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October 24, 2007

To Hang A Noose

To Hang A Noose

A wave of noose-related incidents is sweeping across the country. Black civil rights leaders are calling for a march at the Justice Department headquarters in Washington next month. Their agenda: to make the federal government prosecute the noose hangings as a hate crime.

Last month, thousands of protesters marched in Jena, La. following the hanging of 3 nooses under a school tree. Since then, nooses have been found at workplaces, government buildings and schools.

Hearing about it is devastating for Charles Hickman. In 2002, Charles was the only African-American working at an oil industry pipe coatings company in Conroe, Texas. He endured severe racial harassment and passed a hanging noose in the warehouse for several days. Days later a white coworker strangled him with a noose in the restroom.

Charles talks to Dick Gordon about how and why he returned to work the next day after being strangled. His father, Joe Hickman, joins in the conversation. Joe says the sheriff didn't want to take the report at first. Later, Joe himself tried to confront the people who tried to hang his son.

One African Library

When Laura Wendell took a Peace Corps position in Togo, Africa, she expected to help a village called Yikpa with freshwater fisheries. She soon found that the villagers of Yikpa didn't want help with their fish ponds. Instead, Laura embarked on a project that would perhaps make a more profound impact - building a library. The village response was overwhelming.

Agbessi Gblokpor lived in Yikpa at the time and was 12 years old when the library opened. He says that the books in the library and a contest Laura organized changed his life. Dick talks to Laura and Agbessi about the power of books and their friendship.


In a Silent Way (Original LP Excerpt) by Miles Davis for the album The Best of Miles Davis

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