Jennifer D. Keene, Stephanie Takaragawa, and Prexy Nesbitt
Jennifer D. Keene, Ph.D. is a professor of history and dean of the Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at Chapman University. She is a specialist in war and society studies, and has written extensively on World War I, especially on race relations and African American soldiers’ experiences. A past-president of the Society for Military History, Dr. Keene is also the lead author for an American history textbook, Visions of America: A History of the United States that uses a visual approach to teaching students U.S. history.Stephanie Takaragawa is Associate Dean of the Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Associate Professor of Sociology at Chapman University. She is a cultural anthropologist and her research areas examine race, visual media and American culture broadly, with an emphasis on Asian American and Japanese-American identity issues. She was the co-directorof the Engaging the World: Leading the Conversation on Race series.Prexy Nesbitt holds the position of Presidential Fellow in Peace Studies at Chapman University. Born on Chicago’s West Side, “Prexy” (Rozell W.) Nesbitt has spent more than five decades as an educator, activist, and speaker on Africa, foreign policy, and racism. Prexy has had the honor of knowing and working for the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Eduardo Mondlane, Samora Machel and Mayor Harold Washington. Additionally, he has worked closely with Amilcar Cabral, Julius Nyerere, Nelson Mandela, and Graca Machel.Engaging the World: Leading the Conversation on the Significance of Race is a ten-part podcast series of informed and enriching dialogues to help us better understand our world – how we got here, who we are, and where we are going as a society. This series engages in conversations with scholars, artists, filmmakers, and activists to investigate racial inequality, systemic racism, racial terrorism, and racial justice and reconciliation. Through education, art, and storytelling, we can all learn to be allies and engage the world to help evolve to a place of compassion and social equity.Guest: Jennifer D. Keene, Stephanie Takaragawa, and Prexy NesbittHost: Jon-Barrett IngelsProduced by Public Podcasting in partnership with Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at Chapman University.
Under the Tree: A Seminar on Freedom with Bill Ayers
Americans are known across the globe for a singular lack of knowledge about who we are and where we’re located; we collectively have a thin knowledge of both history and geography. Making up less than 5% of the world’s people, we tend toward an exaggerated and narcissistic sense of our place in the larger scheme of things. In this episode we take a closer look at the link between freedom and patriotism, and note the retarding quality of an anemic flag-waving nationalistic loyalty. We’re joined by Prexy Nesbitt, a spirited internationalist and freedom fighter whose efforts over many decades have focused on labor and human rights, Black Freedom and the liberation of Southern Africa.
For this week's show, Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola present a conversation that was recorded several months ago on Angola history: Portuguese colonialism, Black anti-colonial resistance, United States imperialism, and the way in which this history reverberates during President Donald Trump's administration. "Unauthorized Disclosure" welcomed two guests: Prexy Nesbitt, who is a presidential fellow at the Peace Studies Department at Chapman University in Orange County, California where he teaches Southern African History, and Marissa Moorman, who is the author of the book, Powerful Frequencies: Radio, State Power, and the Cold War in Angola, 1931-2002. Prexy was one of Kevin's professors in college, and he wanted to introduce some more people to the history of southern African countries. (Plus, Kevin attributes a significant part of his political awakening in college to Prexy.) Our conversation begins with Marissa, who provides a brief background on Portuguese colonialism in Angola and the rise of black Angolan resistance that ignited a struggle for independence. We pay particular attention to Jonas Savimbi, who was the militant leader of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). Savimbi sought support from the U.S. government, and the government was willing to provide support during the Cold War because they believed Angola was a crucial battleground in the fight against the Soviet Union. The Clark Amendment was repealed in 1985, which removed a prohibition to providing covert or overt U.S. assistance to militant groups in Angola. It was the result of a lobbying effort by conservative organizations like the Conservative Caucus, the Heritage Foundation, and the American Security Council, as well as Senator Jesse Helms, Representative Jack Kemp, and Representative Claude Pepper. Savimbi was as the leader of "true anti-communist freedom fighters." The militant leader even traveled to the United States in 1985 and hired a publicity firm called Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly for $600,000/year. It was tied to President Ronald Reagan, and one of the partners at the firm was Paul Manafort. The firm was largely successful. Reagan said during the tour, "We want to be very helpful to what Dr. Savimbi and his people are tying to do." Later, Marissa and Prexy talk about the civil rights movement and solidarity work with struggles against colonialism in southern Africa. They address how developments in Angola led to fractures in organizing, including among Black activists. We really have not done a show on this part of the world before so we're pleased to share this conversation.