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On Saturday, May 14, a white 18-year-old drove to a supermarket in a Black neighborhood in Buffalo, N.Y., and killed ten people in a racist attack. The gunman was alone, and reporting has revealed that he allegedly posted a manifesto with racist theories and his plans to kill Black people online. Law enforcement officials and the media often describe these kinds of perpetrator as lone wolves. But the work of white supremacy is never lonely. It’s propagated by social media, cable television pundits, and even politicians. And in the wake of this recent extremism, the Black community in Buffalo is left trying to survive the grieve. “There are no words. There are no solutions. There is no consolation. The community's reeling. Somebody walked into a grocery store and shot up a bunch of our grannies and aunties,” says India Walton, a community leader and former mayoral candidate in Buffalo. India speaks with Trymaine Lee about the shooting, the structural racism and white violence in Buffalo that has kept Black residents segregated and vulnerable, and how she will continue to fight for her community. For a transcript, please visit msnbc.com/intoamerica. Follow and share the show on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, using the handle @intoamericapod.Thoughts? Feedback? Story ideas? Write to us at intoamerica@nbcuni.com.Further Reading and Viewing:Biden calls Buffalo shooting 'terrorism,' says 'white supremacy is a poison'The Buffalo shooting is part of a global network of white nationalist terror 
It’s been almost ten years since the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the killing Trayvon Martin, sparked the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter in 2013. A year later, the police killing of Michael Brown turned the hashtag into a movement. Then in 2020, the world witnessed the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, and Black Lives Matter exploded into a global phenomenon. Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to protest, and as activists took center stage, people donated millions of dollars to the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation. But it’s been a turbulent ride. In 2021, when it was announced that the foundation had received $90 million in funding, many local BLM chapters and families of victims of police violence, started calling for more support and financial transparency. And a recent New York Magazine article unveiled that the foundation spent $6 million on a Los Angeles home which triggered new accusations of mishandling of funds. This week on Into America, Trymaine Lee speaks with Patrisse Cullors, one of the co-founders of the Black Lives Matter movement, and the former executive director of the BLM Global Network Foundation. After the national foundation received an influx of money, Cullors became the face of the foundation. Now she’s under fire from right-wing media, as well as other movement leaders, who are questioning her leadership and financial decisions. Cullors admits that she has made some mistakes, but she maintains that she has done nothing wrong. So she’s sitting down with Into America to talk about what accountability means to her, and how she plans to move forward with the lessons she’s learned.For a transcript, please visit msnbc.com/intoamerica. Follow and share the show on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, using the handle @intoamericapod.Thoughts? Feedback? Story ideas? Write to us at intoamerica@nbcuni.com.Further Reading and Viewing: Former BLM foundation leader denies allegations of money mishandlingBLM’s Patrisse Cullors to step down from movement foundation
My Dad, Rodney King

My Dad, Rodney King

2022-05-0535:382

This week marks the 30th anniversary of the 1992 Los Angeles Riots, also known as the LA Uprising. Before the uprising, tensions in South L.A. were at an all-time high from years of untamed police abuse, gang violence, and strained relations between the Black and Korean American communities. In 1991, a Black teenager named Latasha Harlins was shot and killed by Korean storekeeper Soon Ja Du after she accused Harlins of stealing a bottle of juice. Around the same time, the Black community was also stunned by the video of four white police officers brutally beating Rodney King. A year later, on April 29, 1992, all four officers were acquitted and the Black community of South Los Angeles reached its breaking point. The acquittal set off five days of violence, destruction, and looting, with Koreatown being the main target. Now, 30 years later, several Black and Korean communities are commemorating the anniversary of the riots by reflecting on the past, and moving forward together. This week on Into America, Trymaine Lee speaks with Rodney King’s daughter, Lora King, about her relationship with her father and how she’s continuing his legacy through the Rodney King Foundation. For a transcript, please visit msnbc.com/intoamerica. Follow and share the show on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, using the handle @intoamericapod.Thoughts? Feedback? Story ideas? Write to us at intoamerica@nbcuni.com.Further Reading and Viewing: Korean American-Black conflict during L.A. riots was overemphasized by media, experts sayWatch ‘Riot 92: A Los Angeles Story' 
According to a draft Supreme Court opinion obtained by Politico, the Supreme Court stands poised to overturn Roe v. Wade during its next session. If this happens, it’s estimated as many as 23 states will enact some type of abortion ban, some of which will go into effect almost immediately. And Black people could be hardest hit. Black women seek abortions at a higher rate than any other group. And that, coupled with the knowledge that infant and maternal mortality rates are higher for Black people, could create a dangerous situation for Black people forced to carry pregnancies to term. Last fall, Into America took a closer look at the disparate impact abortion restrictions would have in Texas, following the state’s passage of SB-8, which banned abortion after six weeks. In light of the news this week, we’re re-airing this episode as we consider all that’s at stake with this upcoming decision.For a transcript, please visit msnbc.com/intoamerica. Follow and share the show on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, using the handle @intoamericapod.Thoughts? Feedback? Story ideas? Write to us at intoamerica@nbcuni.com.Further Reading and Viewing:NBC Exclusive: Abortion clinic at center of Mississippi case may move to N.M. if Roe is overturnedFor many Republicans, ending Roe is the first step, not the lastSupreme Court confirms draft opinion on Roe v. Wade is real, will investigate source of leak
UPDATE: Ebony & Ivy

