Niilo Koponen, Ph.D. – North To Alaska

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People who crave space, freedom, adventure, and opportunities have long been attracted to Alaska. In June of 1996 I spoke with Niilo Kopanan, the son of Finnish immigrants who grew up in New York City and moved to a mountain ridge near Fairbanks, Alaska in 1952. At that time, land there was still open for homesteading. He located his 160 acres and filed a homestead on the ridge where he still lives. After several years there, in the mid 1950s, he returned to the lower 48 states to earn a Ph.D. Yet the magnet of Alaska pulled him back where he became a university professor and a member of the Alaska legislature, and he’s been there ever since.

Niilo Koponen, Ph.D. recommends “The life story of Elizabeth Morgan” by Ernest Morgan. 12

Originally Broadcast: June 18, 1996

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Jefferson, Thomas & Jenkinson, Clay – The Author of the Declaration of Independence

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Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States of America, stands as one of the lead political theorists of American history.  His ward republican theory required an agrarian population, a government originating in the individual household, and a consistently questioning and rebellious public. My guest in this edition of Radio Curious is Mr. Jefferson, personified by Clay Jenkinson.We discussed what has gone wrong in the US since Mr. Jefferson was President and addressed some of his concepts of what are necessary for a democracy.

The book Thomas Jefferson recommends is “The History of the Peloponnesian War,” by Thuclydides.

The book C. Jenkinson recommends is “In the Absence of the Sacred,” by Jerry Mander.

Originally Broadcast: May 21, 1994

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Andrew Weiss – Ellis Island: Who Arrived There, Why and What Was it Like

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Between 1892 and 1956 about 12 million people immigrated to the United States through Ellis Island, in the harbor of New York City. Who were these immigrants? Where did they come from? What was the experience of getting to Ellis Island and what happened to them once they arrived? In this archive edition of Radio Curious, we visited with Andrew Weiss, who I met in 1992 when he was a tour guide at Ellis Island, working for the City of New York. I spoke with Andrew Weiss in November of 1992, when he was a doctoral candidate at Columbia University and a teacher at Barnard College in New York City. I asked him to begin by telling us about the history of Ellis Island.

Originally Broadcast: November 23, 1992

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Maria Stewart – Sandra Kamusukiri – A Visit With a Free Black Woman – Boston 1840

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Maria W. Stewart, as characterized by professor and scholar Sandra Kamusakiri, was a free black woman who lived in Boston, MA, from the 1820s to the early 1840s. She was the first American born woman to lecture in public on political themes and likely the first African-American to speak out in defense of women’s rights. A forerunner to Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth, she was intensely religious and regarded as outspoken and controversial during her time. For more than a century, Maria W. Stewart’s life contributions remained obscured, illustrating the double pressures of racism and sexism on the lives African-American women. I met with Mariah W. Stewart in the person of Professor Sandra Kamusukiri during the 1996 Democracy in America Chautauqua, held in Ukiah, California.

Maria Stewart recommends “The Fair Sketches of Women,” by John Adams and “The Bible.”

Originally Broadcast: November 27, 1996

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Gilbert, Ronnie, as “Mother Jones” – ‘The Most Dangerous Woman in America’

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Mary Harris Jones, Mother Jones, was born in 1830. She lived a quiet, non-public life until she was approximately 47 years old and then, for almost the next fifty years, she was a fiery union organizer, strike leader, and fighter for safe and humane working conditions, the eight hour day, and child labor laws. Around the turn of the century, she was called the most dangerous woman in America. Her legacy has lived on in the form of a magazine that bears the name, Mother Jones; and in the form of a one-woman play about her life, produced, acted and written by singer and songwriter Ronnie Gilbert.

Mother Jones recommends any books by Leo Tolstoy. Ronnie Gilbert recommends “Hawaii,” by James Mechiner.

Originally Broadcast: March 12, 1997

 

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Eickhoff, Diane — The Revolutionary Heart and Life of Clarina Nichols

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The life of Clarina Nichols and her work in the early women’s rights movement in the United States has been greatly overlooked. As one of the country’s first female newspaper editors and stump speakers, Clarina Nichols spoke out for temperance, abolition and women’s rights at a time when doing so could get a woman killed. Unlike other activists, she personally experienced some of the cruelest sufferings that a married woman of her day could know. In her pursuit for justice she traveled westward facing all of the challenges of being a single mother and a women’s rights activist of her day with good humor and resourcefulness. Clarina Nichols is portrayed by Diane Eickhoff in this chautauquan style interview.  We began when I asked Clarina about her childhood.

The book Clarina Nichols recommends is “The Sexes Throughout Nature (Pioneers of the woman’s movement),” by Antoinette Louisa Brown Blackwell.

The book Diane Eickhoff recommends is “The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 911” by Lawrence Wright.

This program was originally broadcast on January 13, 2007.

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Wilkerson, Isabel — America’s Great Migration: 1915-1970 Part Two

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In the years between 1915 and 1970 almost six million black American citizens from the south migrated to northern and western cities seeking freedom and a better life. Our guest is Pulitzer Prize winner, Isabel Wilkerson author of “The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration.” Her book tells the untold experiences of the African-Americans who fled the south over three generations.

Wilkerson interviewed more than 1,000 people for her book. She is the first black woman to win the Pulitzer Prize and is a recipient of the George Polk Award and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow. Her parents were part of the great migration, journeying from Georgia and southern Virginia to Washington D.C.

In part one she discussed what she called the “biggest untold story of the 20th century.”  In part two of our conversation, recorded from her home near Atlanta, Georgia, on September 28, 2012, Isabel Wilkerson describes the inspiration behind her narrative non-fiction story of the six million African-Americans who migrated from the south between 1915 and 1970.

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Wilkerson, Isabel — America’s Great Migration: 1915-1970 Part One

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In the years between 1915 and 1970 almost six million black American citizens from the south migrated to northern and western cities seeking freedom and a better life. Our guest is Pulitzer Prize winner, Isabel Wilkerson author of “The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration.” Her book tells the untold experiences of the African-Americans who fled the south over three generations.

Wilkerson interviewed more than 1,000 people for her book. She is the first black woman to win the Pulitzer Prize and is a recipient of the George Polk Award and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow. Her parents were part of the great migration, journeying from Georgia and southern Virginia to Washington D.C.

In the first of two interviews recorded from Isabel Wilkerson’s home near Atlanta, Georgia, on September 28, 2012, she begins with a description of the “biggest untold story of the 20th century.”

The book Isabel Wilkerson recommends is “The Ark of Justice,” by Kevin Boyle.

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Phil Baldwin – Peace and Freedom Candidate for Congress, 1992

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Our guest in this program was the 1992 Peace and Freedom Party candidate for the 1st Congressional District in California, Phil Baldwin. We spoke about the differences between the Peace and Freedom Party and the Democratic and Republican parties. Particularly of interest in this discussion are the differences between Mr. Baldwin and the final victor of the 1992 election, former Democrat Dan Hamburg.

Originally Broadcast: December 16, 1991

 

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Dr. Estelle B. Freedman – History of Feminism

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The place of women in the world and in the American society has changed in many aspects in the recent past.  Many people say this is due to the politics of feminism, and some inquire where it will lead.

I spoke with Professor Estelle B. Freedman by phone in April 2002 and asked her to talk about why feminism did not evolve as people evolved and civilization developed.

The books Professor Freedman recommends are “The Blind Assassin” by Margaret Atwood, and “The Vagina Monologues” by Eve Ensler.

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