Throughline Black History Month Specials

Feb 11, 2021

The past is never past. Every headline has a history. Join us as we go back in time to understand the present. These are stories you can feel and sounds you can see from the moments that shaped our world.

In honor of Black History Month, Throughline is looking at the lives and legacies of Black visionaries who imagined new worlds for the Black diaspora:

Billie Holiday and Shirley Chisholm
Sunday, February 21, at 4 pm

When Billie Holiday was harassed by U.S. government agents and told to stop singing ‘Strange Fruit,’ she refused. When Shirley Chisholm ran for president and was ridiculed and told she shouldn’t aim that high politically, she refused. On this episode of Throughline, two pioneering Black women, Billie Holiday and Shirley Chisholm, who set their own sights and never backed down from a fight.

Octavia Butler
Sunday, February 28, at 4 pm

Octavia Butler was a deep observer of the human condition, perplexed and inspired by our propensity towards self-destruction. She described herself as a pessimist, "if I'm not careful." As an award winning science fiction writer and 'mother of Afrofuturism,' her visionary works of alternate realities reveal striking, and often devastating parallels to the world we live in today. Butler was fascinated by the cyclical nature of history, and often looked to the past when writing about the future. Along with her warnings is her message of hope - a hope conjured by centuries of survival and persistence. For every society that perished in her books, came a story of rebuilding, of repair. These are themes Butler was intimately familiar with in her life. She broke on to the science fiction scene at a time when she knew of no other Black woman in the field, saying she simply had to "write herself in."