Studio 360: A Free Man of Color

Length: 54 mins

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Publisher's Summary

John Guare's new play A Free Man of Color is set in New Orleans on the eve of the Louisiana Purchase. In the play, a wealthy freed slave is the toast of the town, enjoying life to the fullest — until history turns against him. Guare captures this moment in an epic farce, telling Kurt, "The image to me is so ridiculous, crazy, ominous and curious that it had to be comic."

Then, every year the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress selects 25 recordings to be preserved for all time. One song chosen this year is Loretta Lynn’s 1970 hit “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” which tells the story of growing up poor in the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky. Lynn, Nashville veteran Harold Ray Bradley, and Jack White of The White Stripes explain what makes the song a classic.

And, in 1960, a 6 year-old black girl walked through the doors of an all-white school in New Orleans. Ruby Bridges was greeted by stares, jeers, and threats of violence. 50 years later her display of courage fascinates child psychiatrist Robert Coles, who tells Bridges’ story in his new book Handing One Another Along. [Broadcast Date: December 4, 2010]

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