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From the Vault is looking for a few dedicated volunteers to help with scheduling, research, digitizing, transcribing, website support, and more. If you're interested, please contact From the Vault.

FTV 463: Ethel L. Payne – First Lady of the Black Press

Posted in Update on March 27th, 2015

This week on From the Vault we honor the legacy of Ethel L. Payne (1911-1991), a Washington, DC beltway journalist whose aggressive techniques and tactics as a member of the White House Press Corps during the Eisenhower administration and beyond literally moved Black America’s issues and news from the obituary pages to the front pages. Known as the “First Lady of the Black Press,” Payne was significantly influential in the Civil Rights Movement through the efforts of her work, yet today she remains one of the least known figures of the Civil Rights era. This audio selection is taken from a 1980 interview with Payne by WPFW’s Askia Muhammad, with additional commentary from Payne biographer James McGrath Morris.

In 2002, the United States Postal Service honored Ethel L. Payne with a commemorative stamp.

From the Vault is presented as part of the Pacifica Radio Archives Preservation and Access Project, funded in part by an award from the GRAMMY Foundation and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission at the National Archives and Records Administration, and past grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ford Foundation, and the American Archive funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, along with the generous support of Pacifica Radio Listeners. We also thank our partners and collaborators at the Pop-Up Archive, Amara, Other Minds Archives, George Blood Audio, and the California Audio Visual Preservation Project.

PURCHASE a copy of this program or learn more about the historic archival recordings used within this episode. To purchase a CD copy of this program by phone, please call Pacifica Radio Archives at 800.735.0230 x 262.

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FTV 462: Bonnie Morris – Women’s Music Archive Mix

Posted in Update on March 20th, 2015

This week on From the Vault we continue our celebration of Women’s History Month with special guest host professor and author Dr. Bonnie Morris, an adjunct professor of women’s studies at George Washington University, and author of Eden Built by Eves: The Culture of Women’s Music Festivals. Morris gives us a guided tour of the women’s music collection in the Pacifica Radio Archives thanks in part to a grant by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission at the National Archives. Artists featured include Margie Adam, Meg Christian, Kay Gardner, Holly Near, June Millington, Edwina Lee Tyler, Judy Grahn, and the Berkeley Women’s Music Collective.

From the Vault is presented as part of the Pacifica Radio Archives Preservation and Access Project, funded in part by an award from the GRAMMY Foundation and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission at the National Archives and Records Administration, and past grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ford Foundation, and the American Archive funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, along with the generous support of Pacifica Radio Listeners. We also thank our partners and collaborators at the Pop-Up Archive, Amara, Other Minds Archives, George Blood Audio, and the California Audio Visual Preservation Project.

PURCHASE a copy of this program or learn more about the historic archival recordings used within this episode. To purchase a CD copy of this program by phone, please call Pacifica Radio Archives at 800.735.0230 x 262.

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FTV 461: Flora Molton and Bessie Jone – Blues, Spirituals and Gospels

Posted in Update on March 13th, 2015

This week on From the Vault, we feature two relatively unknown but important female musicians, Flora Molton (1908-1990) and Bessie Jones (1902-1984).

First we’ll listen to a 1976 interview with Flora Molton, a blind blues street-singer from Washington, D.C, who tells stories of her past, sings and plays slide guitar, and explains why she has chosen to be a performer of the street. Molton, who ultimately recorded three albums, sang what she called “spiritual and truth music,” a combination of traditional religious songs and her own compositions; she often punctuated her style by playing the slide guitar with a knife. The only known recording of Molton speaking about her life, this interview was conducted by Natalie Reuss of Sophie’s Parlor Media Collective at Pacifica radio station WPFW.

Then we settle in with Bessie Jones, an African American gospel and folk singer credited bringing folk songs, games, and stories learned from her grandfather, a former slave born in Africa, to a 20th century American audience. A founding member of the Georgia Sea Island Singers, Jones delivers an amazing live show on April 9, 1977 at the legendary Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse in Berkeley, California. The performance was recorded and produced by Martha Oelman and Joan Medlin of the Women’s Recording Group at Pacifica Radio’s flagship station KPFA.

