African-Americans | KCUR

African-Americans

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Regulations on professional hair braiding in Missouri may soon be loosened under a bill passed by the legislature this session. 

In Missouri, a person currently needs a cosmetology license, which requires 1,500 hours of training and costs tens of thousands of dollars, to braid hair. 

"That's more than are required to be a police officer, an EMT and a realtor, combined," says Rep. Shamed Dogan, R-St. Louis.

In her new album, "Dirty Computer," Janelle Monáe reveals more of herself than ever before. And, in recent weeks, she has been sharing more of her story, from her background in Kansas City, Kansas, to her sexuality. A look at the music, life and persona of Janelle Monáe ... and what her story means to Kansas Citians.

Courtesy of Hallmark Cards

Elle McKinney has seen the Black Panther movie nine times and taken all seven of her nephews — in shifts — to see the mega-hit since it came out in February.

So, lucky for McKinney, who is black, that her job as a greeting card writer at Hallmark Cards allowed her to be a writer on the creative team for the launch of Black Panther cards.

Wikipedia / Creative Commons

This month has brought renewed attention to the historic Underground Railroad site known as the Quindaro Ruins in Kansas City, Kansas.

After a gathering of community members, historians and scholars sought to raise awareness about the importance of the site last week, Congressman Kevin Yoder has announced that he would introduce legislation to designate Quindaro a National Historic Landmark.

Segment 1: How long does it take to make a friend?

According to a KU professor, it takes 50 hours to make a casual friend (though that's not always guaranteed). We take a closer look into his research, including the online quiz he created to determine the closeness of a friendship.

Segment 1: A school secretary is helping immigrants make plans in case of deportation.

For undocumented parents with kids who are U.S. citizens, the risk of having your family separated by deportation is real. Meet the elementary school employee who has stepped into the lives of kids whose parents could be deported.

 

Segment 1: Community members recall memories of switching schools after riots following Martin Luther King Jr's assassination.

 After the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, two local catholic high schools, one serving a primarily white community and the other serving a primarily black community, held a year-long student exchange program. Today, we speak with a few individuals who participated in the exchange as students and discuss the profound effect it had on their lives.

Bigstock

When many black diners go out to eat, it’s not uncommon for them to question if race plays a part in the service they receive.

Turns out, that’s not paranoia.

Zach Brewster is an assistant professor of sociology at Wayne State University in Michigan. He has conducted several national research studies on the experience of dining and restaurant discrimination. In his 2015 survey of approximately 1,000 waiters and waitresses across the country, 53 percent of the participants admitted to not giving black diners their best service.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

On Wednesday morning, Dennis Vallejo, a police officer in Kansas City, Kansas, removed the tarp covering a statue of abolitionist John Brown to reveal stark black markings sprawled across the monument's otherwise pure white marble. 

The historic statue, at North 27th Street and Sewell Ave. near the Quindaro Townsite, was vandalized over the weekend. Among several markings, two were overtly racist and anti-Semitic: a swastika on the statue's head and the N-word on its feet.

LaBudde Special Collections, Miller Nichols Library / UMKC

The photographs tell a story in themselves: images that feel familiar because we recognize our city in the background, and all too familiar because we still see agitated people, most of them black, fleeing through clouds of tear gas or standing alone in front of police lines.

But the photographs don't tell nearly enough of the story. That's because the images in the 1968 Riot Collection at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Library don't have enough information.

Tom Hellauer / For Harvest Public Media

Cypress Pond used to be a plantation in southwest Georgia. Old-growth pecan trees line the gravel roads that wind through the 800 acres of farmland, and there’s an orange grove flanked by patches of long-leaf pine.

Segment 1: A new group wants to make theater accessible to everyone.

What if you could see a play for free in a non-traditional venue? Well, now you can. The Kansas City Public Theatre kicks off its first season this fall, but it's already staging some monthly readings at a local bar. We talk with its executive artistic director and a playwright, whose work will be performed on Monday.

Segment 1: Meet Aaron Rahsaan Thomas.

He's a screenwriter and producer who is originally from KCK. Last week, he was in a photo of black creatives in Hollywood that went viral. Hear his story — and how that photo changed how some people see race in the industry.

  • Aaron Rahsaan Thomas, Executive Producer of "S.W.A.T." on CBS

Segment 2, beginning at 17:56: Mosquito experts swarm KC.

Segment 1: Why barber shops are more than a place to your haircut. 

An author with Kansas City roots reminisces about the unique relationship between African-American boys and barber shops in Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut.

