Skip to main content

African Americans

112 results




Rumors and Conspiracy Theories in the Black Community.

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.


Linguist John McWhorter

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.


Writer John Ridley

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.


Crime Novelist George Pelecanos

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.)


Zadie Smith: 'On Beauty' and Difference

Best-selling author Zadie Smith's new book, On Beauty, follows the lives of two mixed-race families in a fictional New England college town. Smith's previous work includes the novel White Teeth.


America: 'Forever Free,' but Not Yet Whole

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.


A Poet's 'Hardheaded' Reflection on Life

In his new collection, Hardheaded Weather: New and Selected Poems, poet Cornelius Eady writes of his transition from urban renter to rural homeowner and the encroachment of middle age.


Voter Intimidation Efforts In Philadelphia

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.


Journalist, Author Ta-Nehisi Coates

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.

Did you know you can create a shareable playlist?


There are more than 22,000 Fresh Air segments.

Let us help you find exactly what you want to hear.


Just play me something
Your Queue

Would you like to make a playlist based on your queue?

Generate & Share View/Edit Your Queue