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Letters: MLK Boulevards

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Letters: MLK Boulevards

Letters: MLK Boulevards

Letters: MLK Boulevards

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Host Farai Chideya and producer Christopher Johnson read from listeners' comments on recent segments, including comments about the MLK Boulevards photography project.


It's time again for your letters, and joining me is NEWS & NOTES producer, Christopher Johnson. Hey, Christopher.


CHIDEYA: So, what are our listeners talking about this week?

JOHNSON: For one thing, your interview last week with Poet Amiri Baraka. He wrote a piece that suggested Israel knew about the 9/11 attacks before they happened. Here's a little bit of that conversation.

CHIDEYA: Why did you write the poem?

Mr. AMIRI BARAKA (Poet): Everybody knows they did. Everybody knows that. I mean, that's the silliest thing. Everybody knows that. Everybody know that Germany, France, China warned the United States repeatedly, repeatedly that these things were happening. That's common knowledge.

JOHNSON: Okay now, Pete Kaye(ph) of Brooklyn, New York wanted you to call Baraka on that one. He wrote, for heaven's sake, Ms. Chideya. Use your demonstrated interviewing skills to challenge this rewriting of history.

CHIDEYA: Well, Pete, you're absolutely right. I could have done better. Now, I lobbed the question. I did follow up, but I should've followed up more aggressively.

Turning to Monday's MLK Day Roundtable, we noted that many cities have roads named Martin Luther King Boulevard. That prompted Rob Walker of Savannah, Georgia to tell us about a photo sharing project that he started on the Web.

JOHNSON: And you can see what MLK Boulevards look like in lots of towns, or maybe add your own 1images. We've put a link to the project on the NEWS & NOTES page at

CHIDEYA: Also, last week, we aired a segment on how President Bush's proposed surge will affect families. We spoke with the wife of an active duty Marine. Listener Sandy Violet(ph) of Glenville, Pennsylvania asked why would a Marine's wife complain when her husband's just doing his job?

She wrote, my husband works for the Department of Defense for national emergencies and disaster relief. He works many hours of overtime and is often out of town. I cannot complain when he is asked to perform the duties that he has trained to do for 24 years. This is his moment to shine.

JOHNSON: And Constance Bebet(ph) of the mighty city of Silver Spring, Maryland weighed in with this. Any people joining the military know that they could very likely be called upon to kill for the U.S. government in conflicts generated by the U.S. I feel much differently if participation in the military were a result of a draft. But in our current environment, people have a great many choices other than to join a military organization.

CHIDEYA: And last week, we ran a commentary about growing up biracial by Karissa Harden of Youth Radio. Here's a little bit.

KARISSA HARDEN: I didn't grow up surrounded by cousins and family friends who lived in my neighborhood. And I didn't spend every Sunday at church, enduring long sermons about Christ and his glorious promise. And sometimes, that makes me feel like my black experience is limited. However, that doesn't mean I'm not connected to the black part of me.

CHIDEYA: Kristine Ashpole(ph) of Lyons(ph), Illinois said she liked the commentary, but she had one question. How is spending time with cousins, aunts and uncles, and having barbecues a black experience? I'm a white female with a close-knit family. Ever since I was little, all the aunts, uncles and cousins would have vacations together. Race has no bearing on the closeness of relatives.

JOHNSON: You've got some thoughts you want to express? Drop us a line.

CHIDEYA: You can call us 202-408-3330. That's 202-408-3330, or e-mail us. Just log on to and click on Contact Us. And please be sure to tell us where you're writing from, how to pronounce your name, and even how to pronounce your town's name. Thanks, Christopher.

JOHNSON: Thanks, Farai.

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