On The Record | WYPR

On The Record

Weekdays, 9:30 to 10:00 am

Catch On the Record, hosted by Sheilah Kast, weekdays from 9:30 to 10:00 am, following NPR’s Morning Edition. We’ll discuss the issues that affect your life and bring you thoughtful and lively conversations with the people who shape those issues -- business people, public officials, scholars, artists, authors, and journalists who can take us inside the story. If you want to share a comment, question, or an idea for an interview you’d like to hear, email us at ontherecord@wypr.org.

Theme music created by Jon Ehrens.  Logo designed by Louis Umerlik.

Ways to Connect

Frank Harris III, a journalism professor at Southern Connecticut State University, traveled the country talking to people of all different backgrounds about their experience with a highly controversial term: the N-word. His film is playing locally this weekend as part of the Baltimore Black International Film Festival at the Murphy Fine Arts Center, 2201 Argonne Drive, on the campus of Morgan State University. The film will air at 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7. For more on Frank Harris' project, visit his Tumblr page. 

The Justice Department’s critique of the Baltimore Police Department accused city police of systematically under-investigating reports of sexual assault: failing to collect evidence, interview witnesses, or test forensic evidence. We talk to Jacqueline Robarge, founder of Power Inside and an advocate for survivors of sexual abuse, about what police misunderstand about victims of trauma and what changes the city should make.

Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post

Not long ago, civil rights activist Laura W. Murphy discovered a bundle of papers tied with a ribbon. They turned out to be letters between her great-grandparents, written when they were courting in Reconstruction-era Baltimore. They provide a glimpse into what life was like for a particularly successful African-American family in Baltimore, just a few years after the end of the Civil War. 

Courtesy the National Museum of African American History and Culture

The Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African-American History and Culture is exhibiting a stone once used as a slave auction block in Hagerstown. We discuss slave auctions of enslaved and free blacks in western Maryland and the fissures still felt from those sales. Our guest is Mary Elliott, a museum specialist at the National Museum of African-American History and Culture. She helped research, conceptualize, and design the “Slavery and Freedom” exhibition at the museum, where the auction block is housed.

Special Collections, Sheridan Libraries / Johns Hopkins University

Fifty years ago a team headed by Johns Hopkins sociologist James Coleman got a congressional mandate to figure out how to make educational opportunity more equal. They surveyed hundreds of thousands of students. One conclusion: that a child’s family has more bearing on academic success than school. We’ll talk to three experts, including one who helped write the Coleman Report.

Scanned from "Thomas Eakins: Volume II" by Lloyd Goodrich. Harvard University Press, 1982. / Wikimedia Commons

Mercury. Today we think of it as a dangerous poison, but during the Civil War, medicinal mercury was used in varied forms to treat many illnesses. The National Museum of Civil War Medicine’s annual conference this week reminds us that what we know about health care today is shaped by the past. We’ll also hear about a syndrome affecting Civil War soldiers and veterans; with symptoms like rapid heart rate and tunnel vision, a medical historian tells us it looked a lot like what we now call post-traumatic stress disorder.

Baltimore City government

Baltimore’s Civilian Review Board aims to provide a check on police misconduct by allowing citizen representatives to review the public’s complaints against police. Last month, the Justice Department’s report noted the board’s effectiveness was limited by a lack of resources. We speak to Kisha Brown, director of Baltimore City's Office of Civil Rights and Wage Enforcement, which oversees the CRB, and Keisha Allen, chair of the board, about how the board investigates complaints and the obstacles it faces.

Simon & Schuster

The young adult novel “All-American Boys” takes on police brutality from the perspective of two teenagers: one black, one white. Jason Reynolds, who is black, and Brendan Kiely, who is white, wrote the book as a call to action. We’ll talk to the authors about how their conversations about race brought them together and what action they hope will be sparked by their depiction of two teens coming to grips with a police beating.

UB School of Law

True crime procedurals like the Netflix documentary "Making a Murderer" have shone a spotlight on the problem of wrongful convictions. How true-to-life are these stories? How hard is it to overturn a wrongful conviction? And what’s it like to serve time for a crime you didn’t commit? We talk to a man who served five years for murder before he was exonerated, and to his lawyer, about the hard road to proving your innocence once you’re no longer presumed innocent.

Penguin Random House

Baltimore ranks second in the country - behind Detroit - in the number of tenants threatened with eviction. In any given year, about 6 percent of Baltimore’s renters face eviction; most likely of all are black women with children. We’ll talk to Zafar Shah, staff lawyer with the Public Justice Center, and Karen Wabeke, senior staff attorney with Homeless Persons Representation Project, about how public policies work against tenants in rent court, what’s changed recently and what changes they’d like to see.

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