Monday, February 6“Racism never sleeps.”

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Interviews from some of the most revered and celebrated Black leaders, activists and change makers in history.

Martin Luther King Jr. — CBC interview (1959)
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Martin Luther King Jr. — CBC interview (1959)

In 1959, Martin Luther King Jr. sat down with panelists on a CBC program to discussion racial segregation in America and how Dr. King believed integration could be achieved in the future. TRANSCRIPT Interviewer: If you were in charge of rectifying this situation what decisions would you make how can we best rectify the for the whole problem of segregation? MLK: Well, I think it will tell many forces working together. There isn't one answer. One hand, or one force that will solve the problem. It means that the federal government will have to do a great deal and taking a positive, forthright stand. The moderates of the white South will have to become more courageous and positive on there stand, and liberals all over the country. And I think the church religious organizat...
Jean Michel Basquiat — interview (1982)
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Jean Michel Basquiat — interview (1982)

During a television appearance in 1982, renowned artist Jean Michel Basquiat discussed a recent experience with racism. During the interview, a live caller interrupts with racist comments aimed at Basquiat. TRANSCRIPT Basquiat: All right. So tonight after this really good meal, you know I want to go to the movies. So I'd see "Taxi Driver," which is like my favorite movie, I think. I went to this movie on 48th and 8th, this theater, and then when I got there I put my 10 dollars in the window. The lady disappeared from it and came back gave about my 10 dollars and said... [Basquiat yells off camera at someone] No music man, this is serious. Unknown: It is a mistake. Basquiat: So I was like denied entrance to a movie theater and you know why? Unknown: Why? ...
Toni Morrison — interview (1998)
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Toni Morrison — interview (1998)

In 1998, Nobel prize and Pulitzer winning author Toni Morrison was interviewed by journalist Jana Wendt, and discussed Morrison's feelings about writing literature involving race. TRANSCRIPT Morrison: This is shocking. It's always shocking, and I insist on being shocked. I'm never going to become immune. I think that's a kind of failure to see so much of it that you die inside. I want to be surprised and shocked every time. Wendt: You have in your writing certainly marginalized whites. Why are they of no particular interest to you or seemingly no particular interest? Morrison: Well, I was interested in another kind of literature that was not just confrontational, Black versus white. I was really interested in black readership and I wanted to, I think for me, the ...
Fred Hampton — ABC News interview (unedited) 1969
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Fred Hampton — ABC News interview (unedited) 1969

Six months before his death, activist Fred Hampton had an interview with ABC News. Hampton called out the fascist rhetoric of political leaders and police, explained the objectives of the Black Panther Party, discussed why the Black Panthers distanced itself from the controversial Weathermen and dispelled preconceived ideas about Black Panthers stance on violence. TRANSCRIPT Interviewer: Fred, where does the Black Panther Party stand concerning The Weathermen, the SDS? Hampton: We stand way back from the SDS and Weatherman because we believe that the weatherman action has two actions. There's realm two and Weathermen. We think they could call them both national action we think that rim two is national action weatherman is national reaction you know we think it is an ar...
Nina Simone — BBC HardTalk interview (1999)
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Nina Simone — BBC HardTalk interview (1999)

[Nina Simone sings for camera] Host: Nina Simone, Dr. Simone, very warm welcome. Welcome to the program. Simone: Thank you Tim Sebastian. You have the same name as Bach, my first love. Host: Ah. That's... I can't lose with that can I? Simone: No he can't. Host: He can't, but I can. Tell me about music as a political weapon, which you've used it as... Simone: Oh now, that's a hard one. As a political weapon, it has helped me for 30 years defend the rights of American Blacks and third-world people all over the world, to defend them with protest songs. And it helps to change the world. Host: When you get up on the stage and you sing, what's in your mind? Just the singing or... Simone: No, to move the audience. To make them conscious ...
Maya Angelou interviews James Baldwin (1971)
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Maya Angelou interviews James Baldwin (1971)

In a rare one-on-one interview, world-renowned author and poet Maya Angelou sits down with iconic writer and activist James Baldwin to explore Baldwin’s personal journey as a Black American and the inspiration for his highly-revered work. Baldwin shared his attitude about being a Black American abroad and why he left the U.S., and the lasting impact of living through challenges in America. TRANSCRIPT Angelou: When you leave your house in France and come to the United States — when you leave your adopted home and come to your real home, what kind of response do you have inside yourself? Baldwin: I miss my family. I miss a lot of people who are a part of me. And a certain kind of speed, energy, beat, which only Americans, only American Black people, you know... Angelou: ...
Malcolm X – Front Page Challenge interview (1965)
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Malcolm X – Front Page Challenge interview (1965)

Malcolm X, a minister and activist heralded by many as one of the prominent leaders of the civil rights movement, was also an intellect and champion for human rights around the world, not just Black Americans. X was — and to some people remains — a controversial figure because of his resistance to the idea of non-violence under all circumstances. On January 5, 1965, several weeks before he was assassinated, the civil rights leader sat down with several panelists for an interview on the CBC program “Front Page Challenge.” X explained to the all-White panel his beliefs and objectives, dispelling rumors about contention with Martin Luther King, Jr. and the general public’s misunderstandings about Black Muslims. TRANSCRIPT Host: Sir, what was… what’s the real reason why you two men split...