"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing."
-- Helen Keller
|May 18, 2013|
GoodThings on Public Radio
February 28, 2002
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FRIDAY, February 22 | "Walking with Pearl" Primus
Pearl Primus, a pioneer in the world of teaching African dance, died in 1994 but -- thanks to Jawole Willa Jo Zollar and her Urban Bush Women dance troupe -- Primus' legacy is alive and well. On her travels to the then-called Belgian Congo many years ago, Primus became aware of the ancient dance tradition, Bushache. Combining movement, color, and storytelling, the Bushache is performed by the Bantu tribe every 20 years to bring continued non-violence and peace. Primus brought the dance to the West, and now Jawole Willa Jo Zollar new tribute "Walking with Pearl" is making the rounds of college campuses to the delight of audiences who revel in the beauty and strength demonstrated by the performers. [Morning Edition]
Listen (length of clip 5 min 58 sec).
:: Learn more about "Walking with Pearl," the Urban Bush Women, and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar.
SATURDAY, February 23 | A Desperate Fight Against Poverty
One of the films nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary is Lalee's Kin, an exploration of the challenges faced by one woman and the grandchildren she raises as they try to overcome abject poverty in the Delta region of Mississippi. Lalee is a 62-year-old African American woman who picked cotton her entire life, only to find herself living in trailer without running water and raising three of her 50 grandchildren. The award-winning film film confronts the cycle of poverty and how Lalee's own illiteracy and lack of education has spilled over to her grandchildren, who sometimes miss school because they can't afford to buy paper and pencils. The hero of the film is Reggie Barnes, the superintendent of the local public school system, who brings his impassioned, articulate voice to the continuing struggle to provide children with well-funded, supportive public schools to keep them out of the better-funded public prison system. [Weekend All Things Considered]
:: Filmmakers Susan Froemke and Albert Maysles' Lalee's Kin was one of our Favorite GoodThings 2001 honorees.
:: Learn more about efforts to improve educational opportunities in the Mississippi Delta:
Education Week on the Web
Corporation for National and Community Service
The Jackon (MS) Clarion-Ledger
Delta Area Association for Improvement of Schools
:: Read a review of Lalee's Kin.
SUNDAY, February 24 | Writing Because It Feels Good
With the rise of e-mail and voice mail has come the near-extinction of real letter-writing. Author Margaret Shepherd believes the decline of handwritten letters is directly proportional to the loss of community. She suggests that one need only see the facial expression of someone to whom they've sent a letter at the moment that person opens the letter to understand fully how much joy a letter brings. Shepherd's new book The Art of the Handwritten Note debunks the myriad excuses people make about why they don't write letters anymore. Turns out the huge positive effect of letters can be inversely proportional to the amount of time spent writing them or even to the eloquence they contain. [Weekend All Things Considered]
:: How long has it been since you wrote a handwritten note? Why not buy GoodThings greeting cards and make someone's day extraordinary?
:: Buy your copy of Margaret Shepherd's The Art of the Handwritten Note: A Guide to Reclaiming Civilized Communication.
MONDAY, February 25 | The Scandinavian Face of Japanese Politics
Japan is one of the most ethnically homogenous countries in the world and, until now, has never has a foreign-born member of its national parliament (known as the Diet). Last month, Finland-born Marutei Tsurunen finally gained a seat in the Diet, after just missing in four previous attempts. Tsurunen has lived in Japan since 1967, is married to a Japanese woman, and became a Japanese citizen in 1979. He has been involved in local politics and has run a school in small village south of Tokyo. A country that has traditionally viewed it homogeneity as good, Japan is now finding it has had negative economic implications. Tsurunen is a strong advocate for the environment and passionately believes that immigrants should not be outsiders in Japanese life. [The World]
:: Learn more about Marutei Tsurunen. [more][still more]
TUESDAY, February 26 | The Underground Railroad to Canada
The role of Canada in providing a safe haven for escaped slaves from the American South before the Civil War is often overlooked in US and black history. But the Ambassador bridge that now spans the river between Detroit, Michigan, and Windsor, Ontario, marks the Underground Railroad route that many slaves used to find the kind of sanctuary that Canada afforded. Some used boats and canoes, while others crossed the sometimes frozen river on foot. They established Canadian settlements in places like Amherstburg and Buxton and were able to build supportive, free communities. With the emancipation of US slaves after the Civil War, many returned to the South. Others stayed in Ontario, and their relatively smaller numbers assimilated into Canadian culture. Many black historians hope to restore the connection that existed between African American and African Canadians before they both were free. [All Things Considered]
:: Learn more about Ontario, Canada's Underground Railroad.
:: Read an article about former slaves families on both sides of the Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Windsor.
WEDNESDAY, February 27 | Teaching Through Playing
For much of the past decade, Putumayo World Music has been using music from all over the world as a horizon-broading tool for adults. Now, it's helping take that music into the classroom as part of a new curriculum-based program associated with its two successful, award-winning World Playground CDs. This piece from PRI's The World focused on the use of the program in an elementary school in the West Bronx. The schoolchildren become connected to places as different as Jamaica, Ireland, Senegal, Brazil, and Australia. At the same time, they become exposed to different languages, learn to celebrate diversity, and become more confident. The Putumayo World Playground curriculum is now being used in classrooms in 39 US states and nine different countries. [The World]
:: Putumayo's World Playground 2 was one of our Favorite GoodThings 2001 honorees.
:: Learn more about the World Playground elementary school curriculum.
THURSDAY, February 28 | "I Wanna Be Like Skip"
As February comes to a close, commentator George Strait looks back on Black History Month and applauds the rise of a new brand of hero for African American children. With the prominence of black scholars like Harvard University's Henry Louis "Skip" Gates, Jr., he suggests that young children no longer need to look only to athletics for examples of successful black men. Gates and his colleagues in the Harvard Afro-American Studies department have been recruited heavily by Princeton and other top universities, setting the example for black kids, says Strait, that it's OK to be smart and motivated. Strait hopes Gates' stature will bring substantial increases to the number of African American students seeking advanced academic degrees. [Morning Edition]
:: Check out the Henry Louis Gates-hosted PBS program Wonders of the African World.
:: Learn more about Henry Louis Gates, Jr..
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