Once the Fair Housing Act became law in 1968, there was some question about how to implement it and enforce it. George Romney, the former Republican Governor of Michigan and newly-appointed Secretary of HUD, was a true believer in the need to make the Fair Housing Law a powerful one — a robust attempt to change the course of the nation's racial segregation.
Reporter Nancy Updike talks to a group of New York City residents about their frustrating attempts to rent an apartment. With hidden microphones, we hear landlords and supers tell the apartment hunters that there's nothing available.
When Domingo Martinez was growing up in a Mexican-American family in Texas, Domingo's two middle school aged sisters found a unique way of coping with feelings of inferiority. This story comes from Martinez's memoir The Boy Kings of Texas.
Sarah Koenig drives to Jeffersonville, a town of about 1200, and when she asks who is the most interesting person in town, she's led to Sonya Mallory.
When Bernie Epton ran for mayor of Chicago in 1983, he was a long shot—Chicago historically voted in democrat mayors, and Bernie himself didn't think he stood a chance. Beyond that, Bernie was a moderate republican, with some liberal tendencies: He was a opponent of McCarthyism, he marched in Memphis after Dr.
Ira talks to Rev. Donald Sharp, of Faith Tabernacle Church in Chicago.
No one much likes to talk about it out loud, but everyone knows it's true: There are a lot of people out there who say they won't vote for Obama because he's black. To fight this problem, Richard Trumka, secretary treasurer of the AFL-CIO, has been traveling around the country giving a speech to fellow union members.
While riding in a patrol car to research a novel, crime writer Richard Price witnessed a misunderstanding that for many people is pretty much accepted as an upsetting fact of life. Richard Price told this story—which he describes as a tale taken from real life and dramatized—onstage at the Moth in New York.
Elna Baker reads her story about the time she worked at the giant toy store, FAO Schwartz. Her job was to sell these lifelike "newborns" which were displayed in a "nursery" inside the store.
Serry and her husband's love story began in a place not usually associated with romance: The West Bank. That was where the couple met, fell in love and decided to get married.
When Gene Cheek was ten years old, his mother began dating a black man. It was 1961, in North Carolina.
For many years, Israeli citizens learned a sanitized version of what happened during their War of Independence in 1948. They learned that 700,000 Arabs fled the country on their own accord.
Sarah Vowell identifies a phenomenon that's sort of a cultural rerun. It's an analogy that gets made over and over in different situations: people who often are not black, or women, or in any way involved with civil rights, comparing themselves to Rosa Parks.
There's a whole nation where the idea of suckerdom permeates almost every aspect of culture and politics. Adam Davidson reports on the Israeli word "freier," which literally translates as sucker, but means much, much more.
Host Ira Glass talks to Cory Simmons and Dominique Mapp, who were driving home one night and were followed by a group of rowdy men in an SUV. The men tailed them for miles and then started firing a gun at them.
Reporter Susan Burton tells the story of a high-speed chase in South Dakota. An incident at a high school basketball game escalated to the point where a group of Native American girls from one town found themselves being chased down the highway by a group of white boys from another town.
Susan Burton's story continues. She investigates the effect the high-speed chase had in the town where it happened—Miller, South Dakota, one of the top ten most racially homogeneous places in the country.
In Los Angeles, Cris Beam reports on a family named the Paladinos that had a theory that explained their lives. And then, at some point, that theory came to seem inadequate.
Susie Putz-Drury reports on Bethel Church in Dandridge, Tennessee. It's an all-black Presbyterian Church with a white pastor, who does not always agree with his own congregation on the best way to worship God.
Reporter Chris Brookes had always thought the story was a joke: During World War II, a black sailor from the U.S. washed up nearly dead onshore in Newfoundland, and the white nurses—never having seen a black man—thought he was covered in oil and tried to scrub him clean. But when Brookes finally tracked the sailor down, decades later, it turned the whole thing was true.
Host Ira Glass talks with Cate, a white woman with a black, adopted, seven-year-old son, Glen. Sometimes Glen threatens that he's going to return to his real family—royalty, in Africa.
To understand how Cicero reacted when Hispanics started flooding into town, you have to understand how it dealt with conflict in the past. For a period the town was run by Al Capone, and the mob was connected to Town Hall for most of the twentieth century.
In the 1970s and 1980s, a wave of non-white migration into Cicero begins, this one primarily Mexican-American. The head of the political machine is named Betty Loren-Maltese, whose husband, now deceased, was convicted for mob-related activity.
Despite the town's resistance, Hispanics now make up three quarters of the population. And yet the incumbent Town President, Betty Loren-Maltese, seems likely to win the next election.