Reckon Radio

By Reckon

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Description

Reckon Radio presents: “Unjustifiable,” an investigative series from Pulitzer-prize winning columnist John Archibald and Roy S. Johnson examining an overlooked moment of civil rights history in the heart of the South. The story begins in 1979, when a police officer with a history of complaints shot and killed a 20-year-old Black woman named Bonita Carter. Her death would forever change the course of Birmingham, Alabama. This is a story about the South in 1979 as well as America in 2020.


Each season of Reckon Radio tells one in-depth story with Southern roots. Season One, "Greek Gods," examined the power and reach of a secret society at the University of Alabama. Season Two, "Recused," examined the rise and fall of Jeff Sessions.



Episode Date
Unjustifiable Chapter 3: The Shoebox
00:35:34

What was it about the killing of Bonita Carter that sparked police reform? The search for that answer led the Reckon Radio team into the bowels of the Birmingham Public Library, to a recently discovered box of “Birmingham Police Shooting and Incident Cards.” These cards, seen by almost no one in decades, detail the lives of hundreds of people in Jefferson County, Alabama – the deaths of hundreds, killed by police and security officers and written off, seemingly casually, as “justifiable.”

Almost all the victims are Black. Almost all are men. Many are young, teenagers, shot in the back as they ran, or walked away, or were simply suspected of a crime as trivial as picking up a few bucks off a lunch counter. What was it about Bonita Carter? The answer in these files and others, which indicate that more police in this one county shot as many as 500 people in the last century, that they were not just allowed to shoot people they believed had committed a crime, they were expected and encouraged to do it. Especially if the suspect were Black.


Show Notes:

Guests: Brian Burghart, Jay Glass, Uche Bean


Creator: John Archibald

Hosts: John Archibald & Roy S. Johnson

Executive Producer: John Hammontree

Producer & Audio Engineer: Alexander Richey

Producers: Amy Yurkanin and Marsha Oglesby


Score: Thad Saajid, Austin Motlow, David Marsh, and Danny Ray Wilkerson, Jr. Additional music contributed by Jeremy Smith.


Music: "Vehemence," by Thad Saajid


Voice Acting: R.L. Nave, Barnett Wright, Danny Ray Wilkerson, Jr.

 

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Nov 23, 2020
Unjustifiable Chapter 2: Anger and action
00:37:22

Protest began to swell in Birmingham began to swell the night Bonita Carter was killed, and it grew larger and larger in the days that followed. Black people, who had marched for voting power and integrated water fountains and lunch counters a decade and a half before, took to the streets to condemn police violence from a department built by Bull Connor. The killing of Bonita Carter seemed to be the last straw, especially when the mayor, a progressive named David Vann who had helped push Connor out in the ’60s, hesitated to discipline the police officer who shot her. The killing demanded change.


What was it about her that seemed to mobilize a city?


Show Notes:

Guests: Solomon Crenshaw, Nathaniel Bagley, TK Thorne, Richard Mauk, Richard Arrington, Jr.


Creator: John Archibald

Hosts: John Archibald & Roy S. Johnson

Executive Producer: John Hammontree

Producer & Audio Engineer: Alexander Richey

Producers: Amy Yurkanin and Marsha Oglesby


Score: Thad Saajid, Austin Motlow, David Marsh, and Danny Ray Wilkerson, Jr. Additional music contributed by Jeremy Smith.


Music: "Hard to Stay Cool," by Cedric Burnside; Single Lock Records


Voice Acting: Nigel Thomas, Sheikilya Thomas, Alexander Richey, Barnett Wright and John Hammontree

 

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Nov 16, 2020
Unjustifiable Chapter 1: 'It was a girl in the car'
00:26:10

June 22, 1979, just another evening in Birmingham Alabama, and Bonita Carter and her friends ride their bikes to a convenience store as the sun sets. What happened there would change their lives, and their cities forever. Chapter one of “Unjustifiable” reconstructs those events, moment by moment and step by step, from the vantage points of onlookers, participants, store workers, witnesses and police. By the end of the night, a police officer named George Sands fired four shots into a car, killing the unarmed young Black woman, after a white man pointed to the car and screamed that she was dangerous man with a shotgun. Carter’s friends screamed too: “It’s a girl in the car!”

They were ignored.


Show Notes:

Creator: John Archibald

Hosts: John Archibald & Roy S. Johnson

Executive Producer: John Hammontree

Producer & Audio Engineer: Alexander Richey

Producers: Amy Yurkanin and Marsha Oglesby


Score: Thad Saajid, Austin Motlow, David Marsh, and Danny Ray Wilkerson, Jr. Additional music contributed by Jeremy Smith.


Music: "Ain't Gonna Take No Mess," by Cedric Burnside; Single Lock Records


Voice Acting: Alex Williams, Finn Jasele, David Perry, Jonathan Sobolewski, R.L. Nave, Ike Morgan, Alexander Richey, Barnett Wright, Nigel Thomas and Sheikilya Thomas.

 

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Nov 16, 2020
Trailer: Unjustifiable
00:02:20

Reckon Radio presents: “Unjustifiable,” an investigative series from Pulitzer-prize winning columnist John Archibald and Roy S. Johnson examining an overlooked moment of civil rights history in the heart of the South. 


The story begins in 1979, when a police officer with a history of complaints shot and killed a 20-year-old Black woman named Bonita Carter. Her death would forever change the course of Birmingham, Alabama.


