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Exploring America’s post traumatic slave syndrome—dismantling hate

Little Rock Central High School protests 1957.jpeg
Will Counts
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Hatred and bigotry expressed by Little Rock, Arkansas residents during the attempt by nine African American students to register for school at Central High School in the fall of 1957.

Join correspondent Tom Wilmer in Little Rock, Arkansas for an interview with Robin White, National Park Service Superintendent at Central High School National Historic Site, and Courtney Bradford, professor of black history and curator at Mosaic Templars Cultural Center.

Robin White & COurtney Bradford.png
Robin White--National Park Service and Courtney Bradford courtesy Tom Wilmer
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Robin White (left) National Park Superintendent at Central High School National Historic Site in Little Rock, Arkansas. Courtney Bradford, curator at Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and professor of black history in Little Rock.

White and Bradford challenge listeners to examine racial inequality through the insightful, and at times highly touching, experiences of two women who are championing new ways to approach the age-old problem of racism.

Together they discuss the everyday-life problems faced by those of color, dissect the dark roots of intergenerational racism still growing today, detail effective programs -- from local to international levels -- that help unite all people under the “human race” banner, and acknowledge the power of children’s fresh-eyed perspectives to make lasting change a reality.

They posit that meaningful dialogue between allies to change the status quo--accomplished not just by seeing others for who they are, without pre-judging, but by developing soul-to-soul affirmations capable of melting away hate.

White and Bradford poignantly affirm the power of every “beautiful” life coming together, as humanity’s choir, to celebrate each other and promote peace.

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Tom Wilmer
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National Park Superintendent, Robin White recites her poem, Beautifully Broken in her office at Central High School National Historic Site in Little Rock, Arkansas.

BEAUTIFULLY BROKEN 

 By Robin White

Tyranny romanticized and massacres normalized. Our ancestors terrorized and yet; we are expected to apologize

For being the wrong color at the wrong time. Told little White Lies from old White Guys; sitting Skyscraper high Legislating subjugation.

Democracy dismantled making racism your heritage. Legally stripping us naked as shame is turned to fame

Our Motherland drum speaks for the unheard muffled voices. The nonessential under-classed, the walking contraband

A flame inside the ice born out of your entitled arrogance.

The tumultuous marriage of hate and entitlement breeds oppression

The red dark stains on the tree trunk

Takes us to a place without sanctuary; your body crumbled and burned

Your soul wrenching scream

Fell on crazed ears.

As the rope grew tighter stealing your earthly years

Not one face spoke of shame with wild eyes and menacing sneers. A joyful noise sounded; during their life taking reign

Our hearts are heavy; can’t hold the sight

As your face rapidly swell on this abhorrent lonely night

It is 2021 and the stories must be told

As the new age lynching becomes the fatal chokeholds. Countless senseless deaths and loss of hope. Our people hung by “stand your ground laws, juries and multiple invisible ropes

Still, we find our liberation in concerted generosity in the same proximity

Smuggling love in the land of the free continued fighting for democracy

Intentionally living beyond prohibition

Our children generationally are Beautifully Broken into massive gems and Humanitarian activist.

We see you as our children continue to rise in academics, leadership, faith activism, environmental and social justice

We stand in our convictions in Song and dance to celebrate the Beautifully Broken “our ancestors”.

Gospel underbed music was performed by St. Mark Baptist Church Choir in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Funding for Journeys of Discovery provided by Nashville's Big Back Yard economic initiative focused on rural communities in the southwest quarter of Tennessee and the Shoals Region of Northern Alabama.

You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas Award-winning podcast travel show, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, featured on the NPR Podcast DirectoryiHeartRadioApple Podcast.

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Tom Wilmer produces on-air content for Issues & Ideas airing over KCBX and is producer and host of the six-time Lowell Thomas award-winning NPR podcast Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer. Recorded live on-location across America and around the world, the podcasts feature the arts, culture, music, nature, history, science, wine & spirits, brewpubs, and the culinary arts--everything from baseball to exploring South Pacific atolls to interviewing the real Santa Claus in the Arctic.
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