Interviews

Republican Circuit Clerk Candidate Staying in the Race

A Republican candidate for Jefferson County Circuit Clerk says he will remain in the race despite a recent court ruling against him in a church dispute over money.

Birmingham Times Founder Recognized Among Black PR Pioneers

Alabama native, Jesse Lewis Sr. is recognized as a publishing and marketing trailblazer in the South. In the early 50s, Lewis founded the first minority-owned public relations firm in the U.S. His very first client was the Birmingham Coca Cola Bottling Company. With their support, Lewis founded the Birmingham Times in 1964. For most of his career, he focused on marketing to African American consumers, a demographic he says was completely ignored during that time. The 93 year old was recently recognized among Black PR Pioneers at the Museum of Public Relations in New York.

Marti Buckley: From Birmingham to Basque Country

When Marti Buckley was a student at LSU, she wanted to study abroad in Madrid. Instead, they placed her in San Sebastian - Spain's Basque Country. She fell in love with the oceans, the mountains and the food. She moved back to Birmingham, her hometown, in 2006 and gave birth to her daughter two years later. Buckley tells WBHM’s Janae Pierre how she landed in Basque Country after working for Southern Living Magazine and cooking under one of the south’s most revered chefs.

2018 Governor’s Race: Sue Bell Cobb

Sue Bell Cobb was the first woman to be elected Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. Now the Evergreen native has her sights set on the governor’s office. Her conversation with WBHM’s Dan Carsen starts with a horrific event from Cobb’s days as a county judge when a man who’d appeared in her court firebombed her house.

Living History: Nurse to George Washington Carver an Inventor Herself

Meloneze Robinson of Tuskegee has witnessed history, and as a nurse, she's made some of her own. She cared for inventor George Washington Carver at the end of his life. Fifteen years later, she patented a surgical device after assisting with amputations at the former Tuskegee Veterans Hospital.

What Were They Thinking? Cracking the Cave Art Code

Genevieve von Petzinger studies geometric patterns found in caves all over Europe. It turns out that 32 of those patterns persist across huge swaths of time and space.

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White Girl In Yoga Pants Author Talks Trauma, Healing

If you're getting into yoga, you might come across Melissa Scott. She teaches yoga in Birmingham and online, and for her, it's more than a hobby. She's published a book called "White Girl in Yoga Pants: Stories of Yoga, Feminism, and Inner Strength." She tells WBHM's Dan Carsen that yoga has helped her overcome painful struggles, including an eating disorder and a sexual assault.

AEC Marks 50 Years of Lessons Learned

The Alabama Environmental Council turned 50 this year. The home-grown group has been dedicated to preserving wilderness across the state. Over the last few decades, the organization has faced challenges adjusting to the political climate, and it’s evolved to meet changing environmental needs. But as AEC board chairman Keith Johns tells WBHM's Dan Carsen, its biggest success has been getting people and businesses to see the value of setting aside land.

Concussion Expert on Youth Sports: “Time to Make Some Decisions”

Brain injury specialist Dr. Elizabeth Sandel has been studying that organ and bad things that happen to it for more than three decades. With football season in full swing, and the recent publication of a study linking adolescent concussions with multiple sclerosis, we wanted to check in with an expert.

Gay Men Blood Donors Not as Risky as Once Thought, Researchers Say

For decades, many gay men have been prohibited from donating blood. They were considered high-risk during the AIDS epidemic back in the 1980s. As of two years ago, they can donate if they’ve abstained from sex for a year, but some researchers say that’s unrealistic and unnecessary.

Tripling Trials? UAB Cancer Center Head Pushes Big Goals

The UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center is trying keep the disease from touching so many lives. It recently recruited oncology leader Dr. Michael Birrer to run the center. He tells WBHM’s Dan Carsen that when he was in training, top medical students did not go into oncology because cancer patients had few options, but things have changed.

The Ripple Effect When a Giant Iceberg Breaks Away From Antarctica

This week, scientists watched an iceberg the size of Delaware break away from Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf. The mass of ice that broke off weighs about a trillion tons. It’ll eventually melt, but as UAB polar biologist and Antarctic explorer Jim McClintock tells WBHM’s Dan Carsen, there are some long-term concerns.

Series Takes On Alabama’s Racial Achievement Gap

African-American students in Alabama tend not to perform as well on standardized tests as their white counterparts. That’s part of the so-called “achievement gap,” one of the most persistent and touchiest issues in education. But a new data-driven series by Al.com, journalism nonprofit Spaceship Media, and teachers from across Alabama aims to explore and find solutions to those disparities.

New National Report Critical of School Secession in Alabama

A report out Wednesday says Alabama is at the forefront of a trend: school systems breaking away to form separate districts. According to the report from the national advocacy group EdBuild, almost a quarter of the nation’s school district breakaways since 2000 have happened in Alabama.

Sex Trafficking in Alabama: What a Pediatrician Sees

Each year, an estimated 2 million children are exploited in the global sex trade. As Alabama has become part of an elaborate interstate sex trafficking network, countless underage victims need treatment. That’s where the Children’s Hospital Intervention and Prevention Center in Birmingham comes in.

