Thursday, March 28, 2013

Wanda's Picks Radio Show, Friday, March 29, 2013: "Ain't I a Woman

We close our March celebration of women with a look at the legacy of Sojourner Truth, Rosa Parks, and Harriet Tubman. We start with a conversation with Avery Sharpe, a visionary composer, educator and musician whose work “Ain’t I a Woman” consists of compositions based on formerly enslaved abolitionist and women’s rights advocate, Sojourner Truth’s life, the title of the project taking its title from a speech she made at the Ohio Women's Convention in Akron, Ohio, May 29, 1851 originally without a title. Sharpe's recording was completed in December 2011 and he has been touring since then with Sharpe’s Jazz Sextet  featuring Onaje Allan Gumbs-piano, Yoron Israel-drums, Craig Handy-saxophones, Duane Eubanks-trumpet, Jeri Brown-vocals and of course Avery Sharpe-bass.

This tour includes a video show of Truth’s life. Sharpe joins us to talk about this phenomenal woman who still challenges us to rethink our notions of equality, justice and human rights not to mention values such as democracy and citizenship which are still compromised based on gender and race.  See 

Later in the show we continue this conversation with Paula M. Kimper, composer of  “Truth, a New Folk Opera about Sojourner Truth, the ex-slave, fiery abolitionist and women’s rights pioneer, with a libretto by Talaya Delaney, commissioned by Old Deerfield Productions and premiered in February 2012 at the Academy of Music in Northampton, MA. A chamber version conducted by the composer is now on tour. Linda McInerney, Mari-Yan Pringle,  Paula Kimper join us a little later in the show to talk about Truth, , an opera based on the life of Sojourner Truth. Linda McInerney, director/co-creator and co-conceiver, is also founder and Artistic Director of Old Deerfield Productions; Paula M. Kimper is composer and Mari-Yan Pringle, who sings the role “Sojourner Truth.” Visit and

Between the two Truth conversations is a prerecorded interview with scholar and author, Dr. Jeanne Theoharis about her latest book: The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks. It is not only the first sweeping history of Parks’s life, amazing a thought as that is, Rebellious shows us a woman who was not tired, was not reactionary, rather was a woman who had a long history resisting injustice, who on Dec. 1, 1955, chose to use her body to interrupt a system of injustice called Jim Crow or legal segregation by refusing to give up her seat. However, Rebellious shows quite eloquently how the Mrs. Parks on that bus was not new to rebellion, that this Mrs. Parks had in her own words have "protest in her blood" (Theoharis 51). 

The full interview will be broadcast April 3, 2013, 6 AM PT here on this dial.

We close with a conversation about the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument as the 399th unit of the National Park System (to open in 2015) with Robert G. Stanton, former Director of the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Senior Adviser to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C. The new national monument is located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and includes large sections of landscapes that are significant to Tubman’s early life in Dorchester County and evocative of her life as an enslaved person and conductor of the Underground Railroad.

These include Stewart’s Canal, dug by hand free and enslaved people, including Tubman, between 1810 and the 1830s. Stewart’s Canal is part of the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge and, although part of the new national monument, will continue to be managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The new monument also includes the home site of Jacob Jackson, a free black man who used coded letters to help Tubman communicate with family and others.  The Jacob Jackson Home Site was donated to the National Park Service by The Conservation Fund for inclusion in the new national monument. Visit


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