Seizing Freedom The story of the end of the Civil War you've probably been taught is that the slaves were freed by Northern white men (and maybe a handful of famous Underground Railroad conductors). What's missing? The story of how Black Americans risked their lives to fight for their own visions of what freedom could be—struggling for their dignity in the face of horrific violence. Seizing Freedom tells the stories of these unsung American heroes.
Seizing Freedom

Seizing Freedom

From VPM

The story of the end of the Civil War you've probably been taught is that the slaves were freed by Northern white men (and maybe a handful of famous Underground Railroad conductors). What's missing? The story of how Black Americans risked their lives to fight for their own visions of what freedom could be—struggling for their dignity in the face of horrific violence. Seizing Freedom tells the stories of these unsung American heroes.

Most Recent Episodes

Interview - Mariame Kaba

Season 2 Finale. Kidada speaks with activist and organizer Mariame Kaba about the ways many of us practice abolition without realizing it, how ordinary people have the power to collectively free themselves, and why safety can only be found through community. They discuss how the prison industrial complex and the systems it encompasses do more harm than good and identify solutions that address the underlying causes of criminalized activity and provide the resources and support needed for everyone to thrive. Additionally, they touch on the power of public libraries to offer a safe haven for all, as well as cultivating a practice of hope to navigate difficult circumstances. --- Episode Artwork by Lyne Lucien. Transcripts, resources, list of voice talent and more available at seizingfreedom.com. --- This episode of Seizing Freedom is supported by Home. Made., a podcast that explores the meaning of home and what it can teach us about ourselves and each other. Listen to episodes of Home. Made. at https://link.chtbl.com/homemade?sid=podcast.seizingfreedom

Reframing the Narrative?

African Americans couldn't seize much universal freedom as the brick-and-mortar of Jim Crow walled them off from their rights. Still, race men and women fought. Following the death of three friends, instigated by the white press, Ida B. Wells committed herself to investigating and reporting the evils of lynching across the south, starting a newspaper in Memphis, Tennessee. It wasn't long before her printing press was burned to the ground and she was forced to relocate to Chicago. The windy city was witnessing the rise of Black Hollywood, inspiring race leaders like Wells and film producer Oscar Micheaux to harness the power of media to challenge the narratives being reinforced by racist newspaper reports and deeply problematic films like Birth of a Nation. --- Episode Artwork by Lyne Lucien. Transcripts, resources, list of voice talent and more available at seizingfreedom.com. --- This episode of Seizing Freedom is supported by Home. Made., a podcast that explores the meaning of home and what it can teach us about ourselves and each other. Listen to episodes of Home. Made. at https://link.chtbl.com/homemade?sid=podcast.seizingfreedom

Interview - Julia Craven

Kidada speaks with health reporter Julia Craven about health and wellness for African Americans, both historically and in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. They explore how health outcomes are influenced by systemic forces and not purely the result of the personal decisions people make on a daily basis, as well as the responsibilities of individuals to make an impact within the larger framework of public health. They also touch on the relationship between capitalism and mental health, and how that is a contributing factor to the recent Great Resignation. --- Episode Artwork by Lyne Lucien. Transcripts, resources, list of voice talent and more available at seizingfreedom.com. --- This episode of Seizing Freedom is supported by Home. Made., a podcast that explores the meaning of home and what it can teach us about ourselves and each other. Listen to episodes of Home. Made. at https://link.chtbl.com/homemade?sid=podcast.seizingfreedom

Dethroning Disease

Attendees of the 1914 "Fifty Years of Negro Health Improvement in Preparation for Efficiency" conference, with speakers including Booker T. Washington, heard staggering information about the Black population's "health", which was in crisis. Life expectancy for African Americans at the time was about 35 years. African Americans rallied public health professionals to confront disease. They understood how poor health outcomes endangered their collective destiny and compromised their ability to fight for full equality. They knew that illness, disease, and lack of means and systems to treat them compromised freedom. Clean communities could improve living conditions. But clean living couldn't undo the harm or violence of the Jim Crow era that was gradually becoming systematized in law and society. --- Episode Artwork by Lyne Lucien. Transcripts, resources, list of voice talent and more available at seizingfreedom.com. --- This episode of Seizing Freedom is supported by Home. Made., a podcast that explores the meaning of home and what it can teach us about ourselves and each other. Listen to episodes of Home. Made. at https://link.chtbl.com/homemade?sid=podcast.seizingfreedom

