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Black History, For Real

Author: Wondery

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The first woman on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist List was a Black Panther. The richest person of all time, an African king, gave away so much gold that it caused Cairo's economy to crash. A 109 year old Black woman fights for reparations for her neighborhood that was burned to the ground when she was a child. On Wondery’s history series Black History, For Real, hosts Franchesca Ramsey and Conscious Lee go beyond the stories you already know to drop you right in the mix. It’s a no-nonsense, unwhitewashed account of history’s most overlooked moments, with a mix of narrative storytelling and candid conversation. We’ll even spill the occasional historical tea! It’s all facts, no cap.

12 Episodes
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Feeling immense shame and regret for killing his mother, Mansa Musa seeks counsel from his Imam. The religious leader advises the king to seek peace in the Muslim holy land of Mecca. Musa embarks on the pilgrimage with a caravan of 60,000 men, made up of soldiers, advisers, and slaves; and 100 camels, each carrying 300 pounds of gold. During the first half of the 2-year journey, the convoy will face heat, exhaustion and disease. And Musa accidentally destroys the Egyptian economy along the way.  See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Had there been a version of the Forbes list in the early 14th century, a 20-something-year-old Malian king would reign supreme. Dubbed the “richest man of all time," Mansa Musa’s wealth is unmatched to this day. However, Musa paid a hefty price for his position. In the early years of his 25-year reign, the young and brash king led the Mali Empire with an iron fist and a large ego, conquering territories all over Africa. But, he quickly learns the true cost of his tyrannical leadership – a cost his immense wealth won’t be able to cover.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
W.E.B. Du Bois and Countee Cullen were, no question, pivotal pillars during the Harlem Renaissance. Du Bois’s philosophy of race and Cullen’s masterful poetry defy the status quo of the early 1900s; however, both men fall victim to the challenges Black people still face today. In this special episode, Franchesca Ramsy and Conscious Lee dive deeper into the black-on-black conflict, church hurt, and misogyny that show up in our “Talented Tenth” series, in addition to modern times. As the good book says, “The truth shall set you free,” and our hosts tell it for real, for real.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
As Countee Cullen tries to recover from his divorce from Yolande DuBois, his career begins to falter. The Great Depression has rolled in and Black art is one of the first things to suffer. White patrons have pulled their investments, so Countee must find a steady gig. He takes a job as a teacher, where he begins to mentor a young James Baldwin. Meanwhile, W.E.B. DuBois is moving away from respectability politics and calling for Black people to divest from integrated society and capitalism. See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
To save his public image, Countee Cullen marries W.E.B. Dubois’ daughter, Yolande. The wedding is the merger of the century. All of Black high society is in attendance to celebrate this high profile matrimony. W.E.B.’s plan to create a dynasty is complete. Countee finds love and another father figure. Happy ending, right? Not quite. Countee’s marriage to Yolande might’ve hushed the whispers of his sexuality but temptation is closer than he can handle. Like, “Best Man” close.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
In the early 1900’s, Harlem Renaissance poet Countee Cullen went from an orphan to one of the most celebrated literary figures of his time. But his reluctance to introduce Blackness into his art threatened to alienate him from peers. And his struggles with his sexuality threatened to isolate him from his family. Luckily, his mentor W.E.B. DuBois has a plan to solve both problems. See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
In the early 1900s, NAACP co-founder W.E.B. DuBois is at the top of his game, as the first Black person to earn a PhD from Harvard and as editor of a successful magazine. He believes he has a way to achieve full equality for Black people, but major beef with civil rights leaders Booker T. Washington and Marcus Garvey threatens to expose his idea as an elitist mess. See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
As the first ever woman in the Black Panther Party’s decision-making body, Kathleen Cleaver played a large role in shaping and influencing the Party’s views on gender roles. Her drive to live a life of liberty inspired other women to do the same. And it’s in the Party where she meets her controversial husband, Eldridge Cleaver, who would leave her with a difficult choice to make: be a supportive wife or stand up for women’s liberation.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
After many of her comrades are killed, imprisoned, and forced into exile, Elaine Brown rises the ranks to be tapped as the first and only female leader of the Black Panther Party. Like other vocal women within the Party, she faced rampant sexism. But violence within the Party and whispers of her being a government informant also threatened her ambitions to save and revitalize the Black Panther Party. See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
At only 23 years old, Afeni Shakur defended herself and 20 other Black Panther comrades in the famous Panther 21 trial. Best known as the mother of Tupac Shakur, Afeni’s legacy extends beyond her maternal role to a rap icon. Shakur’s fighting spirit helped her combat sexism within the Party and racism in the world, but her personal demons would have lasting impacts on her relationship with her son, until his untimely death.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
In her 20s, Assata Shakur became a target for government forces aiming to discredit Black liberation movements. Soon, she would emerge as one of America's most notorious fugitives. After being convicted of murdering a state trooper, Assata is sentenced to life in prison. But, she maintains her innocence. Two years into her sentence, she is broken out of prison and escapes to Cuba. Forty years after the murder, she becomes the first woman to be placed on the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorists list.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Join Franchesca Ramsey and Conscious Lee every week as they go beyond the stories of Black History you already know to drop you right in the mix. Learn about the most overlooked Black History makers and events you should already know about, not just during Black History Month. We’ll even spill the occasional historical tea! All facts, no cap. Follow Black History, For Real, and listen early and ad-free on Wondery+ on January 29th, and everywhere on February 5th.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
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