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Martin Luther King Jr. Day '17

Ted Bell
Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking in Chicago

Think Civil Rights era, and the Jim Crow south probably comes to mind: Selma, Birmingham.  How about Brooklyn and Boston, where battles over school desegregation also raged? On today’s show,  a history of progress and regression in a region that considered itself blind to race.

Then, facial recognition software is now everywhere - in airports, stores, on our gadgets and on social media. The goal is security and public safety, but there are drawbacks to our growing dependency on biometrics:  not all faces are recognized equally.

Facial Recognition Bias

There is little doubt that facial recognition software is going to play a large role in the technological landscape of the future. It's already in use by law enforcement, by social media platforms, and in personal gadgets like digital cameras. 

Increasingly, facial recognition and other biometrics are also being considered as replacements for the increasingly outmoded written password.  But this software, thus far, has had some very disconcerting side effects, and not everybody is getting recognized equally.

Rose Eveleth is host of the podcast Flash Forward, and a contributor to Vice, where she wrote about the inherent bias of facial recognition software

Perfect Security

As we mentioned, facial recognition and other forms of biometrics are being touted as a critical tool for personal security and pubic safety - but no form of personal protection, whether it's a padlock or a password, is one-hundred percent secure.  At least, not anymore.  This story comes to us from Roman Mars and Sam Greenspan of 99% Invisible.

You can listen to this story again at

Martin Luther King's Secret Advisor

The names of many of Reverend Martin Luther King Junior’s associates are well known: Harry Belafonte, Jesse Jackson, Andrew Young. But one of his most important confidants, a Jewish business man from New York named Stanley Levison, has remained largely hidden from public view. From what we know about him, Levison probably would have wanted it that way. 

You can listen to this story again at

Jason Sokol: All Eyes Are Upon Us

UNH History professor Jason Sokolidentifies some big gaps between the North’s political liberalism and abject bigotry.

He spoke to us about the conflicted soul of the northeast as covered in his book, All Eyes Are Upon Us

Jason Sokol: All Eyes Are Upon Us

The Dream Before the Dream

On August 28th, 1963 close to a quarter of a million people poured onto the Washington Mall to show their solidarity with the growing Civil Rights Movement. It was the march on Washington for jobs and freedom and the venue where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his now iconic “I Have A Dream” speech, but he didn't debut the speech in Washington D.C..

King gave an earlier version of his now famous speech on June 23rd of 1963 at the Detroit walk to freedom. The event was organized by the Detroit Council for Human Rights. It was conceived as a way to commemorate the race riot that took place in the city 20 years earlier. But it was also an event to protest the current state of race and economic relations both in the urban north and the American south.

Producer Zac Rosen spoke with a handful of Detroiters who were at the gathering in June of ‘63.

You can listen to this story again at

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