civil rights


  This Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (April 11 – 13), The Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region will present their 13th Public History Conference. This year’s conference is entitled Slavery and the Underground Railroad: the Larger Context, the Lingering Legacy and is co-sponsored by Russell Sage College, The Department of History and Society at Russell Sage College, and the Rensselaer County Historical Society.

Here now to tell us all about it are Brea Barthel, a co-coordinator of the Conference, and Professor at SUNY Albany and RPI and Paul Stewart, Scholar in Residence at Russell Sage College and co-founder of the Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region.

    The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the single most important piece of legislation passed by Congress in American history. This one law so dramatically altered American society that, looking back, it seems preordained—as Everett Dirksen, the GOP leader in the Senate and a key supporter of the bill, said, “no force is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” But there was nothing predestined about the victory: a phalanx of powerful senators, pledging to “fight to the death” for segregation, launched the longest filibuster in American history to defeat it.

This critical turning point in American history has never been thoroughly explored in a full-length account. Now, New York Times editor and acclaimed author Clay Risen delivers the full story, in The Bill of the Century: The Epic Battle for the Civil Rights Act.


  Stokely Carmichael, the charismatic and controversial black activist, stepped onto the pages of history when he called for “Black Power” during a speech one Mississippi night in 1966.

A firebrand who straddled both the American civil rights and Black Power movements, Carmichael would stand for the rest of his life at the center of the storm he had unleashed that night.

In Stokely, preeminent civil rights scholar Peniel E. Joseph presents a groundbreaking biography of Carmichael, using his life as a prism through which to view the transformative African American freedom struggles of the twentieth century.

Lucelia Ribeiro/Flickr

A new report reveals New York State's public schools are the most segregated in the nation.

The report released Wednesday by the Civil Rights Project at the University of California at Los Angeles used U.S. Department of Education statistics: it noted increasing segregation in the Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany and New York City metro areas.   It found many black and Latino students attend schools with virtually no white classmates throughout New York.

    A 2006 report commissioned by Brown University revealed that institution’s complex and contested involvement in slavery—setting off a controversy that leapt from the ivory tower to make headlines across the country.

But Brown’s troubling past was far from unique. In Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America's Universities, Craig Steven Wilder, a rising star in the profession of history, lays bare uncomfortable truths about race, slavery, and the American academy.

For 5 decades Terry Lenzner has been one of Washington’s most powerful inside players working behind the scenes to get to the bottom of scandals, controversies, and mysteries ranging from the murder of three young civil rights workers that inspired the film Mississippi Burning, to Watergate, the impeachment of President Clinton, and the death of Princess Diana.

Now for the first time he tells the story of his remarkable half century career probing politicians, celebrities, governments, and corporations in The Investigator.

  We speak with United States Congressman, John Lewis, about his new book, Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change.

City of Pittsfield Addresses Affirmative Action

Aug 26, 2013

Now, a warning to our listeners that next story contains language that some people might find offensive.

An affirmative action forum in Pittsfield is taking place during a week of civil rights remembrance nationally.

“He said ‘I’d expect that from a nigger, but not from a boy like you.”

Great Barrington to Commemorate Civil Rights Leader

Aug 22, 2013
Jim Levulis / WAMC

At a time when millions of Americans are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, people from the Berkshires are recognizing another civil rights milestone.

    Someday is Now: The Art of Corita Kent is the first full-scale survey of more than thirty years of work by artist and designer Corita Kent. A teacher at Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles and a civil rights, feminist, and anti-war activist, Corita, as she is commonly referred to, was one of the most popular American graphic artists of the 1960s and ’70s.

While several exhibitions have focused on Corita’s 1960s serigraphs, Someday is Now is the first major museum show to survey her entire career, including early abstractions and text pieces as well as the more lyrical works made in the 1970s and 1980s. The exhibition includes over 200 serigraph prints, as well as rarely exhibited photographs Corita used for teaching and documentary purposes.

Ian Berry, Dayton Director of the Tang Museum, joins us in Studio A.