Woodbine, Onaje Ph.D. — Black Gods of the Asphalt Part Two

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The transcendent experience of street basketball is the topic of two conversations with Onaje X. O. Woodbine, author of “Black Gods of the Asphalt: Religion, Hip-Hop, and Street Basketball.” Woodbine grew up in the inner-city of Roxbury, Massachusetts, became a skilled street basketball player and attended Yale University on a basketball scholarship. After two years as a star player on the Yale team, he chose a different life path and quit.

 

After graduating from Yale, Woodbine earned his Ph.D. in religious studies from Boston University. His book, “Black Gods of the Asphalt” presents a social-anthropological view of this inner-city sport where coaches often assume the role of father, mentor and friend. He contrasts the lessons learned on the street basketball courts, with those learned at the predominantly white basketball courts and locker rooms of Yale University.

Onaje Woodbine visited with Radio Curious by phone on August 13, 2016, from his home in Andover, Massachusetts. In part one we discussed his experiences growing up and playing on the basketball courts in the inner city and how that differend from the Ivy League schools he later went to. In part two, we began our conversation when I asked him to explain the ethnographic research and methods he used in making his book, “Black Gods of the Asphalt.”

The book Dr. Onaje Woodbine recommends is “Jesus and the Disinherited” by Howard Thurman.

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Woodbine, Onaje Ph.D. — Black Gods of the Asphalt Part One

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The transcendent experience of street basketball is the topic of two conversations with Onaje X. O. Woodbine, author of “Black Gods of the Asphalt: Religion, Hip-Hop, and Street Basketball.” Woodbine grew up in the inner-city of Roxbury, Massachusetts, became a skilled street basketball player and attended Yale University on a basketball scholarship. After two years as a star player on the Yale team, he chose a different life path and quit.

After graduating from Yale, Woodbine earned his Ph.D. in religious studies from Boston University. His book, “Black Gods of the Asphalt” presents a social-anthropological view of this inner-city sport where coaches often assume the role of father, mentor and friend. He contrasts the lessons learned on the street basketball courts, with those learned at the predominantly white basketball courts and locker rooms of Yale University.

Onaje Woodbine visited with Radio Curious by phone on August 13, 2016, from his home in Andover, Massachusetts, and began part one by describing his relationship with his father, Dr. Robert Woodbine.  In part two he discusses the ethnographic research and methods he used in making his book, “Black Gods of the Asphalt.”

The book Dr. Onaje Woodbine recommends is “Jesus and the Disinherited” by Howard Thurman.

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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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Saul Diskin – Identical Twins

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The End of the Twins, a Memoir of Losing a Brother

Ever wondered what it would be like to have an identical twin—how alike would you be to that person? How much of an individual would you be? Saul Diskin and his identical twin brother Marty grew up together in New York City where Saul and Marty were inseparable. As adults, they began to live separate lives, Saul in Phoenix and Marty near Boston. In 1991, Marty, who had suffered from leukemia for 20 years, needed a bone marrow transplant, which he received from Saul. In his extraordinarily intimate book, “The End of the Twins, a Memoir of Losing a Brother,” Saul Diskin chronicles the rich relationship beginning with their early childhood and ending well past Marty’s death in 1997, shortly before their 63rd birthday.

Saul Diskin recommends “Entwined Lives,” by Nancy Segal and “Cosmology and Creation: The Spiritual Significance of Contemporary Cosmology” by Paul Brockelman.

Originally Broadcast: September 22, 2001

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Osborn, John Jay, Esq.:  A Marriage as a Separate Entity

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“Listen to the Marriage” is a novel by John Jay Osborn, a retired lawyer and law professor. The story centers a marriage counselor and a recently separated couple with demanding jobs and two small children.  All thirty-one short chapters take place in the therapist’s office and reveal the angst, anger, and hidden love that the couple Gretchen and Steve, have for each other. Sandy, the therapist guides the sessions, while keeping her thoughts about her clients to herself.  An empty green chair representing their marriage sits between Gretchen and Steve during each visit.

“Listen to the Marriage” is Osborn’s sixth novel, the first one being “The Paper Chase,” published in 1971, a year after he graduated law school.  “Listen to the Marriage” is based in part on the experience Osborn and his wife had with a marriage counselor beginning about ten months after they separated in the mid 1980s.  They remain happily married.

