Black History Month

Bentley Historical Library / bentley.umich.edu

In the late 19th Century, George Jewett came to the University of Michigan to play football.  He would later continues his playing career at Northwestern University.  It wasn't long before he cemented his place in academic and athletic history, and now, there will be a new trophy named in his honor.  David Fair speaks to Jewett's great-grandson, WEMU jazz host Michael Jewett, about the personal and historical significance of this announcement.

Justin Onwenu
LinkedIn / linkedin.com

The movement towards racial equity is an ongoing fight.  Environmental racism has been an issue in our area since the industrial revolution, and it persists today, inflicting the most harm on communities of color.  In another Black History Month edition of "Issues of the Environment," WEMU's David Fair and the Sierra Club's Justin Onwenu explore problems and solutions in the effort to bring environmental injustice to an end. 


Paul Mohai
University of Michigan / umich.edu

The concept of environmental justice can traced back to the 1970's.  But, it wasn't until the 1990's when the movement really began to take shape, thanks to the works of such scholars as Dr. Bunyan Bryant and Dr. Paul Mohai.  Dr. Mohai looks back at the work he and his colleagues have done over the last three decades in a conversation with WEMU's David Fair.


Jamall Bufford
Jamall Bufford / Washtenaw My Brother's Keeper

Jamall Bufford is a musician, rapper, and DJ, and his energy impacts a number of young men through his work as project specialist at Washtenaw County My Brother's Keeper (WMBK).  He joined "creative:impact" co-hosts Deb Polich and David Fair to discuss the importance of infusing art and creativity into youth development projects.  The efforts have resulted in an album featuring a number of talented young people from Washtenaw County and a documentary film highlighting how the project offers a path forward. 


Cozine Welch
Cozine Welch / A Brighter Way

Those who are released from jail or prison, especially people of  color, face a great number of barriers to successfully reintegrating.  The COVID-19 pandemic has only made things worse.  Former inmate Cozine Welch started the organization "A Brighter Way" to help those, like him, who have faced these obstacles.  Welch joined WEMU's David Fair to discuss the work of supporting those in need of a new path while recognizing, and fighting, the systemic racism that permeates our system of justice. 


Washtenaw County Democratic Party / washtenawdems.org

"The Racial Roots of Vaccine Skepticism" is what an upcoming virtual roundtable discussion involving several state and local lawmakers is being called.  WEMU's Lisa Barry talks with State Senator Jeff Irwin and Charles Wilson from the Washtenaw County Health Department about the planned community conversation on the racial roots of vaccine skepticism as part of Black History Month.


Alena Zachery-Ross
Ypsilanti Community Schools / ycschools.us

Soon after the pandemic hit, unemployment went up significantly on the east side of Washtenaw County.  Student homelessness and food insecurity went up, while any sense of security and stability plummeted. The Ypsilanti Community Schools and its partners responded in short order by creating "The Resiliency Center."  YCS superintendent Alena Zachery-Ross joined WEMU's David Fair to discuss the center's impact so far and why the center will likely be with us even after the pandemic is over. 


Marquan Jackson
Marquan Jackson

For nearly a decade now, Eastern Michigan University's Family Empowerment Program has helped those living in Ypsilanti Housing Commission facilities in a variety of ways.  The program's work has become even more important through the COVID-19 pandemic, especially for families of color.  The program's executive director, Marquan Jackson, joined WEMU's David Fair on the first day of Black History Month to discuss services offered and why the pandemic has highlighted issues of systemic racism. 


Washtenaw Faces Race / washtenawfacesrace.weebly.com/

February is Black History Month, and coming up this week in Ypsilanti is a virtual community conversation being called “America Without Racism...Making the Vision a Reality."  Organized by several local organizations, including “Washtenaw Faces Race” and the Ypsilanti District Library, the two-day, online event is intended to be a conversation about imagining a world without racism and exploring what needs to be done to make that a reality.

WEMU's Lisa Barry talks with La'Ron Williams, a local storyteller and racial justice educator, who helped come up with the idea for the community event.


