After sifting through thousands of documents, Brian Dolinar finished a book started over 70 years ago. The work he helped to complete? "The Negro in Illinois: The WPA Papers."
The question: What was life like for black Americans in Illinois during the 1930s?
Before World War II, President Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration funded a special division of the Illinois Writer’s Project that employed black writers living in Illinois. The special program, which was led by Harlem Renaissance poet Arna Bontemps and white writer Jack Conroy, encouraged major black voices who lived in Chicago in the 1930s to write about everything from aspects of domestic life to politics, literature and religion. Novelists Richard Wright and Frank Yerby, and dancer and choreographer Katherine Dunham were among those who wrote or did research for a projected volume on African-American history in Illinois.
When funding for the project was diverted to the war, the papers written by those voices were put into a box and set aside – until Brian Dolinar uncovered them and complied them into a new book “The Negro in Illinois: The WPA Papers.” This hour on Focus, Jim Meadows talks with Brian Dolinar about discovering those lost writings after all these years.
This hour on Focus, we’ll hear from five-time Olympic gold medalist Bonnie Blair, who is representing the U.S. as a delegate this winter in Sochi, Russia and other central Illinois Olympic skaters.
Winter Olympians from central Illinois have something in common; nearly all of them have competed in the Games wearing ice skates. This hour on Focus, we’ll hear from three of them. First, Scott Cameron talks with Bonnie Blair about representing the U.S. in Sochi and about how Jonathan Kuck of Champaign, who is skating three speed skating events, is expected to compete. Then, Jeff Bossert talks with speed skater Katherine Reutter and figure skater Matt Savoie.
Thousands of protestors have occupied Ukraine’s Maidan square in Kiev since November when President Viktor Yankovych refused to sign a trade agreement with the European Union. This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about the unrest in the country.
Anti-government protests in Ukraine have continued to escalate since November with tens of thousands of protestors gathering in Kiev’s Maidan Square throughout the winter. Crowds are now calling for President Viktor Yanukovich’s resignation.
This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Associate Professor of Political Science Carol Leff about the protests and about what’s ahead for the country. Iryna Sukhnatska, a law student at the University of Illinois who immigrated to the states from Ukraine in 1999, also joins the show. Some of her family has been protesting, and she says it is hard to watch the violence play out from afar.
This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Barbara Garson about her book “Down the Up Escalator,” which follows families, rich and poor, through the Great Recession.
The Great Recession threw huge economic challenges at nearly all Americans – rich and poor. In her book Down the Up Escalator, Barbara Garson writes about how those challenges played out in the lives of real people. This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Garson about her book and about what happens to those at the bottom when a society’s organization favors those at the top.
Today on Focus, we’ll listen back to host Jim Meadows’ conversation with filmmaker Eugene Jarecki about his documentary “The House I Live In.”
While federal laws against marijuana remain in place, two states of decriminalized its use, and several states have passed laws allowing medicinal use of the drug. Meanwhile, the death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman from a heroin overdose has ignited a conversation about whether heroin use is a criminal issue or a public health issue. Is America starting to reconsider its war on drugs?
This hour on Focus, we’ll listen back to a conversation with Eugene Jarecki, writer, producer and director for the documentary “The House I Live In.” In the film, Jarecki talks with everyone from a federal judge to an inmate reflecting on his life on the outside.
Northwestern football players want to unionize, could they be able to?
Football players at Northwestern University in Evanton, Ill., led by senior quarterback Kain Colter, are petitioning the National Labor Relations Board to form a union. This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Ramogi Huma, President of the College Athletes Players Association, which is representing the players, about what they’re asking for. According to Huma, the players are far more interested in stricter rules from the NCAA protecting them from concussions and extended scholarships, not money.
Then, Northwestern University Labor Law Professor Zev Eigen join us. He says it’s unlikely the players’ union will gain recognition from the National Labor Relations Board but that forming a union isn’t the only avenue to get what they’re asking for.
Do you have an antique or a photo album that has been in your family for generations? How do you preserve those things to ensure they’ll last?
We spend lots of time caring for artifacts from the past and are always looking for new ways to improve techniques for preserving the history found in our photographs, books and other heirlooms. There are entire industries built on preserving photos in scrapbooks or in digital slideshows, and there are museums and historical societies caring for everything from old pieces of clothing to handwritten letters and books. On an individual level, we all have things that are important enough to invest that kind of energy in caring for, but how do you go about doing so?
Between 2008 and 2012, craft distilleries in the US more than doubled. This hour on Focus, we’ll hear from author and whiskey connoisseur Clay Risen and two local distillers.
In the last decade, craft beer and wine industries across the Midwest have blossomed. This is especially true in Illinois when it comes to the wine industry. New, locally owned distilleries are also starting to pop up. Between 2008 and 2012, craft distilleries in the US more than doubled. Today on Focus, we’ll investigate. Host Jim Meadows talks with author and whiskey connoisseur Clay Risen about the changing definition of an “American whiskey” and about his book “American Whiskey Bourbon and Rye: A Guide to The Nation’s Favorite Spirit.”
Today - State of the Re:Union special shines the spotlight on the next generaton of grassroots leaders in the African American community.
Usually during Black History Month, we remember Civil Rights icons and reflect on their legacy. But over the past couple of years, State of the Re:Union has met a new generation of African American leaders, people you may not see on TV specials or making nationally acclaimed speeches. Most of these men and women are on the front lines of their communities, rolling up their selves and diving in to what can be very unglamorous work. In this episode, State of the Re:Unionwould like to introduce you to this group of leaders and what they’re accomplishing in their various corners of America.
We are sorry we are unavailable to provide a podcast for this hour.
Venture capitalists are starting to invest in bitcoin, and some major retailers are considering accepting it as payment. Does that mean it’s on track to become a new form of mainstream currency?
Bitcoin, a form of cryptocurrency, is now being accepted by major online supplier Overstock.com. Sites like Amazon.com are also reported to also be considering accepting bitcoin as payment. There are even bitcoin ATMs starting to pop up in major cities. Locally, Cheese and Crackers, an artisanal deli in Champaign, has been accepting bitcoin for about 6 months. Owner Bart Basi says in his store bitcoin is more of a conversation starter than a currency at this point but that he does get a couple customers every month who pay with it.
This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Basi about being reimbursed in bitcoin. Jim Angel, Visiting Associate Professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania from the School of Business at Georgetown University, also joins the show. Venture capital firms like Anderseen-Horowitz, whose co-founder wrote recently about the potential for bitcoin, say bitcoin is a solution to a lot of technical problems with online payments. Angel isn’t so sure and joins Focus to talk about the merits and problems with bitcoin.
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