The legacy of Bull Connor’s police department looms large over Birmingham. Even today, black and white images of dogs and firehoses used against Birmingham children and foot soldiers are touchstones for protestors demanding police reform. What was it about the death of Carter that motivated Birmingham to change, 16 years after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. penned a letter from a Birmingham jail and four decades before Black Lives Matter. 


In a six episode series, “Unjustifiable” tells the story of Carter, the protests that erupted and the change demanded, resulting in the election of the city’s first Black mayor.


Archibald and Johnson also examine a century of police killings in Birmingham that had been ruled “justifiable.” They’ve identified 500 people killed by police in Jefferson County in the 20th century. What was it about Bonita Carter? She came to represent them all.


“Unjustifiable,” is produced by the award-winning team behind the Reckon Interview and Greek Gods. It features original music recorded in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, at Single Lock Records.


Creator: John Archibald

Hosts: John Archibald & Roy S. Johnson

Executive Producer: John Hammontree

Producer & Audio Engineer: Alexander Richey

Producer: Amy Yurkanin

 

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Nov 02, 2020
S2E3 - Recused Episode 3
00:26:11

In the 1980s and 1990s, Jeff Sessions fought political corruption and drug traffickers as a U.S. Attorney and Alabama attorney general. He didn't mention immigration until his first term in the U.S. Senate. It started with questions about special agent staffing, and ended with one of the most controversial immigration policies in American history.


 

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Dec 25, 2018
S2E2 - Recused Episode 2
00:27:24

Years before he was the U.S. Attorney General, Jeff Sessions served as the Alabama Attorney General. And in that post, he faced a situation similar to the Russia investigation.

It involved a Republican governor, cries of a "witch hunt" and a marble shower stall. Listen to this episode to see the similarities between Sessions' handling of that case and the way he dealt with the Russia investigation.


 

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Dec 18, 2018
S2E1 - Recused Episode 1
00:31:36

In 2016, Jeff Sessions was announced as President Donald Trump's pick for attorney general. For nearly two years, he held his dream job -- but the experience turned into something of a nightmare due to ongoing investigations into allegations of Russian meddling in the election. Sessions recused himself, drawing the ire of the president.

But did you know Sessions political career was almost over before it began? In episode one of Recused, we're going back to a 1986 judicial confirmation hearing. Sessions became just the second person in 50 years to be rejected for an appointment to the federal bench, due to allegations of racism that would haunt him for the rest of his career.

We know how Sessions' story ends. But how did it begin? And what about the fallout for others involved?


 

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Dec 11, 2018
Doug Jones: The Reckon Interview
00:48:00

Episode Notes

Reckon's John Hammontree spoke with U.S. Sen. Doug Jones about Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Jeff Sessions and President Donald Trump.

 

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Nov 21, 2018
Trailer: Recused
00:00:59

Episode Notes

Reckon’s Amy Yurkanin dives into the untold story of Jeff Sessions, from the people who knew him best.

• How did Jeff Sessions become President Trump’s most controversial cabinet member? And what led to his downfall? • Did you know President Trump wasn’t the first person to pressure Sessions to look the other way during an investigation into the executive branch? • What was the political fallout of Sessions’ failed judicial confirmation hearing in 1986? • How did he become one of the most anti-immigration Senators in the United States? • All these answers and more.

 

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Nov 13, 2018
S1E4 - Greek Gods Episode 4
00:33:39

Episode Notes

Episode Four: What does The Machine teach students about real world politics? John Archibald shares his reflections on how student politics has real world ramifications. His wife Alecia also describes how she was forced to choose between her sorority and her relationship in college, illustrating the difficult decisions young women face during their time on campus.

 

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Aug 27, 2018
S1E3 - Greek Gods Episode 3
00:31:09

Episode Notes

Episode Three: What role does race play on campus? In recent years, the University of Alabama Greek system has been scrutinized by national media for sorority women caught on video using racial slurs and for sorority alumni intent on preserving the school’s “tradition” of white sororities. Also includes the story of Elliot Spillers, the first black student government president in 40 years, and what his surprise election says about today’s campus climate.

 

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Aug 27, 2018
S1E2 - Greek Gods Episode 2
00:32:22

Episode Notes

Episode Two: The Machine strikes back. Is the organization nefarious, or just a voting block of friends? Former members of the Machine share their side of the story, including Lee Garrison a Tuscaloosa politician who allegedly used the secret society to be elected to an office beyond the University setting.

 

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Aug 27, 2018
S1E1 - Greek Gods Episode 1
00:35:13

Episode Notes

Episode One: What is “The Machine?” Hosts Amy and John trace the history of the secret society, with a focus on the events of 1970 – 1993, including allegations of arson, wiretapping, crossing burning and physical assault. Also shares the story of Fran Viselli, owner of Bama Bino’s a popular pizza joint that faced a boycott after his son dared run against the Machine.

 

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Aug 27, 2018
Trailer: Greek Gods
00:02:21

Episode Notes

Threats of violence, wire-tapping, boycotts, voter coercion, whatever it takes to win. That's the playbook of The Machine, a secret society that has controlled student government at the University of Alabama for more than a century. The Machine has been described as "the most powerful fraternity in America" and its tentacles reach to the State House, Washington and beyond.

Reckon Radio presents, "Greek Gods," an examination of politics, privilege and race hosted by Amy Yurkanin and John Archibald, winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for commentary. In a four-episode miniseries, Reckon Radio examines what students learn when a handful have all the power. Yurkanin and Archibald take listeners downstairs into the fraternity basements where an anonymous group of leaders in training learn the dark arts of dirty politics.

 

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Jul 31, 2018