These programs are being heard for the first time in decades thanks to our preservation and access grant project “American Women Making History and Culture: 1963-1982,” funded in part by the National Historic Publications and Records Commission at the National Archives and Records Administration.

From the Vault is presented as part of the Pacifica Radio Archives Preservation and Access Project, funded in part by an award from the GRAMMY Foundation and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission at the National Archives and Records Administration, and past grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ford Foundation, and the American Archive funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, along with the generous support of Pacifica Radio Listeners. We also thank our partners and collaborators at the Pop-Up Archive, Amara, Other Minds Archives, George Blood Audio, and the California Audio Visual Preservation Project.

PURCHASE a copy of this program or learn more about the historic archival recordings used within this episode. To purchase a CD copy of this program by phone, please call Pacifica Radio Archives at 800.735.0230 x 262.

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FTV 460: Judy Chicago and Buffy Sainte-Marie

Posted in Update on March 7th, 2015

On this edition of From the Vault we present recordings of two women who were on Pacifica Radio at very important points in their illustrious careers: artist and educator Judy Chicago, and singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie.

In 1979, Judy Chicago, cofounder of the Los Angeles Women’s Building and former KPFK host, sat with KPFK producer Karla Tonella to discuss the enormous undertaking of her landmark art installation titled The Dinner Party. The piece, started in 1974, took six years to complete: 39 place settings arranged into groupings of 13, with the three dining tables arranged into a triangle. It s official debut was at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art on March 14, 1979; it has since traveled the world, and now resides in the permanent collection of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum.

Buffy Saint-Marie was featured as a guest in 1975 on KPFK’s program Focus on Feminism, hosted by Pat Denslow – at this point in her career, she had just released her first two albums on MCA Records: Buffy, and Changing Woman (these followed several previous albums on boutique label Vanguard Records). In this interview, Sainte-Marie relays both a feminist and indigenous perspective with regards to her songwriting and its evolution, and her survival as a female musician and writer in the corporate music industry.

From the Vault is presented through the Pacifica Radio Archives Preservation and Access Project, funded in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, past grants from the Grammy Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the American Archive funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, along with the generous support of Pacifica Radio Listeners.

PURCHASE a copy of this program or learn more about the historic archival recordings used within this episode. To purchase a CD copy of this program by phone, please call Pacifica Radio Archives at 800.735.0230 x 262.

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FTV 459: Angela Davis – A Lifetime of Revolution

Posted in Update on February 27th, 2015

This week on From the Vault we present a conversation between Professor Angela Davis and the University of Southern California’s Dr. Michele Turner at an event entitled Angela Davis: A Lifetime of Revolution.

On Monday February 23rd, 2015, the University of Southern California’s Black Student Assembly and Speakers Committee, together with a litany of USC group cosponsors, hosted American political activist, scholar, and author Angela Davis. A full house of 1500 students and educators gathered in USC’s Bovard Auditorium to listen to Professor Davis trace her experiences growing up in Alabama and her quest to find freedom outside the South. Dr. Michele Turner guides the conversation to address many of the important moments in Davis’s life including her childhood, her early days teaching at UCLA, her arrest in the early 1970’s, the Free Angela Davis Campaign, and her current work illuminating root causes of the Prison Industrial Complex – which Davis argues disproportionately incarcerates men and women of color. Before we hear this conversation, though, we’ll listen to a montage of recordings broadcast on Pacifica Radio of Angela Davis, spanning from 1969 to the Occupy Wall Street Movement in 2011.

From the Vault is presented through the Pacifica Radio Archives Preservation and Access Project, funded in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, past grants from the Grammy Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the American Archive funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, along with the generous support of Pacifica Radio Listeners.

PURCHASE a copy of this program or learn more about the historic archival recordings used within this episode. To purchase a CD copy of this program by phone, please call Pacifica Radio Archives at 800.735.0230 x 262.

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FTV 458 Filmmakers Sir David Lean, CBE and Richard Bolt at the San Francisco Film Festival, 1970

Posted in Update on February 20th, 2015

This week on From the Vault we celebrate the art of cinema with a trip back to 1970 for a visit with one of the greatest filmmakers of the 20th century, Sir David Lean, CBE.

