Into America

By MSNBC, Trymaine Lee

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Reviews: 3

 Jun 10, 2020

Benjamin Bernard
 May 13, 2020
excellent! thanks for your work

 Feb 28, 2020


Into America is a show about being Black in America. These stories explore what it means to hold truth to power and this country to its promises. Told by people who have the most at stake.

Episode Date
Harlem On My Mind: Abram Hill

In the final installment of Harlem on My Mind, Trymaine Lee learns about the legacy of playwright Abram Hill, who used his work to center Black characters, Black audiences, and Black communities unapologetically.

Abram Hill co-founded the American Negro Theater in 1940, operating a small 150-seat theater from the basement of Harlem’s Schomburg Center. The American Negro Theater, also known as the ANT, would become a launch pad for stars like Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier, even as Hill’s name was largely lost to history.

Trymaine tours the Schomburg Center with chief of staff Kevin Matthews, and sits down with Dr. Koritha Mitchell, an associate English professor at Ohio State University, to better understand Abram Hill and the ANT’s rise and fall.

And we learn about the legacy Hill leaves behind. In the 1960s, the New Heritage Theater Group grew from the foundation of the ANT and has been going strong since. Voza Rivers is the group’s executive producer. Trymaine talks with him, as well as actor Anthony Goss, who appeared in a 2017 re-production of Hill’s hit play On Strivers’ Row. Rivers and Goss, two men forty years apart, describe how Hill’s commitment to community continues to resonate across generations.

We also hear from Abram Hill, in his own words, thanks to audio recordings from Schomburg Center archives and the Hatch Billops Estate, as well as the Works Progress Administration Oral History collection at George Mason University Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center.

For a transcript, please visit

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Further Listening:


Feb 25, 2021
Harlem on My Mind: Jessie Redmon Fauset

In Part 3 of Into America’s Black History Month series, Harlem on My Mind, Trymaine Lee spotlights the influence of Jessie Redmon Fauset. Langston Hughes called her one of the midwives of the Harlem Renaissance, but few today remember her name.

As literary editor for NAACP’s The Crisis magazine, Fauset fostered the careers of many notable writers of the time: poets Countee Cullen and Gwendolyn Bennet, novelist Nella Larsen, writer Claude McCay. Fauset was the first person to publish Langston Hughes, when The Crisis printed the poem The Negro Speaks of Rivers. Fauset was also a writer, penning essays and poems. She went on to write four novels, including There is Confusion (1924). Her focus on bourgeois characters and women’s ambition shaped the conversation about Black identity in Harlem at the time.

Dr. Julia S. Charles, professor of English at Auburn University, sheds light on the full scope of Fauset’s work, including her complicated relationship with Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois and other notable Black thinkers. Author Morgan Jerkins describes how Fauset’s legacy has inspired her own work as a writer, editor, and resident of today’s Harlem.

Special thanks to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

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Further Reading and Listening:

Feb 18, 2021
Harlem on My Mind: Arturo Schomburg

Into America continues its Black History Month series, Harlem on My Mind, following four figures from Harlem who defined Blackness for themselves and what it means to be Black in America today. The series begins when Trymaine Lee acquires a signed print by Jacob Lawrence titled “Schomburg Library.”

The Schomburg Center for Research and Black Culture is based in Harlem, but its roots are on the island of Puerto Rico with a little Afro Puerto Rican boy named Arturo Schomburg. Determined to collect a record of Black history that could tell us who we are and where we’ve been, Arturo Schomburg amassed a personal collection of 10,000 Black books, artwork and documents. That collection eventually became the Schomburg Center we know today, which is part of the New York Public Library system. 

Trymaine Lee speaks with Vanessa Valdés, author of Diasporic Blackness: The Life and Times of Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, Shola Lynch, curator of the Moving Image and Recorded Sound Division of the Schomburg Center, and Arturo Schomburg’s grandson, Dean Schomburg to better understand who Arturo was and the impact of his legacy on Black identity and Black culture.

For a transcript, please visit 

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Further Reading and Listening:

Feb 11, 2021
Harlem on My Mind: Jacob Lawrence

This Black History Month, Into America launches Harlem on My Mind, a series that follows four figures from Harlem who defined Blackness for themselves and what it means to be Black in America today.

The story begins in December, when host Trymaine Lee acquires something he coveted for years: a numbered print titled Schomburg Library by American icon Jacob Lawrence. The print came with a handwritten dedication to a man named Abram Hill. Who was Abram Hill? How did he know Jacob Lawrence? Did their paths cross at the famed Schomburg Library?

What follows is a journey of discovery, through conversations with friends, historians and experts, to understand the interconnected lives of Black creators in and around the Harlem Renaissance. And it starts with Jacob Lawrence, a child of the Great Migration who was nurtured by the great artists and ideas of the period. Two women who knew Lawrence well, art historian Dr. Leslie King-Hammond and artist Barbara Earl Thomas, reflect on his life, death and contributions to Black culture.

Special thanks to the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. 

Thoughts? Feedback? Story ideas? Write to us at


Further Reading and Listening:

Feb 04, 2021
Reporting on Race

This week, President Biden outlined his commitment to addressing racial equity and righting historical wrongs. But Black journalists have been trying to sound the alarm on the consequences of racism and extremism for years. In predominantly white newsrooms, their calls were often met with skepticism and dismissiveness, and as a result, we’ve all paid the price. 

Journalist Farai Chideya has covered every presidential election since 1996. Her resume includes stints at CNN, ABC News, and FiveThirtyEight. She knows first-hand what it’s like to try to tell stories of racial animus, only to be silenced by white gatekeepers. In addition to being a journalist, Farai is also a media analyst. As a fellow with Harvard’s Shorenstein Center, she studied the lack of diversity in American newsrooms.

Farai recently started her own newsroom, serving as creator and host of Our Body Politic, a politics podcast about women of color. It’s produced in collaboration with public radio stations KCRW, KPCC, and KQED. She joins Trymaine Lee to discuss the ways in which institutionalized bias in mainstream media led to inadequate coverage of race under Trump, and the lessons journalists need to keep in mind during the Biden administration. 


Further Reading and Listening:

Jan 28, 2021
Fighting White Supremacy on Day One

The violent insurrection against our nation’s Capitol building this month pulled an ugly truth to the surface, one that’s been hiding in plain sight for decades. White supremacist extremism is widespread, deep-rooted and a major threat to our security. In his inaugural address on Wednesday, President Joe Biden named white supremacy as a danger to our unity and vowed to defeat it. 

But law enforcement and government agencies have refused to acknowledge the full scope of the problem, especially when it appears within their own ranks. Will the attack earlier this month motivate the new administration to take this threat more seriously? 

Trymaine Lee sits down with Erroll Southers, a former federal agent and an expert in homegrown extremism at the University of Southern California. Southers lays out how white supremacist extremism was fostered over decades in this country, and the steps President Biden can take to begin to address the crisis. 


Further Reading: 

Jan 21, 2021
The Undecided Election

Americans were told for months that results from the 2020 presidential election could take days, even weeks, to be confirmed. But there was little clarity on how it would all play out.

For the first time in seven months, host Trymaine Lee hit the road for North Carolina, to track the Black vote in this crucial swing state. He found enthusiasm on a college campus, wary determination outside of polling places, and democracy in action as election workers gathered results in the bowels of an old courtroom.

But as Election Day came and went without a clear winner, North Carolinians were left in limbo, waiting to find out who their state voted for. And all of America was left wondering which way our country is headed.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading and Watching:

Jan 15, 2021
American Coup

The storming of the Capitol building by white extremists loyal to Donald Trump on January 6th, was violent, deadly and shameful.    

But it wasn’t unprecedented. The attempt to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election follows a long tradition in America of white violence, aimed at undoing Democracy.   

At nearly every turn, where this country bent toward freedom, there was a violent backlash. And there is perhaps no clearer example than the story of the only successful coup in U.S. history.  

In 1898, white supremacists in Wilmington, North Carolina carried out a riot and insurrection, targeting Black lawmakers and residents.  

Inez Campbell Eason’s family survived the coup, but Black lawmakers were ousted, dozens of Black residents were killed, and she tells Trymaine Lee that the impact on the city is still felt. 

Dr. Sharlene Sinegal-Decuir, African American History professor at Xavier University in New Orleans, explains the long history of white violence in response to progress. In order to prevent insurrections like the one last week in Washington, D.C., she says we must begin to understand our past. 

For a transcript, please visit


Further Reading:

Jan 15, 2021
A Fresh New Look

This moment calls for us to be honest and truthful about who we are as Americans, who we’ve been and who we hope to become. And there’s no way to do that without examining the role, range and power of Blackness in America. Trymaine Lee introduces a new look that speaks to the hopes, anxieties and aspirations of Black America. 

Jan 15, 2021
An Election and an Insurrection

On the afternoon of January 6th, the nation was gripped by the images of Trump supporters charging the Capitol building as Congress gathered to ratify President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College win. These scenes brought to bear what so many democracy-loving people across this country have long feared, that Trump’s final days as President would end violently.  

But hours earlier, attention was on the Georgia Senate races, where Democrat Reverend Raphael Warnock won his runoff election against Republican Kelly Loeffler. Rev. Warnock, the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, spiritual home of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., will become the first Black senator from the state of Georgia. He’ll be the second Black senator from the South since Reconstruction.  