UPDATE: Ebony & Ivy

2022-04-2939:471

Harvard University is confronting its ties to slavery in a new way. In a sweeping report published this week, the university detailed how the school profited from slavery and acknowledged that more than 70 people were enslaved by Harvard leaders, faculty, and staff between 1636 and 1783 when the state of Massachusetts outlawed the practice.Last year, Into America explored whether the school understood the nuances of Blackness within its student body, because even though Harvard is one of the Blackest Ivy League schools, Black students still make up just 11 percent of the student body. And it’s estimated that less than a third of its Black students are descended from people in enslaved the US. With the release of this new report, we wanted to share Trymaine Lee’s conversation with three students from the African diaspora on campus: Mariah Norman, who is a Generational African American, Ife Adedokun, whose parents are Nigerian immigrants, and Kimani Panthier, whose parents immigrated from Jamaica. The group talked about what it’s like to be Black at Harvard and how they want the university to better support them. (Originally released December 2, 2021)Further Reading and Viewing: Harvard attempts to reckon with historical ties to slavery in new reportWatch Trymaine Lee on MSNBC  
Jean-Michel Basquiat was an iconic American artist who rose to fame in the downtown New York City cultural scene of the late 1970s and early 80s. By 18-years-old, Basquiat had already begun spray-painting tantalizing texts on the walls of lower Manhattan under the pseudonym SAMO. In the years to come, Basquiat would transition from street tagger to gallery artist, taking the world by storm. Today, Basquiat’s legacy looms over us, larger than ever. His images and symbols grace Uniqlo t-shirts and Tiffany & Co jewelry campaigns. In 2017, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s powerful 1982 painting of a skull was purchased for $110.5 million, becoming the sixth most expensive work ever sold at auction.But has Basquiat’s pop cultural significance eclipsed the artist’s place in art history? During his lifetime, he struggled to gain acceptance from critics in the predominantly-white art world. And of the more than 800 paintings Basquiat produced in the several years before his untimely death, there are only two of these works available for viewing in a permanent museum collection in New York City. The vast majority of Basquiat works live in private collections, making them hard to access.  This week on Into America, host Trymaine Lee speaks with Basquiat’s former bandmate and friend, Michael Holman, about the young artist’s coming of age in 1980s New York. Then we explore the crisis of Basquiat’s archive with American art historian Jordana Saggese. And finally we take a trip to Basquiat’s childhood and speak with Basquiat’s younger sisters, Jeanine Heriveaux and Lisane Basquiat, to unfold their early relationship and a new April 2022 exhibition they are curating in honor of their late brother.For a transcript, please visit msnbc.com/intoamerica. Follow and share the show on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, all with the handle @intoamericapod.Thoughts? Feedback? Story ideas? Write to us at intoamerica@nbcuni.com.Further Listening:Harlem on My Mind: Jacob LawrenceThe Sun Rises in the East
Down on Louisiana’s Gulf Coast, there is a small, close-knit Black community named Pointe à La Hache. There, oyster harvesting is a culture and a heritage that has been passed down for generations. But decades of storms, natural disasters, oil spills, and racist policies have threatened this way of life. Now, the state’s coastal restoration plans could end it. According to experts, Louisiana loses more than a football field of its jagged coastline every 100 minutes. This leaves coastal communities at risk from rising sea levels, and cities like New Orleans more vulnerable to storms. To fight back, the state has created a 50-year, $50 billion plan to save the disappearing land, which includes diverting water from the Mississippi River through the wetlands around Pointe à La Hache, so sediment from the waters can build up along the shorelines.The state and environmental advocacy groups believe these diversions are the most effective, cost-efficient, and least intrusive solution to save the coast. But oystermen and other fishermen in Pointe à La Hache say the influx of freshwater will disrupt the brackish waters their oysters