Lean, born March 25, 1908 in Croydon, England, began his formal life in film as an editor on the 1934 picture Freedom of the Seas. After editing nearly thirty films, he found a new calling as a director in a series of collaborations with author Noel Coward: In Which We Serve (1942), This Happy Breed (1944), Blithe Spirit (1945), and Brief Encounter (1945). Following those he ventured into the classic British narratives of Charles Dickens with Great Expectations (1946) and Oliver Twist (1948) – both efforts remain universally considered the definitive film versions these classic works. The 1955 film Summertime, starring Katharine Hepburn on location in Venice, Italy – and shot in full Technicolor – led to a string of his most well-known and award-winning films: The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Doctor Zhivago (1965), Ryan’s Daughter (1970), and A Passage to India (1984).

On October 28, 1970, the San Francisco Film Festival welcomed Lean for the first West Coast screening of his newly restored Oliver Twist (originally released in 1949). Lean is joined on stage in front of a live audience by collaborating screenwriter Robert Bolt (Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago, Ryan’s Daughter) and moderator Albert Johnson for a conversation on the art of making films and the goals of the San Francisco Film Festival.

From the Vault is presented through the Pacifica Radio Archives Preservation and Access Project, funded in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, past grants from the Grammy Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the American Archive funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, along with the generous support of Pacifica Radio Listeners.

PURCHASE a copy of this program or learn more about the historic archival recordings used within this episode. To purchase a CD copy of this program by phone, please call Pacifica Radio Archives at 800.735.0230 x 262.

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FTV 457 The Collected Speeches of Fannie Lou Hamer

Posted in Update on February 13th, 2015

Continuing our celebration of Black History Month, this week on From the Vault we listen to the speeches of Fannie Lou Hamer, the iconic civil rights activist and leader of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, in a collection mixed by Terabu Betsuri in 1989 celebrating the 40th anniversary of Pacifica Radio. Included are excerpts from a 1965 interview by Colin Edwards in Berkeley, the documentary “The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer,” a speech at the Vietnam Moratorium rally at U.C. Berkeley, and a selection from “Profiles of Movement Activists II : Voices of the Civil Rights Movement.” But before we hear Ms. Hamer in her own words, we first highlight how these preserved recordings are finding new life and utility, in an interview with documentary filmmaker Robin N. Hamilton.

From the Vault is presented through the Pacifica Radio Archives Preservation and Access Project, funded in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, past grants from the Grammy Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the American Archive funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, along with the generous support of Pacifica Radio Listeners.

PURCHASE a copy of this program or learn more about the historic archival recordings used within this episode. To purchase a CD copy of this program by phone, please call Pacifica Radio Archives at 800.735.0230 x 262.

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FTV 456 James Baldwin, 1963 and Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man (Part 1)

Posted in Update on February 6th, 2015

This week on From the Vault we celebrate Black History month by presenting the first part of a celebrity reading of Ralph Ellison’s landmark novel, Invisible Man; the selection is taken from a 48-part reading of the book produced in 1995 by Roy Hurst and Gloria Mushonga-Roberts. This reading breathes new life into the first and only novel published during the life of Ellison, not only blending celebrity readers such as Lawrence Fishburne, Alfree Woodard, Roscoe Lee Browne, Levar Burton, and Wynton Marsallis, but also utilizing the voice of the average invisible man.

But first, we’ll play a seldom-heard recording of James Baldwin, restored along with other Black History recordings as part of the American Archive Pilot Project funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. It was recorded at the Second Baptist Church in Los Angeles in 1963.

From the Vault is presented through the Pacifica Radio Archives Preservation and Access Project, funded in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, past grants from the Grammy Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the American Archive funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, along with the generous support of Pacifica Radio Listeners.

PURCHASE a copy of this program or learn more about the historic archival recordings used within this episode. To purchase a CD copy of this program by phone, please call Pacifica Radio Archives at 800.735.0230 x 262.

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FTV 455 Reies Lopez Tijerina – Land Rights Crusader

Posted in Update on January 30th, 2015

This week on From the Vault, guest producer and host Gabriel San Roman pays tribute to“El Tigre,” the late Chicano movement leader and land rights activist Reies Lopez Tijerina.

