Professor Patricia Turner, of the African American Studies department at University of California, Davis. Her new book "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" (U. of California Press) examines the historical and social ramifications of rumor in African American culture. From Ku Klux Klan-owned clothing and cigarette companies to a military conspiracy to infect Africans with AIDS, she looks at the role of legend and rumor, finding it has long been a feature of the community.
John McWhorter's newest book is called The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language. He has written on Ebonics, language and African Americans, and the origins of the Creole Language. His other books include Losing the Race: Self-Sabotage in Black America and Word on the Street: Debunking the Myth of 'Pure' Standard English. McWhorter is a professor at the University of California at Berkeley.
He wrote the screenplay for the film Undercover Brother, which began life as a Web site animation. The film, now out on DVD, is an action comedy [that] pokes fun at black action films of the 1970s and racial stereotypes. Ridley's latest novel is A Conversation with the Mann, about a black comic in the civil rights era of the early 1960s. This interview first aired January 10, 2002.
His new novel is Hard Revolution. It's set in Washington, D.C. in 1968, during the riots sparked by the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. Pelecanos is also the author of Right as Rain, Soul Circus, Hell to Pay, Sweet Forever, King Suckerman, The Big Blowdown, Down By the River Where Dead Men Go, Shoedog, Nick's Trip and A Firing Offense. (This interview was originally broadcast on Aug. 25, 1998.)
In the period after the Civil War, former slaves were made promises of equality and citizenship by the federal government. Historian Eric Foner analyzes the fate of those promises in Forever Free: The Story of Emancipation and Reconstruction.
Last week, fliers went up in predominantly African-American neighborhoods of Philadelphia warning that people with outstanding warrants or unpaid parking tickets could be arrested if they show up at the polls. Zach Stalberg of the Committee of Seventy discusses this effort to discourage voters.
Ta-Nehisi Coates grew up in the post-civil rights era, son of a publisher and former Black Panther; he's a contributing editor and blogger for The Atlantic magazine and author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, 2 Sons, and An Unlikely Road to Manhood.