© 2024 WMKY
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

MSPR to air Black History Month specials (February 2024)

Dr. JoVia Armstrong is the 2023 recipient of the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice Partnership at Ucross award.
Tawni Shuler/Ucross.
Dr. JoVia Armstrong is the 2023 recipient of the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice Partnership at Ucross award. 

Black and Fine
February 5th @ 9:00am

Some of America’s first maestros of European art music were enslaved and free Virginians of African descent. Violinist David McCormick shares the music of the Black violinists of Monticello from the Hemings and Scott families.

Also: Justin Holland was a black man who was born free in 1819 in Norfolk County, Virginia. He became one of America’s first classical guitarists and was respected by European Classical Guitar Masters. Later in the show: Renowned musician JoVia Armstrong plays some of her latest works and discusses how her childhood led to her life as a musician and composer. This episode is hosted by musician and With Good Reason sound engineer Jamal Millner, who spent 20 years as a professional touring musician and composer and was a member of the Corey Harris 5×5.

African American Storytellers
February 11th @ 3:00pm

Carolyn Franzini presents an hour of African American storytellers featuring Barbara Collins Bowie, Christian Garland, Kemp Powers, Vin Shambry, and Dame Wilburn. The program also includes music by Guy Davis and Sweet Honey in the Rock.

James Lawson: The Architect of the United States Civil Rights Movement 
February 12th @ 9:00am

Have you ever wondered how the US Civil Rights Movement came to be? In this episode, we are honored to have the man Martin Luther King Jr. called friend, mentor, and the very conscience and architect of the movement: Reverend James Lawson. “We started the public desegregation of the nation,” he says, “and we did it without hating anybody.”

A black banjo player with a wooden leg. Photograph, ca. 1865
Wellcome Collection
A black banjo player with a wooden leg. Photograph, ca. 1865

Afropop Worldwide: Black History of the Banjo
February 16th @ 8:00pm
February 17th @ 3:00pm
February 18th @ 3:00pm

Georges Collinet hosts this program tracing the history of this most American of instruments from its ancestors in West Africa through the Caribbean and American South and into the present, as a new generation of Black women artists reclaim the banjo as their own. Rhiannon Giddens, Bassekou Kouyate, Bela Fleck and more talk claw-hammers, trad jazz, Appalachian folk, African ancestors and the on-going story of American music, which would be woefully incomplete without a Black history of the banjo.

Visions of Style
February 19th @ 9:00am

In the late 70s, the University of Virginia inherited 10,000 glass plate negatives from the Holsinger Studio. Among them were 600 portraits self-commissioned by Black Virginians. Now, through the Visions of Style and Progress exhibition the images are transforming the way that viewers think about life for Black Virginians at the turn of the 20th century.

Plus: It’s difficult to imagine that the highway was someone’s home. But it was. A once thriving Richmond neighborhood known as the Harlem of the South fell victim to intentionally destructive city planners.

"Talladega College, Women's Tap"
National Archives
"Talladega College, Women's Tap"

Afropop Worldwide: Black History of Tap Dancing
February 25th @ 8:00pm

Join host Georges Collinet for a look at the black history of tap dancing. Foundational for Broadway and the movies, intertwined with jazz, tap dancing is a Great American Art. Strap on your shoes and shuffle along as we trace the history of tap and celebrate the Black artists and innovators who built--and continue to build--this art form. From its murky origins melding African percussion and Anglo-Irish step dancing, to tap's golden age and its ongoing evolution. Produced by Ben Richmond.

Dinner Theatre
February 26th @ 9:00am

In Richmond, Virginia, you can walk up to a fridge and get fresh produce for your Thanksgiving table no questions asked. And it all started because Taylor Scott of “Community Fridge” had a few extra tomatoes to spare.

Michael Carter Jr of Carter Family Farm is a fifth-generation black farmer. He says he’s growing farmers. Not crops. And he’s doing it through a practice that he calls Africulture.

The famed Virginia Housewife Cookbook did a lot for Mary Randolph’s reputation, but she wasn’t the one in the kitchen. Leni Sorenson, who the New York Times calls America’s most unsung food historian, is cooking her way through the Virginia Housewife cookbook, and celebrating the lives and culinary skills of the enslaved women and men who really threw down in the kitchen.

Lee Campbell was a celebrated New York sommelier when she got an assignment to visit a Shenandoah Valley winery. She had very low expectations. Now, she’s made a home there and says Virginia’s wine tells a story of America.