Michel Martin | St. Louis Public Radio

Michel Martin

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I was thinking about a friend of mine from back in the day. Or, more accurately, I was thinking about his parents, who were — how should I put this? — special.

Don't get me wrong: They were the nicest people you'd ever want to meet. They were warm and welcoming, they were travelers, they were interesting.

But they had a very, let's say, distinct perspective about a lot of social issues. They really felt that just about any problem you could think of was easily solved with a comfortable pair of walking shoes and an in-ground swimming pool.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We just heard about John's Stauffer's happy surprise, finding these four new photographs of Frederick Douglass after publishing his book. Now here is another one, this time for fans of Prince. Yesterday, he dropped a new album seemingly out of nowhere.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Today I was thinking about something one of the Freedom Riders told me a few years ago, when I had the opportunity — the privilege — to interview a group of them. Remember, these were the courageous men and women, both black and white, who rode the Southern bus routes for seven months in 1961 — facing vicious beatings, fire bombs, arrests and jail — all to draw attention to the fact that public facilities were still segregated despite the passage of laws saying it should be otherwise.

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One of the casualties of the drought that may not come to mind immediately - the California soundscape. Bernie Krause is one person who appreciates these sounds. He's a soundscape ecologist.

Today I was thinking about a friend of mine — a teacher, a neighbor — who passed away earlier this week. Out of respect for her family's privacy, I won't call her by her name. But believe me when I say she will be missed — by her family, of course, but also by me and other neighbors, by my children and the many, many other children (and adults) she taught over the years. There was so much to cherish: her generous spirit, her quiet, consistent encouragement, her appreciation of all the different personalities that came into her life.

On November 1, many Christians observe All Saints' Day. It's a time to honor martyrs and saints, especially those without specific feast days set aside for them; some churches mark this day by remembering their own local congregants and loved ones who have died over the course of the past year.

Have we finally turned a corner?

Has it finally happened that when a man says he is making job decisions around his family we can finally believe him, as opposed to wondering when the email exchanges with his outside honey are going to come out?

This past week, two of this country's most powerful men — who work in a city where power is everything and work is king — both made career decisions with personal and family needs at the center.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

I was thinking about the word "comfortable" today.

Comfortable — or just as likely, its good friend uncomfortable — has become the preferred way for many people to talk about something they don't like. Instead of saying, "I don't like something," "I don't want to do something" or even, heaven forbid, "I don't like you," they say, "I am not comfortable with that."

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARUN RATH, HOST:

NPR's Michel Martin speaks with professors Phillip Atiba Goff of UCLA and Harry Holzer of Georgetown University about how fears of African-American men are manifested in the criminal justice system and the labor market, and what that means for the broader African-American community.

A very smart person I know, a long time civil rights activist, told me once that "gratitude is overrated."

Now, I know that sounds harsh, but what I think she meant was that some people, especially, in her view, women, are too often too quick to settle for less than they deserve. She was talking about people who are so conditioned to have nothing, that they are just too happy when they get even a little.

For generations, education has been key to the American dream of advancement and opportunity. Today, NPR's Tell Me More with Michel Martin (@TellMeMoreNPR) is broadcasting from member station WLRN and hosting a Twitter education forum on where the nation's schools now stand.