race

Comedy and race will meet head-on at this year's Academy Awards on Feb. 28. Amid calls to boycott the Oscars over its lack of diversity, the host is one of today's most provocative black comedians. You can just feel the audacious Chris Rock rubbing his hands together in excitement.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Hartford's HartBeat Ensemble premieres a new work this weekend that draws on the stories of people from the city’s Asylum Hill neighborhood. It accompanies an effort by community leaders to inspire change in the neighborhood by working closely with the people who live there. 

Ray Kingston / Creative Commons

The University of Connecticut is creating a living and learning community for black men in response to low graduation and retention rates among the school's male African-American students.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

For his latest book, Michael Robinson journeyed to the mountains of East Africa with a particular mission in mind: to search for explorer Henry Morton Stanley's so-called "white tribe." This hour, Robinson talks about his experience, and how it helped inform The Lost White Tribe: Explorers, Scientists, and the Theory that Changed a Continent

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The eyes of the nation turn to Iowa. But, why? The caucus process doesn't really resemble voting as we do it the rest of the time in this nation. And, the Iowa caucuses aren't really binding in terms of national delegate selection.  Iowa doesn't look like the rest of the nation, by which I mean, way whiter, but this in the words of Bruce Hornsby, is "just the way it is."

We also talk about the New York Times endorsement of Hillary Clinton and reactions to her candidacy. 

Keoni Cabral / Creative Commons

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission announced it will hold hearings to see whether discrimination played a role in the handling of Flint’s water crisis. The decision came early last week, amid allegations of environmental racism against the city’s largely black community.

This hour -- from Flint, Michigan to New Haven, Connecticut -- we learn about the environmental justice issues affecting America's low-income communities of color. 

Zoran Veselinovic / Wikipedia

Joseph Fiennes will play Michael Jackson in a new British made-for-TV movie about a fictional road trip taken by Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Jackson, and Marlon Brando from New York to California after 9/11. We might applaud the casting of a white actor to play one of the most iconic black entertainers in American culture if we lived in a post-racial society. But that's fiction, too.

Yoichi R. Okamoto / Creative Commons

Back in the 1940s, the NAACP sent a young black lawyer named Thurgood Marshall to Bridgeport, Connecticut to defend a black chauffeur against his wealthy employer in a sensational sexual assault trial that grabbed newspaper headlines.

That story is the basis of a new film called "Marshall," which is just beginning production in Hollywood.

University of Connecticut

A  new study shows few low-income Connecticut students earn bachelor degrees within six years of transferring from a community college. 

Spyder Monkey / Wikimedia Commons

This all started with a scratchy phone message from a guy named Bobby Duley. He had been making regular visits to his mother convalescing at a rehab facility in Old Saybrook. Down the hall in one of the public rooms, he discovered a woman who was intimately involved in the civil rights marches that began in 1966 in the south.

The country remembers the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday. More than four decades after his death, many people see the Black Lives Matter movement as the modern incarnation of the drive for human dignity and legal standing that Dr. King embodied.

But others, including members of an earlier generation of activists, find fault with the group, seeing it as an aimless, formless group that still lacks direction and follow-through. Meanwhile, younger activists sometimes see their seniors as too narrow in their focus and rigid in their methods.

In the mid-1960s, Tom Houck left high school to join the civil rights movement. After meeting Martin Luther King Jr. at an event, Houck decided to volunteer for King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

So, Houck made his way to Atlanta.

"I was standing outside waiting for somebody to come pick me up," Houck says, remembering the day he arrived in Atlanta. "All of a sudden, Dr. King drove down the street. He said, 'Tom, you're here.' "

Intel Free Press / Creative Commons

Federal efforts to make U.S. health research more diverse aren't going far enough, according to a new study examining nearly 30 years of data from the National Institutes of Health. 

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

What news mattered most to you this year? In Connecticut, many national headlines took a localized form in 2015. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

I assembled seven Nose panelists and asked them to pick a topic we used during 2015 from my list of twelve.  

Of the five left over, four of them were connected to the modern cycle of internet shame: Rachel Dolezal, the NAACP official who was pretending to be black, the drunk profane kid demanding jalapeno bacon mac and cheese at UConn, the aunt who sued her nephew for jumping on her, and the dentist who sued Cecil the lion.