need to survive. This week on Into America, we travel to Louisiana to speak with Byron Encalade, a third-generation oysterman from Pointe à La Hache, and founder of the Louisiana Oystermen Association, a mostly Black union that represents oystermen of color. Encalade and other Black oystermen have been hit time and again, from Hurricane Katrina in 2005 to the 2010 BP oil spill, but Encalade says these diversion plans will destroy what’s left of Pointe à La Hache.But not all is lost yet. Keslyn and Derrayon Williams, shrimper brothers and owners of Lil Wig’s Seafood and Catering Boat, are still fighting for their family's legacy. They grew up in Pointe à La Hache and remember it as a thriving economic fishing community. Now, they have to travel hours away and compete with bigger boats just to catch shrimp. Derrayon believes if the state stopped these diversions, their community could be restored, but Kelsyn thinks it might be too late. For a transcript, please visit msnbc.com/intoamerica. Follow and share the show on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, using the handle @intoamericapod.Thoughts? Feedback? Story ideas? Write to us at intoamerica@nbcuni.com.Further Reading and Listening: Read Trymaine’s reporting on this topic from the New York TimesInto Dirty Air
The racial wealth gap in this country between Black and white Americans is vast. Centuries of violent theft and racist policies mean that white families have, on average, eight times the wealth of Black families. But a sizeable number of people, like Lamar Wilson, the founder of Black Bitcoin Billionaires, say there’s a new way to help close this gap: cryptocurrency. There are even cryptocurrencies made by Black people to benefit the Black community, like Guapcoin, run by technologist Tavonia Evans.But while some people see freedom and opportunity, others, likeDr. Jared Ball of Morgan State University, worry that crypto is volatile and speculative, and warn that this new space is not the place to build Black wealth.This week on Into America, Trymaine Lee dives into the world of Black crypto users, to understand the promises, the hype, the potential drawbacks, and ultimately, whether crypto could equal freedom for Black folks in this country.For a transcript, please visit msnbc.com/intoamerica. Follow and share the show on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, using the handle @intoamericapod.Thoughts? Feedback? Story ideas? Write to us at intoamerica@nbcuni.com.Further Reading and Listening: CNBC: Women and investors of color seem to prefer cryptocurrency over traditional stocks—here’s whyAmerican CoupBlood on Black Wall Street: What Was Stolen
Emmett Till’s lynching is credited as the spark that set off the Civil Rights Movement. In 1955, the 14-year-old boy was visiting family in Mississippi when he was kidnapped and murdered for whistling at a white woman. Days later his bloated body was dragged out of the Tallahatchie River and sent home to his mother, Mamie Till Mobley, in Chicago. When pictures of his mutilated face were published around the country, it shocked the national consciousness, bringing people off the sidelines and into the fight to recognize Black Americans’ basic humanity.Congress first considered antilynching legislation at the turn of the twentieth century. On January 20th, 1900, Representative George Henry White of North Carolina, the only Black member of Congress at the time, introduced a bill that would have subjected people involved in mob violence to the potential of capital punishment. Since then, antilynching legislation has been introduced in Congress more than 200 times. It had failed every time. That changed last week. At the end of March, President Biden signed the Emmett Till Antilynching Act into law, making lynching a federal hate crime. Present at the ceremony was Emmett Till’s cousin, Rev. Wheeler Parker. Rev. Parker travelled from Chicago to Mississippi with Emmett Till in 1955, and he is the last living relative to have witnessed the boy’s kidnapping. This week on Into America, he shares his story.For a transcript, please visit msnbc.com/intoamerica. Follow and share the show on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, all with the handle @intoamericapod.Thoughts? Feedback? Story ideas? Write to us at intoamerica@nbcuni.com.Further Reading / Listening / Viewing:Reconstructed: The Book of TrayvonRev. Sharpton, Ben Crump, and the Pursuit of JusticeThe Daughters of Malcolm and Martin 
(Not) Chasing Oscar Gold

