Being a black woman in America means contending with old prejudices and fresh absurdities every day. Comedian Phoebe Robinson has experienced her fair share over the years: She's been unceremoniously relegated to the role of "the black friend", as if she is somehow the authority on all things racial; she's been questioned about her love of U2 and Billy Joel ("isn't that...white people music?"); she's been called "uppity" for having an opinion in the workplace; and yes, people do ask her whether they can touch her hair all. The. Time.
"Phoebe, You Rock"
Phoebe Robinson performing comedy about the value of time between races, recorded at Stage Werx in San Francisco, CA on January 26, 2013.
[Contains explicit content] Phoebe Robinson performs "The Thirsty Caterpillar," a modern-day tale of what happens when the desire for fame goes too far. Written by Guy Branum, this story features a larval creature desperate for internet attention and documents her exploits as she transforms into a social butterfly.
What’s clear from all these locations is Pittsburgh’s significance in the history of the Underground Railroad. What is also clear is that it seems that along the way, that information stopped being taught in school. Sure, many of us probably learned the basics: Pittsburgh’s involvement in the Underground Railroad helped approximately 100,000 slaves escape.
"Pittsburgh’s Underground Railroad, Preserved and Not" is from the February 27, 2017 Travel section of The New York Times. It was written by Phoebe Robinson and narrated by Kristi Burns.