Interview - Saeed Jones

Kidada speaks with writer, poet and social commentator Saeed Jones about the many facets of Black masculinity, how it has been shaped and reshaped over the years, and the challenges that have arisen around cultural expectations for the type of Black man you should be in order to be a credit to the race. They dig into the role of white supremacy in establishing and upholding these cultural norms and discuss how the system is operating and iterating and wreaking havoc even without active involvement from white people. They also discuss "doing the work" of dismantling harmful ideas about gender and masculinity, the relationship between safety and freedom, cultivating freedom by helping to liberate others, and finding joy by transforming pain into love. --- Episode Artwork by Lyne Lucien. Transcripts, resources, list of voice talent and more available at seizingfreedom.com. --- This episode of Seizing Freedom is supported by Home. Made., a podcast that explores the meaning of home and what it can teach us about ourselves and each other. Listen to episodes of Home. Made. at https://link.chtbl.com/homemade?sid=podcast.seizingfreedom

Inside Harlem's Speakeasies

Black workers were expected to take on "respectable" employment in the early twentieth century, essentially a racist dog whistle to keep them in the dirtiest, most dangerous and low-paying jobs. While some Black people had the means to reject these types of jobs, most couldn't afford to. But power was there to be seized if you were willing to break the rules of respectability. In the "Negro metropolis" of Harlem, a complicated world developed in the shadows, one where Black men played by a different set of rules to claim freedom no matter the cost. Whether by reform or by violence, though, there were also those determined to keep these race rebels at bay. --- Episode Artwork by Lyne Lucien. Transcripts, resources, list of voice talent and more available at seizingfreedom.com. --- This episode of Seizing Freedom is supported by Home. Made., a podcast that explores the meaning of home and what it can teach us about ourselves and each other. Listen to episodes of Home. Made. at https://link.chtbl.com/homemade?sid=podcast.seizingfreedom

Interview - Jamelle Bouie

Kidada speaks with New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie about the legacies of discriminatory housing policies in the United States and their impact, primarily on Black and other marginalized communities, from the beginning of the nation to today, as well as how they might be addressed in the future. They examine the differences in how that discrimination manifests explicitly and implicitly, as well as the roles both institutions and individuals play in contributing to these housing problems. They also discuss ways in which federal and local governments can play a positive role in expanding the availability and security of living spaces for lower income Americans to improve their circumstances. --- Episode Artwork by Lyne Lucien. Transcripts, resources, list of voice talent and more available at seizingfreedom.com. --- This episode of Seizing Freedom is supported by Home. Made., a podcast that explores the meaning of home and what it can teach us about ourselves and each other. Listen to episodes of Home. Made. at https://link.chtbl.com/homemade?sid=podcast.seizingfreedom

The Land of Milk and Honey

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, several million African Americans left the South for the North and West. They wanted to raise their kids in a place where they could live and work undisturbed by violence and out from under a racist social order. And California was advertised as the land of milk and honey. But, contrary to what they had been sold, Black migrants to California—like Verna Deckard and her family, who left Texas for Los Angeles in the 1920s—had to fight to live and to play. They faced segregation in public spaces like beaches, Klan violence, government interference and racist housing covenants. But they continued to fight for their freedoms, staging public protests and finding clever ways to circumvent the racism that had followed them to the west coast. --- Episode Artwork by Lyne Lucien. Transcripts, resources and more available at seizingfreedom.com. --- This episode of Seizing Freedom is supported by Home. Made., a podcast that explores the meaning of home and what it can teach us about ourselves and each other. Listen to episodes of Home. Made. at https://link.chtbl.com/homemade?sid=podcast.seizingfreedom

Recommended Listening: Home. Made.

Today we're sharing an episode of Home. Made., a podcast that explores the meaning of home and what it can teach us about ourselves and each other. --- When Michael Atkins applied for a job as a teacher's aid, he was offered a position as a part-time custodian. But he took it, because of a promise he made to his daughter: To be the father he never had. Michael proved he had a talent for relating to kids, and he worked his way up to teacher, and eventually, principal. But as he showed up for his school community, he struggled to show up for his family at home. Suddenly, Michael had to figure out how to be present both at home and school...or risk losing it all. --- Listen to episodes of Home. Made. at https://link.chtbl.com/homemade?sid=podcast.seizingfreedom

Interview - Paula Austin

Kidada speaks with historian Paula Austin about the shift in American society to protect childhood innocence in the early 1900s, and how that concept doesn't apply to—or help us understand—the experiences of Black children who grew up during the early days of Jim Crow. Despite only white children being recognized as "properly innocent" and deserving of protection, Paula shares that Black children generally had a strong sense of self and were proud of their community and history. They also look to survey responses from Black youth in the nation's capital in the 1930s to reveal a clear sense of resistance and activism against racist restrictions that foreshadow the Civil Rights Movement. --- Episode Artwork by Lyne Lucien. Transcripts, resources and more available at seizingfreedom.com. --- This episode of Seizing Freedom is supported by Home. Made., a podcast that explores the meaning of home and what it can teach us about ourselves and each other. Listen to episodes of Home. Made. at https://link.chtbl.com/homemade?sid=podcast.seizingfreedom