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America the Beautiful

Benjamin Ross

From Marian Anderson’s 1939 concert at the Lincoln Memorial to Marvin Gaye’s singing of the National Anthem at the NBA Finals, the theme of patriotism can be heard throughout African American music.

12 mins

Ann Petry

Keith Clark , George Mason University

Published in 1946, The Street by Ann Petry was the first million-selling novel by an African American author. We look at her place among the pantheon of great American writers like James Baldwin and Toni Morrison. 

14 mins

Walt Whitman the Nurse

Mara Scanlon and Brady Earnhart, University of Mary Washington

In 1862, Poet Walt Whitman went to Fredericksburg, Virginia, searching for his brother George who had been wounded in a Civil War battle.  We look at how his exposure to the carnage prompted him to work as a nurse for the rest of the war.

13 mins

A Friendlier Poe

Jerome McGann, University of Virginia

19th-century poet and author Edgar Allan Poe is still considered the master of the macabre but he may have been more charming and humorous than his famous dark fiction suggests.

11 mins

In this hour, we look at expressions of American patriotism from the flip side of history. We’ll learn more about African-American music celebrating the nation, the writer Ann Petry, Walt Whitman’s stint as a nurse, and Edgar Allen Poe’s softer side.

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