Jaime Harrison is a Warnock supporter. Harrison ran for Senate this year in South Carolina. He lost his race, but turned his attention to his political action committee, Dirt Road PAC, putting money behind Warnock and Jon Ossoff, who ran for and won Georgia’s other Senate seat. These dual victories mean Democrats take control of the US Senate this year.  

Jaime Harrison joins Trymaine Lee to reflect on the significance of Warnock’s win and the path forward for Democrats. 

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading and Listening: 

Jan 15, 2021
BONUS: Not the Last

In a bonus for Into America listeners, Trymaine Lee joins Joy Reid, host of the podcast Kamala: Next In Line in a roundtable discussion.

Kamala Harris has been elected the 49th Vice President of the United States. So what comes next? Joy speaks with Pulitzer Prize winner, opinion writer for The Washington Post and an MSNBC contributor, Jonathan Capehart, editor at large at the 19th, and MSNBC contributor Errin Haynes and Pulitzer Prize and Emmy Award winner, MSNBC correspondent and host of Into America, Trymaine Lee. Listen and subscribe to the series:

Jan 15, 2021
Enough is Enough

As an outspoken sports journalist, Jemele Hill has been told to “stick to sports” in her coverage. The same has been said to professional athletes for decades. But things changed in 2020, when the pandemic and racial justice movements collided. Black athletes decided the fight was worth risking it all for. And many team owners and the leagues realized it was good for business to support their players.

Trymaine Lee looks back on the year of sports and activism with Jemele Hill, contributing writer for The Atlantic and host of the podcast Jemele Hill is Unbothered. Jemele traces the roots of why Black athletes stayed silent in the past and why change is more likely to stick in the NBA than the NFL. Plus, why she thinks the solution may be to just burn the whole system down.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Listening:

Dec 31, 2020
Black Toys R Us

From children’s books, to cartoons, to the worlds of fantasy and make believe, it can sometimes seem as if Black characters are on the side-lines, or don’t exist at all. Especially around the holidays, Black parents get creative to find toys for their kids that reflect just how beautiful and special they are.

More than three decades ago, Yla Eason took matters into her own hands when her Black son said that he couldn’t be a superhero because he’s not white. Trymaine Lee talks to Yla, about why she created Sun-Man, one of the first Black superhero toys in America, and the challenges she encountered along the way.

And we get some words of wisdom from Trymaine’s 8-year-old daughter, Nola, on why representation in toys matters.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading and Listening:

Dec 24, 2020
At the Sherman Phoenix, Black Businesses Rise

The holidays should be the busiest time of the year, but small businesses everywhere have been crushed by the pandemic and its restrictions. The picture is especially grim for Black-owned small businesses, which closed at twice the rate of white-owned small businesses this spring.

But in the city of Milwaukee, there’s a bright spot. A collective of mostly Black-owned businesses is not only surviving, it's thriving.

For entrepreneurs JoAnne and Maanaan Sabir, envisioning a place where that could be possible began in 2016, following the police shooting of a young Black man that set off days of protests. Two years later, the Sabirs opened the Sherman Phoenix, a community healing space and hub of more than two dozen small businesses.

Business owners within the Sherman Phoenix have been able to stave off closures and financial hardship tied to COVID-19. Trymaine Lee talks to Adija Smith, a Phoenix tenant about her journey from home baker to storefront owner, and how she’s relied on and supported her fellow Black business owners within the collective.

And Trymaine sits down with JoAnne and Maanaan to talk about how the Sherman Phoenix could provide a model for other Black community spaces, especially during tough times.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading and Listening:

Dec 17, 2020
Critical Condition

In Chicago, one of the most segregated American cities, race and proximity to quality healthcare are inextricably linked, and the divide has been exacerbated COVID19 continues to infect and kill Black people disproportionately.

At the same time, Black Chicagoans are seeing hospitals in their communities closing at an alarming rate. Since 2018, three hospitals have closed on the South and West sides. And now a fourth, Mercy Hospital, the oldest in the city, is slated to close next year.

Host Trymaine Lee talks to activist Jitu Brown, who says Mercy has a duty to remain open and continue to serve the mostly Black surrounding neighborhoods. Etta Davis, a patient at Mercy, says the hospital’s plan to open a new outpatient clinic makes her worried about what could happen in an emergency.

But Dr. Thomas Britt of the Health Policy Institute of Chicago, says Mercy, which loses $4 million a month, is in too much debt and serves too many underinsured patients to continue to under its current model. He says elected officials and healthcare providers need to think outside the box to better serve communities.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading:

Dec 10, 2020
"The Dead Are Arising"

Malcolm X is a towering cultural figure. Movies have been made about him, books have been written, and he’s been mythologized since his assassination in 1965. But an encounter at a cocktail party in Detroit led journalist Les Payne to realize how much more there was to understand about the man.

Les Payne spent the last three decades of his life learning everything he could about Malcolm X. The result is The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X, a new book that sheds light on the people, places, and experiences that shaped Malcolm X into the man he’d become. Late last month, The Dead Are Arising won a 2020 National Book Award for nonfiction.

It’s praise that Les Payne would not live to hear. Payne died in 2018 while still working to put the final touches on his book. So his daughter, Tamara Payne, who had been a researcher with him from the start of the project, finished the work.

On this episode of Into America, Trymaine Lee sits down with Tamara and her mother, Violet Payne, to talk about Les Payne, their family’s love for Malcolm X, and the legacies of these two men.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading:

Dec 03, 2020
Food for the Soul

Like the Blues and Jazz, the Black American culinary tradition is rooted in a specific kind of American experience. From one generation to the next, Black families have turned to traditional dishes to celebrate the holidays, to commiserate and even to mourn.

This holiday season, with COVID19 and hunger rising in tandem, too many Black families will be mourning rather than celebrating. Some will be relying on the kindness of strangers to fill their stomachs and their spirits, while others will turn to comfort foods that have gotten us through the worst of times.

In the latest episode of Into America, Trymaine Lee talks to culinary historian and author Michael Twitty about the forces that influenced Black American cooking and why food is a source of Black joy. Trymaine also talks to Cindy Ayers Elliott of Foot Print Farms in Jackson, Mississippi, about her mission: using traditional foodways to fill systemic gaps, feed the hungry and keep people healthy this Thanksgiving.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading:

Nov 26, 2020
Kamala Harris and the Rainbow Sign

Kamala Harris has made history as the first woman, first Black and first South Asian vice president-elect. On the latest episode of Into America, Trymaine Lee explores the little-known history of a place that shaped her identity - the Rainbow Sign. The Rainbow Sign was a Black cultural center in Berkeley, California that opened its doors in 1971 and welcomed the likes of James Baldwin, Nina Simone, Shirley Chisholm, and a young Black and Indian girl from Oakland named Kamala. In her memoir, Harris writes, “Kids like me, who spent time at Rainbow Sign were exposed to dozens of extraordinary men and women who showed us what we could become.”

Odette Pollar, whose mother Mary Ann Pollar who founded Rainbow Sign in 1971, tells Trymaine what the center was like during its brief but influential lifespan. And Dezie Woods-Jones, founder and President of Black Women Organized for Political Action, explains how the social and political climate in the Bay Area at the time gave rise to Rainbow Sign, and how the center impacted Harris’ life.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading and Listening:

Nov 19, 2020
I Have Your Back

When Joe Biden addressed the nation for the first time as president-elect, he singled out the Black community for helping him throughout his campaign, and he made a promise. "You’ve always had my back,” he said, pounding on the lectern. “And I’ll have yours.”

Host Trymaine Lee takes a closer look at this line from Joe Biden’s speech, first by digging into how Black voters helped push Biden to victory. Brittany Smalls, statewide coordinator in Pennsylvania for Black Voters Matter talks about the work it took on the ground to get Black Americans to the polls.

And Eddie Glaude, Chair of the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University and MSNBC analyst, unpacks Biden’s promise have the Black community’s back and how voters can keep him accountable.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading:

Nov 12, 2020
Could Black Men Help Flip Florida?

In order to win the election in less than a week, Joe Biden and the Democratic Party need to do what Barack Obama did 12 years ago: expand the electorate. In 2008, 12 percent voters were people who hadn’t previously been participating, and 19 percent of all Black voters were new to the polls. But in 2016, many of them, including Black men, stayed home. Now, a grassroots effort is building to re-engage these men.

Into America heads to the swing state of Florida, where local Black elected officials are leading the effort to reach out to Black men. Trymaine Lee talks with a Miami native, Maurice Hanks, about his ups and downs with political participation over the years. And we hear from Florida State Senator Randolph Bracy, who is using unconventional methods to prove to Black men that their votes have power.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading and Viewing:

Oct 29, 2020
Into Getting Black Men to the Polls

In the last days of the 2020 election, both campaigns are targeting a crucial demographic: Black men. While Black men do vote overwhelmingly Democratic, some polling shows President Trump has made inroads with young Black men and Republicans are hoping to capitalize on that momentum. The Biden team is making a push to get the Black men who may have sat out in 2016, and bringing out former President Barack Obama to campaign in Pennsylvania.