(Not) Chasing Oscar Gold

2022-04-0131:111

This past weekend’s Oscars ceremony was one for the history books. There was, of course, the smack seen around the world. But beyond the most salacious headline of the night one fact stood out: this was the Blackest Oscars ceremony the world has ever seen.Two of the night’s three hosts – comedian Wanda Sykes and actress Regina Hall – were Black women. All the young people handing the winners their trophies were HBCU students. And for the first time in its history, the show was produced by an all-Black producing team, led by FAMU alum Will Packer.But the Oscars have a troubled history with race. In 1940 Hattie McDaniel became the first Black person to win an Oscar, for her portrayal of Mammy in Gone with the Wind. After a tearful acceptance speech, she returned to her seat at the edge of the auditorium where the ceremony was held, segregated from her white peers. It would be nearly a quarter century before another Black actor won an Oscar, when Sidney Poitier took home the prize for Best Actor in 1964. With last weekend’s awards included, a total of 22 Oscars have gone to Black actors during the Academy’s 94-year history.But do we really need an organization like the Academy to tell us how great we are? The entertainment industry is full of Black creatives making their own way, producing the stories that they want to tell, on their own terms. This week on Into America, host Trymaine Lee speaks to one of them, filmmaker Stefon Bristol, the man behind See You Yesterday about what it takes to make it in Hollywood while staying true to yourself.For a transcript, please visit msnbc.com/intoamerica. Please follow and share the show on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, all with the handle @intoamericapod.Thoughts? Feedback? Story ideas? Write to us at intoamerica@nbcuni.com.Further Listening:Was Will Smith Protecting Black Women?Harlem on My Mind: Abram Hill“The Sun Rises in The East”Editor's Note: in an earlier version of this episode an editing error changed the meaning of one part of the interview. Stefon Bristol's short film of See You Yesterday was accepted, and was a finalist at the 2017 American Black Film Festival.
During the 2022 Oscars’ ceremony, Will Smith shocked the world. Smith strode onstage and smacked Chris Rock, after the comedian made a joke about Smith’s wife, actress Jada Pinkett Smith. Smith went on to win the Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Venus and Serena Williams’s father in King Richard, and later in the night he and Rock reportedly made amends.When Smith was announced as the winner of the Oscar for Best Actor the audience gave him a standing ovation as he approached the stage. The first thing that he said in his tearful five-minute acceptance speech was that “Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family,” and he went on to talk about “protecting” the Black women who co-starred in King Richard with him.  Since Sunday the internet has been abuzz with reaction. Commentators like Eric Deggans and Craig Melvin have condemned Smith’s actions. But many saw an act of chivalry, with people like actress Tiffany Haddish and Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley praising what they viewed as Smith’s defense of his wife.So what does it actually mean to protect Black women? And is physical violence ever an acceptable response to verbal abuse? This week on Into America, activist Jamira Burley weighs in. For a transcript, please visit msnbc.com/intoamerica. Please follow and share the show on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, all with the handle @intoamericapod.Thoughts? Feedback? Story ideas? Write to us at intoamerica@nbcuni.com.Further Listening:We Gotta Talk About Kanye WestHear Jamira’s early appearance on the show: Into the DNC and Black Lives
For the better part of a decade Kanye West and Kim Kardashian were one of the most influential couples in pop culture, living their private lives in the public eye. And now that the pair is officially split, they continue to grab headlines.When Kim filed for divorce in February of last year, things at first seemed amicable – in August the couple recreated their wedding on stage at one of Kanye’s concerts, and they continue to share parenting responsibilities for their four children. But Kanye wasn’t ready to let go, and over the last year, his efforts to win Kim back have become increasingly aggressive. When she started dating SNL star Pete Davidson, Kanye’s public displays took on a more menacing tone: he made a music video featuring an animation of himself decapitating the comedian and claimed that he was using art to work through the trauma of his breakup.Kanye has been very vocal about his struggles with mental health, sharing his diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder with the world. His current public displays look to many like the hallmark signs of a manic episode, where a person feels an unnaturally high energy level, excitement, and euphoria for a prolonged period. And many say his behavior toward Kim appears to bullying and harassing, bordering on abuse. (Although to be clear, the majority of people with mental health issues are not violent, and we want to be careful not to equate mental illness with violent or threatening behavior; and there is no evidence that Kanye has been violent.)But the media conversations around Kim and Kanye, and around Kanye’s mental health, too often take on a tone of tabloid gossip, rather than tackling the tougher issues of mental health, support, and accountability that their story highlights.This week on Into America, host Trymaine Lee speaks with two Black mental health professionals about Kanye’s struggles and mental health in the Black community. Dr. Maia Hoskin is a college professor, activist and writer who holds a Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Clinical Supervision. Last month she published a Medium article arguing that Black women shouldn’t be expected to “save” or “fix” Kanye’s mental health issues. Rwenshaun Miller is a therapist, speaker and award-winning social entrepreneur. His company Eustress, Inc. is focused on raising mental health awareness in the Black community.For a transcript, please visit msnbc.com/intoamerica. Please follow and share the show on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, all with the handle @intoamericapod. Thoughts? Feedback? Story ideas? Write to us at intoamerica@nbcuni.com.Further Listening:A Shape-Up and a Check-InA Word from the Nap Bishop
Black in the USSR

