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Under the Radar Podcast

Under the Radar with Callie Crossley looks to alternative presses and community news for stories that are often overlooked by big media outlets. In our roundtable conversation, we aim to examine the small stories before they become the big headlines with contributors in Boston and New England.

  • Editor's note: This episode originally broadcast November 24, 2023. When the MacArthur Foundation named its class of 2023 “genius grant" fellows last month, the recipients joined an exclusive group of previous fellows who have demonstrated outstanding talent and leadership in their fields. Interdisciplinary scholar and writer Imani Perry is one of this year's MacArthur fellows. “I describe my work in part as haunting the past,” Perry said. “I'm trying to train my attention on those who were disregarded in the past as a way of shaping our ethics for the present and the future. So it's sort of like trying to catch a hold of freedom, dreams that have existed over the course of generations, train my gaze and shine a light on them.” Perry, who is also a Boston University professor, studies the history and the cultural expressions forged by Black Americans in the face of injustice. There are 20 MacArthur fellows across the country, and Perry is one of four based in the Boston area. We talked with professor Perry for Under the Radar's series, “The Genius Next Door.”
  • Editor's note: This episode originally broadcast on November 24, 2023. In 1973, Americans triumphed in a fashion smackdown that earned the country respect and admiration among critics worldwide. On that day 50 years ago, American and French designers went head-to-head in a creative competition dubbed the “Battle of Versailles." The fashion show was held at the historic Palace of Versailles, the former residence of King Louis XIV. The Americans won with cutting-edge ready-to-wear and stunning Black models. A half-century later, the legacy of the once-obscure event continues to shape global fashion. GUESTS Robin Givhan, senior critic-at-large for the Washington Post and author of “The Battle of Versailles: The Night American Fashion Stumbled into the Spotlight and Made History” Alva Chinn, actress and model from the 1973 "Battle of Versailles" Jay Calderin, founder and executive director of Boston Fashion Week and co-director of education at the School of Fashion Design in Boston
  • Almost thirty years ago, President Bill Clinton formally declared the “President's Initiative on Race” with the goal of jumpstarting a national discussion about race. Arguably, there ended up being more conversation about the initiative than the actual discussions he’d hoped it would inspire. In 2016, former Boston mayor Marty Walsh ushered in a similar citywide race conversation. Last month, GBH announced a multifaceted program to spark a new public conversation about the nation’s race history. GBH President and CEO Susan Goldberg joins Under the Radar to discuss the importance of the new “Reckoning and Repair” initiative. GUEST Susan Goldberg, president and CEO of GBH
  • The blood-soaked heritage of America’s enslavement of an estimated 10 million Africans is a fact. Yet some Americans refuse to recognize or openly discuss the communal inherited pain, shame and anger linked to that history. But conversations about this fraught history are happening, according to author and journalist Michele Norris' latest book, “Our Hidden Conversations: What Americans Really Think About Race and Identity.” Norris describes the real-life anecdotes from Americans in her book as "like you're just walking through America and hearing people speaking out loud about the things that they only usually only talk about in private." GUEST Michele Norris, author, journalist for The Washington Post, host and executive producer of the podcast, "Your Mama's Kitchen," and former co-host of NPR's "All Things Considered"
  • Florida bolsters its reputation as an anti-LGBTQ state with a new rule — trans residents can no longer update their driver’s license with their correct gender identity. Plus, a New Hampshire town manager stepped down after being harassed in an ongoing controversy about an LGBTQ art display. And the Massachusetts State Senate passed a bill to repeal several archaic sodomy and anti-trans laws. Those stories and more on Under the Radar's LGBTQ News Roundtable. GUESTS Grace Sterling Stowell, executive director of the Boston Alliance of Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer Youth, or BAGLY E.J. Graff, journalist, author and managing editor of Good Authority, an independent site publishing insights on political science Polly Crozier, Director of Family Advocacy for GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, or GLAD
  • Grace Elizabeth Hale grew up hearing that the real-life heroism of her grandfather mirrored the fictional courageous confrontation of Atticus Finch, the hero of "To Kill A Mockingbird." While she had been told her grandfather, a county sheriff in Mississippi had protected a Black man from a lynch mob, who then died in his custody the following day trying to escape — the facts showed a different story. "I knew the story that I had been told... but it just made it clear that none of it was true, that this was a big cover up," Hale told Under the Radar. During her research as a historian and scholar, Hale uncovered the shocking details of one lynching that exposed the truth of her family lore. In fact, Hale’s home state of Mississippi holds the record for the most lynchings in the country. “In the Pines: A Lynching, A Lie, A Reckoning” documents Hale's family history, and the bloody vigilante tradition embedded in the nation’s history. GUEST Grace Elizabeth Hale, professor of American Studies and History at the University of Virginia and author of "In the Pines: A Lynching, A Lie, A Reckoning"