John Osborn visited the Radio Curious studios by phone from his home in San Francisco, California, on December 14, 2018. We began our conversation with his description of the therapist’s goal: To get the couple to look at the marriage they created as being separate from themselves.

The book John Jay Osborn recommends is “Happy All the Time,” by Laurie Colwin.

The program was recorded on December 14, 2018.

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Freed, Lynn — Reflections on a Life

 

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The personal journal is often not meant for the eyes of anyone but the writer. When a stranger’s journal is read, the reader often becomes a voyeur to the innermost secrets of another. And whether it is a true journal or one of fiction, who cares? Often, it remains a good story. Lynn Freed, originally of Durban, South Africa, wrote the fictional journal of Agnes LaGrange, entitled “The Mirror,” which reveals the thoughts, feelings, and loves of Agnes, starting when she arrived in South Africa to work as a housekeeper, and ending 50 years later.

Lynn Freed recommends “Misfit,” by Jonathan Yardly, “Essays,” by George Orwell & “Last Days in Cloud Cukooland Dispatches,” by Graham Boynton.

Originally Broadcast: December 12, 1997

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Fuller, Alexandra — Growing Up White in Africa

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In the late summer of 2003 Radio Curious visited with Alexandra Fuller who, as a child lived in Rhodesia, Malawi and Zambia in southeast Africa between 1972 and 1990.  After her father sided with the white government in the Rhodesian civil war, he was often away from home.   Fuller’s resilient and self-sufficient mother immersed herself in their rural and rugged life. She taught her children to have strong wills and opinions, and to whole-heartedly embrace life, despite and because of their difficult circumstances.  Alexandra Fuller, author of “Don’t Let’s Go To The Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood,” known as Bobo to her family, developed a love of reading and story telling early on in her life.

When  Alexandra Fuller and I visited by phone from her home in rural Wyoming in September 2003, we began our conversation when I asked her how she choose the title for her book, “Don’t Let’s Go To The Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood.”

The book Alexandra Fuller recommends is “Echoing Silences,” by Alexander Canigone.

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Dalton, Joan – Dogs in Juvenile Hall

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I once had the good fortune of seeing “If Animals Could Talk,” a movie made by Jane Goodall.  A segment was about The MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility in Woodburn, Oregon. The boys incarcerated there have committed serious criminal offenses; some of them are given an opportunity to train dogs, develop relationships with the dogs and in doing so learn responsibility, patience and respect for other living creatures. There is a zero recidivism rate among the juvenile inmates who spend time training dogs at MacLaren.

Joan Dalton is the founder and executive director of Project Pooch, a non-profit corporation linked with MacLaren, where incarcerated youths train shelter dogs and find them homes. We visited by phone from her home near Portland, Oregon on February 15, 2010 and began our conversation when I asked her to tell us how Project Pooch came about and then about Project Pooch itself.

The books that Joan Dalton recommends are “Children And Animals: Exploring The Roots Of Kindness And Cruelty,” by Frank R. Ascione and “Rescue Ink: How Ten Guys Saved Countless Dogs and Cats, Twelve Horses, Five Pigs, One Duck,and a Few Turtles,” by Rescue Ink and Denise Flaim. 

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Boothman, Nicholas: Getting People To Like You

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How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less

Making people like you is a skill that anybody can learn. By reading body language and synchronizing behavior, it is possible to make meaningful connections with almost anybody in almost any circumstance. We appreciate and like people similar to ourselves, people we understand and people who are open. “How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less” is the title of a book by Nicholas Boothman, a neurolinguistic practitioner who lives in Toronto, Canada.

Nicolas Boothman recommends “Love in the Town of Cholera,” & “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” both by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Originally Broadcast: January 2, 2001

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Livingston, Gordon M.D. – How To Love?

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Everybody thinks about love and many people say “I love you”, but how is love defined? The book “How To Love” written by psychiatrist Dr. Gordon Livingston grapples with these and many other questions about love, and how to find a compatible and pleasurable partnership. In this interview, we discuss how to choose more carefully, in matters of love to get what we desire and deserve. The song, “Do You Love Me?” from the musical “Fiddler On The Roof,” is our background music. Dr. Gordon Livingston spoke from his home in Columbia, Maryland on July 13th 2009, where he lives and practices psychiatry. The conversation began when I asked Dr. Livingston to define love.

The book Dr. Gordon Livingston recommends is “All He Ever Wanted,” by Anita Shreve.

 

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