MSPR to air Black History Month specials

Jan 26, 2021

Credit Escohi

Morehead State Public Radio will offer a variety of programming to celebrate Black History Month in February 2021.

Among the specials are:

The Reckoning - Facing the Legacy of Slavery in America
Fridays @ 10AM

In a four-hour series for public radio, The Reckoning traces the history and lasting impact of slavery in America by looking at how the institution unfolded in Kentucky.  This history is the genesis of many of the issues that have exploded into public consciousness throughout the country in 2020.

The state remained in the Union during the Civil War, but many white Kentuckians fought to hang onto slavery and the wealth the enslaved provided.  In the years that followed, former Unionists and Confederates banded together to violently deny black citizens a seat at the table. As part of this story, we will meet members of two families, one white and one black, whose lives were intertwined through slavery. These families reflect how slavery touched nearly every person, place and institution in America, and how the country still needs to reconcile this painful past with the impact slavery has had on the present day health, wealth and safety of African Americans.


Say it Loud: Great Speeches on Civil Rights and African American Identity
February 5, 2021 @ 11am

Say It Loud traces the last 50 years of black history through stirring, historically important speeches by African Americans from across the political spectrum. The documentary illuminates tidal changes in African American political power and questions of black identity through the speeches of deeply influential black Americans. With recordings unearthed from libraries and sound archives, and made widely available here for the first time, Say It Loud includes landmark speeches by Malcolm X, Angela Davis, Martin Luther King Jr., James Cone, Toni Morrison, Colin Powell, and many others.

We Shall Overcome: Civil-Rights Jazz
February 7, 2021 @ 6pm

There was a strong relationship between jazz and civil rights in 20th-century America; musicians and many critics as well were advocates for equal rights for African-Americans, and jazz provided a cultural bridge between blacks and whites that helped to work as a force for integration. In the post-World War II era black musicians began to speak up, directly and indirectly, against racial injustice, and they also began to record works with titles or lyrics that referred explicitly to the struggle for equality.

This program includes music from Nina Simone (her take on the legendary anti-lynching song “Strange Fruit”), Sonny Rollins (his instrumental version of “The House I Live In,” first sung by Frank Sinatra in 1945, and co-written by Abel Meeropol, who also wrote “Strange Fruit”), John Coltrane (a live and complete performance of “Alabama” taken from Ralph Gleason’s Jazz Casual TV show), and Max Roach’s powerful “Prayer/Protest/Peace” from the 1960 album We Insist! Freedom Now Suite.

King Stories: (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.)
February 12, 2021 @ 11am

King Stories  is a one hour documentary of captivating stories told by close friends and associates of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Host Julian Bond, along with insiders—Ralph Abernathy, David Garrow, Dick Gregory, Mark Lane and Larry Williams—share rarely documented stories about the personal and private sides of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Louis Armstrong's New Orleans, with Wynton Marsalis
February 14, 2021 @ 6pm

Louis Armstrong's New Orleans, with Wynton Marsalis Veteran radio producer Joe Bevilacqua hosts this entertaining, informative hour, recorded in the French Quarter of New Orleans and featuring jazz great Wynton Marsalas, jazz author and historian Donald Newlove, WNYC Radio talk show host Leonard Lopate, members of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and others, on the origins of jazz, and the life and music and legendary trumpeter, Louis Armstrong.

Throughline: Billie Holiday and Shirley Chisholm
February 19, 2021 @ 11am

When Billie Holiday was harassed by U.S. government agents and told to stop singing ‘Strange Fruit,’ she refused. When Shirley Chisholm ran for president and was ridiculed and told she shouldn’t aim that high politically, she refused.On this episode of Throughline, two pioneering Black women, Billie Holiday and Shirley Chisholm, who set their own sights and never backed down from a fight.

Max Roach--Drums Unlimited
February 21, 2021 @ 6pm

Master drummer Max Roach recounts his own extraordinary journey, from the era of the Jim Crow south to the creation of modern jazz, from the civil rights years to far-reaching experiments in percussion--with thrilling music and storytelling help from friends like Dizzy Gillespie.

Throughline: Octavia Butler
February 26, 2021 @ 11am 

Octavia Butler was a deep observer of the human condition, perplexed and inspired by our propensity towards self destruction. She described herself as a pessimist, “if I’m not careful.” As an award winning science fiction writer and ‘mother of Afrofuturism’, her visionary works of alternate realities reveal striking, and often devastating parallels to the world we live in today. Butler was fascinated by the cyclical nature of history, and often looked to the past when writing about the future. She broke on to the science fiction scene at a time when she knew of no other Black women in the field, saying she simply had to ‘write herself in.’

Suite History - Four Jazz Composers and the African-American Odyssey
February 28, 2021 @ 6pm

From the 1940s to the 1990s, several jazz composers undertook several large-scale orchestral compositions that portrayed the journey of black people from Africa to enslavement in America, and beyond. "Suite History" features music from such works by Ellington, Nelson, Carter and Marsalis.