What's the Word? Two half-hour programs celebrating Black History Month

Series produced by Modern Language Association

Caption: PRX default Series image
PRX default Series image 

Four literary works that reflect and influence the way we talk about race and resistance.

Texts of Resistance
Since the late eighteenth century, writers have addressed the issue of transatlantic slavery. Some of the works are direct calls to abolitionist action; others define resistance more subtly. On this program, John Bugg talks about an eighteenth-century slave narrative, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano; Russ Castronovo tells us about Frederick Douglass’s novella, The Heroic Slave; and Natasha Barnes explores The Known World by Edward P. Jones.

W.E.B. Du Bois
Many consider W.E.B. Du Bois the most important African American leader in the first half of the twentieth century. A sociologist, historian, author, teacher, activist, and co- founder of the NAACP and its magazine The Crisis, his influence was profound. His ground-breaking book, The Souls of Black Folk, has been called the foundational text of African American studies. On this program, Pulitzer prize winner David Levering Lewis tells us about W.E.B. Du Bois’s early life and the years that led up to the publication of The Souls of Black Folk; Marlon B. Ross explores some of the social and political factors that Du Bois responded to in the book; and Sheryl Townsend Gilkes discusses the book’s continuing influence.

If you are interested in these pieces, also see What's the Word? The Blues as Literature - Blues lyrics give us unique insight into the African American experience.

Well-suited to Black History Month in February.
Fifteen- and thirty-second promos available. Hide full description
Texts of Resistance
Since the late eighteenth century, writers have addressed the issue of transatlantic slavery. Some of the works are direct calls to abolitionist action; others define resistance more subtly. On this program, John Bugg talks about an eighteenth-century slave narrative, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano; Russ Castronovo tells us about Frederick Douglass’s novella, The Heroic Slave; and Natasha Barnes explores The Known World by Edward P. Jones.

W.E.B. Du Bois
Many consider W.E.B. Du Bois the most important African American leader in the first half of the twentieth century. A sociologist, historian, author, teacher, activist, and co- founder of the NAACP and its magazine The Crisis, his influence was profound. His ground-breaking book, The... Show full description

2 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
Piece image
How did slaves resist their oppression? Three works explore what it means to resist and to survive.

Bought by Peconic Public Broadcasting, KGNU, KMUD, KMUN, KRZA and more


  • Added: Jan 07, 2009
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 16
Piece image
Considered by many the most important African American leader of the early twentieth century, sociologist, historian, author, teacher, and activist...

Bought by KMUD, Peconic Public Broadcasting, KUFM - Montana Public Radio, KGNU, KMUN and more


  • Added: Feb 03, 2005
  • Length: 29:10
  • Purchases: 38