Strange Fruit

A new episode is posted every Saturday.
Dr. Kaila Story and Jaison Gardner

Dr. Kaila Story and Jaison Gardner host this weekly podcast of musings on politics, pop culture and black gay life.  



Local News
9:01 am
Tue November 11, 2014

Professor john a. powell to Deliver Annual Anne Braden Memorial Lecture Tuesday

Civil Rights educator john a. powell will be in Louisville on Tuesday to deliver the eighth annual Anne Braden Memorial Lecture.

He recently spoke with Jaison Gardner and Kaila Story, hosts of WFPL's Strange Fruit, about his concept of a “culture of belonging,” and the problems with a so-called colorblind approach to policy and interpersonal relationships. We posted a shortened version of the interview above.

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Strange Fruit
7:28 am
Sat November 8, 2014

'A Prison within a Prison': Advocating for the Rights of Deaf Inmates


"We call it a prison within a prison."

That's how advocates describe the lives of incarcerated deaf and hard of hearing people. The vast majority of correctional facilities have no ASL interpreters, and it's not unusual for inmates who rely on hearing aids to be denied the devices—or denied batteries to make them work.

Talila Lewis, founder of HEARD (Helping Educate to Advance the Rights of the Deaf, joins us this week on Strange Fruit to talk about the work the organization is doing to try to improve the lives and ensure the rights of incarcerated folks with disabilities.

Lewis says the ableism in mainstream society is magnified in the prison setting.

"If you don't respond to an auditory command, you get shot or beaten or put into solitary confinement," Lewis explains. "Everything around you is based on sound. So if you miss the bell at 4 a.m. to get up and go eat, you miss chow. That's it."

Click here for a transcript of this week's show.

Being deaf or hard of hearing in prison essentially means being unable to communicate with anyone around you.

"It's almost like being in solitary confinement," Lewis says. They're also more susceptible to physical and sexual assault, often asked to trade sexual access to their bodies for vital information from hearing inmates.

Because there are no accommodations in place to allow these inmates to communicate, it's hard to find them, count them, and make sure they're okay.

HEARD created and maintains the only national deaf and deaf-blind prisoner database, but without cooperation from departments of correction, accurate numbers are hard to come by. They estimate that deaf, deaf-blind, and hard of hearing prisoners in the U.S. number in the tens of thousands.

We talk with Lewis this week about what we can do, and our local, state, and federal government could do, to protect the rights of this vulnerable population.

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IdeaFestival 2014
4:54 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Janelle Monáe on Capturing the Perspectives of Outsiders

Janelle Monáe
Credit Marc Baptiste

Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter Janelle Monáe says she’s part android—often singing from the point of view of her alter-ego, Cindi Mayweather. She was in Louisville Tuesday for IdeaFestival, addressing a capacity crowd of young people for the Thrivals 7.0 event.

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Local News
5:46 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

How Louisville's Local 236 Fought for Racial Integration in the 1950s

International Harvester Co. assembly line and press, 1948
Credit Royal Photo Company Collection, University of Louisville Photographic Archive, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky

Labor historian Toni Gilpin will make two appearances in Louisville Tuesday to tell the little-known story of a local  labor union that was ahead of its time.

A local chapter of the United Farm Machinery workers organized at Louisville's International Harvester plant in the late 1940s, and began advocating for racial equality both inside and outside of the plant. Their efforts would lead to an entire factory of mostly white workers walking off the job to protest the unfair treatment of their African American colleagues.

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7:00 am
Sat September 13, 2014

Strange Fruit: Journalist Chris Tomlinson Explores His Family’s Relationship with Slavery

There are black people in town who have the same last name as me, and I never thought about why that might be. 

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