Black in the USSR

2022-03-1732:151

As Russian forces advanced from the east during the war in Ukraine, they faced unexpectedly fierce opposition from the Ukrainian military and civilian population. And as fighting intensified, many in its path fled west. But as people fled, not everyone was the given the same opportunity to seek refuge. In the middle of a war zone anti-Black racism reared its ugly head, with reports of people from the African diaspora facing racist treatment at the Ukrainian border. In the eastern city of Sumy, home to a large contingent of international students, Black folks were beaten off of trains and buses fleeing the violence to make way for white Ukrainian citizens. This week on Into America, we speak with Eniola Oladiti, a Black medical student from Ireland, who fled Sumy while that city was under siege. And host Trymaine Lee speaks with Kimberly St. Julian Varnon, an expert on race in the former Soviet Union, about the unique experience of being Black in this part of the world. For a transcript, please visit https://www.msnbc.com/intoamerica. Thoughts? Feedback? Story ideas? Write to us at intoamerica@nbcuni.com.Further Reading and Viewing: Black immigrants chose Ukraine for quality of life, education. War leaves them fearful.Open the door or we die': Africans report racism and hostility trying to flee UkraineNBC News Special Report - Inside Ukraine
In March of 2019, Morgan Cooper dropped a video on YouTube that quickly went viral. It was a short film that he made as a passion project, after he was struck with a flash of inspiration: What if the 90’s classic The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air were updated for the 21st century? Within 24 hours of posting his project online, Cooper got a call from Westbrook, the production company owned by Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith. Will Smith had seen the video, liked what he saw, and wanted to know what Cooper’s plans were. In short order, Smith flew Cooper to Miami, where he was filming Bad Boys III. The two met, and Will Smith signed on to Cooper’s vision, reimagining The Fresh Prince with a much more dramatic tone. They shopped the idea around and found a home at Peacock, NBC’s steaming service. Morgan Cooper was kept on as a writer, executive producer and director for the new series. This week on Into America, host Trymaine Lee speaks with Morgan Cooper about Bel-Air, the creative decisions he’s making with the show, and his lightning quick rise in Hollywood. Trymaine also speaks with actress Cassandra Freeman, who plays Aunt Viv in the new show, as well as hip hop icon DJ Jazzy Jeff, who played Jazz on the original Fresh Prince, and who now hosts Bel-Air: The Official Podcast. For a transcript, please visit https://www.msnbc.com/intoamerica. Thoughts? Feedback? Story ideas? Write to us at intoamerica@nbcuni.com.Interested in Into America merch? Check out the MSNBC store: https://msnbcstore.com/collections/into-america Further Reading and Viewing: Stream Bel-Air on PeacockHow a Viral Video Turned Into Bel-AirThey're Back – See Which Original ‘Fresh Prince' Stars Are Reuniting on ‘Bel Air'
Sista SCOTUS

