Karen Grigsby Bates

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Employees at Sephora cosmetics went through inclusion training this week. It came about after the singer SZA said she was racially profiled at one of the stores. But does that kind of training work? Here's Karen Grigsby Bates from our Code Switch team.

Because of her food journalism, the food world has been well aware of Samin Nosrat for several years. But she became a household name when two things happened: First, her book, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking, became a runaway bestseller. The book explores the mysteries of cooking for the home chef and garnered just about every award a cookbook could get.

Poet Kevin Young says there are so many different kinds of poetry, even people who think they hate it should reassess. "I think of [poetry] more like music," Young told me last year. "Like, if someone said, 'I don't like any music,' I would be like 'Who are you? I don't understand.' They haven't found the right music to me, then."

Same with poetry, he says: "I think we have to help people find the right poem for them."

Ebony magazine was more than a publication — to black America, it was a public trust. It held a place of prominence in millions of African-American households whose members did not otherwise see themselves in the mainstream media. So back in 2015, when Johnson Publishing Company announced it was spinning off its flagship magazine, Ebony, and also its news magazine sibling, Jet, people knew something was up.

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Today, ethnic studies is an accepted part of academia. Many if not most college students have taken a course or two. But 50 years ago, studying the history and culture of any people who were not white and Western was considered radical. Then came the longest student strike in U.S. history, at San Francisco State College, which changed everything.

The groundwork was laid for the strike a couple of years before, when black students organized to press for a black studies department and the admission of more black students.

The value of civility is one of the few things Americans can all agree on — right? That's the common assumption. And yet it's an assumption that depends on everyone thinking they're a full member of the community.

But what about when they aren't?

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When Antonio Reliford was a child in New Jersey, he and his family did what a lot of African-American families did when it came to vacations: They hit the road to visit relatives in the South.

But this was back before the nation had a network of high-speed highways. Before major routes like the New Jersey Turnpike or Interstate 85, which goes through the Southeast.

And so the Reliford family had to use what everyone else did: two-lane roads that often went through picturesque rural areas.

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As midterm elections approach, politicians and activists are urging people to get out and vote, especially in places where races are close.

John Carlos and Tommie Smith went to the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City with a plan: If they won medals, they would stage a protest against racism and injustice on the world stage.

Smith and Carlos both attended San Jose State University, where black athletes had been quietly meeting to discuss whether they would even go to the Olympics.

You think you're accomplishing something in life until you realize that at age 29, playwright Lorraine Hansberry had a play produced on Broadway. Not only did she have a play, but her drama, A Raisin in the Sun, beat out Tennessee Williams and Eugene O'Neill to win the prestigious New York Drama Critics' Circle for the best play of the year. Let that sink in.

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Dancer and choreographer Arthur Mitchell has died.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

ARTHUR MITCHELL: I was the first black classical dancer with a major company in the United States of America.

I miss Bill Cunningham. There. I said it. I miss opening the Thursday and Sunday pages of the New York Times and seeing a whole cross-section of humanity, courtesy of Cunningham's photos, that had become a documentation of how New Yorkers lived and what they wore.

When Arthur Ashe won the men's singles final at the first U.S. Open in 1968, he made history as the first African-American man to win the Open. That record holds to this day. Photos show a pensive Ashe with his arm around his proud father, Arthur Ashe Sr., his silver trophy tray held in one hand.

Over the years, Ashe would be remembered as a tennis champion, but also as a champion of civil and human rights. Tennis was the portal through which he became famous, but by the time he died at age 49, he'd grown so much larger than the sport.

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Crazy Rich Asians is a love story on multiple levels. On its surface, it's about the love between Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) and Nick Young (Henry Golding), two very attractive thirty-something NYU professors. But it's also a story about love of family: Nick's mother's love for him, and for the family she married into and for which she is prepared to sacrifice everything (perhaps even her personal happiness.) And it's about a love of Asian culture, which, like all cultures, can be an embrace or a prison, depending.

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Most of us remember the broad outlines of the story: 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was followed, shot and killed by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman in Sanford, Fla., on the night of Feb. 26, 2012.

More than six weeks later, Zimmerman was arrested and, eventually, tried for second-degree murder in a case that would be as racially polarizing as the O.J. Simpson trial had been nearly 20 years earlier.

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Melissa DePino didn't take the infamous April video that showed two black men being handcuffed and ejected from a Philadelphia Starbucks—but she agreed to post it.

"I know these things happen," the writer says, "but I'd never actually witnessed it myself. And when I saw it I thought 'people need to see this.'"

So she uploaded and pressed "send." It got millions of views, and people are still talking about it.

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The police killings of unarmed black Americans impact the mental health of people far beyond those who knew the victim directly. A new study is delving into this, and Karen Grigsby Bates for a Code Switch team has more.

Third grade teacher Tony Osumi says he, like a lot of Americans, watched the recent news from the Southern US border with growing dismay. The images and sounds of wailing children being pulled from their tearful parents' arms and taken away to temporary shelters made him wince—and reminded him of the first day of school for children who hadn't been before.

Anthony Bourdain is being mourned, of course, by fellow chefs and foodies for his sardonic exposés about what really happens in the kitchens of some of America's best restaurants. And for his travels to explore the world's cuisines. But communities of color, women, people who are gender-different from the perceived norm — those people sent heartbroken tributes, too.

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The fashion world is mourning the death of one of their own. Designer Kate Spade died after an apparent suicide yesterday. She was 55 years old. NPR's Karen Grigsby Bates looks back at her life and legacy.

Back in May, 1963, then-Attorney General Robert Kennedy invited a select group of black entertainers to meet with him at his father's apartment in New York City.

Singer-actor Harry Belafonte was there. So was Lorraine Hansberry, whose play about black upward mobility, A Raisin in the Sun, had received rapturous reviews when it debuted two years earlier. Writer James Baldwin came, as did singer Lena Horne. Each of the invitees was active in civil rights, and Bobby Kennedy was interested in hearing more about the movement.

A love story between a black Army nurse and a white German POW during World War II? You couldn't make that story up — and Alexis Clark didn't. The former editor at Town & Country is an adjunct professor at Columbia University's School of Journalism. I spoke with her about her new book, Enemies in Love, and what she learned about hidden Army history and the human heart.

Below is an edited version of our conversation.


What was the inspiration for this book, what got you rolling?

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