To understand why this is a key group in 2020, and game out some scenarios, Trymaine Lee talks with Cornell Belcher, Democratic pollster, NBC News and MSNBC political analyst, and president of the polling firm brilliant corners Research & Strategy. Belcher, who worked on both Obama campaigns, brings his insights on how 2020 is different from 2016, and why the surge in early voting makes predicting this election difficult.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading

Oct 22, 2020
Into Amy Coney Barrett's Record on Race

Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett faced tough questions from Democrats last week over her positions on abortion, religion, and how she interprets the Constitution. But Judge Barrett’s stances on race deserve attention too.

Beyond acknowledging that racism exists, Judge Barrett refused to elaborate on the state of race in the country today, saying giving broader diagnoses about racism is “kind of beyond what I'm capable of doing as a judge.”

Janai Nelson, Associate Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund (LDF), doesn’t agree. After analyzing Judge Barrett’s decisions, writings, and speeches, Nelson and the LDF, the nation’s premier racial justice legal organization, are deeply troubled by Judge Barrett’s record on race.

As the Senate Judiciary Committee prepares to vote on her confirmation this week, Nelson tells Trymaine Lee why she is concerned about Judge Barrett’s nomination and what a Justice Amy Coney Barrett could mean for future Supreme Court rulings involving race.

For a transcript, please visit

Further reading:

Oct 19, 2020
Into Intimidation at the Polls

For months, the Republican party and the Trump campaign have been warning, without evidence, that voter fraud could be a deciding factor in the election. They say they are amassing an army of poll watchers to make sure that doesn’t happen. But election officials and advocates worry these tactics could intimidate Democratic voters, especially in Black and brown communities. Poll watching is legal. Voter intimidation is not.

In this episode, host Trymaine Lee explores a time in the not-so-distance past when voter intimidation played a big role in an important election. Mark Krasovic, a history professor at Rutgers University, tells the story of the 1981 gubernatorial election in New Jersey, when the Republican National Committee organized groups of men, some of them armed, to patrol precincts in minority neighborhoods in the name of ballot security.

Could the same thing happen in 2020? Jane Timm, NBC News political reporter, joins Trymaine to discuss what we know about the GOP’s ballot security efforts in this election and for a better understanding of what poll watchers can and can’t do.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading:

Oct 15, 2020
Into the Black Creeks Pushing for Tribal Citizenship

Rhonda Grayson is the great-granddaughter of America Cohee Webster, a member of the Muscogee Creek Nation. Rhonda can say America’s roll number by heart: 4661.

Rhonda grew up aware and proud of her Creek ancestry, but has not been able to enroll as a member of the tribe herself. In 1979, the Creek Nation re-wrote its constitution to change the citizenship parameters so that only people who could trace their lineage by blood could be members. That meant Black people who were the descendants of the Creek’s enslaved population were removed from the rolls. These people were called Creek Freedmen, and until 1979, they were considered members of the tribe.

Rhonda is now a founding member of the Muscogee Creek Indian Freedmen Band, a group of Black people working to preserve their families’ connection to the Creek Nation. On Into America, Rhonda tells Trymaine Lee about her fight to be legally recognized as part of the Muscogee Creek Nation. And they talk about her family’s legacy: including her great-grandmother, America Cohee, whose picture you can find as the tile art for this episode.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading and Listening:

Oct 12, 2020
Into a High-Stakes VP Debate

There was a little policy and a lot of politicking. There was at least a veneer of civility. There was a fly.

In perhaps the most high-stakes VP debate in history, Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris made their cases to the American public for their running mate.

Last night’s debate was the second most watched VP debate in history. Given that both Joe Biden and Donald Trump would the oldest presidents ever inaugurated, and that the President Trump currently has the virus, it’s no surprise that Americans tuned in to see the would-be second in commands on Wednesday night.

One of the people watching was Sonja Nichols. Sonja is an outlier in a lot of ways. She’s a Republican businessowner running for State Senate in Charlotte, North Carolina. She’s Black, and she’s a supporter of Senator Harris as a Black woman.

But she voted for President Trump in 2016, and Sonja says at the time, she was paying more attention to Mike Pence than she was to Donald Trump. Trymaine Lee sits down with her to talk about how the candidates performed and what shapes her political beliefs.

For a transcript, please visit

Further reading:

Oct 08, 2020
Into Trump, Coronavirus and Conspiracy Theories

President Trump announced that he and the First Lady tested positive for COVID-19 on Twitter, in the middle of the night last week.

Brandy Zadrozny spends her days sorting through the chaos of the internet for NBC News, trying to track conspiracy theories and misinformation campaigns. As soon as she heard President Trump had tested positive, she knew the internet would explode.

And she was right. QAnon claimed Trump was pretending to have COVID-19 as part of some sort of plan to arrest Hillary Clinton. Other people said he was just trying to get out of the next debate, or maybe even delay the election.

On this episode of Into America, Brandy sits down with Trymaine Lee to break down what she’s been seeing online, where she’s seeing it, and why this spread of misinformation matters.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading and Listening:

Oct 07, 2020
Into the President's Health and the Public Trust

Over the past five days, President Donald Trump has been diagnosed with coronavirus, hospitalized at Walter Reed Military Medical Center, and discharged back to the White House.

White House doctors and officials gave conflicting report on the president’s health all weekend, and there is still uncertainty about the president’s condition and how infectious he may be.

Donald Trump is not the first president to become ill while in the Oval Office, so how can history help us understand what happens, and what’s supposed to happen, when the president gets sick?

NBC News Presidential Historian Michael Beschloss can recall a number of presidencies that were shaped by illness and the president’s relationship with the public trust. But this time, he tells Trymaine Lee, “We have never been in a period even remotely like this before."

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading and Viewing:

Oct 05, 2020
Into the Black Doctors Vetting the Vaccine

For six months, people across the country have been waiting for the same lifeline: a vaccine for the coronavirus. The U.S. government has pledged $10 billion to help drug makers develop and distribute a vaccine in record time through “Operation Warp Speed.”

But the emphasis on swiftness has left some people worried about the vaccine’s safety and efficacy. California and New York have said they will assemble their own independent task forces to vet the vaccine, and recently, the National Medical Association, the oldest and largest organization for Black physicians, has said they will do the same.

The NMA’s longstanding role as trusted messengers in the Black community could prove crucial, because polling shows Black Americans are less likely than other groups to say they will get a coronavirus vaccine.

Host Trymaine Lee talks with Dr. Rodney Hood, an internal medicine physician and health equity advocate in San Diego who came up with the idea for the NMA’s task force. Dr. Hood describes why the task force is necessary, and how centuries of structural racism in medicine has led to generational health issues and heightened mistrust.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading and Viewing:

Oct 01, 2020
Into the Presidential Debate: Race, Protests and Police

Tuesday night, Democratic nominee Joe Biden and President Trump met in Cleveland, Ohio for the first Presidential Debate of 2020. For 90 minutes, the candidates debated topics ranging from the Supreme Court to COVID-19, as well as one segment on race and policing.

It was during that section that President Trump made the biggest news of the night in refusing to denounce white supremacists. He told the Proud Boys, a violent hate group, to “stand back and stand by.” Trump’s spokespeople have since claimed the president meant to tell them to “stand down,” but that’s not how social media and many Americans heard those words.

From a podium six feet away, Joe Biden, who has said he got into the race because of Trump’s Charlottesville comments, had his own past to answer for. He's one of the authors of the harsh 1994 Crime Bill. Biden has since championed policing reform, but he still hasn’t gone as far as many on his left would like and pushed for police defunding. In the debate, he walked a political tightrope with progressives on one side and moderate voters on the other.

Political analyst Tiffany Cross is a frequent contributor to MSNBC and the author of Say It Louder: Black Voters, White Narratives, and Saving Our Democracy. She joined Trymaine Lee to unpack the debate.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading and Viewing:

Sep 30, 2020
Into Expanding the Supreme Court

President Donald Trump has nominated conservative favorite Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg on the Supreme Court. Democrats are calling on Republicans to follow the precedent they set in 2016, when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to hold confirmation hearings for President Obama’s pick to replace Justice Antonin Scalia when he died eight months before the election.

But Republicans likely have the votes to confirm Barrett, and if they succeed, they will have a 6-3 advantage on the Supreme Court. In response, momentum is growing among Democrats around the idea of expanding the Supreme Court. Host Trymaine Lee talks with Aaron Belkin, a political scientist at San Francisco State University, and founder of the advocacy group Take Back the Court, who has spent the last few years trying to change minds on this issue. He argues court expansion is the only way to overcome the court’s conservative majority to better reflect the will of the American people.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading and Viewing:

Sep 28, 2020
Into Injustice for Breonna Taylor

Louisville activist Hannah Drake has been fighting for Breonna Taylor since the 26-year-old’s death in March. As a speaker and author, Hannah helped elevate Breonna’s story on social media, and was part of an effort to push the city council to pass Breonna’s Law – a ban on “no-knock” warrants.

The Louisville Metro Police Department had received court approval for this type of warrant in the botched drug raid at Breonna’s apartment on the night of March 13th, meaning they could enter without warning. The orders were later changed for police to identify themselves, but according to her boyfriend, they didn’t. So he fired a shot, and when officers returned fire, they struck Taylor multiple times.