Sista SCOTUS

2022-03-0334:48

During the Democratic primary of 2020, then-candidate Joe Biden made a historic pledge: given the opportunity, he would nominate the first Black woman to the Supreme Court. With the announcement of Justice Stephen Breyer’s retirement earlier this year, President Biden had an opportunity to fulfill that pledge. And he delivered. After weeks of speculation in the media, and comments from the right, Biden announced Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as his pick. Before a candidate was even named, members of the right began crying foul, pre-judging the eventual nominee as an “affirmative action” pick. They contended that, because Biden was pledging to nominate a Black woman, he was excluding more qualified candidates. But these attacks glossed over historical context: in the court’s 232-year history, there have been a total of 115 justices to serve. 108 of those justices have been white men – it's been a case of affirmative action for white men, by white men. And past heroes of the right, like Donald Trump and Ronald Reagan have made similar pledges about appointing women to the court without any pushback from those same corners.While Biden kept his word with nominating Judge Jackson to the Court, it was never a sure bet. From the time he took office, Biden faced organized pressure from a dynamic group of Black women aiming to make the highest court in the land more closely resemble the face of America. April Reign is a trained lawyer and the creator of the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag. She, Kim Tignor, and two other Black women lawyers created the organization Sista SCOTUS and the campaign #SheWillRise to keep pressure on in Washington for this historic first.This week, host Trymaine Lee talks with Reign and Tignor about their campaign.For a transcript, please visit https://www.msnbc.com/intoamerica. Thoughts? Feedback? Story ideas? Write to us at intoamerica@nbcuni.com.Further Listening: Amy Coney Barrett's Record on RaceRuth Bader Ginsburg and the ACLU Years
Trayvon Martin’s hoodie was never supposed to end up in an exhibit on Reconstruction at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. But then the 17-year-old boy was shot and killed in Sanford, Florida, by a self-appointed neighborhood watch captain, while carrying nothing but a cell phone, a pack of Skittles, and a can of iced tea. Kidada Williams, a history professor at Wayne State University tells Trymaine Lee that she sees a clear through line between Reconstruction and Trayvon Martin. “The way he was targeted for minding his own business, the way he was demonized, and in some cases blamed for his own [death] is very consistent with what happened during Reconstruction,” she explains.Like Emmett Till before him, Trayvon’s story galvanized a people and changed a nation. Protests sprang up across the country as the story gained traction, helped in large part by Trymaine Lee’s reporting. A generation of young people became activists, and when the man who killed Trayvon was acquitted, arguing he acted in self-defense, the phrase “Black Lives Matter” was born and became a rallying cry.Without Trayvon, there would have been no groundwork for the uprisings in Ferguson after Michael Brown was killed, no global movement in place to fuel the protests for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. But when Trayvon became a face of the movement, it came with a cost — one that Tracy Martin, Trayvon’s father, knows too well. "I’m giving to society, but do society really understand what I've given up?” he asks. "We don't look to bury our kids. We don't look to eulogize them or try to define what their legacy is to be. And during that process, man, it just, it really tears you up.” For a transcript, please visit https://www.msnbc.com/intoamerica. Thoughts? Feedback? Story ideas? Write to us at intoamerica@nbcuni.com.Further Listening:Reconstructed: Birth of a Black NationReconstructed: In Search of the Promised LandReconstructed: Keep the Faith, Baby
On June 17, 2015, a white extremist shot and killed nine Black people in the Mother Emanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina as they gathered for a bible study group. This wasn’t the first time Mother Emanuel had been attacked. Church historian Elizabeth Alston tells Trymaine Lee, that in the 1820s, white people burned down Mother Emanuel in retaliation over a failed slave rebellion. For years, the congregation was forced to meet in secret. But through all the violence and backlash, the Black congregants relied on their faith, and during Reconstruction, they rebuilt. Mother Emanuel’s history mirrors the story of Black America. Through the centuries, faith has helped Black people find freedom, community, and strength, even in the face of violence.In episode three of ‘Reconstructed,’ Into America explores the legacy of faith through Reconstruction. Historian Kidada Williams shares testimonies of the devastating violence and terrorism that white people inflicted upon their Black neighbors. And Spencer Crew, co-curator of the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s exhibit on Reconstruction, explains how faith and the church were vital to the survival of newly freed people. This tradition of faith in the face of backlash holds true today. Trymaine talks with Bree Newsome Bass, whose incredible protest of scaling a 30-foot pole to take down the Confederate flag from the South Carolina state capitol made her an icon of the movement. Bree’s actions led to the permanent removal of the Confederate flag from the state house. And she tells Trymaine that faith was the foundation of it all.For a transcript, please visit https://www.msnbc.com/intoamerica. Thoughts? Feedback? Story ideas? Write to us at intoamerica@nbcuni.com.Further Reading and Listening: Reconstructed: Birth of a Black NationReconstructed: In Search of the Promised LandHow Black families, torn apart during slavery, worked to find one another againEditors’ note: This episode was originally published incorrectly naming the location of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing as Montgomery, Alabama. The correct location is Birmingham. The piece has been updated.
