Leid Stories Stories and news that affect us all

February 6, 2015  

Stay Tied to the Facts, But Free Your Mind!

Well, there ought to be no shortage of well-thought-out opinions about this week’s news issues, events and developments.

Pick a topic from your extensive “What’s [Still] Grinding My Gears” menu and break it down for us. Prove that they got it wrong, but you have it right.

Of course, you’re all the more impressive when you can back up what you say, so stay tied to the facts even as you free your mind.

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February 5, 2015  

Toil and Trouble: Black Labor from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement

Our guest, Dr. Charles L. Lumpkins, puts in historical context one of the most vexing problems confronting African Americans today: Unemployment. His presentation covers the period from colonial times, at the eve of the Civil War, to the turn of the 21st century.

Dr. Lumpkins is a lecturer of labor and employment relations at Pennsylvania State University, where he earned both his master’s degree and doctorate in history. His scholastic research focuses on the history of African Americans, with particular interests relating to the history of social and political movements, and the history of the working-class.

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February 5, 2015  

Toil and Trouble: Black Labor from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement

Our guest, Dr. Charles L. Lumpkins, puts in historical context one of the most vexing problems confronting African Americans today: Unemployment. His presentation covers the period from colonial times, at the eve of the Civil War, to the turn of the 21st century.

Dr. Lumpkins is a lecturer of labor and employment relations at Pennsylvania State University, where he earned both his master’s degree and doctorate in history. His scholastic research focuses on the history of African Americans, with particular interests relating to the history of social and political movements, and the history of the working-class.

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February 4, 2015  

The Great Comeback?: The Resurgence of Almost-Ex-President Barack Obama

His next-to-last year in office has started at fever pitch and with a few significant victories to claim on a loaded domestic- and foreign-policy agenda. He’s fresh-faced, energetic, self-assured and ready for a throw-down. He’s becoming more and more likeable, according to the polls, even with a more and more combative, Republican-controlled Congress.

Is this The Great Comeback, the carefully choreographed rallying of Almost-Ex-President Barack Obama, or is something else happening here?

Leid Stories listeners offer their thoughts.

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February 3, 2015  

With No Bus Service, A Detroit Factory Worker Walks 21 Miles Daily to Work;

Billions in Bankruptcy Bounty: The Sanctioned Looting of Detroit

Since 2005, when his 1988 Honda Accord gave out, James Robertson, a 56-year-old factory worker from Detroit, has been walking 21 miles to and from his $10.55-an-hour job. Most of his off-job time is consumed by his grueling commute. There is no bus service where he lives.

A Detroit Free Press story about Robertson on Sunday went viral. It inspired Wayne State University computer science major Evan Leedy to start a crowdfunding campaign that has raised more than enough money to buy Robertson a car and cover related expenses.

The story pointed to the nobility and tenacity of Robertson, who has never missed a day or been late for work despite his challenges. But as Leid Stories discusses today, Robertson’s story really is about the level of suffering Detroiters have been coping with in recent years.

Tom Barrow, an expert in municipal finance, businessman and former chairman of Michigan’s Board of Accountancy, discusses the relationship between Robertson’s decade-long plight and the orchestrated decline of the City of Detroit that culminated in its historic bankruptcy—at $20 billion, the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history—in 2013, was placed under draconian emergency management by Gov. Rick Snyder, and, under federal court supervision, saw the transfer of billions of dollars in public and private assets to well-connected banks and corporate interests.

Barrow, president of Citizens for Detroit’s Future, has maintained that Detroit’s bankruptcy was unnecessary and illegal, and a “ruthless” conspiracy to rid the city of its mostly African American population. Kevyn Orr, the emergency manager appointed by Snyder, has been touting a “reimagined” Detroit. 

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February 2, 2015  

White Supremacy and the Breech Birth of the Nation

In 1619, a year before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Harbor, Mass., 20 Africans captured by Dutchmen from a Spanish slave ship were sold to colonists at Jamestown, Va. There were various classes of English, Scottish, Irish and other Europeans in Jamestown, but no “white” people, says historian Theodore Allen, whose works, particularly his groundbreaking The Invention of the White Race, are considered seminal to the issue of racism and white supremacy in America. The term “white” appeared for the first time in colonial records 60 years later, Allen writes.

How and why was “whiteness” created? Why the need for classification based on skin color? Why have racism and white supremacy endured?

Our guest, Dr. Jeffrey Perry—an independent, working-class scholar whose work focuses on the role of white supremacy as a retardant to progressive social change—discusses Allen’s and his own work in this area.

Perry preserved and inventoried The Theodore W. Allen Papers, edited and introduced Allen's Class Struggle and the Origin of Racial Slavery: The Invention of the White Race, and has written introductions and appendices for the new edition of Allen’s two-volume The Invention of the White Race.

He also preserved and inventoried the "Hubert H. Harrison Papers" now at Columbia University, edited A Hubert Harrison Reader, and authored Hubert Harrison:The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918.

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