The Case for Black With a Capital B


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Basic Black: A Look at Secure Communities; Race in the Classroom

Arts & Culture | Black Boston | Education | Politics

(Originally broadcast May 18, 2012)

The Secure Communities program is now officially in place in Massachusetts, despite objections from many state officials, including Governor Deval Patrick. Under Secure Communities, fingerprints from local jails are matched against a federal immigration database; Immigration and Customs Enforcement then the local jail detain people they think are here illegally. Supporters of the program see it as a tool in the fight against crime while opponents charge that the program encourages ethnic profiling.

Later in the show, we turn the discussion to race in education. In Boston, three City Councillors are pushing for more teachers of color and the integration of black and Latino studies into the curriculum. Basic Black poses the question: does the race of a teacher matter in learning the fundamentals? On a national level, last week there was a huge controversy about an article written in the Chronicle of Higher Education which advocated for elimination of Black Studies as a course of study in colleges and universities; the author described black studies as "left-wing victimization clap-trap." 6,500 petition signatures later, the author was fired. But what were the real lessons of this episode?


Basic Black: Gun Control and Communities of Color

Arts & Culture | Black Boston | Politics

February 1, 2013

As 2013 begins the national debate on gun control is in high gear.  Advocates from all sides  have descended on Washington, DC to sway a divided Congress to their side.  But the action isn't limited to the halls of government; the persistent issue of gun control is also being debated in local communities across the country.  And for communities historically battered by gun violence, the conversation takes on an increased intensity.

Image source: Chang Liu/Flickr


Empowering Women & Girls: Nicole Roberts Jones

Arts & Culture | Black Boston | Health | Politics

by Talia Whyte

Nicole Roberts Jones
was the mistress of ceremonies at Boston's 43rd annual Martin Luther King Day Breakfast.  As the old adage goes, behind every great man is an even greater woman.  Coretta Scott King played a vital role as Dr. King’s wife and organizing partner.  There were many other women who had participated in the civil rights movement, but unlike Mrs. King, Betty Shabazz and Rosa Parks, their accomplishments have been given little attention.

Ella Baker, Septima Poinsette Clark, Fannie Lou Hamer and Vivian Malone Jones are all unsung heroines from that era.  Baker was a longtime organizer for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) who worked behind the scenes.  Because she was neither a man nor a minister, she was not seriously considered to become the head of the organization.  Clark, better known as the “queen mother” of the civil rights movement, was an educator who played a role in a legal victory that would allow blacks to become principals in public schools in Charleston, South Carolina.  Hamer was a Mississippi sharecropper, who was beaten and jailed in 1962 for trying to register to vote.  She co-founded the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and spoke at the 1964 Democratic National Convention.  Jones defied Gov. George Wallace by becoming one of the first black students to enroll at the University of Alabama in 1963.

And there were countless other women, who are unknown, but worked tirelessly cooking meals and cleaning up after rallies.  These women should be the main role models for today’s black women, not stars on reality shows.   

While no woman gave a speech at the 1963 March on Washington, it seems like their accomplishments are now being recognized.  Myrlie Evers-Williams delivered the invocation at President Obama’s inauguration – the first ever done by a woman and layperson.

“There’s a Chinese saying, ’Women hold up half the world,” said former NAACP chairman Julian Bond. “In the case of the civil rights movement it’s probably three-quarters of the world.”


Karen B. McLean Dade

Arts & Culture | Black Boston | Education | Health

Author and educator Karen B. McLean Dade led a "call & response" during her book signing at Frugal's Bookstore in Roxbury (Massachusetts).



Black Boston

A profile of Roxbury Presbyterian Church's Adopt-A-School program.


A Conversation with Tito Jackson

Arts & Culture | Black Boston | Politics

Basic Black contributor Talia Whyte talks with community activist Tito Jackson.


Continuing A Season of Peace: The Unity March for Mattapan (conclusion)

Black Boston | Health | Politics


School Shootings - 1979

Black Boston | Education | Politics

Barbara Barrow-Murray questions the motives behind the shooting of Darryl Williams at Jamaica Plain High School and a student supports her belief that it was racially-motivated. more

Blacks and Basketball - 1975


Harvard Basketball coach Tom “Satch” Sanders sits at a picnic table by a busy neighborhood basketball court. He discusses the mobility of black basketball players to management and coaching positions on national teams, but greater black involvement in sports is stymied by financial strain, preventing the move from management to ownership.


The NAACP and the Boston Public Schools - 1977

Black Boston | Politics

Leah Fletcher reports that the NAACP is pleased with the Boston school superintendent's efforts to improve the "separate but equal" education system in Boston.


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