In 1865, General William Tecumseh Sherman asked a group of African Americans in Georgia what they needed most to start their new lives as free people. The answer: land. This led to Sherman’s order that every Black family in the region receive 40 acres, and an Army mule if they liked. It was a promise the government decided not to keep, but where the government failed, the newly freed made their own way. In the second episode of Reconstructed, Into America continues its deep dive into Reconstruction, collaborating with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. We explore how across the South, Black Americans began acquiring land to secure autonomy, protection, generational wealth, and community. Often, they were operating on property that had been owned by their former enslavers. Promised Land, South Carolina was one of those communities. Founded just after the Civil War in the Upcountry region, Promised Land was self-sufficient, with a church, school, and farms to nourish its people’s mind and body. In a visit to the town, Trymaine Lee talks to Reverend Willie Neal Norman Jr. and Elestine Smith Norman, a couple who can trace their Promised Lands roots back over a century. And Into America travels to rural Georgia to learn about a group of 19 families who bought several hundred acres in 2020 with the dream of creating a new town: Freedom. “Freedom is the answer to our ancestors’ prayers,” co-founder Ashley Scott tells Trymaine. “Going forward and building Freedom is in honor of the blood, the sweat, the tears that they laid down for us in the past.”For a transcript, please visit https://www.msnbc.com/intoamerica. Thoughts? Feedback? Story ideas? Write to us at intoamerica@nbcuni.com.Further Listening:Reconstructed: Birth of a Black NationThe Tax Auction BlockBlood on Black Wall Street: What Was Stolen
One question has plagued our nation since its founding: will Black people in America ever experience full citizenship?  In searching for an answer, Into America is collaborating with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture for a series on the legacy of Reconstruction. We tour the museum’s Make Good the Promises exhibit with co-curator Spencer Crew, who helps use artifacts to bring the history of the era to life. Over four episodes, ‘Reconstructed’ will explore how after the Civil War, Black Americans gained citizenship and political power, planted roots and formed communities on newly acquired land, and how the newly freed drew on their faith to carry them through violent white backlash.The story begins in the late 1860s, as the newly freed became citizens under the law and Black men gained the right to vote.Black Americans across the South suddenly had the power to exert control over their own lives. In the face of horrific violence from their white neighbors, Black people voted in liberal governments across the South, elevating hundreds of their own to places of political power. Perhaps no one exemplifies this more than the lateCongressman Robert Smalls. As his great-great-grandson Michael Boulware Moore tells Trymaine Lee, Smalls’ daring escape from slavery and wartime actions made him a hero. Then, like hundreds of newly freed Black Americans, he decided to get involved in politics in his hometown of Beaufort, South Carolina. Smalls helped found the state’sRepublican Party in 1868 and served in the state legislature, where he crafted laws to create the first free compulsory public school system in the country. In 1874, he was elected to the US House of Representatives, where he remained for five terms. Not long after Smalls left office, much of the progress of Reconstruction had been undone by a combination of white violence, Northern apathy, and severe voting restrictions aimed at Black Americans. And more than a century later, we still see the impact of this brief time of Black political power, through people like the current Democratic National Committee chair and South Carolina native Jaime Harrison, who tells Trymaine how today’s 20th-Century fight for voting rights is a continuation of the Reconstruction era. For a transcript, please visit https://www.msnbc.com/intoamerica. Thoughts? Feedback? Story ideas? Write to us at intoamerica@nbcuni.com.Further Reading and Listening:Check out the NMAAHC’s Make Good the Promises ExhibitInto a New Voting Rights ActInto America: DC Votes Yes
Into America was nominated for a 2022 NAACP Image Award! We’re finalists in the Outstanding News and Information Podcast category, and we need your vote. Go to vote.naacpimageawards.net to cast your ballot today.In February 2021, Into America launched Harlem on My Mind, a series that followed four figures from the Harlem Renaissance who defined Blackness for themselves and what it means to be Black in America today.The story began in December 2020, when host Trymaine Lee acquired something he coveted for years: a numbered print titled Schomburg Library by American icon Jacob Lawrence. The print came with a handwritten dedication to a man named Abram Hill. Who was Abram Hill? How did he know Jacob Lawrence? Did their paths cross at the famed Schomburg Library?What followed was a journey of discovery, through conversations with friends, historians and experts, to understand the interconnected lives of Black creators in and around the Harlem Renaissance. And it started with Jacob Lawrence, a child of the Great Migration who was nurtured by the great artists and ideas of the period. Two women who knew Lawrence well, art historian Dr. Leslie King-Hammond and artist Barbara Earl Thomas, reflected on his life, death and contributions to Black culture.As Into America gears up for our 2022 Black History series, Reconstructed – a look at the legacy of the Reconstruction era –we wanted to revisit Harlem on My Mind and share it with you again. Special thanks to the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. (Original release date: February 4, 2021)Further Listening:Harlem on My Mind: Jacob LawrenceHarlem on My Mind: Arturo SchomburgHarlem on My Mind: Jessie Redmon FausetHarlem on My Mind: Abram Hill
Comments (27)