  • New Hampshire is not generally considered a beacon of Black culture, where the last census documented people of color to be just a fraction of the general population. But the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire is working to prove how generations of Black Americans have informed both the Granite state’s — and the nation’s — history. Under the Radar explores the trials and triumphs of Harriet Wilson, Amos Fortune and Ona Judge, among other lesser known figures that are all foundational to New Hampshire’s past and present. GUESTS JerriAnne Boggis, executive director of the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire Kabria Baumgartner, associate Professor of History and Africana Studies at Northeastern University Courtney Marshall, English teacher at Phillips Exeter Academy
  • From the Oxford English to the Merriam-Webster, English language dictionaries are well established in the U.S. But the effort to create dictionaries of indigenous languages is growing, including a new one capturing Cape Verdean Creole. A local publisher is documenting the common tongue of the West African nation — and of many Greater Boston immigrants — in an English to Cape Verdean dictionary to be published later this year. GUESTS Manuel Da Luz Goncalves, founder and owner of Mili Mila Inc. Abel Djassi Amado, associate professor of political science and international relations at Simmons University
  • Climate change has sparked a sharp rise in fires, floods and other natural calamities. Now, the Biden administration has directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to speed up victims' ability to get immediate monetary support through benefits including “displacement assistance.” In Massachusetts, Gov. Maura Healey has released the first round of funding for cities impacted by flooding last year. Plus, new research reveals plastic water bottles have up to 100 times more tiny plastic particles than previously estimated — a threat to the environment and health. And bitter cold unplugged electric vehicles across the country as batteries lost their charge. It’s Under the Radar's Environmental News Roundtable. GUESTS Dr. Gaurab Basu, director of education and policy at the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health Beth Daley, executive editor and general manager of The Conversation U.S. Cabell Eames, policy consultant for Vote Solar
  • Whether you measure it by its politics, pubs or people, Boston's Irish heritage is unavoidable — but Ireland's northeastern neighbor is beginning to step out of its shadow. From bagpipes to the savory meat pudding known as haggis, local Scottish groups are making a push for more recognition of their distinct culture and history throughout New England. Under the Radar discusses the inaugural "Not Your Usual Burns Night," which will honor Scotland's national poet with traditional poetry, song, dance and Scotch whisky — and how that event just a part of the effort to bring Boston’s Scottish culture alive. GUESTS Dr. Larry Bethune, vice president of Scots in New England Dr. Peter Abbott, British Consul General to New England
  • As goes New Hampshire, so goes the nation? A Granite State mantra will likely be put to the test in this Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary. Former President Donald Trump trounced his competitors in last week’s Iowa caucus with the biggest margin of victory in the history of the state’s Republican caucuses. But has his momentum been slowed in the days leading up to the New Hampshire primary? Meanwhile, after the Granite State refused to accept second place to South Carolina in the Democratic National Committee’s primary cycle, President Joe Biden is not on the ballot. That isn’t stopping local Democrats from leading a write-in campaign for him. Plus, a new study shows New Hampshire’s primary could be impacted by an influx of new voters — potentially as many as 245,000 new voters. Under the Radar's New Hampshire Insiders are back! GUESTS Arnie Arnesen, former New Hampshire democratic legislator, nominee for governor and candidate for U.S. Congress, and host of WNHN’s The Attitude with Arnie Arnesen Paul Steinhauser, national politics reporter for Fox News and campaign columnist for The Concord Monitor
  • Last year, a new memorial was unveiled in Boston Common to honor the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife, Coretta Scott King. Embrace Boston, the organization behind the memorial, also announced the names of civil rights leaders whose names were embedded in the Boston Common plaza where the sculpture sits. Now Embrace Boston is adding to the roster by recognizing the 2024 Embrace Honorees who have, in the organization’s words, worked to build “a more equitable Boston.” GUESTS L. Duane Jackson, former architect and member of the Board of Directors for the Massachusetts Port Authority, managing member of Alinea Capital Partners, LLC and an Embrace Boston 2024 Honoree Deborah Jackson, former president of Cambridge College, CEO of the American Red Cross of Eastern Massachusetts and Vice President of the Boston Foundation, and an Embrace Boston 2024 Honoree