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Socially Conscious Poetry and Pedagogy

Poet and playwright Sonia Sanchez discusses teaching young writers, her experiences as an African American woman, and her appreciation and critique of white feminist movements.


Taj Mahal on the Blues and the African American Experience.

Taj Mahal is a musician known for his blues songs. Later in his career, he would incorporate African, Caribbean, and Latin influences into his music. His records appeal to blues, rock, and folk audiences, and a compilation of his work, "The Best of Taj Mahal," has recently been published. Mahal is in Philadelphia to perform at the Tower Theater.


Uncovering the Truth of Teenage Pregnancy

Under the guidance of editor Bob Woodward, Washington Post reporter Leon Dash lived in a housing project in Washington, D.C. to learn more about the rise of teenage parenthood among poor African American teenagers. He says that both adolescent boys and girls see parenthood as an achievement. Dash expanded his reporting into a book called When Children Want Children.


Preserving Black History and Culture Through Literature

Playwright and novelist Ntzoake Shange, best known for her play For Colored Girls, joins Fresh Air to talk about the diversity of the black experience, her childhood and early education, and the criticism she sometimes gets from black male authors and playwrights. Her new play is called Betsey Brown.


Family Life Softens Comedian Damon Wayans

Wayans is the brother of actor and director Keenan Ivory Wayans, and has been pursuing a career in stand-up. He's been appearing in films recently like Beverly Hills Cop, though he's frustrated by the lack of complex and varied roles for black actors. Wayans' forthcoming movie is called Earth Girls are Easy.


How Civilian Inequalities Lead African Americans to the Military

Ed Dorn, a senior staff member of the Brookings Institution, considers the question, "Does the US military really provide equal opportunities for African Americans?" Dorn points to the fact that blacks make up a disproportionately large percentage of the Armed Forces, in part because many African American recruits have fewer economic opportunities in the civilian world.


Author Shelby Steele on African-American Identity.

Author Shelby Steele. Steele's best-selling book, "The Content of Our Character," is a personal analysis of racism in America. Steele says it's time Blacks in America stopped using racial victimization as a crutch and started to rely on their own efforts to gain access to the mainstream. (It's newly published in paperback by Harper).


Race and Environmental Policy.

The Environmental Protection Agency recently released a report that examined the link between race and pollution. That report said that while things like toxic waste dumps are disproportionately located in poor areas, they're NOT disproportionately located in black areas. We look at both sides of the question...
1) First, Terry talks with sociologist Robert Bullard, author of the book, "Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class, and Environmental Quality." He disagrees with the EPA report.


The U. S. A.'s Version of Apartheid.

Political Science Professor Andrew Hacker. His new book is "Two Nations: Black and White, Separate, Hostile, Unequal" (published by Charles Scribner's Sons) about race relations in the United States.

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