Arts and Culture

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Eric Motley grew up in Montgomery, Alabama, raised by adoptive grandparents in an area called Madison Park. It’s a place where he no longer lives, but he returns twice a year — to see his hometown, friends and relatives … and to say thanks.

Motley’s story is all about what a good community can do, even when things are bad.

Martin Rising: Requiem for a King written by Andrea Davis Pinkney and illustrated by Brian Pinkney is a breathtaking historical account of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s support of the sanitation workers in Memphis who went on strike February 11, 1968, his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech and his assassination on April 4,1968.

This illustrated book for ages 10 and up is beautifully written in poetry and richly illustrated in watercolor, gouache and India ink. The words are engaging as they move the reader through the challenges facing the strikers and the struggles facing Dr. King. Andrea Pinkney calls her narratives “docu-poetry” and invites teachers to have their students read them aloud. The inspired illustrations by Brian Pinkney are characterized by circles of swirling colors that match the ever-growing intensity of the facts on the ground.

Protesting Through Poetry

Jan 15, 2018

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What are the different ways that Americans protest? Our co-host Rachel Martin has been asking.

RACHEL MARTIN, BYLINE: Here's Martin Luther King Jr. in 1955 in Montgomery, Ala.


It's just before Thanksgiving, and artist Christopher Marley is packing up items for a big exhibition outside Miami. Marley transforms poisonous snakes, tropical fish and exotic insects into works of art — and he just realized he forgot to frame a foot-long isopod that's still in the freezer.

In December 1955, after Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Ala., bus to a white man, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and other black ministers and community leaders organized a citywide bus boycott in protest. That part is well known.

Less well-known is the story of Georgia Gilmore, the Montgomery cook, midwife and activist whose secret kitchen fed the civil rights movement.

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Kaveh Akbar Is Poetry's Biggest Cheerleader

Jan 14, 2018

Ever eavesdropped on two poets having a conversation at a coffee shop? Iranian-American poet Kaveh Akbar has created an online space that lets you do that without leaving your bed.

Leila Slimani's new book, The Perfect Nanny, begins with four haunting words: "The baby is dead."

It tells the story of a Parisian family and their nanny — who starts to unravel, and commits an unspeakable crime.

"I had the feeling that she was like a plate that you put every day on the table, and she breaks every day a little bit," Slimani says. "And one day you put it on the table and she breaks it into pieces."

Jillian Medoff's new novel is an office dramedy involving an elaborate coverup in a corporate HR department that has nothing to do with financial or sexual transgressions. In other words, it isn't ripped from the headlines. Set at a New York-based market research firm that's been cut to the bone by layoffs in the wake of the 2008 financial meltdown, This Could Hurt is an ultimately heartwarming entertainment about the ways "the work/life firewall" breaks down when a formidable boss — a 64-year-old glass-ceiling-breaker who's both Hispanic and a woman — starts to slip.