Michel Martin, NPR “Tell Me More” Host – 200 Years After: Commemorating the Bicentennial of the Abolition of Slavery

October 9, 2008 at 10:56 am (African Americans in RI, Bicentennial of the Abolition of the Transatlantic Slav, Freedom Festival)

Michel Martin talking with Mary-Kim Arnold

Michel Martin, host of NPR’s “Tell Me More” came to the Providence Black Repertory Theatre, on Monday, October 6th to tape her show “200 Years After: Commemorating the Bicentennial of the Abolition of Slavery,” part of the Freedom Festival series, and a fund-raiser for the newly independent R.I. NPR station WRNI.  Panelists included Mary-Kim Arnold, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, whose initiative “On the Road to Freedom: African American Heritage in RI” the Freedom Festival is part of; Katrina Browne, the writer, director, and filmmaker of Traces of the Trade: a Story of the Deep North, a documentary about her family’s involvement in the slave trade; Dr. James Campbell, Africana Studies at Brown, and now at Stanford University, whose research focuses on African American history and on the wider history of the Black Atlantic, and whose recent book Middle Passages: African American Journeys to Africa, 1787-2005 was a finalist for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in History; and the Reverend Jeffery A. Williams, founder and head pastor of the Cathedral of Life Christian Assembly in Providence.

“Tell Me More” taping                                     Mary-Kim Arnold, Rev. Williams, Katrina Browne

WRNI held a reception at 6:30 and everyone had an opportunity to chat and get to know each other.  The taping began at 7:30 and was absolutely riveting.  Michel Martin has a true gift, in which she combines a tremendous sense of humor, with critical thinking, and the abililty to put her guests at ease and make REAL conversation flow.  Marc Fisher writes, “Michel Martin has a keen ear, a taste for good stories, and a knack for asking tough questions” – so true!  Audience members felt honored to witness the process, and to be involved in a question/answer period  – the conversation went on for at least 90 minutes, the final show (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=95465836 ) was edited down to 17 minutes.  Each panelist brought such relevant input to this large question of how the legacies of slavery in America continue to affect contemporary society and how, until we come to grips with that legacy it is tough to move on to a broader and more inclusive world view.

Marie Nelson, Executive Producer “Tell Me More” and Reza Clifton of RezaRites.com

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