For Hannah Drake, the last six months of her life have been focused on holding individuals accountable for Taylor’s death. But this week, a grand jury announced that none of the officers involved would be charged for Breonna’s death. One officer is facing a charge of wanton endangerment for firing into neighboring apartments. Without legal justice, where does that leave activists like Hannah today?

On Into America, Hannah sits down with Trymaine Lee to talk about Breonna’s life, and how she plans to honor Breonna’s memory going forward.

For a transcript, please visit

Further reading and viewing:

Sep 24, 2020
Into Restoring Voting Rights for Former Felons

With 41 days until Election Day, voters across the country are already casting their ballots. But in Florida, thousands of former felons can’t even register to vote. The problem? They’ve served their time, but they haven’t paid the court fees, fines and restitution – and that’s considered part of their sentence.

In 2018, Florida voters approved Amendment 4, a ballot measure that would allow those with felony convictions to register to vote, so long as the crime committed was not murder or sexual abuse. The new law made as many as 1.4 million Floridians with felony records eligible to register. But in 2019, the Governor of Florida signed a bill limiting those rights until felons have completed all the terms of their sentences, including the payment of court debts. Many are simply too poor to pay those debts or, because there is no central database of court fines and fees, it is impossible to know exactly what they owe.

A federal appeals court has upheld the law, and now, the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition is leading the rush to raise money to pay off as many debts as possible before October 5, the voter registration deadline in Florida.

For more than a decade, Desmond Meade cycled in and out of the criminal justice system, mostly on felony drug charges. Now, Meade is the president of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition. In this episode, he discusses the personal struggles that led him to fight for voting rights, the work it took to get Amendment 4 passed, and the current fight to help people pay their fines so they can finally vote.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading and Viewing:

Sep 23, 2020
Into Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the ACLU Years

When Ruth Bader Ginsburg accepted President Bill Clinton’s nomination to be the 107th justice on the US Supreme Court in 1993, she dedicated the moment to her mother. She said: “I pray that I may be all that she would have been had she lived in an age when women could aspire and achieve; and daughters are cherished as much as sons.”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg spent her life facing discrimination because she was a woman: struggling to find work at a law firm despite being at the top of her law school class, and hiding her second pregnancy under lose clothes so she wouldn’t risk her job as a professor. Then, in 1972, she took on a role that would help lay the groundwork to end discrimination for herself and millions of other women. She joined the ACLU as the founding director of the Women’s Rights Project. In 1973 she was named General Counsel of the ACLU, and argued over 300 gender discrimination cases, 6 of which went before the Supreme Court.

On this episode of Into America, Justice Ginsburg’s former colleague Kathleen Peratis sits down with Trymaine Lee to discuss Ginsburg’s legal strategy over the years: challenging the law step by step, drawing lessons from the movement for racial justice, and taking on cases featuring men to make the point that gender bias hurts everyone.

For a transcript, please visit

Further reading and viewing:

Sep 21, 2020
Into Reclaiming Fire to Save the Forest

It’s hard to comprehend the scale of the wildfires burning across the west. Millions of acres have burned, thousands of homes and structures have been destroyed. Dozens of people are dead and more are missing. Hazardous air quality and apocalyptic skies have forced millions to stay inside.

Climate change is a major reason why these fires continue to get bigger, more frequent, and more destructive. But years of fire suppression means the forests are full of overgrown brush, which acts as fuel for these massive wildfires.

Native tribes like the Yuroks in far northern California used to regularly burn the land to clear the brush, until the government banned the practice for decades. But indigenous people are reclaiming their traditions of burning the land, and helping the environment in the process.

On the latest episode of Into America, host Trymaine Lee talks with Margo Robbins, a Yurok tribal member and president of the Cultural Fire Management Council, about her work in resurrecting the practice of burning to help the land.

For a transcript, please visit

Further reading and watching:

Sep 17, 2020
Into Reimagining Mental Health & Policing

People with mental illnesses are 16-times more likely to be killed by police compared to the general population. As deaths like those of Daniel Prude in Rochester, New York gain national attention, cities are looking for alternatives to using police officers to respond to mental health emergencies. And many cities are turning to a model called CAHOOTS run out of White Bird Clinic in Eugene, Oregon. CAHOOTS stands for “Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets.” The community-based program trains, equips, and deploys mental health providers as first-responders. The name is a nod to the fact that the workers are in “cahoots” with the police, sometimes responding to 911 calls with officers, but often going out on their own, too.

The program launched 31 years ago, and they’re increasingly serving as a national model for a better approach to public safety. But they’re also looking critically at their work, and asking how, in the predominately white city of Eugene, CAHOOTS can do a better job reaching communities of color.

Trymaine Lee talks to Ebony Morgan, a crisis intervention worker and communications director for CAHOOTS. Ebony walks us through how the program operates, ways they’re trying to improve, and why this work is so personal for her.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading & Listening:

Sep 16, 2020
Into New Rules for School

When the coronavirus pushed school online, discipline went with it. Educators have been handing out Zoom suspensions and other remote consequences to keep the virtual class a safe and respectful learning environment. And for those kids who are back in the actual classroom, there are new rules about masks, even about coughing and sneezing.

Some experts worry these types of disciplines will have a disproportionate impact on students of color. Before the pandemic, Black students were three times more likely to be suspended or expelled than white students. Overall, Black, Hispanic, and Native children are punished more harshly than white children for similar school infractions.

Host Trymaine Lee talks about these concerns with Adaku Onyeka-Crawford, the Director of Educational Equity at the National Women’s Law Center, where she studies discipline in schools and works with educators to come up with better solutions.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Readings

Sep 14, 2020
Into a Game Changer

College football is a multi-billion-dollar industry. So even as coronavirus spread, most schools pushed forward with the 2020 season. But as the pandemic and the racial justice movement exposed inequalities across the country, college football athletes, who aren’t paid for their work and the risks they take on the field, started to speak up.

Treyjohn Butler, a senior cornerback at Stanford University, was one of those students. He and other football players from his NCAA conference, the Pac-12, came together under a group called #WeAreUnited and wrote a list of demands that included better health care, racial justice, and compensation for student athletes.

On this episode of Into America, Treyjohn tells Trymaine why he thinks it’s the right time to change the way colleges treat their football players.

Further Reading:

Sep 11, 2020
Into a Pivotal Election in a Wild Year

So far this year, we’ve heard the President of the United States say the only way he’ll lose his bid for re-election is if the vote is rigged. He's said he may not accept the results of the election. He’s even suggested that people vote twice. (That’s illegal, by the way...)

We’re 55 days out from the election, and this year is shaping up to be a wild ride. President Trump is sowing the seeds of distrust and more people will be voting by mail due to fears of coronavirus. It’s possible we may not know the results of the election by the time we go to bed on November 3rd.

Jonathan Allen is a senior political analyst for NBC News. He sat down with Trymaine Lee for Into America to talk about all the ways this election could play out in the days leading up to, and after, November 3rd.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading & Analysis from Jonathan Allen:

Sep 10, 2020
Into Gettin' Fonky with Wynton Marsalis

Wynton Marsalis was born into a musical tradition. He grew up in New Orleans, home of the best jazz musicians around – including his father, jazz-great Ellis Marsalis.

But Wynton Marsalis is a master in his own right. Back in 1984, when he was just 22 years old, he won two Grammy awards for his performances in jazz and classical music. In 1997, Marsalis became the first jazz musician to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music for his record Blood on the Fields. Then in 2007, he released From the Plantation to the Penitentiary and it hit number two on the Billboard charts.

Marsalis now works as the artistic director at Jazz at Lincoln Center. That’s where, in 2018, he debuted the work that would lay the foundation of his newest album: “The Ever Fonky Lowdown.” The album is deeply political, narrated by actor Wendall Pierce – a high school friend of Marsalis. And it’s dedicated to his father, who passed away from coronavirus complications this spring.

On Into America, Marsalis talks with host Trymaine Lee about his writing process, how politics influences his music, and the magic of New Orleans.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading and Listening:

Sep 07, 2020
Into Bun B is Standing Up

Hip hop legend Bun B has been involved in activism in the city of Houston for a long time. So when George Floyd, a longtime Houston resident, was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis, Bun stepped up. He organized a march for Floyd that drew 60,000 people, and he hasn’t let up since, attending the March on Washington and recording a new single about this moment.

On the latest episode of Into America, Trymaine Lee talks with Bun B about politics, how his small hometown of Port Arthur influenced his activism, how he's approaching his art in this time.

This episode was recorded live in partnership with The Texas Tribune Festival, a streaming virtual event happening all September long.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading and Viewing:

Sep 03, 2020
Into More Than a Coach: John Thompson

Men’s basketball coach John Thompson, Jr was one of the greats. In his 27 seasons as the coach of the Georgetown Hoyas, he built a weak team into a powerhouse. Under his leadership, Georgetown won seven Big East titles and made it to the Final Four three times, even bringing home a national championship in 1984. He was the first Black coach to win the title. During his tenure, Thompson coached Hall of Famers Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning, Dikembe Mutombo, and Allen Iverson.

But he’s most remembered for the man he was off the court. Thompson was widely known as a mentor, a father figure, and an activist -- fighting to make sure his players, especially his Black players, felt supported and had a shot at a quality education.

