🎧 Longing for Wakanda | On the Media | WNYC Studios

Listened to Longing for Wakanda by Brooke Gladstone from On the Media | WNYC Studios

How the utopian kingdom at the center of Black Panther falls into a long history of black liberation struggles.

On Sunday night, Marvel’s Black Panther film won the Oscar for three of its six Academy Award nominations: Ludwig Göransson for Best Original Score, Ruth E. Carter for Best Costume Design and Hannah Beachler and Jay R. Hart for Best Production design — just a few of the artists who helped bring Wakanda, the Black Panther’s mythical homeland, to life.

A persistent site for utopian longing, Wakanda has once more captured the public imagination: endowed with unlimited access to the most precious natural resource in the world, unsullied by the ravages of colonialism, Wakanda has reignited conversations about what black liberation can and should look like. According to Johns Hopkins University history professor Nathan Connolly, this latest chapter is part of a much longer tradition of imagining and reimagining black utopias. Connolly speaks with Brooke about how Wakanda arises from a 500-year history — from Maroon communities to Haiti to the actual Black Panther movement — a journey that takes us from "dreams to art to life, and back again."

This segment originally aired on February 23rd, 2018.

👓 The Racial Dot Map | Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service

Read The Racial Dot Map: One Dot Per Person for the Entire United States (Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service)
This racial dot map is an American snapshot; it provides an accessible visualization of geographic distribution, population density, and racial diversity of the American people in every neighborhood in the entire country. The map displays 308,745,538 dots, one for each person residing in the United States at the location they were counted during the 2010 Census. Each dot is color-coded by the individual’s race and ethnicity. The map is presented in both black and white and full color versions. In the color version, each dot is color-coded by race.

🎧 ‘The Daily’: A Life-or-Death Crisis for Black Mothers | New York TImes

Listened to ‘The Daily’: A Life-or-Death Crisis for Black Mothers by Michael Barbaro from nytimes.com

Black mothers and infants in the United States are far more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than their white counterparts. The disparity is tied intrinsically to the lived experience of being a black woman in America.

On today’s episode:

  • Linda Villarosa, a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine.
  • Simone Landrum, a young mother in New Orleans.

Background reading:

The story in this episode is a superb and emotional follow-on of an excellent NPR/ProPublica story I read back in December. We need more stories like this.

I nearly had a panic attack while listening to this. The disparities in parts of America are so painful and distressing and we can, could, and should be doing more to improve them.

🎧 Season 2 Episode 4 The Foot Soldier of Birmingham | Revisionist History

Listened to Revisionist History Season 2 Episode 4 The Foot Soldier of Birmingham by Malcolm GladwellMalcolm Gladwell from Revisionist History

Birmingham, 1963. The image of a police dog viciously attacking a young black protester shocks the nation. The picture, taken in the midst of one of Martin Luther King Jr.’s most famous marches, might be the most iconic photograph of the civil rights movement. But few have ever bothered to ask the people in the famous photograph what they think happened that day. It’s more complicated than it looks.



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CREDIT - Bill Hudson, AP
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“The Foot Soldier” by Ronald S. McDowell

What a stunning and unexpected story. I do so love this podcast.

🎧 Season 2 Episode 8 Mr. Hollowell Didn’t Like That | Revisionist History

Listened to Season 2 Episode 8 Mr. Hollowell Didn't Like That by Malcolm GladwellMalcolm Gladwell from Revisionist History

A man named Willie Nash is arrested for the murder of a white man in 1954, in Augusta Georgia. Witnesses place him at the scene. The victim picks him out of the lineup. He confesses. He is headed for the electric chair. Until his young black attorney, Donald L. Hollowell, mounts a defense that rivets black spectators and gives them hope.



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Wanted: The Man in the Pyramid Hat (pdf)

🎧 Season 2 Episode 3 Miss Buchanan’s Period of Adjustment | Revisionist History

Listened to Season 2 Episode 3 Miss Buchanan's Period of Adjustment by Malcolm GladwellMalcolm Gladwell from Revisionist History

Brown v Board of Education might be the most well-known Supreme Court decision, a major victory in the fight for civil rights. But in Topeka, the city where the case began, the ruling has left a bittersweet legacy. RH hears from the Browns, the family behind the story.



This is a stunning episode with several ideas and thought’s I’d not previously heard or considered. I feel guilty that I’ve been ignorant to some forces in society like these, but I suspect far too many others are as well. Veritas vos liberabit.

The brilliant idea here is that even the romantic view of Brown v. Board of Education many have isn’t really the victory it might have been. Because the continued racism and segregation of the teachers, things may have become even worse! The Supreme Court should and could have done better and the world would have healed a bit quicker.

Sadly we’ve still got similar problems today and they stretch across many other professions including law enforcement. I wonder what we can do to dramatically improve the teacher diversity problem?

Those who appreciated this episode are likely to appreciate this recent episode of The Daily’s podcast: Racism’s Punishing Reach which has several examples that underline the importance of teachers and provides some studies that just weren’t available at the time of Brown v. Board.

I hope to circle back and create a playlist of some of the more interesting things I’ve heard in the last year on the history of race and racism in the United States. This would certainly fit into that list.

🎧 Episode 09 Generous Orthodoxy | Revisionist History

Listened to Episode 09 Generous Orthodoxy by Malcolm GladwellMalcolm Gladwell from Revisionist History

A pastor officiates at the wedding of his son—under ordinary circumstances, an affirmation of family and community. But what if the son is gay? And what if the pastor belongs to the most traditional of religious communities?

“Generous Orthodoxy” is the story of Chester Wenger, a 98-year-old Mennonite minister who chose to confront his own church over a question of deepest principle. It asks: What do you do when the institution that has defined your life comes between you and your family? Wenger offers all of us a master class in the art of dissent.

Chester Wenger’s Letter

Generous orthodoxy is a truly intriguing idea.

I like the example he also provides regarding Princeton University and Woodrow Wilson, whose reputation is now waning in comparison to where it was just a few decades ago. I suspect that Gladwell’s protest idea would have worked much better, particularly in light of the recent 60 Minutes segment I saw recently: ‘60 Minutes’ features Princeton’s transformative efforts to increase socioeconomic diversity

🎧 ‘The Daily’: Racism’s Punishing Reach | The New York Times

Listened to ‘The Daily’: Racism’s Punishing Reach by Michael Barbaro from nytimes.com
For decades, Americans have believed that the best way to end racial inequality is to end class inequality. But a landmark 30-year study is debunking that logic.



On today’s episode:
• Emily Badger writes about cities and urban policy for The Upshot, The New York Times’s data-driven venture.
• William O. Jawando worked in the Obama administration on My Brother’s Keeper, a mentoring initiative for black boys.

Background reading:
• Extensive data shows the punishing reach of racism for black boys.

Is there no humanity left in the world? The more I see and hear of the world, the more I want to remove the positive connotation that the word humanity is frequently assigned.

This story is both very powerful and painfully depressing for me, and yet I know there are many that are still far worse. I hope we can find something in these statistics that can help drastically improve the paying field.