89.1 WEMU

Black History

Jorge Avellan / WEMU

Frederick Douglass is one of the most iconic figures in American history, and, during the height of his career, he visited Ypsilanti to give three separate speeches.   We take a look back at his time in Washtenaw County, learn why he was here, and explore where he spoke.

Linda Williams-Bowie

Earlier this month, we took a quick look into the Underground Railroad in our Southeast Michigan.  As part of Black History Month, we continue exploring stories that came out of that era in Washtenaw County.

The First African-American Piano Manufacturer

May 9, 2014
Courtesty of Warren Shadd

Moments of the Movement: Joseph Lowery

Feb 12, 2014

The bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham was a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement. But for Freeman Hrabowski, now president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, it was personal. The Birmingham native was part of the movement as a child, and knew Cynthia Wesley, one of the four girls killed that morning. Here, he explains how the events of that day and the aftermath not only forever changed him, but Birmingham as well, and eventually, the country.

Each morning at 7:30 in February, experience the unheralded histories and testimonials of individuals who participated in the Civil Rights Movement during the 1950s and 1960s.

  With so much on the line, one might think that everyone in the Black community would be on the same page when it came to fighting for civil rights. But Birmingham native Freeman Hrabowski explains that many middle-class African-Americans worried that there could be serious consequences for families of protesters. Now the president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Hrabowski was one of the few middle-class children who not only joined the protests, but was trained to lead and protect the younger children who were often the catalyst for change in the movement. 

Join host Maya Angelou on 89.1 WEMU Friday, February 8, at 9am. Angelou poetically and historically covers milestones by African Americans in Nobel Peace Prize, Grammy, Academy Awards, and cultural awards.