On this episode of Into America, Trymaine Lee looks at the legacy of Coach Thompson. He’s joined by Jesse Washington, senior writer at The Undefeated. Washington also helped Thompson write his autobiography: “I Came As a Shadow,” set for release early next year.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading & Viewing:

The Into America team wants to hear from you about what’s happening in your community. Send feedback, questions, and story ideas to

Find host Trymaine Lee on Twitter @trymainelee.

Sep 02, 2020
Into Black America's Call to Arms

The panic of COVID-19 and high-profile Black deaths like those of Breonna Taylor and Geroge Floyd have led to a rise in Black gun ownership around the country. A survey from the National Shooting Sports Foundation found that gun dealers reported a 58-percent increase in Black customers in 2020, the most rapid growth of any ethnic group.

Twenty-four-year-old Jeneisha Harris is worried she could be another Breonna Taylor. Harris is a student and activist in Nashville, Tennessee. She grew up anti-gun, but feels vulnerable and wonders if she should arm herself.

On this episode of Into America, Jeneisha Harris tells Trymaine Lee about the pros and cons she’s weighing as she decides whether to get a gun. And Lee speaks with Philip Smith, the head of the National African American Gun Association about the long tradition of Black gun ownership, and why he thinks all Black people should be armed.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading:

Aug 31, 2020
Into "I Have a Dream"

On August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, D.C. More than 250,000 people gathered to hear Dr. King speak from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial that day, for the original March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

Fifty-seven years later, organizers are taking to the nation’s capitol again. This time, they are calling the gathering the “Get Your Knee Off Our Necks” March on Washington, an urgent reflection on the national uprising against police brutality.

In commemoration of that first march, host Trymaine Lee talks with Dr. Clarence Jones, a legal advisor, speech writer, and personal friend to Dr. King. Back in 1963, Dr. Jones wrote the first seven and a half paragraphs of the original speech, and is the only surviving member of the 1963 March on Washington planning committee. Dr. Jones reflects on the racial progress made since that day, and the urgency of the current movement for Black lives.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading:

Aug 27, 2020
Into Being a Black Trump Supporter

With 68 days until the presidential election, the Republican National Convention is underway. This year, amid national protests against police violence and racism, the convention appeared to make a pointed effort to reach one unexpected audience: Black voters. While many Americans are frustrated with the system, the Trump campaign has outlined a strategy to reach this crucial voting bloc.

Black voters are typically seen as one “base” of the Democratic Party. But that doesn’t tell the full story. In 2016, Trump got just six percent of Black votes, according to NBC News exit polls. But he was more popular with Black men, 13% of whom voted for Trump in 2016. Could Republicans expect to do better in 2020? One Black male voter thinks so.

Sean Shewmake is a real estate agent and spoken word artist living in Lawrenceville, Georgia, a suburb northeast of Atlanta. He's also a Black man who voted for Trump in 2016 and plans to again in 2020. Shewmake talks with host Trymaine Lee about his experience growing up as a Black man in Indiana, his perspectives on white supremacy in politics, and why he will vote for Trump in November.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading:

Aug 26, 2020
Into the NAACP vs the Postal Service

If you’re not getting your mail on time, you may not be alone. Cost-cutting measures from Postmaster General Louis DeJoy have created substantial delays in delivering mail in many parts of the US. And with many voters opting to vote-by-mail due to the pandemic, lawmakers are worried these cuts could threaten the integrity of the upcoming election. The House interrupted its summer recess to call DeJoy to testify. DeJoy insisted the USPS is fully capable of pulling off vote-by-mail this election.

But many states and organizations remain unconvinced. In a lawsuit filed last week, the NAACP claims the USPS is violating people’s civil rights in a “blatant attempt to disenfranchise voters of color.”

And the debate over these changes isn’t just about getting through November. Some measures, like cutting overtime, could also hurt workers. The Post Office has historically been an important ladder into the middle class for Black Americans, and today, its workforce is more than 20% Black.

In this episode of Into America, we talk to Jay Thurmond, a veteran Black postal worker about what it is like doing his job in this moment. Trymaine Lee sits down with NAACP President Derrick Johnson to understand what his organization is fighting for in its suit against the USPS.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading:

Aug 24, 2020
Into the DNC and Black Lives

The Democratic National Convention—the first “virtual” one, due to COVID-19—has come to a close. Joe Biden has had his moment in the spotlight to accept the nomination for President, and Kamala Harris has made history as the first woman of color on a major party ticket.

Over four nights, the DNC convention featured harsh attacks on President Trump and dire warnings about the future of American democracy; a focus on issues like gun violence, climate change, child care, immigration and the power of women in politics; the voices of everyday Americans; and, featured speeches by many of the party’s “old guard.” But did the Democrats do enough to address the issue of racial justice, and to inspire younger Black voters who want rapid change?

On the latest Into America, Trymaine Lee talks to Jamira Burley, one of America’s high-profile Black millennial activists, who was featured in a conversation with Joe Biden at the convention. She supports the Biden/Harris ticket, but she hopes the party will seize on opportunities to inspire many younger voters of color, especially Black voters.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading:

Aug 21, 2020
Into the Rise of QAnon During the Pandemic

The vast internet conspiracy theory known as QAnon began in 2017 with a single post to the online message board site 4chan. The beliefs associated with QAnon range from the merely strange to the downright dangerous. Followers believe a ring of devil-worshipping pedophiles run the country and are plotting against President Trump, who they say is here to save the world. They say this Satanic ring includes top Democrats like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, as well as Hollywood celebrities. QAnon’s beliefs are false, but they’ve seeped into the mainstream; a QAnon supporter from Georgia is likely to be elected to Congress in November.

QAnon aggressively pursues potential followers via social media, relying heavily on Facebook’s algorithms, which have often recommended increasingly extreme groups to users who have demonstrated an interest in things like alternative medicine and “energy shifts.” During the coronavirus pandemic, these baseless conspiracy theories are catching on with many people who are stuck at home and feeling lonely and vulnerable. This has serious consequences for the safety of the country; QAnon has pushed anti-mask and anti-vaccination rhetoric during the pandemic.

On the latest Into America, Trymaine Lee talks to Ben Collins, a reporter for NBC News who covers disinformation, extremism and the internet. He's been reporting on QAnon for years, and he says we should all be paying attention.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading:

Aug 19, 2020
Into Black Women and the 19th Amendment

The 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified 100 years ago, on August 18, 1920, giving women the right to vote. But like many of the promises in the US Constitution, this was a victory primarily for white people. The suffrage movement was notoriously rife with anti-Blackness. So Black leaders like Ida B. Wells and Mary Church Terrell paved their own way, aiming to undo racism and win voting rights for Black women.

As the United States celebrates a century milestone for 19th Amendment, we’re taking a moment to understand the role Black women played in the suffrage movement, and how that political participation has provided important lessons for today.

Martha Jones is a legal and cultural historian who studies Black women’s political participation. She’s a professor at Johns Hopkins University, and the author of a new book entitled “Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All.”

Jones joined Into America host Trymaine Lee to talk about the generations-long fight of Black women for full voting rights.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading:

Aug 17, 2020
Into Coronavirus and the Classroom: The Biggest Online Learning Experiment Ever

This fall, millions of American students and teachers will head back to school. In California, for most kids that will mean continuation of remote learning. Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond believes that, if done right, this giant online learning experiment we’ve all been thrust into could revolutionize the future of education.

Dr. Darling-Hammond is the President of the California’s State Board of Education and the first Black woman to hold this role. In our final episode of our week-long series Coronavirus and the Classroom, Trymaine Lee talks with Dr. Darling-Hammond about the depth and severity of the digital divide and learning loss, along with the opportunities to close those gaps. According to Dr. Darling-Hammond, the next few months will force California schools to test out new learning models, teachers to innovate, and kids to think and learn outside the box.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading:

Aug 13, 2020
Into Coronavirus and the Classroom: Teachers Swap Chalkboards for Apps

The debate over whether to re-open schools doesn’t just affect kids. This summer, teachers have found themselves ensnared in a nation-wide fight over school reopenings. In Florida, the largest teacher’s union sued the state over its plans to re-open. In Michigan, teachers organized a protest to stop school buses from leaving lots, raising their voices and signs, pleading summer camps to stay closed. Teachers are crafting mock gravestones. Some teachers have even started drafting their wills.

For Adeline Baltazar, a middle-school teacher in San Diego, June was a scary month. But soon after, her district decided to stay fully remote in the fall. In the latest episode in our series, Coronavirus and the Classroom, we look at this unfolding debate through a teacher’s eyes. Host Trymaine Lee talks to Adeline, or as her students like to call her, Ms. A, about the challenges she endured going online in the spring, her relief when school stayed online, and why she is surprisingly optimistic about the fall.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading:

Aug 12, 2020
Into the V.P. Pick: Kamala Harris

Joe Biden finally has a running mate: Senator Kamala Harris.

The Senator from California is the first Black woman on a presidential ticket in U.S. history. Biden promised to pick a woman back in March, and over the past few months, calls for him to choose a Black woman grew louder. Harris is a moderate choice by Biden, a moderate Democratic candidate.

She was District Attorney in San Francisco and Attorney General of California before being elected to the Senate in 2017. Last year, Senator Harris was part of the most diverse group ever to run for president. But despite being an early frontrunner, Harris lost momentum and dropped out before the Iowa caucuses. But not before creating one of the most viral moments of the Democratic primary debates, when Harris criticized Biden for opposing integration efforts in the 1970s. Now Biden-Harris is the 2020 Democratic ticket.

