African-Americans

Several regional schools have seen intense, sometimes violent protests focused on social and civil divisions, but the UMKC campus has largely been spared. Today, we find out what makes the metro institution different. Then, a futurist shares her strategies for predicting trends in technology, business and more.

It's been three weeks since the election, and public reactions are still hot. Today, Kansas City's own David Von Drehle, editor-at-large for Time magazine, treads the political aftermath.

Local actor Damron Russell Armstrong recently started a theater company. The Black Repertory Theater of Kansas City made it's debut back in August, but that's not the only thing he's been up to – Armstrong is also directing the play "An Octoroon," which opens Nov. 30 at The Unicorn.

Plus, we check in with Missouri's Chess Champion as he gears up to defend his title.

Guests:

With the opening of relations to Cuba, and Kansas City's recent focus on Cuban photography and art, we look at Cuban influence on Kansas City culture over time. We then broaden the conversation to consider the intersecting Cuban and Afro-Latino identities in the metro area.

Guests:

Laura McCallister / Kansas City Public Library

In the hands of musicians like Charlie Christian, Carlos Santana, and Slash, the electric guitar has become a symbol for freedom, rebellion and rock 'n' roll. Then, find out why celebrities like Will Smith and Casey Affleck are taking new interest in the 1955 murder of Emmett Till.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Hundreds of people gathered Saturday afternoon in front of City Hall in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, to condemn president-elect Donald Trump.

The protest, which lasted several hours and remained peaceful throughout, differed from anti-Trump rallies in the city earlier in the week — there was little chanting, and no marching.

Instead, people lined up to speak through a megaphone, sharing their personal stories, expressing their feelings, and calling for people to mobilize for change. 

With Donald Trump urging supporters to watch for instances of voter fraud, we find out how the Jackson County Election Board ensures fair and free voting. Then, a 1938 Supreme Court ruling forced the University of Missouri Law School to accept black students, or create a separate school for them. The litigant, Lloyd Gaines, disappeared soon after, but his case made history.

With the national Republican Party in turmoil, we look at the unexpected politics of African-Americans in the GOP. Then, whether it's dealing with doctors, dating in one's 70s, or new and unexpected bodily changes, growing older can dismay some folks, but William Novak says laughter is often the best medicine.

Kansas Citians love their Chiefs. But the game of football has been harshly criticized, for the slew of injuries and the enduring mentality that causes them. We hear from a few people working to change the game, including one UMKC professor who has designed a new football helmet.

Also, ahead of an event at the Black Archives of Mid-America, a local historical tour guide shares stories of the late Felix Payne, an influential man who transformed the political identity of black Kansas Citians in the early 20th-century.

First, Ambassador Allan Katz examines the diminishing role of civility in politics, and what might be done to reverse it. Then, the story of Forsyth County, Georgia, which became a "white county" in 1912, after a campaign of violence and intimidation against its black inhabitants. This week's Local Listen features Brody Buster's One Man Band.

Courtesy Crystal Bradshaw

After the Civil War, freed slaves fled the South, but not everyone went North. Many thousands came to start farms and towns in rural, western Kansas — a movement that has lasting impact on agriculture and culture to this day.

Guests:

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City theater audiences know Damron Russel Armstrong’s work – he’s been an actor and director in town for years. But Armstrong’s new role is his most challenging yet: He’s starting a new theater company.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

The blame game was on full display after last week’s mass shooting in Orlando, and it was on the minds of Kansas City students who attended a “Unity Fest” Saturday. 

The event is the conclusion of the American Friends Service Committee’s Social Change Institute, a summer program where teens learn and practice non-violent social change.

https://www.facebook.com/RootsSeries/

In 1977, Roots became one of the most-watched TV miniseries of all time. Based on Alex Haley's book about his family's story, from enslavement to liberation, it won a multitude of awards and exposed Americans to the horrors of slavery.

The recent remake of Roots enters into a more complex and nuanced culture of racial representation. We explore the new version, its place in American culture ... and if we needed a remake of such an iconic series.

