Press Release - WFCR and WNNZ Celebrate Black History Month with Special Programming
[February 4, 2011 -- Amherst, MA] During the month of February, WFCR and WNNZ - Western New England's NPR News and Music Stations will celebrate Black History Month in many of its programs, including Tell Me More, Jazz a la Mode, and Soundwaves.
Tell Me More (weekdays at 11:00 a.m. on 640AM and 91.7FM WNNZ) will feature special minute-long reflections by guests and NPR staffers in every broadcast showcasing inspiring figures and memorable events in Black history. Essayists will include NPR host Guy Raz, Tell Me More regulars like the show's politics contributor former White House speechwriter Mary Kate Cary, Kenneth Blackwell, former Ohio Secretary of State and others.
Here's what host Michel Martin had to say about the project: "We try to observe all the heritage months in some way, and we try to make it fresh -- to tell people something they either have not heard or to let people from other groups in on the conversations people are having WITHIN their own group. For example, last year during Hispanic Heritage Month we asked four men of Latino or Hispanic Heritage - which is it - Latino or Hispanic? The conversation was surprisingly intense and we got a lot of listener reaction. When we started thinking about what to do this month, we got an idea from our Martin Luther King Day coverage where we asked a number of our guests to reflect on what they think Dr. King's challenge would be to us today. That got us to thinking about what Black History Month means to us -- and to our guests. We thought, why not let our colleagues in on it, too? We've found the exercise fascinating and fun and we hope listeners like it."
WFCR's locally-produced Jazz a la Mode will devote two shows to jazz versions of gospel songs and spirituals. Tune in to 88.5FM WFCR on Feb. 21 and 28 beginning at 8:00 p.m., for "Wade in the Water" by Wycliffe Gordon; "Just a Closer Walk with Thee" by Allen Toussaint; "We Shall Overcome" by Hank Jones and Charlie Haden; "Go Down Moses" by Archie Shepp; and Mahalia Jackson's recording with Duke Ellington of "Come Sunday."
Soundwaves features a collection of hand-picked documentaries, currated by WFCR and WNNZ's Executive Director for Programming, Helen Barrington. This February, the series will take listeners from Mississippi to Chicago, with stories about the unsung heros of the Civil Rights Movement, how transportation effects communities, and beekeeping in Chicago's North Lawndale neighborhood. This February on Soundwaves: (Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. on 640AM and 91.7FM WNNZ)
February 5: State of Siege: Mississippi Whites and the Civil Rights Movement
This program shines a light on the stories and strategies of the white opponents in Mississippi during the 1960's, including their extraordinary tactics used to battle integration and the legacy they left. From American Radio Works.
February 12: Who Is This Man? - from State of the Re:Union with Al Letson
Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream Speech" is an iconic moment in civil rights history. But this moment would probably not have happened if it weren't for a man standing in King's shadow, Bayard Rustin. Rustin was a man with seemingly incompatible labels: Black, gay, Quaker; identifications that served to earn him as many detractors as admirers. Although he had numerous passions and pursuits, his most transformative act, one that certainly changed the course of American history, was to counsel MLK on the use of non-violent resistance. Rustin also helped to engineer the March on Washington and frame the Montgomery bus boycott. From State of the Re:Union with Al Letson.
February 19: Back of the Bus: Mass Transit, Race and Inequality
In the 1960's, highway projects nearly destroyed African American communities. Now in this collaborative reporting project from Transportation Nation and WNYC, this program investigates why. From American Radio Works.
February 26: The Promised Land: Brenda Palms Barber
Brenda Palms Barber wasn't always drawn to beekeeping. But her quest to find work for residents of Chicago's economically disadvantaged North Lawndale neighborhood - where some 50 percent of adults have been in the criminal justice system - led her to start Sweet Beginnings, a transitional jobs program for formerly incarcerated individuals and others with significant barriers to employment.
From The Promised Land.
"While we are highlighting issues of importance to African-American communities during Black History month, WFCR and WNNZ air programs on a daily and weekly basis year round that cover race, ethnicity, culture and issues of belonging," according to WFCR's Executive Director for Programming, Helen Barrington.
For a complete schedule, visit nepr.net.