Yamiche Alcindor is a White House correspondent for PBS Newshour and contributor for NBC News and MSNBC and she joins Trymaine Lee to discuss the strategy and significance in Biden choosing Harris, and what it means for November.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading:

Aug 12, 2020
Into Coronavirus and the Classroom: Parents Get Ready for School, At Home

All over the country, policymakers, parents, and teachers are hotly debating whether to bring kids back to school. President Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy Devos have insisted that schools must reopen, while major teacher unions are threatening to strike if schools reopen without adequate safety measures. But for more than 4 million American students, their back-to-school plans are sealed. At least 17 of the 20 largest school districts across the country have decided to go fully remote this coming fall. That includes the San Diego Unified District, which serves more than 100,000 students.

This week, we’re heading to San Diego as part of a week-long series, Coronavirus and the Classroom, to understand how the decision to stay online is affecting the local community. Trymaine Lee sits down with Kirsten Reckman, a frustrated working mom who is trying to figure out how to juggle work and childcare, all while making sure her 2nd grade son stays engaged and doesn’t fall behind this fall.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading:

Aug 10, 2020
Into the End of the $600 Unemployment Check

Last week, many Americans got their last $600 unemployment check from the federal government. In Washington, Congress is at odds over whether to extend those benefits.

Meanwhile, unemployed Americans are now struggling to make do with less. According to an early study from the University of Chicago, two out of every three people qualified to receive the $600 extra would make more money unemployed than at their regular jobs. In Stockton, California, a chef named Selena Pollack was one of those people. While collecting unemployment, she was able to provide for her family and pay off debt. But COVID-19 cases in that county, San Joaquin, are currently some of the highest in the country, and without federal assistance, she doesn’t have enough money to pay her bills.

Michael Tubbs, the Mayor of Stockton, argues this reveals how little we value work in this country. And he wants to change that. In January 2019, Tubbs started a pilot program guaranteeing a basic income to some Stockton residents. 125 people started receiving $500 a month, no strings attached. In the pandemic, that support has been more critical than ever. He thinks other cities could follow suit.

Trymaine Lee talks with Selena Pollack about what it’s like to be jobless during this pandemic. And we hear from Mayor Tubbs who says now is the time to rethink what it means to make a living wage in America.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading and Viewing:

Aug 06, 2020
Into Joy Reid’s Primetime Moment

Growing up, Joy Reid loved to watch the news with her mother – and even remembers staying up late to watch coverage of the Iran Hostage Crisis as a middle schooler. Along the course of her career, Joy’s worked in local news, as a press secretary for the 2008 Obama campaign, and written books on American politics.

And she recently became the host of a new primetime show on MSNBC: The ReidOut, which premiered on July 20th with big-name guests such as Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. More than 2.5 million people tuned in.

This is Joy’s third show for MSNBC. She previously hosted an afternoon show called The Reid Report and AM Joy, which aired on weekends. With The ReidOut, Joy is now the first Black woman to host a national primetime news show since PBS NewsHour’s Gwen Ifill died in 2016, and the first Black woman to anchor a primetime network show in the history of cable TV.

On Into America, Reid tells Trymaine Lee what led to this moment, and how she plans to make the most of it.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading & Viewing:

Aug 05, 2020
Into the Future of HBCUs

For more than 150 years, Howard University in Washington, D.C., has graduated high-profile alumni like former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, authors Zora Neale Hurston and Toni Morrison, and rapper Sean Combs. Like many Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in recent years, Howard has faced dwindling enrollment and financial uncertainty. But renewed calls for social justice might be shifting that.

Last week, Mackenzie Scott, a philanthropist and ex-wife to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, announced she was donating $1.7 billion dollars to charitable causes, with tens of millions of dollars going to six prominent HBCUs. Howard University is one of them. It received $40 million. It is the largest gift from a single donor in the school’s entire 153 history.

Dr. Wayne Frederick, President of Howard University and an alum himself, believes that HBCUs, founded before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to serve primarily Black students, are in a unique position to respond to this historic moment. Host Trymaine Lee talks with Frederick about the financial uncertainty of running an HBCU and how the Scott gift will have an impact, how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting life on campus, and what the future may hold for all HBCUs, including Howard.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading:

Aug 03, 2020
Morgan Freeman Reads the Last Words of John Lewis

The late Civil Rights icon and Georgia Congressman John Lewis was laid to rest on Thursday. But he had one final thing to say.

John Lewis’ last words appeared in The New York Times on Thursday in an essay titled “Together, You Can Redeem the Soul of Our Nation.” John Lewis wrote the essay shortly before his death and requested that it be published on the day of his funeral.

In this bonus episode of Into America, Academy Award winning actor Morgan Freeman reads the final words of his friend John Lewis. This reading was recorded for MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading:

Jul 31, 2020
Into a New Voting Rights Act

Congressman John Lewis was laid to rest this week at the age of 80, after a lifetime of fighting for civil rights and human dignity. As a young man, his life was almost cut short as he led a protest for voting rights in Selma, Alabama. That day — March 7, 1965 — became known as Bloody Sunday, as state troopers attacked the protesters with horses and billy clubs. Lewis was badly beaten, and his skull was fractured.

Broadcast images of Bloody Sunday put pressure on Congress and then-President Lyndon Johnson to pass the Voting Rights Act. The 1965 VRA eliminated racist voting practices such as poll taxes and literacy tests. It also put states and districts with especially discriminatory histories under federal oversight. But in 2013, the Supreme Court struck down key provisions of the VRA, undercutting its effectiveness.

Activists and political organizers have been working to ensure that this rollback of the VRA does not keep Black Americans from being able to cast their ballots, but voter suppression has still been a major concern throughout the country. Now, the passing of John Lewis is bringing renewed energy to the fight for the franchise.

On this episode of Into America, Trymaine Lee talks to political strategist LaTosha Brown, co-founder of the Black Voters Matter Fund, about the ongoing struggle for full voting rights.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading & Viewing:

Jul 30, 2020
Into Facing the Pandemic with a Disability

From the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, many officials warned it was crucial to slow the spread of the virus to protect what they called the most vulnerable people: the elderly and those with underlying conditions. The people who have been mentioned far less often are those with disabilities.

Having a disability isn’t a risk factor for COVID-19 on its own, but according to the CDC, people with disabilities often do have other health conditions that put them at risk. It can also be harder for some people to socially distance if they have caretakers or are in a group home setting.

It’s hard to know the full scope of the risk because there’s no comprehensive data on COVID rates among people with disabilities, but around the country, some group homes for disabled people have been coping with serious outbreaks.

On this episode of Into America, 30 years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Trymaine Lee talks with disability rights advocate and writer Andrew Pulrang about how people with disabilities are weathering the pandemic and navigating the future.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading:

Jul 29, 2020
Into the Trayvon Generation with Elizabeth Alexander

Dr. Elizabeth Alexander is an author, a teacher, a philanthropist and a scholar. But most people know her as a poet. In 2009, she performed her poem “Praise Song for the Day,” at the inauguration of President Barack Obama, reminding us of the ancestors who’ve led us to the progress we see today. She urged us: “Say it plain: that many have died for this day.”

Alexander is now the President of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the country’s largest funder of arts and culture. This year, they’re working with a grantmaking budget of $500 million. Every dollar of that will go towards social justice projects, including the newly launched “Million Book Project” to bring literature to prisons across the U.S.

Recently, Alexander published an intense and beautiful essay in the New Yorker magazine called “The Trayvon Generation,” about her sons, and all the other young Black Americans who’ve grown up knowing the trauma of Black death — often captured on video, reposted over and over again on social media.

On Into America, host Trymaine Lee talks to Elizabeth Alexander about pain, about philanthropy, and, of course, about poetry.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading:

Jul 27, 2020
Into the Federal Response to Chicago’s Violence

When the federal government sent officers from the Department of Homeland Security to Portland, Oregon earlier this month to help guard city buildings, the city erupted in chaos. So officials in Chicago were skeptical when President Trump announced on Wednesday he would also be sending federal law enforcement agents to their city.

Nearly 200 agents from the FBI, DEA, ATF and other agencies are being sent to the city to help address a recent uptick in violence. The President’s announcement came just one day after a mass shooting in Chicago that left 15 people wounded. Crime rates in Chicago have been down overall during the pandemic, but shootings and killings have been on the rise. Despite the progress made in recent years to stop crime, homicides are now up 51% compared to this time last year. City residents and leaders are grieving and looking for solutions. But are federal agents the answer?

Kimberly Foxx, the Cook County State’s Attorney in Chicago, is the county's top prosecutor and one of the officials preparing to work with the federal agents on their way. Trymaine Lee talks with Foxx about her office’s plans ensure that the new federal efforts do not result in further violence in the city.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading

Jul 23, 2020
Into the Conservatives Against Trump

There has been a slew of anti-Trump attack ads that have gone viral in the last few months. One ad shows the President as weak, sickly, and feeble. Another ad is a mock endorsement from Putin. These splashy, viral ads aren’t coming from the left, but from The Lincoln Project -- a political action committee run by long-time Republicans and Independents determined to defeat President Trump. This group includes conservatives like George Conway, husband to White House advisor Kellyanne Conway. They say the goal of these ads isn’t just to troll the president, but to “litigate the case against Donald Trump.”

