I hear with my little ear: Podcasts 9-15 April

The History Hour (BBC) This program focuses on historical events, mostly in living memory and it seems to be presented by journalists rather than historians (I may be wrong on this). The Black Jesus episode looks at the Rev Albert Cleage who re-named his Detroit Church in 1967 as ‘The Shrine of the Black Madonna’, replacing a stained glass window of Mary with a large painting of a black Mary and black baby Jesus. He did not agree with Martin Luther King’s inclusion of white activists in his protests, and he argued that if man was made in God’s image, then it was likely that he was black as most of the world’s population is non-white. There’s also a segment about Margaret Thatcher being interviewed by Soviet journalists on television in 1987, a discussion of the effect of Karen Carpenter’s death on the discussion of anorexia, and the story of two Englishmen who were kidnapped by FARC guerillas in Columbia while they were hunting for orchids.

Heather Cox Richardson talked on 12 March, answering one of the questions she is most commonly asked: When did the Republicans (progressive) and Democrats (conservative) swap? She starts off by reminding us that when the Constitution was written, there weren’t parties at all. She pins the swap mainly to the 1960s when Barry Goldwater ran. This is a good, stand-along episode to explain something which previously seemed quite baffling.

Fifteen Minute History is almost never 15 minutes, but it is still short. It´s produced at the University of Texas at Austin, where PhD candidates interview historians about their recent publications. In Episode 130: Black Reconstruction in Indian Territory, Alaina Roberts discusses her new book I’ve Been Here All the While: Black Freedom on Native Land. An African-American herself, she has always been aware that her family owned land in Oklahoma, and she wondered how that came about. She found herself exploring the connections between previously-enslaved African-Americans and Native Americans. Some were themselves enslaved by Native Americans, while others moved into Native Land as part of Reconstruction. I had to listen to this twice to make sense of the distinctions because this history is new to me.

Big Ideas (ABC) I have recently read Anne Applebaum’s book The Twilight of Democracy, and so I was interested to hear this interview with Applebaum Democracy Under Threat recorded at the Adelaide Writers Festival in March 2021, where she is interviewed by Sally Warhaft. You don’t need to have read the book to enjoy the interview.

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