In 1870, there were some 1,500 African American officeholders in the United States, including a U.S. Senator, several Congressmen, many state legislators, and a state Supreme Court justice. Yet in less than 20 years, African Americans were almost entirely chased out of elected office. Douglas Egerton, a history professor at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY, looks at the subject in a new book, “The Wars of Reconstruction: The Brief, Violent History of America’s Most Progressive Era”.
Pete Seeger, one of the pioneers of folk music, died this week at the age of 94. He penned iconic songs like “Turn, Turn, Turn” and “If I Had a Hammer”. But he may best be known for popularizing the old spiritual, “We Shall Overcome”. He introduced the song to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1957, and it went on to become a civil rights anthem. We revisit a 2012 conversation with Seeger from the “Smiley & West” radio show.
During the last decade, there has been an epidemic of murder against women in Latin America simply because of their gender. The phenomenon is called “femicide”. The violence against victims is often brutal, with women’s bodies typically dumped in alleys, parks, or on the side of the road. Cristina Finch, managing director of Amnesty International USA’s Women’s Human Rights Program, tells us what’s being done about the murders of women and girls.