Helder Mira / Connecticut College

The national conversations about race and racism; police and African Americans; free speech on college campuses; “safe spaces” and hate speech and political correctness have all come together in very interesting and interlocked ways here in Connecticut recently.

Months after he was fired from the Oklahoma City police force, Daniel Holtzclaw was found guilty of four counts of first-degree rape and numerous other sexual offenses against eight victims.

The 12-member jury in the case — eight men and four women — had deliberated since Monday. They found the former officer guilty of half of the 36 counts he faced.

A rare collection of photos of the 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama are now on display at the Providence Public Library.

On Wednesday the photographer, Steven Somerstein, will deliver a talk about his experience taking the photos, witnessing the march, and interacting with influential black leaders of the time including, Martin Luther King Jr, James Baldwin, and Rosa Parks.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has apologized for the death of Laquan McDonald, the black 17-year-old shot 16 times by a Chicago police officer in 2014.

"That happened on my watch," Emanuel said in an emotional address to a special meeting of the Chicago City Council on Wednesday, NPR's David Schaper reports.

"I'm sorry," the mayor said, promising "complete and total reform of the system."

When NBC first considered bringing The Wiz Live! to television, the network couldn't have known how much America would need to see this.

At a time when the country is reeling from mass shootings, protests over police killing black teens, and presidential candidates railing against immigrants and refugees, there is no better time to experience a soothing, expertly executed celebration of family, friendship and black culture.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

On Monday, the first police officer went to trial for the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore. Just a few days earlier, video was released of a white police officer in Chicago shooting a black man 16 times.

This hour, we talk about race and racism with three people including Hartford resident Gareth Weston, a black man whose own daughter thought he looked like a "bad guy" when wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt. 

Leland Francisco / WNPR

Long before evangelicalism became associated with the mostly white, conservative followers aligned with the Republican Party, a long line of progressive evangelicals led reforms to abolish slavery, give women the vote and improve public schools.

But the history of evangelicalism is complicated. It has a rich history of social activism on behalf of the marginalized, mixed with deep discomfort with the very people it seeks to help.

dina2001/iStock / Thinkstock

Black women with breast cancer fare worse than other women when treated with early chemotherapy, according to new research from the Yale Cancer Center.

Michael Raphael / FEMA

Two new reports seem to confirm that the opportunity gap for many workers is widening in Connecticut even as the economic recovery continues. According to one set of data, black workers in the state may be earning up to $8.00 less an hour than whites. 

About seven months after Baltimore was rocked by a night of riots, the first police officer implicated in Freddie Gray's death is being put on trial.

As NPR's Jennifer Ludden reports, the case is being closely watched in the city, and residents believe that a lot is at stake.

In Rhode Island, Brown University has announced that it will use one-hundred million dollars to diversify its campus, to try to make the school more inclusive for students of color. This comes after weeks of protests over racial insensitivity on campuses across the country.

Brown University President Christina Paxson is out with a plan to address racial and class inequity on campus. 

Bill de Blasio / Twitter @deBlasioNYC

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is siding with his son who wants Yale University to drop the name of a U.S. vice president who defended slavery from a residential hall.

Update at 8:40 p.m. ET

Three people are in police custody after five people were injured last night as gunmen opened fire near the site of a Black Lives Matter protest in Minneapolis.

Early Tuesday afternoon, police arrested one man, saying in a press release: "A 23 year old white male was taken into custody in the City of Bloomington in relation to this case. His name will be released upon charging. The search for additional suspects continues."

Jessica Hill / AP Photo

The 2011 consolidation of Connecticut’s regional and community colleges hasn’t worked out so well. Administrative costs have gone up, it’s still hard for students to transfer credits from community to four-year colleges, and the system faces budget deficits that will require painful cuts. But a new proposal calling for give backs from employees has unleashed a furious backlash. 

Protesters in Minneapolis clashed with police Wednesday night, as demonstrations over the police shooting of a black man intensified.

Minnesota Public Radio reports:

"A gathering of hundreds of protesters at a north Minneapolis precinct grew tense Wednesday night, after police cleared the entrance of the station where some had camped since Sunday after Jamar Clark was shot by police.

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