Gilbert, Ronnie — A Memorial Tribute

In this edition of Radio Curious we honor and pay tribute to folk singer Ronnie Gilbert, who died on June 6, 2015 at the age of 88. She is well known for her powerful contralto voice as a member of the Weavers, the extraordinarily popular folk music quartet that in 1950s and 1960s. She also had careers as an actor and a psychologist.

From the Radio Curious archives, recorded in September 1996, Ronnie Gilbert describes her introduction to music and dance, how the Weavers came together; their blacklist experience; her thoughts about turning 70 years old when this program was recorded in 1996; and her friendship and work with Holly Near. We conclude with Holly Near recalling her friendship with Ronnie Gilbert.
The books Ronnie Gilbert recommends are “The Moors Last Sigh” by Salman Rushdie, “Making Movies” by Sidney Lumet and “Eyewitness: A Personal Account of the Unraveling of the Soviet Union” by Vladimir Pozner.

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Lowe, Felicia — Chinese Immigration:  The Veil of Secrecy and Silence

Secrecy of and revelation about the trip to America to secure a new life during the Chinese Exclusion era is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious. 

Our guest is Felicia Lowe, whose filmChinese Couplets” tells her mother’s story.  Felicia Lowe was met with refusals and silence when as a child she asked her mother about her childhood. This shroud of silence was lifted when Felicia Lowe’s daughter found an old family photograph taken in China and asked her grandmother to tell the story related to the photograph. 

The film “Chinese Couplets” shows and tells the story of a childhood in rural China, the new identity to secure passage to America, the fear of deportation if the truth were known, and a prosperous and successful life of an immigrant Chinese woman in Oakland, California.   The film “Chinese Couplets” will be shown at the Mendocino Film Festival on Saturday, May 30, 2015 at 10 am in the Village of Mendocino, California.

When Felicia Lowe and I visited by phone from her home in San Francisco, California, May 17, 2015, I asked her to tell us about her mother.

The book Felicia Lowe recommends is “The Blues Eye,” by Toni Morrison.

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Schwartz, Lacey — Nobody Discussed It:  Lacey Schwartz and “Little White Lie”

The secret revealed in the life of Lacey Schwartz, born in 1987 to a white Jewish family in rural upstate New York, where she grew up, is that her biological father was black.  The few who knew her truth remained silent until after her first year of college when she asked her mother why she looked the way she did.  Lacey Schwartz is the producer and director of the film Little White Lie,” which documents her family secret.

“Little White Lie” will be shown at the Mendocino Film Festival on Friday, May 29, 2015, at 5:30 pm, in the Village of Mendocino, California.

Lacey Schwartz and I visited by phone from her home near New York City, on May 11, 2015.  First we hear a clip of Lacey’s voice taken from the introduction of the film “Little White Lie,” and later intersperse our conversation with clips from the film. 

The book Lacey Schwartz recommends is “How It Feels to Be Free:  Black Women Entertainers and the Civil Rights Movement,” by Ruth Feldstein.

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Marshall, Joseph Ph.D. — Black Lives:  Alive and Free

Keeping young black men alive and free is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious.  Our guest is Dr. Joseph E. Marshall, who in 1987 co-founded the Omega Boys Club of San Francisco, now called “Alive and Free,” of which he is the executive director.

Alive and Free is a community violence prevention effort for at-risk inner city youth and a surrogate family support system for young black men and women, based in San Francisco, California, to encourage their academic pursuits and obtain financial help for college.  

Joseph Marshall is also the host of Street Soldiers Radio, broadcast every Sunday evening on KMEL 106.1 FM at 8 pm.  In 1994 he received a McArthur Foundation Genius Award for his skills and accomplishments.

Dr. Joseph E. Marshall and I visited by phone, from his office in San Francisco, California on May 4, 2015, and began our conversation with his description of Alive and Free.

The books Joseph Marshall recommends are “The Autobiography of Malcolm X,” and “Street Soldier:  One Man’s Struggle to Save a Generation – One Life at a Time,” by Joseph Marshall and Lonnie Wheeler.

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Moglen, Eben — Internet Privacy and the Freedom Box

The best spy system ever created, what the internet does and how it’s controlled by national forces are the topics of this edition of Radio Curious.  We visit with Columbia Law Professor Eben Moglen, a developer of the Freedom Box, which prevents government, businesses and other intruders from obtaining your personal information and internet uses. 

