Aretha Franklin was more than a woman, more than a diva and more than an entertainer. Aretha Franklin was an American institution. Aretha Franklin died Thursday in her home city of Detroit after battling pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type. Her death was confirmed by her publicist, Gwendolyn Quinn. She was 76.
In his new book, The Double V, Rawn James Jr. argues that to understand race in America one must understand the history of African-Americans in the military. While the turning point came between the world wars, the struggle began with the American Revolution.
Before the Civil Rights movement, segregated American cities helped give birth to the Chitlin' Circuit, a touring revue that provided employment for hundreds of black musicians. Rock historian Ed Ward profiles two recent books which illuminate the conditions these musicians endured.
The late James Farmer Jr. was one of the leaders of the civil rights movement and an organizer of the 1961 Freedom Ride, which challenged segregation across the American South. In 1985, Farmer spoke to Terry Gross about his lengthy career fighting discrimination.
Wednesday markets the 50th anniversary of the start of the Freedom Rides, when an integrated group of Civil Rights activists rode together by bus through the deep South challenging integration. Historian Raymond Arsenault recounts their journey in Freedom Riders.
"You can no longer talk about what black America thinks or feels," says Pulitzer Prize--winning columnist Eugene Robinson. His new book, Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America, describes how African-American communities are becoming increasingly disconnected from one another.
More than 6 million African-Americans moved from the South to cities in the Northeast and Midwest between 1915 and 1970. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson documents the resulting demographic and social changes in her history of the Great Migration, The Warmth of Other Suns.
John Hope Franklin died March 25 at the age of 94. As a historian, scholar, and activist Franklin advanced African-American causes throughout his career. Fresh Air remembers the historian and scholar with an interview from 1990.