Southeast Public Radio Announces Programming Celebrating Black History Month

Photo of "On Air" radio light.

Public Radio will broadcast several specials commemorating Black History Month every Sunday at 9 a.m. during February.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Jan. 28, 2008 — Southeast Public Radio will broadcast several specials commemorating Black History Month every Sunday at 9 a.m. during February.

The Last Letter HomeFeb. 3

“The Last Letter Home” is a poignant retelling in radio drama and interview of the experience during World War II of the 332nd fighter group, also known as the Tuskegee Airmen. Producer and host Donnie Betts recreates this powerful tale through the fictionalized writing of a fighter pilot, who in a letter to his mother, describes how he hopes to drop “Mein Kampf” on Hitler’s office in Berlin as the United States bombs the city.

The Little Rock NineFeb. 10

On Sept. 25, 1957, nine black students entered racially segregated Central High School in Little Rock, Ark. Their goal was to receive the same quality education afforded their white counterparts.

Using radio drama and interview, host Betts profiles these extraordinary students and in the process examines why they succeeded where other did not. He talks at length with Carlotta Walls LaNier, a member of the Little Rock Nine, considers whether American schools are now resegregating and features music by jazz great Rene Marie.

Memories of the MovementFeb. 17The years of the Civil Rights Movement are counted among the most volatile yet vibrant times in American history. The people and events that shaped this period range from charismatic preachers and actors to students and domestic workers.

Introduced and narrated by Tavis Smiley, this powerful special features the poignant, humorous, unheard, or little known stories and anecdotes from living civil rights icons like actors Harry Belafonte and Ruby Dee, preachers like Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rev. Amos Brown, Editor Emeritus of “Ebony” magazine Lerone Bennett Jr., folk singer Odetta, Asian activist Yuri Kochiyama and a host of others.

SwingtimeFeb. 24During the 1930s and 1940s, many black schools in the United States fielded traveling swing bands to keep their doors open during the Depression. Narrator Tonea Stewart profiles three of the era’s most famous bands in “Swingtime,” an hour-long showcase of the Bama State Collegians, the Prairie View Co-eds and the International Sweethearts of Rhythm.

“Swingtime’s” music goes beyond the iconic ᾰ “Tuxedo Junction,” “In the Mood,” “Take the A Train,” “Henderson Stomp” ᾰ to include lesser known gems like “Vi Vigor,” composed for International Sweethearts of Rhythm saxophonist Vi Burnside. And the program draws listeners in as band members describe what it was like for them as teens, many from poor homes, to travel the country as stars of swing.

As the area’s source for diverse musical programming and award winning NPR news, Southeast Public Radio strives to continuously excel in providing the highest quality public radio programming to Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois. Nearly 1.9 million people within the listening area have the opportunity to tune in to KRCU 90.9 FM which is a 6,500 watt station located in Cape Girardeau and KSEF 88.9 FM, a 9,500 watt repeater station located in Farmington. The station broadcasts 24 hours a day from the campus of Southeast Missouri State University. More information about Southeast Public Radio is at http://www.southeastpublicradio.org/