Black Past

As part of our Black History Month coverage, we're featuring the legacy of Dr. Ida Gray, who graduated from the University of Michigan in 1890.  She was the first African-American woman dentist in the country.  89.1 WEMU's Jorge Avellan has the story. 


Lisa Barry / 89.1 WEMU

An Ypsilanti Township event intended to help African American men feel comfortable with their emotions and communication has become more popular than expected.  WEMU’s Lisa Barry talks with Nate Frazier and Keyon Purite in a conversation that touches on many important topics including how emotions impact your overall life experience and what that life experience is like for a black man in 2020.


Ann Arbor District Library
Ann Arbor District Library / aadl.org

On our next segment of “Beyond Books” with the Ann Arbor District Library, WEMU’s Lisa Barry talks with Rich Retyi about a special February event they are having called “Blind Date With A Book."


United Way of Washtenaw County

As Black History Month comes to a close, 89.1 WEMU’s Lisa Barry spoke to two Washtenaw County nonprofit executive directors honored for their contributions to making a difference in the local community.


Lisa Barry / 89.1 WEMU

What do you think about hip-hop music?  Do you know it has deep roots in African-American culture and many of its messages can be inspiring and uplifting?  As part of Black History Month, 89.1 WEMU’s Lisa Barry explores the roots and reputation of hip-hop music in Washtenaw County and efforts to incorporate it into education and its impact on the community.


Jocelyn Edin

This week, "Art and Soul" is about the visual arts.  89.1 WEMU's Lisa Barry is joined by local and state arts leader Omari Rush.  Since the conversation will be heard on and around Valentine's Day, the discussion focuses on what it means to be an art lover and the meaning that can be derived from art.


Bentley Historical Library

Black History Month comes to an end today. As such, we bring you a story about an early 20th century interracial club at the University of Michigan.  89.1 WEMU’s Jorge Avellan tells us why it was founded and about some of the obstacles its members faced.


Lisa Barry

Five year-old Ziare Gunn, a student at the Ford Early Learning Center in Ypsilanti, is gaining a lot of recognition for memorizing and reciting a special poem for Black History Month.  He joined 89.1 WEMU'S Lisa Barry in studio along with his grandmother and teacher and shares the poem with WEMU listeners, saying it "makes his heart feel good."


Jorge Avellan / WEMU

As part of our Black History Month coverage, we’re taking a closer look at a project in Ypsilanti, that once completed, will highlight African-American history in that area.


Lisa Barry

This week, Art and Soul is about the vibrant visual arts scene in Washtenaw County.

89.1 WEMU’s Lisa Barry and Omari Rush, the Executive Director of CultureSource and Chairman of the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, are joined by several guests focusing on the arts and local Black History Month celebrations.


Lisa Barry / 89.1 WEMU

February has been recognized as "Black History Month" for over 40 years.  How much have things changed over that span of time?  The Riverside Art Center explores what this month means through poetry and specially created art.


Laura Bien

The Ypsilanti District Library has launched a new African-American Oral History Archive.  The audio is being taken from old cassette tapes.
 


African-American History in Washtenaw County

Feb 29, 2016
Washtenaw County

To wrap-up our Black History Month coverage, we spoke with Eastern Michigan University professor of Africology and African-American Studies, Ronald Woods.

Hosted by Noah Adams, this program chronicles the idealistic artists, uncompromising personalities, and powerful music of the era, and looks at how these forces combined to turn abolitionism from a scorned fringe movement into a nation-changing force. Listen live on WEMU Friday, February 22 at 9am for special Black History Month coverage on WEMU.

“Any good crusade requires singing,” reformers like to say, and in the 19th Century, no cause was more righteous than in the decades-long crusade to abolish slavery."

Heavenly Sight

Feb 11, 2013

A surprising number of blind African American singers came from the gospel tradition to influence not just sacred music, but blues, bluegrass, and popular music up to and beyond rock and roll.  Host David Marash brings us the stories, music, and insight from the blind gospel tradition that transformed American song and gave it soul. Friday, February 15 at 9am on WEMU.  This program features the Blind Boys of Alabama, Arizona Dranes, Blind Willie Johnson, Ray Charles,  and the Reverend Gary Davis.

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.