What If Our Textbooks Were Black?

Episodes

EpisodeFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
0120191209

A series celebrating Black cultural figures who should be more central to history.

Naomi Beckwith grew up on Chicago’s South Side. Unusually, her school prioritised the teaching of Black history - when she opened a textbook, she saw people who looked like her. But when she left that school, most black faces from the past disappeared.

Today, Naomi’s an international curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Her exhibitions rebalance the story of art and culture – focusing on African American cultural figures who could and should be better known.

But she argues that we need to go much further - we must reconsider our models of education. If we change our exhibitions without changing our textbooks, then nothing changes at all.

In this series, Naomi invites artists to imagine a new cultural textbook that reinstates some of those Black cultural figures who’ve been sidelined.

In episode 1, the writer and publisher Dr Haki Madhubuti nominates the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Gwendolyn Brooks, while the choreographer Princess Mhoon remembers two of the dancers and anthropologists who influenced her most – Pearl Primus and Katherine Dunham.

Produced by Natalie Moore and Steve Urquhart
A Reduced Listening production for BBC Radio 4

Naomi Beckwith celebrates Black cultural figures who should be more central to history.

012019120920200126 (R4)

A series celebrating Black cultural figures who should be more central to history.

Naomi Beckwith grew up on Chicago’s South Side. Unusually, her school prioritised the teaching of Black history - when she opened a textbook, she saw people who looked like her. But when she left that school, most black faces from the past disappeared.

Today, Naomi’s an international curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Her exhibitions rebalance the story of art and culture – focusing on African American cultural figures who could and should be better known.

But she argues that we need to go much further - we must reconsider our models of education. If we change our exhibitions without changing our textbooks, then nothing changes at all.

In this series, Naomi invites artists to imagine a new cultural textbook that reinstates some of those Black cultural figures who’ve been sidelined.

In episode 1, the writer and publisher Dr Haki Madhubuti nominates the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Gwendolyn Brooks, while the choreographer Princess Mhoon remembers two of the dancers and anthropologists who influenced her most – Pearl Primus and Katherine Dunham.

Produced by Natalie Moore and Steve Urquhart
A Reduced Listening production for BBC Radio 4

Naomi Beckwith celebrates Black cultural figures who should be more central to history.

0220191216
0220191216

A series celebrating Black cultural figures who should be more central to history.

Naomi Beckwith grew up on Chicago’s South Side. Unusually, her school prioritised the teaching of Black history - when she opened a textbook, she saw people who looked like her. But when she left that school, most black faces from the past disappeared.

Today, Naomi’s an international curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Her exhibitions rebalance the story of art and culture – focusing on African American cultural figures who could and should be better known.

But she argues that we need to go much further - we must reconsider our models of education. If we change our exhibitions without changing our textbooks, then nothing changes at all.

In this series, Naomi invites artists to imagine a new cultural textbook that reinstates some of those Black cultural figures who’ve been sidelined.

In episode 2, Kerry James Marshall salutes Charles White, the artist who inspired him more than any other, while the composer and drummer Mike Reed acknowledges the ground-breaking work of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians.

Produced by Natalie Moore and Steve Urquhart
A Reduced Listening production for BBC Radio 4

Naomi Beckwith celebrates more Black cultural figures who should be central to history.

A series celebrating Black cultural figures who should be more central to history.

0220191216

A series celebrating Black cultural figures who should be more central to history.

Naomi Beckwith grew up on Chicago’s South Side. Unusually, her school prioritised the teaching of Black history - when she opened a textbook, she saw people who looked like her. But when she left that school, most black faces from the past disappeared.

Today, Naomi’s an international curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Her exhibitions rebalance the story of art and culture – focusing on African American cultural figures who could and should be better known.

But she argues that we need to go much further - we must reconsider our models of education. If we change our exhibitions without changing our textbooks, then nothing changes at all.

In this series, Naomi invites artists to imagine a new cultural textbook that reinstates some of those Black cultural figures who’ve been sidelined.

In episode 2, Kerry James Marshall salutes Charles White, the artist who inspired him more than any other, while the composer and drummer Mike Reed acknowledges the ground-breaking work of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians.

Produced by Natalie Moore and Steve Urquhart
A Reduced Listening production for BBC Radio 4

Naomi Beckwith celebrates more Black cultural figures who should be central to history.

022019121620200202 (R4)

A series celebrating Black cultural figures who should be more central to history.

Naomi Beckwith grew up on Chicago’s South Side. Unusually, her school prioritised the teaching of Black history - when she opened a textbook, she saw people who looked like her. But when she left that school, most black faces from the past disappeared.

Today, Naomi’s an international curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Her exhibitions rebalance the story of art and culture – focusing on African American cultural figures who could and should be better known.

But she argues that we need to go much further - we must reconsider our models of education. If we change our exhibitions without changing our textbooks, then nothing changes at all.

In this series, Naomi invites artists to imagine a new cultural textbook that reinstates some of those Black cultural figures who’ve been sidelined.

In episode 2, Kerry James Marshall salutes Charles White, the artist who inspired him more than any other, while the composer and drummer Mike Reed acknowledges the ground-breaking work of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians.

Produced by Natalie Moore and Steve Urquhart
A Reduced Listening production for BBC Radio 4

Naomi Beckwith celebrates more Black cultural figures who should be central to history.