: Can we have a productive discussion if the privileged majority can’t name what it means to be white?

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

Illustration by Renee Carlson/Argonne National Laboratory / via flickr Creative Commons

The fingerprint was once law enforcement’s “smoking gun”, next came DNA evidence. Now, scientists are researching another bio-marker that may be able to tell us even more about a crime scene. On today’s show, we’ll find out what a perp’s microbiome reveals after they leave the room.

Plus, after Ferguson, President Obama said that the nation seriously needs a conversation about race. A filmmaker asks: is dialogue possible if America’s most privileged race can’t clearly see itself? What does it mean to be white?

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

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.


Claude Schildknecht via Flickr Creative Commons

I was deep in western New York for the July fourth holiday. We had loads of fun and the weather was mostly great. The one sour note was not being able to find Wimbledon on the available television channels…we searched for Wimbledon and found live coverage of the Tour de France. In addition to having no interest in watching the race, I realized that I had no idea how to watch the Tour de France. I’m not alone, apparently because each year when the spotlight turns again to spandex, millions of Americans shrug and say “meh!”

The shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Florida has sparked heated reactions across the country, but there was a lag before mainstream media picked up on the story. Not so online, where a more immediate outcry grew into a petition drive this week to encourage a federal investigation.

Now the Justice Department is looking into Trayvon Martin's death at the hands of a neighborhood watch volunteer, and black media and social media were key in demanding closer scrutiny.

As the Supreme Court gets ready to hear a case involving the constitutionality of President Obama's health care overhaul, social scientists are asking a disturbing — and controversial — question: Do the intense feelings about the health care overhaul among ordinary Americans stem from their philosophical views about the appropriate role of government, or from their racial attitudes about the signature policy of the country's first black president?

The state Supreme Court in North Dakota is about to consider this question: Can lawmakers require a college to name its sports teams after a Native American tribe?

For decades, University of North Dakota teams have been known as the "Fighting Sioux." It's a name some see as an honor and others find demeaning. Now, the long fight over the Fighting Sioux may be settled in a courtroom.

2,400 Logos And A 'Vexing' Dispute

College and university presidents are wringing their hands over the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to revisit the issue of affirmative action next fall. Critics of racial preferences are thrilled because the court could significantly restrict the use of race in admissions, but proponents of affirmative action say this would be a huge setback for institutions struggling to diversify their student body.

Photo by ALA, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Jamal Joseph’s story is unlike many taught in schools during Black History Month. His long list of identifiers includes orphan, activist, FBI fugitive, convict, a drug addict, urban guerilla, and Black Panther. In a speech he made in the 1960s, Jamal urged students to burn down Columbia University. He is now a professor there and a writer, filmmaker, Oscar nominee, youth advocate, drug counselor, and father.

Everybody’s Green

Sep 4, 2009

Each month Socrates Exchange explores a different philosophical question, both on the air and on the web. This month we look at the question "Should race matter?" Is being the majority race still an advantage, or not? Do people of one race get special treatment or attention? If so, is that needed or right? Be part of the conversation.