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Her new album has stunned her fans ... along with people who might not have paid attention to the pop star until now. We explore some of the themes and images in Lemonade, Beyoncé's visual album.

Guests:

Steven Washington says the answer to racial equality in the United States is not black and white — it's green. The Philadelphia real-estate investor says that entrepreneurship is be the key to establishing economic empowerment for African-Americans. 

Kyle Palmer / KCUR 89.3

Volunteers began gathering early Monday morning at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Kansas City, Kansas. 

They braved icy roads and single-digit temperatures but none doubted the reason they were there. 

"This is one of the biggest celebrations of the year," said Frank Lavender, a lead organizer for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Motorcade/March for Hunger. "It gives us the opportunity to make the community aware of the all the people who need food. We use this day to get the word out."

In the immediate aftermath of Monday's events at the University of Missouri's Columbia campus, other local universities have taken notice — campus leadership needs to listen to student and faculty voice.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City is starting that process now, mere hours after both UM System President Tim Wolfe and MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin resigned, chastened by student-led protests and faculty complaints that they were insensitive to a tense and frequently racist campus climate. 

He stood alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. in the fight for civil rights, yet the name Bayard Rustin remains largely unknown. We hear the story of this important figure in history. 

Guests:

Next week, KU will host a Black Arts Poetry Conference, which will feature readings by poets Frank X. Walker and Kevin Young at the Black Archives of Mid-America. A poet and one of the conference organizers discuss the past, present and future of African American poetry.

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR

When national news editors review the top stories of 2014, Ebola, Isis and the World Cup might top the list.

But when we talk to editors of some hyper-local Kansas City papers, very different stories emerge.

Joe Jarosz, managing editor, Northeast News:

Western Newspaper Union / NARA/Wikimedia Commons

They served with distinction in World War I but the Buffalo Soldiers are not always remembered for their contributions during the Great War.

On Monday's Up to Date, we look at these regiments of African-American soldiers, their heroism and the racism they faced. 

Guest:

Simon & Schuster

He was a pitchman for Jell-O and got us moving with Fat Albert. He was the first black man to star in a television drama and gave fatherly advice in the TV show that bore his name and changed the way many people in America viewed African-Americans.

Courtesy / Black Archives of Mid-America

In an age before the internet—and in an environment that in some ways promoted isolation and disconnection—African-Americans in Kansas City in the early 20th century still found ways to find connection and community.

Churches and social clubs have been called the “glue” that held the black community together, alongside families and schools, and a new exhibit at the Black Archives of Mid-America chronicles some of that important history.

Guest:

  • Michael Sweeney, collection librarian for the Black Archives of Mid-America

Courtesy / Shane Evans

Kansas City author and illustrator, Shane Evans, will be at two events this weekend showcasing his new children's book and film, Chocolate Me!.

Chocolate Me! is a collaboration with actor and model, Taye Diggs, known for his roles in the original Broadway production of Rent and the movie How Stella Got Her Groove Back. Although Diggs often plays the hunk on the silver screen, as a kid he was teased for his looks.

Susan B. Wilson / KCUR

According to the National Cheerleading Association, more than 3 million Americans participate in the sport. But cheerleading is no longer just about pom-poms and whipping crowd spirit into a frenzy, it has evolved into a bona fide sport where many athletes — as they are now considered — train year-round.

These athletes work on the strength, balance and gymnastic skills they need to stand out and win competitions. I recently visited a gym in Grandview where teaching girl power and the sport of cheerleading go hand in hand.

James C. Cassatt

Looking back, desegregating the military seems like the obvious thing to do, but in the 1940s and 50s, it wasn't so clear for Harry Truman.

Ask a school kid, and he or she will tell you that slavery in America ended in the mid-1860s. But when did the movement against slavery start?

African-American Read In

Feb 19, 2013

As part of Black History Month activities, UMKC is hosting an African-American Read In Feb. 20 and 28. Employees of the UMKC library and the public will read aloud from some of their favorite African-American literature and writing.


Library of Congress

Bellman, concierge, housekeeper, valet: If the job of the Pullman porter  was complex, his place in the American consciousness is even harder to pin down.

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