Equity

Race, Culture & Ethnicity

Throughout his career as a preacher, the Rev. Billy Graham's message of faith drew massive crowds of believers to tents, arenas and stadiums. Next week, mourners will have a final opportunity to turn out for Graham.

His casket will lie in honor in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Feb. 28, and Thursday, March 1.

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Despite his trying to stay out of politics, U.S. presidents often sought the counsel of Billy Graham. He met with and gave spiritual advice to a dozen presidents from Truman to Obama. NPR's Brian Naylor reports.

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The wife of Kentucky state Rep. Dan Johnson, who killed himself last year amid allegations of sexual assault, has lost a bid to succeed her late husband. The special election returned the seat to Linda Belcher, whom Dan Johnson had unseated.

There's no question that 1968 was a pivotal year in civil rights history. In 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated as he stood on the balcony of a hotel in Memphis; the Fair Housing Act was passed; two U.S. athletes, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, took a stand and raised their fists in a monumental salute at the 1968 Summer Olympics; and Star Trek aired the first intergalactic and interracial on-screen kiss. All this, while the U.S. was embroiled in the Vietnam War.

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The first Bible I ever purchased was a New International Version Student Life Bible; it was black with neon pink and green lettering. I picked it up from the bookstore of a church I was invited to in my late teens. This "expanded" version featured maps, reading plans, and questionnaires geared toward teenagers who wanted to learn how to effectively apply biblical principles to their daily lives. In other words, how to learn to be the "salt of the earth."

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Beer has fueled a lot of bad ideas. But on a Friday afternoon in 2007, it helped two Alzheimer's researchers come up with a really a good one.

During my senior year of high school, I started dreading calculus. Every time my teacher slapped our tests face-down on our desks, I would peel up the corner of the page just enough to see the score, circled in red. The numbers were dropping quickly: 79, 64, 56.

My classmates and I were not coy about our grades. After class, we would hover outside the door and compare them. But when my friends asked me what I got on tests, I said, childishly, "I'm not telling."

It's a ritual that plays out every year or so, whenever a Very Important Black Film is about to drop. Black fraternities, sororities, churches and civic organizations, aunties and teachers and coaches, plan trips by the busload to the cineplex. Maybe it's Malcolm X or 42 or 12 Years A Slave. Maybe someone holds special screenings followed by panels of cast members, academics or public intellectuals.

During a fellowship to Harvard, writer Tayari Jones spent months and months studying the intersection of race and criminal justice. She learned a lot about the American criminal justice system. She knew all the grim statistics. But she was still searching for the inspiration for a novel she'd hope to write: one that involved an individual's encounter with the system, and the subsequent ripples that touch that person's community.

Then, while she was in Atlanta visiting her mother, she found what she needed during a routine trip to the shopping mall.

Screen capture of Prison Legal News newsletter
Prison Legal News

The publisher of a newsletter about the criminal justice system filed a lawsuit this week against the Illinois Department of Corrections alleging that multiple state prisons barred inmates from receiving all or part of several publications.

We have some news to share with you. Yesterday, Boston University, which owns WBUR, dismissed Tom Ashbrook from his role as host of On Point. BU reached this decision after an independent review verified claims that Tom had created an abusive work environment.

We talked to NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik about the dismissal of the longtime host.

On a cold evening in Manhattan's Chinatown, Mei Lum sits at the front counter of her family's century-old store. She's closed the porcelain shop for the night, and is tapping away on her laptop, tying up loose ends for the multi-day Lunar New Year celebrations she's organizing for both her family and the store.

Lum, 27, can already picture the scenes that will unfold. Just as they have every year for decades, family and friends will gather in Wing on Wo & Co. tonight for an elaborate dinner.

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The #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, as well as the 2016 election, have sparked renewed passion for electing women to office in Illinois.

Is it really true that a good (black) man is hard to find? This week, we're taking on some long-lasting stereotypes about black-on-black love.

Natalie asks:

After several weeks of investigation, Tom Ashbrook has been dismissed as host of On Point.

To celebrate Valentine's Day, you can buy a sappy card. Or a silly one.

Or, you can buy one that takes on Islamophobia with messages like "This burka is built for two" and "First Muslim Registry ... Then Wedding Registry."

These are some of the valentine creations of Tanzila Ahmed, a Los-Angeles-based writer, artist, activist and co-host of the podcast #GoodMuslimBadMuslim.

The messages make people laugh — and squirm. And that was absolutely her intention, Ahmed says.

Oakland is a city that's rapidly gentrifying, shedding much of its African-American population along the way. The California city, which was 47 percent black in 1980, is now divided roughly into a quarter each of black, white, Asian and Hispanic residents.

The sense of the city's changing identity has ended up helping Adrian Henderson's business. He's co-owner of Kingston 11 Cuisine, a Caribbean restaurant in a neighborhood that's changed so much lately that it goes by the dual name of Koreatown Northgate.

Today is Ash Wednesday.

For many of us, the smudge on people's foreheads signifies the first day of Lent.

Photographer Greg Miller has been documenting this ritual on the streets of New York City for the past 20 years.

His upcoming book, Unto Dust, features 40 portraits from his decades of work.

Here is what he told us about the project.


Why did you decide to do this project?

Terry Farmer

For decades, women have been battling to break through the “glass ceilings” in their chosen fields. To the Front is an NPR Illinois series where we talk with female and nonbinary people about the way their identity intersects with their art and work. 

Editor's note: This post refers frequently to the use of a racial slur.

Professor Emeritus Lawrence Rosen opened his course last week with a question. The anthropologist, who has spent four decades teaching at Princeton University, was introducing a class called Cultural Freedoms: Hate Speech, Blasphemy, and Pornography — and his question was meant to shock.

Before Valentine's Day, love is in the air. But sometimes, love hurts. It's a harsh reality that many Mexicans deal with by listening to rancheras, traditional songs from Mexico's countryside that you can put on when you need a good cry. One young woman found a connection to her ancestors through the sounds of guitars and tears.

A longer version of this story originally aired on NPR's Latino USA.

Both the challenges and opportunities of U.S. Christianity are evident at Fairmeadows Baptist Church in Duncanville, Texas, just south of Dallas.

On some Sundays, services at the church draw as few as a dozen worshippers, most of them white.

For the past year, however, the church has also been home to a largely Hispanic tenant congregation that calls itself Erez Baptist, and in that incarnation the church is thriving. The average Sunday attendance is around 80, and the congregation has a youth music group and already sponsors a missionary in Brazil.

As superhero origin stories go, this one is pretty low-key. No radioactivity. No other planets. Just a Swede, his love of pastry, and a noble quest for accuracy. It's a bun, it's some cream, it's ... Semla Man!

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