Born to Mexican cotton farming parents in Fall City, Texas, Reies Lopez Tijerina spent much of his adult life in New Mexico. Together with José Angel Gutiérrez and Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzáles, Tijerina would later help form a formidable triumvirate of the Chicano Movement. Before that he studied at a seminary school becoming a charismatic Pentecostal preacher giving him a fiery, prophetic edge that proved to be pivotal the realm of activism. An early leader of the emerging push for civil rights, Tijerina founded La Alianza Federal de las Mercedes in 1963 and focused his attention on land recovery in New Mexico.

The organization fought to reclaim Spanish and Mexican land grants that were supposed to be honored under the terms of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo following the U.S. war of aggression against Mexico in 1848. Tijerina, who possessed an encyclopedic knowledge of land ownership history, came to dominate headlines and history after he lead an armed raid on a county courthouse in Tierra Amarilla, New Mexico on June 5, 1967. The action brought widespread attention to the issues he and others struggled for while echoing the ‘Tierra y Libertad’ (Land and Liberty) slogan of Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata.

Authorities arrested Tijerina after the daring raid but all charges were eventually dropped. He did spend about two years in prison for federal destruction of property in an unrelated case. Dubbed by the press as “El Tigre” or the Tiger, Tijerina took his experience networking with Indigenous and Black activists in Northern New Mexico while meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for the inclusive Poor People’s Campaign of 1968. Tijerina moved back to Texas and lived in El Paso since 2006. In failing health over his final years, the longtime activist died of natural causes at the age of 88 on January 19, 2015.

Looking back at the life of Reies Lopez Tijerina, “El Tigre” was interviewed in-studio on KPFA Radio in Berkely by Elsa Knight Thompson. The program preserved by the Pacifica Radio Archives was recorded on April 5th, 1968 the day after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. During the discussion, Tijerina talks about his childhood, the Tierra Amarilla raid and Poor People’s Campaign.

From the Vault is presented through the Pacifica Radio Archives Preservation and Access Project, funded in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, past grants from the Grammy Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the American Archive funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, along with the generous support of Pacifica Radio Listeners.

PURCHASE a copy of this program or learn more about the historic archival recordings used within this episode. To purchase a CD copy of this program by phone, please call Pacifica Radio Archives at 800.735.0230 x 262.

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FTV 454 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in London, 1964

Posted in Update on January 19th, 2015

This week on From the Vault we proudly feature a recently discovered and previously unknown recording of a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The recording has been verified as the only known recording of the 62-minute speech made in London on December 7, 1964, and is thought to be the only known record of a comprehensive public statement by King on apartheid in South Africa.

The speech was recorded at City Temple Hall in central London where King had been invited to speak on South Africa. When King was chosen to receive the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize, he went to London on the way to accepting that prize in Oslo, Norway. Speaking to an overflowing audience, he added the topics of the history of slavery, Supreme Court rulings, Greek philosophy, nonviolent resistance, misunderstandings about the doctrine of loving ones’ enemies, the legislative process of desegregation in America, registration of black voters, and ending bigotry throughout the planet. When speaking about South Africa, he read a prepared written statement that called for sanctions to end apartheid.

The recording on tape was made by Saul Bernstein, identified as a “Pacifica European Correspondent.” In order to not lose any of the speech while changing tapes, he used a “half-track format” with half of the speech recorded in one direction on half of the tape and the rest of the speech recorded on the other half of the tape going the opposite direction. The entire speech was converted to digital format by the Pacifica Radio Archives staff, who corrected sound distortions.

This recording was discovered in December 2014 by Pacifica Radio Archives Director Brian DeShazor, who, while working on an unrelated project, found this tape contained within unopened boxes of tape reels stored in the Archives’ climate-controlled vault in Los Angeles.

From the Vault is presented as part of the Pacifica Radio Archives Preservation and Access Project, funded in part by an award from the GRAMMY Foundation and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission at the National Archives and Records Administration, and past grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ford Foundation, and the American Archive funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, along with the generous support of Pacifica Radio Listeners. We also thank our partners and collaborators at the Pop-Up Archive, Amara, Other Minds Archives, George Blood Audio, and the California Audio Visual Preservation Project.

PURCHASE a copy of this program or learn more about the historic archival recordings used within this episode. To purchase a CD copy of this program by phone, please call Pacifica Radio Archives at 800.735.0230 x 262.

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