Walt Disney Studios

The latest Marvel comic film makes way for fresh conversations on race, leadership and heroism.

The superhero thriller, Black Panther, easily topped the box office in its first week receiving attention and applause for its use of a nearly all-black cast and production team. On this Screentime, we take a closer look and explore what the movie says about society's evolving perspectives on race and culture.

Chr. Barthelmess / Library of Congress

Anyone who has even a hazy memory of Bob Marley's song "Buffalo Soldier" knows the broad historical brush strokes of the African-American soldiers.

"Stolen from Africa, brought to America," the song goes. "Fighting on arrival, fighting for survival."

The full history is more complicated.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

A statue at Fort Leavenworth pays tribute to the Buffalo Soldiers, the all African-American calvary formed after the Civil War. Today, John Bruce and George Pettigrew of the Buffalo Soldiers Alexander/Madison Chapter of Greater Kansas City explain the origins and accomplishments of these soldiers, who served with distinction until the last Buffalo Soldier units were disbanded in 1951.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

While Kansas City has a long tradition of black artists, their work tends to get overlooked, says textiles artist Sonié Joi Thompson-Ruffin. Today, we learn about a community project that's giving these local creatives online posterity. Then, we hear excerpts from a conversation with Democratic Missouri Rep.

Paul Andrews / www.paulandrewsphotography.com

Sheri "Purpose" Hall is a spoken word poet, an author, an ordained minister and an activist. She's represented Kansas City in national poetry slams and recently, a video of her performing one of her poems, "Irregular Rape Poem," has gone viral. Hear her story.

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CCAAL Inc.

For an artist, one year is plenty of time to develop new techniques and mature. Today, we check in on local artist Rodolfo Marron, who, after two residencies in New York, has returned to Kansas City with a new exhibit. Then, learn about Liberty's African-American heritage from the group dedicated to documenting and preserving its history.

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Hear the stories behind this year's Day of the Dead altars at the Mattie Rhodes Gallery, then meet a local spoken word poet/minister.

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The Westport Post Office recently moved to shut down the DIY herb garden in its front lawn. The gardener, and neighbor of the post office, shares her story.

Plus, a rebroadcast of our conversation with queer artist Carrie Hawks, whose film black enuf* encapsulates a childhood search for black identity. The Kansas City native returns to their hometown for a showing this Friday at the Kemper.

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On September 15 in St. Louis, a former police officer was acquitted in the shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith. We check on the protests on the other side of the state. Plus, how the MeToo campaign is affecting Kansas Citians.

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Gordon C. James / Courtesy of Agate Publishing

Sometimes, a haircut isn’t just a haircut.

When he was growing up in Kansas City, author Derrick Barnes felt like a new kid after visiting his barber.

“Man, to get my haircut on Thursday means that when I showed up to school on Friday, I would look so fresh, and people would pay attention to me,” he told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR’s Central Standard.

Playwright August Wilson wrote a series of ten plays, one for each decade of the 20th century, that examines the black experience in America.

Sean Davis / Flickr - CC

In this encore presentation: Patsy Cline's last show was here in Kansas City in March of 1963; she died in a plane crash as she was leaving town. Nearly 55 years later, a young local singer shares how Patsy Cline has influenced her.

Then: Have you noticed that more and more people are saying "y'all"? A look at how the word has spread beyond its Southern roots.

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What does the college campus of the future look like? An architect from a local firm sees some radically different changes.

Then: a recent article in The Kansas City Star says that the social scene here isn't inclusive of people of color. We'll hear how some young African-Americans don't feel like there's a place for them in the metro ... and how it's driving them to move elsewhere.

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Donnelly College / Facebook

Faculty, staff and students at Donnelly College, a small, private Catholic college in Kansas City, Kansas, are celebrating their ranking this week by U.S. News and World Report as the most ethnically diverse college in the Midwest.

This week, the University of Kansas is hosting the Black Love Symposium. We meet keynote speaker, NYU professor Pamela Newkirk, here to talk about her anthology, "A Love No Less: More Than Two Centuries of African American Love Letters."

Plus, the "first Beverly Hillbilly" got his start here in Missouri. 

Guests:

Florent Vassault

The consequences of a death sentence most obviously affect the accused, but everyone involved in the case must deal with the decision's terminal implications. Today, we hear how a 1994 death sentence in Mississippi is affecting one juror's life decades later. Then, we explore how America's legacy of lynching still influences race relations in Missouri, Kansas and throughout the country.

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