Sex Trafficking in Alabama: Former Victim, Current Rescuer

As a teenager, Tajuan McCarty started off selling drugs. Soon, she sold herself. But not voluntarily. McCarty had become one of tens of millions of sex-trafficking victims around the world. Years later, she founded The WellHouse, a shelter and rehab facility for sexually exploited women.

Living History: A Freedom Rider Shares His Story

The “Freedom Riders” were civil rights activists, black and white, who challenged segregation by riding buses across the South. In 1961 near Anniston, a mob slashed one of those buses’ tires, set it on fire, and beat some of the passengers. Freedom Rider Hank Thomas was one of them.

NPR’s Joe Palca Takes On Jargon And The Politics Of Science

NPR’s nationally known science correspondent Joe Palca is in Birmingham helping UAB celebrate the anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth. He stopped by WBHM, where sometimes-science-reporter and full-time-geek Dan Carsen jumped at the chance for an interview. They cover research bias, education, and science illiteracy, but Joe starts by explaining why he does what he does.

She Brought Water to the Freedom Riders: “I Couldn’t Let It Pass”

There’s a new national monument to the “Freedom Riders, the civil rights activists – black and white – who challenged segregation by riding buses across the South. In 1961, a mob set one of those buses on fire and beat some of the riders. But there’s a lesser-known wrinkle to the story: a little white girl, whose family feared the Ku Klux Klan, brought water to the injured passengers.

Alabama GOP Leader on Trump, Protests and More

There's been no shortage of controversy about President Donald Trump's first days in office, but the Republican grass roots of Alabama generally support what he's done so far. So we checked in with state Republican party chair Terry Lathan to get her perspective.

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“What’s Lost is Found” — Photographs of Hale County

For decades, photographers have captured Hale County in Alabama’s Black Belt. Photojournalist Walker Evans documented families there suffering from the Great Depression. Starting in the 1960s, Alabama-native William Christenberry took pictures of decaying buildings. Now photographer Lauren Henkin can add her work to the tradition. Last year, Henkin spent a month in Hale County as an artist-in-residence sponsored by the Do Good Fund, which supports photography of the South. Some of those pictures will be displayed in an exhibit called “What’s Lost is Found.” It opens Friday at the Birmingham Museum of Art where she’ll also talk about the project. Henkin spoke with WBHM’s Andrew Yeager.

A Conversation with “Mr. Fred,” 86-Year-Old Learning to Read

Fred Oliver of Birmingham is 86 and a world traveler. He served in the Korean War, spent time in Japan, and has held more jobs than he can count. He loves to visit far-off places, but as we reported yesterday, his latest odyssey is close to home, at the Literacy Council of Central Alabama: he’s learning to read and write.

Fighting Adult Illiteracy, One Reader at a Time

Imagine not being able to read an email from your family. Or a job application. Or medication labels. How about a simple road sign? Adult illiteracy is a complex, stubborn problem. Based on conservative estimates, in the five-county area around Birmingham alone, there are more than 90,000 adults who have trouble reading and writing. There are almost as many reasons as there are people.

Roy Moore Trial Ends; Fate of State Chief Justice Unknown

Suspended Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore was on trial himself today in Montgomery. He’s accused of ordering probate judges not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage.

From CIA to United Way: Weld for B’ham on Diverse Agencies

This week, CIA Director John Brennan met with Birmingham City School students as part of a self-described crusade to make the agency more diverse. That’s one story in the latest Weld For Birmingham. Editor Nick Patterson joins us most Thursdays to discuss Weld's top stories. He tells WBHM’s Dan Carsen about Brennan's visit, and about Weld’s cover story on the United Way and area nonprofit groups.

Paddling Prevalent In Alabama Schools, South

One of the purposes in collecting this information is to determine if disciplinary polices are being used to discriminate. All the data so far tells us that black children are punished more harshly for the same offenses that white children commit.

Into White

Author Randi Pink knows her debut novel will ruffle feathers. It’s about a black student at a predominately white high school in Alabama. She prays to be turned white and it happens.

Weld for B’ham on Living Beyond the Headlines, West of I-65

When you hear “Ensley,” or “Brighton,” or “West End,” what comes to mind? Many people who work, live, and raise families on the west side of Birmingham want you to know there’s more to life there than the crime and other problems that fill so many news reports.

An ITT Teacher on the Human Side of Today’s Shutdown

ITT Technical Institutes are part of a national chain of for-profit colleges with three campuses in Alabama, including one in Bessemer. Or, they were. The Indiana-based company shut down all their campuses across the country today.

The Junction: Oasis Gardens Ensley

In an alley in downtown Ensley, Hank Layman is transforming a parking lot into something that’s been missing from the community for years: a garden.

The Junction: Sebastian Kole

Birmingham native Sebastian Kole spoke with producer Mary Quintas about his connection to Ensley, how it informs his music, and the positive changes he sees in the community.

Randall Woodfin to Run for Mayor of Birmingham

The assistant city attorney's campaign is set to officially kick off Saturday morning at the North Birmingham Recreation Center, close to where he went to elementary school.