And they are seeing some signs of success. The Lincoln Project raised $16.8 million last quarter. And a new NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll shows that 50% of voters say they strongly disapprove of the President and 50% say they won’t vote for him come November. But can this group of conservatives convince long-time Republicans to vote for a Democrat?

On this episode of Into America, host Trymaine Lee sits down with Lincoln Project co-founder Reed Galen. Galen has worked as a strategist for President George W. Bush and Senator John McCain. And he explains the conservative strategy to persuade voters and unseat Donald Trump in 2020.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading:

Jul 22, 2020
Into Remembering John Lewis

Bernard Lafayette first met John Lewis in 1958 when the two men were roommates at American Baptist College in Nashville, Tennessee. They were both from the South, resented segregation, and wanted to do something about it.

They began organizing in Nashville and participated in sit-its and the Freedom Rides across the south. Over the years, Lafayette watched Lewis grow into a national figure, from leading the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and being the youngest speaker at the 1963 March on Washington, to becoming the ‘conscience of Congress’ as a Representative from Georgia.

Lafayette worked for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and was the National Coordinator for the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign. He later became a scholar. Lafayette and Lewis remained close until Lewis's death on July 17, 2020. He was 80 years old.

On this episode of Into America, Trymaine Lee talks with Dr. Bernard Lafayette about his friendship with John Lewis, the protests of the 1960s, and what his passing means for the nation.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading:

Jul 21, 2020
Into Please Stop Talking to Me About Race

When it comes to race relations, 2020 has caught a lot of us off guard. When protests broke out in response to the killing of Geroge Floyd, we saw diverse crowds out in the streets. More and more white people began asking what they could do to uproot the racism that plagues America. These conversations on race are crucial. But as writer Damon Young points out, they can also be really strange.

Damon Young is Black, a senior editor at The Root, and founder of the blog Very Smart Brothas. He’s also the author of “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker.” Young noticed an uncomfortable pattern: more and more white people want to start conversations about race. He says there’s a time and a place to talk about things like police violence, lynching, and slavery. That time is not while he’s taking a walk around his neighborhood or standing in line for ice cream.

Young wrote about his experience in a New York Times op-ed entitled, “Yeah, Let’s Not Talk About Race––Unless you pay me.” On this episode of Into America, Trymaine Lee talks with Young about how he finds humor in these moments and how it shapes his work as a Black writer.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading and Listening:

Jul 16, 2020
Into the Philadelphia D.A.’s Office

In 2017, Larry Krasner, a public defender and civil rights lawyer who had sued the Philadelphia police department multiple times during his career, made an unusual decision. He decided to run for Philadelphia District Attorney, the city’s top prosecutor. His goal was to reform that system from the inside. Krasner was part of a national wave of progressive prosecutors responding to calls for police reform.

Since taking office, Krasner has made efforts to stop the cycle of mass incarceration for low-level crimes while contending with a powerful police union and judges resistant to change. But Krasner says the city is still in the shadow of Frank Rizzo, Philadelphia’s former Police Commissioner and Mayor who was notorious for being “tough on crime.”

Now Philadelphia, along with several other major U.S. cities, is facing a spike in shootings and homicides, as well as a growing opioid crisis, on top of the pandemic. Some Philadelphians say Krasner should be doing more to keep the streets safe, others say his office is not doing enough to change the system. Trymaine Lee talks to District Attorney Larry Krasner about whether his reform agenda can survive.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading and Listening:

Jul 15, 2020
Into Jamaal Bowman’s Insurgent Run

The votes are still being tallied, but progressive Democrat and political newcomer Jamaal Bowman is poised to beat out sixteen-term Congressman Eliot Engel in the primary race to represent New York’s 16th Congressional district. The district is the second most unequal in the state; it’s majority Black and Hispanic, but also stretches into some very wealthy, mostly white neighborhoods.

Eliot Engel is white, in his 70s, and chair of the powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee. And Bowman - who is Black, in his 40s, and a former middle school principal - is part of a new wave of candidates taking on the establishment of the Democratic party. Bowman’s gotten the backing of progressives like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders, and the Working Families Party, which recently teamed up with the Movement for Black Lives to form a Political Action Committee.

On this episode of Into America, Trymaine Lee speaks with Jamaal Bowman about why he decided to enter politics and take on one of the most entrenched Democrats in Congress.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading and Listening:

Jul 13, 2020
Into Police Chokeholds

As he lay on the ground under the knee of a Minneapolis Police Officer, George Floyd called out “I can’t breathe” more than 20 times. In 2014, Eric Garner struggled to say the same words 11 times while being choked by an officer in New York. These high-profile deaths have been at the center of protests across the country. But in addition to the names we know, there are plenty that we don’t. According to a 2013 Department of Justice survey, of the police departments nationwide that serve more than 1 million people, 43 percent allow a neck restraint of some kind. There are no national statistics telling us how often these holds—sanctioned or not—end in death.

This summer we’ve seen conversations at the local and national levels about the use of police neck restraints. States like California and New York have moved to put an end to the controversial restraints; but why are they used in the first place? And is reform even possible?

Trymaine Lee speaks with Paul Butler, law professor and author of the book Chokehold, and Ed Obayashi, a Deputy Sheriff and a use-of-force training expert, about the history of chokeholds and the potential for reform. He also talks to Robert Branch, a Black man placed in a neck restraint by an officer in San Diego back in May of 2015.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading:

Jul 09, 2020
Into the WNBA Bubble

Professional sports teams are getting back into the game, against the backdrop of two national crises: the relentless spread of coronavirus, and the national demands for racial justice. For the WNBA, the game plan is two-fold: practicing and playing in “the bubble,” and dedicating the 2020 season to social justice.

The league’s 137 players will spend the next few months living and playing on a sports compound in Florida, with extraordinary medical protocols and protections. Teams are arriving this week at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, where they are scheduled to tip off their season at some point in July, without fans in the stands. And a handful of players have not yet been cleared to join them, after testing positive for the virus.

The league is also responding to the national calls for racial justice in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, and to the growing number of players who want to raise their voices and use their visibility to work for change. The league has announced that the 2020 season will be dedicated to social justice initiatives, with a special focus on women like Sandra Bland, Breonna Taylor and Vanessa Guillen, who "have been the forgotten victims of police brutality and racial violence.”

Host Trymaine Lee talks with Gabby Williams, power forward for the Chicago Sky. Williams reflects on what it’s like to be isolated at the WNBA compound in Florida and what it means to use her position in the current political moment.For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading:

Jul 08, 2020
Into Resuming Federal Executions

On July 13th, Daniel Lewis Lee is set to be the first prisoner executed by the federal government in 17 years. Executions have decreased on the federal and state level since their height in the 1990s, and for the first time in decades, a majority of Americans support life imprisonment over the death penalty. But Attorney General Bill Barr announced last month that four inmates would be scheduled for execution in rapid succession starting next week.

Host Trymaine Lee speaks with Yale Law professor Miriam Gohara, who spent years representing clients on death row for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, on the long complicated history of the death penalty in America and how the demands of the movement for Black lives is connected to the fight against capital punishment.

For a transcript, please visit

Further reading:

Jul 06, 2020
Into Black Trans Liberation

Black trans women have been central to the movement for gay rights and the fight for racial justice since their inceptions. But they have always been sidelined by the very movements they helped create. Black Trans women continue to face high rates of violence, poverty and suicide and are often the victims of misogyny and white supremacy.

Raquel Willis, a Black transgender activist and the director of communications for the Ms. Foundation, a nonprofit fighting for women’s rights, is trying to change that. This month, in the middle of Pride, she stood before a crowd of thousands and said, “Let today be the last day you ever doubt Black trans power.”

Host Trymaine Lee sits down with Raquel to discuss her efforts to prioritize her Black trans women in both the LGBTQ community and the movement for Black lives, and why we all need to do the work of rethinking gender.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading:

Jul 02, 2020
Into ‘My Body is a Monument’

In recent weeks, the debate over monuments, street names and other relics of the Confederacy has intensified. A statue of Jefferson Davis was pulled down in Richmond, Virginia. In Louisville, Kentucky, a monument depicting a Confederate officer was removed from the city square. And on Tuesday, Mississippi decided to remove the Confederate symbol from the state flag.

There are those who argue that tearing these statues down erases our history. And others who say they must come down if we hope to create meaningful systemic change.

Caroline Randall Williams is a poet and writer in residence at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. And in a recent New York Times opinion piece she makes a different argument for why these monuments must come down.

“My body is a monument,” she writes. “My skin is a monument.”

Host Trymaine Lee talks with Caroline Randall Williams about the sexual violence that has left a legacy of the Confederacy in her blood, and about why it’s time for the monuments to come down.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading and Viewing:

Jul 01, 2020
Into Protecting Florida Farmworkers

The state of Florida is seeing record highs of coronavirus cases as the pandemic stretches into its fifth month. More than 140,000 residents have tested positive for the virus and the state is reversing some of its efforts to reopen the economy.

For weeks, Governor Ron DeSantis resisted statewide closures and social distancing while the rural community of Immokalee raised concerns about the virus and requested more testing and PPE.