Sarah Pritchett

I live in Aotearoa New Zealand and just started listening to this fantastic podcast. I am listening to it in random order and today I listened to this one and was shocked to hear that the book New Boy that my 12 year old son and I read last year was nearly banned in some schools in the US. I love Nola's insightful comments and I agree with her that the Indian in the Cupboard is a difficult read (a friend of my older sons gave it to him a few years ago, I don't think we finished reading it..). Nola, I wish you all the best for your bright future and I hope Michella Obama calls you!

Apr 9th
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Janet Morrison

incredibly moving and inspiring

Feb 21st
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Robin Blacknell

I really enjoyed this episode (I enjoy all of your episodes). I remember when Jessica Lynch was in the news but I'm hard pressed to recall if I heard about Shoshana Johnson. Thank you for doing this interview and bringing attention to Ms. Johnson's experiences from her capture to her fight for the benefits due to her as a US soldier, and her contributions to this country to maintain the freedoms that we often take for granted. "Freedom has a taste that the Protected will never know". Sincerely, Robin Blacknell

Dec 8th
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randy thomas

This is a black podcast, right. So why am I hearing about a white family????

Oct 24th
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Ronda Walker

Such a horrific tragic story. I feel so bad for all the Americans that were tragically killed and stripped of their properties and businesses. thanks for sharing this story I can totally see why Oklahoma wants to bury that story because they should be freaking ashamed. It just hurts my heart. I have learned so much since George Floyd and I'm grateful to learn the history of such a tragic history of America. we learn things in school but nothing like what we should learn about. I was very sheltered myself from those kind of historical stories I'm just so sorry this happened.

May 28th
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Angela Johnson

Strong recommendation: The Sword and The Shield by Peniel Joseph as supplement to this episode

Apr 13th
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Patricia J. Williams

Wow! Brother Lee... Wow! I always look forward to new episodes of your podcast Into America, but this particular episode was fantastic! Dr. B was amazing, brilliant, and a powerful voice for our community. This episode was life changing. Black Lives Matter is an affirmation said Dr. B... Yes!!!! Thank you for always bringing us your very best my brother! Blessing, light, and Black love!

Apr 9th
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⚖ LifeCoachTay

AMAZING Ep. Classic!!!! Courage Is Our Calling!!!! Legendary👑💎👑

Apr 1st
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John Massari

I get your point but, they're a lot of black heroes, John Stewart, Falcon, Black Panther, Blade, Cyborg, Black Lightning, Misty Knight, Luke Cage, Storm and those are only but a few. Black Panther and Falcon have both been around since the 60's. they were definitely Falcon action figures. However, I'm not going pretend that black action figures aren't under presented, but part of the issue is demand.

Dec 28th
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gaby alseen

Why is it ok for a white kid to have dolls from different races? but Nola can't have a Jojo Siwa doll? As a Canadian this is so stupid and ehem. ...racist. I was really enjoying this podcast until this episode.

Dec 25th
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Béné

Nola is so so smart, I'm sure she will do great things! She could have her own podcast :)

Dec 24th
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Jen Jen

This is a GREAT podcast!

Dec 20th
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⚖ LifeCoachTay

Thanks!! #BidenHarris2020

Aug 12th
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Sofa King

This woman can suck it for hating Bernie.

Jun 7th
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Vicki Camacho

Lol!! ❤❤❤❤

Jun 7th
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Vicki Camacho

You had me until you mentioned AL Sharpton. I must say the buildup was excellent until you mention him.

May 14th
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Emmett Stokes

This is a well laid out and informative piece of reporting that laden with evidence of the demographic with ALL of the experience of this parcel of the fourth amendment ... unreasonable search and seizure. Although Blomberg is Billoinnaire, philanthropist and innovator, his innate decision with all the law enforcement officials reeks of undertone of racism and implicit biases.

Apr 29th
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Fiona Fleming

really enjoying this

Mar 29th
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Vicki Camacho

Louisiana 8 electrol college votes and Georgia has 16. All 16 of Georgia's electrol college went to Republicans.

Mar 21st
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Susan Shinagawa

I, too, have been supporting Jaime and his campaign from California. The late Senator John McCain (R-AZ), a long time friend of Lindsay Graham, would be rolling over in his grave at how Lindsay has rolled his honor and principles over to the immature, hateful, narcissistic, self-serving Donald Trump. It's time Georgians send Graham home. I'm doing what I can to help Jaime Harrison become the new Junior Senator from the great state of Georgia. I encourage others to do so, too.

Mar 19th
Reply (1)
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