The book that Eben Moglen recommends is, “Free Software, Free Society,” by Richard Stallman.

This interview was originally broadcast in 2011.

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Ellsberg, Daniel — The Pentagon Papers

Few moments in American history have held the tension of the Vietnam war, especially in the early 1970′s. The nation was fundamentally divided between young people and their parents, who saw no reason for the United States to be in Vietnam, and President Richard Nixon’s “silent majority,” causing a rupture particularly connected to the still-escalating Vietnam War. The “Pentagon Papers,” which were released by Daniel Ellsberg, our guest in this archive edition Radio Curious, were published on the front page of the New York Times in June 1971.

They focused national attention on United States foreign policy and on our rights as individual citizens to freedom of the press.  Criminal charges were brought against Ellsberg in the United States District Court in Los Angeles, California; they were later dismissed by the Judge.

When Daniel Ellsberg and I visited by phone in March 1997 I asked him to begin by placing the “Pentagon Papers” in the context of the time.

The book Daniel Ellsberg recommends is “Our War,” by David Harris.

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Lawler, Andrew–The Chicken: A Mirror of Humanity

Where chickens thrive humans are nearby.  Portable and good travelers, chickens have been carried by humans around the world.  Currently there are three chickens alive at any one time for each individual person alive on earth.  Descendants of dinosaurs, chickens are primarily cared for by women, they’re a never ending source of slang and continue to be depicted in religious and/or political symbols around the world.  Americans eat, on average, 80 pounds of chicken per year—four times the world average. But, chickens raised for food are not considered animals under U.S. law and are generally not subject to humane treatment regulations. 

Our guest is Andrew Lawler, author of “Why Did the Chicken Cross the World?  The Epic Saga of the Bird That Powers Civilization.”  Andrew Lawler and I visited by phone from his home in the North Carolina hills on March 27, 2015, and began our conversation when I asked him how far back the lineage of the chicken goes in world history.

The book Andrew Lawler recommends is “Guns, Germs and Steel:  The Fates of Human Societies,” by Jared M. Diamond.  

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Bayer, Jaciara: Transracial Adoptions and White Privilege

We continue our discussion of racism and white privilege in Mendocino County, California, with a 30 year old Brazilian born woman,  who is currently studying for a master’s degree in social work at the California State University at Hayward.

Jaciara Bayer was adopted and brought to the United States at age 11 months by her single, white-American mother and grew up in Ukiah, California.  

A transracial adoption, which may be an international adoption, is the primary focus of Jaciara Bayer’s plan of study for her master’s degree.  Sharing her personal experiences, she tells us of being told she’s different, growing up in a white family and white privilege.  When Jaci, as she is often known, and I visited in the studios of Radio Curious on March 23, 2015, she began with her earliest memories.

The book Jaciara Bayer recommends is “In the Meantime: Finding Yourself and the Love You Want,” by Iyanla Van Zant.

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Kiggins, Josanna — Josanna Kiggins: Skin Color, Gender and Song

Radio Curious continues our conversation about racial discrimination, cultural gender norms and expected behaviors. 

Our guest, Josanna Kiggins, is a parent, student, singer, singing and cultural education teacher, and a medical receptionist.  A native of Salvador, Brazil Josanna has lived here in Ukiah, California, for 30 years.  She’s someone I’ve known almost that long.    

When Josanna Kiggins and I visited at Radio Curious on March 14, 2015, she described her experiences, values and goals.   Her story begins when she was 9 months old. 

The book Josanna Kiggins recommends is “Hard Laughter,” by Anne Lamont.

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Durham, Bill — Racism in America:  One Man’s Experience

Radio Curious continues its series racism in a conversation with Bill Durham, a 59 year old black man, originally from Ohio who grew up in family of civil rights activists and now lives in Mendocino County, California.  We explore the effects of racism in the United States and how to end it.  Bill Durham, works as a journeyman carpenter, and hosts Club FM, a weekly blues, jazz and rock music program on KMEC radio in Ukiah, California with the moniker of MC Squared.

In this program, recorded on February 12, 2015, at Radio Curious, Bill Durham shares his experiences of being black in America, starting when he was very young, and his ideas on how to relieve racism.

The book Bill Durham recommends is “Supernatural:  Meeting with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind,” by Graham Hancock.

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