Immokalee is home to thousands of migrant farmworkers, some whom are undocumented or on temporary guest worker visas. During the pandemic they’ve been deemed “essential” by the federal government. Now, Immokalee has the highest number of cases of any zip code in the state of Florida.

Host Trymaine Lee talks to the Coalition of Immokalee Workers about their efforts to protect farmworkers in Florida and beyond, as the agricultural season shifts and the nation’s food supply is threatened. Gerardo Reyes Chávez is a leader of CIW who spent many years as a farmworker in Mexico and Florida, starting when he was 11. Greg Asbed co-founded the Coalition of Immokalee Workers in 1993.

For a transcript, please visit

Further reading:

Jun 29, 2020
Into a New Generation of Black Candidates

As people look to sustain the movement for racial justice, they are turning to the ballot box.

Hundreds of Black candidates are running in local races, state races, and Congressional races all across the country in 2020. After weeks of protest, will we see a wave of Black candidates elected as an answer to those calls for change?

Host Trymaine Lee speaks with two women who are trying to bring racial justice to the electoral system. Political strategist Jessica Byrd felt called into the movement while watching the Ferguson uprisings, and Sybrina Fulton’s journey through activism to politics began when her son Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by police in 2012.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading & Viewing:

Jun 25, 2020
Into Reparations with Nikole Hannah-Jones

There is a pervasive wealth gap between Black and white Americans, the result of centuries of systemic violence and racism. Today, Black families have just 10% of the wealth white families have accumulated. New York Times staff writer Nikole Hannah-Jones says this racial wealth gap isn’t an accident. It’s the product of over 400 years of slavery, racial segregation, and discrimination. In her cover story, “What is Owed,” for the New York Times Magazine, Hannah-Jones explains how the US government has been complicit in preventing Black people from accumulating wealth.

And she argues that the only solution is reparations, restitution paid by the U.S. government to the descendants of enslaved people.

In this episode of Into America, host Trymaine Lee sits down with Hannah-Jones to talk about her seminal piece and why this may be the moment when the idea of reparations just might become a reality. She explains what reparations might look like and why they are more urgent than ever.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading:

Jun 24, 2020
Into the Kentucky Primary

On Tuesday, Kentucky will hold its primary election after a month-long delay caused by COVID-19. County clerks have reduced the number of polling places by 95% and voters have requested a record number of absentee ballots.

The challenges to voting could have a major impact on the Democratic Senate primary, which has shifted dramatically in recent weeks. For the first time, state representative Charles Booker, a 35-year-old Black progressive, is polling ahead of his white moderate challenger, Amy McGrath. Both candidates are running for a shot at unseating Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the fall.

Host Trymaine Lee talks to Cassia Herron, Chairperson of Kentuckians For The Commonwealth, about the influence of national protests on Charles Booker’s rise, the state of Kentucky politics, and the pandemic shaping how and if Americans vote.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading & Listening:

Jun 22, 2020
Can You Hear Us Now: Juneteenth

President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation ending slavery on January 1, 1963. But it wasn’t until more than two years later – on June 19, 1965 – that enslaved people in the state of Texas were finally told that they were free. The anniversary of that day has become known as Juneteenth.

This Juneteenth, 2020, America is in the midst of a racial reckoning. A pandemic is disproportionately killing Black Americans, and violence against Black people continues to be caught on camera, sparking cries for change.

Into America host Trymaine Lee convened a special panel for NBC News Now called Can You Hear Us Now: Juneteenth. He and his panelists wrestled with America’s core question of freedom, and whether this dream can and will ever be a reality for Black Americans.

Guests included: Dr. Peniel Joseph, from the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy at UT-Austin; playwright and actress Anna Deavere Smith; Tiffany Crutcher, whose twin brother Terence Crutcher killed by police in 2016; Wes Moore, of the Robin Hood Foundation; and NBC BLK reporter Janell Ross.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading:

Jun 19, 2020
Into Coalition Building with Bishop Barber

With national protests and wide social unrest, 2020 feels to some like 1968. That year, at the height of the Civil Rights movement, Martin Luther King Jr. launched The Poor People’s Campaign. He called for a revolution around economic justice and a movement to unite people against poverty, racism, and other forms of oppression.

In 2018, organizers resurrected the cause, re-establishing The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. Host Trymaine Lee talks to Rev. Dr. William J Barber II, president of Repairers of the Breach and Co-Chair of the Poor People's Campaign about the importance of building coalitions for lasting change, and the Campaign’s upcoming virtual march on Washington.

MSNBC will stream “The Mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington” on Saturday, June 20, from 10am to 12:30pm EST on and the MSNBC Youtube Channel.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading:

Jun 18, 2020
Into the Future of DREAMers

In 2012, President Obama announced DACA – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – to give undocumented people brought to the US as minors the chance to stay in the country without fear of deportation. But less than a year into his term, President Trump rolled back the policy. The move was met with protest and legal action and now the Supreme Court is weighing whether the administration’s decision to wind down DACA is allowed.

Luis Cortes Romero is one of the lawyers fighting on behalf of DACA. At just 31 years old he was present for the Supreme Court oral arguments last fall. And as one of more than 700,000 DACA recipients across the country, this case is personal for him.

The Court is expected to issue a ruling on DACA at the end of June. Ahead of the decision, Into America host Trymaine Lee sat down with Luis to learn more about his personal story, and the SCOTUS case that could decide his future.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading:

Jun 17, 2020
Into the Killing of Rayshard Brooks

Another unarmed Black man was killed by police over the weekend, this time in Atlanta. His name was Rayshard Brooks and he was 27 years old.

The officer who shot Brooks has been fired, and the police chief has resigned, while across the country, protests against police brutality and racism continue.

NBC News correspondent Blayne Alexander has been reporting the story in Georgia and spoke to Brooks’s wife over the weekend. She and Trymaine also talk about the emotional toll of being a Black journalist covering this moment.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading:

Jun 15, 2020
Into Defunding the LAPD

‘Defund the police’ has become a familiar rallying call at protests across the country. It’s a push to reduce the size of police department budgets, in order to reallocate resources to other parts of the community. And a few cities leaders are listening.

Last week, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced his commitment to reallocating $150 million of the LAPD budget to communities of color in the upcoming fiscal year. This comes after years of attempted reform and decades of tension between the LAPD and the city’s Black population.

Trymaine Lee speaks with LA City Councilman Curren Price, Black Lives Matter leader Melina Abdullah, and historian Max Felker-Kantor, author of Policing Los Angeles, to find out how LA’s history of policing informs the Mayor’s current move and whether this step towards reform goes far enough.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading and Viewing:

Jun 11, 2020
BONUS: 8 Minutes 46 Seconds with Trymaine Lee

Into America host Trymaine Lee joins Chris Hayes, host of the podcast Why Is This Happening to discuss the current moment of protest.

If you listen to anyone about this time of rage and grief and action, make it Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Trymaine Lee. From his origins reporting on police and crime in Philadelphia to his nights covering Ferguson in 2014 to his Emmy Award-winning work on the lasting trauma of the violence in Chicago, Lee offers a raw and insightful perspective on this national moment.

Jun 09, 2020
Into Protest and the NFL

The nationwide movement against police brutality and racism have reignited the debate around protests about the same issues from players in the NFL. Last week, comments made by quarterback Drew Brees about protest and the flag led to a wave of criticism from Black players inside the league.

Brees, who is white, has apologized, repeatedly. And now the NFL – the same league that banned kneeling on the field just two years ago - is making their own statement about how they plan to support Black players.

NFL wide receiver Brandon Marshall was playing for the New York Jets when Colin Kaepernick first took a knee in 2016. He talks to host Trymaine Lee about his response at the time to protests on the field, why he is approaching this moment differently, and whether the league and its fans are ready for real change.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading:

Jun 09, 2020
Into Religious Freedom v Public Health

The regulations designed to stop the spread of coronavirus have infiltrated every part of our lives, including religion. Across the country, worship services have gone online or even into parking lots. But some churches are pushing back.

Host Trymaine Lee talks with a pastor in North Carolina who sued over restrictions on indoor services. Plus, NBC News Justice Correspondent Pete Williams explains how governments and the courts are balancing freedom of religion and public safety.

For a transcript, please visit

Further reading:

Jun 06, 2020
Into an American Uprising: James Clyburn on Lessons from History

There have been nearly two weeks of national protests and collective unrest following the police killing of George Floyd. But for some, it is yet another step in the long march of progress.

South Carolina Congressman James Clyburn has been fighting for racial justice his entire life. He started at age 12 as the youth chapter of his local NAACP chapter and today is the highest ranking Black legislator in Congress. His advice to protesters today? “Stay steady, stay focused.”

Trymaine Lee sits down with Congressman Clyburn to discuss what leadership from Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden looks like and the lessons from history that fill him with both fear and hope for the future.

For a transcript, please visit

Further reading:

Jun 05, 2020
Into an American Uprising: Talking to Kids About Racism

Most Black parents had “the talk” about race and racism with their children, but far fewer non-Black parents have. And “the talk” matters – for all kids -- because what we learn when we’re young sticks with us. So, as the world protests the death of George Floyd and other Black people at the hands of police, how can parents best help their kids understand what’s happening, and how to build a better world?

Host Tyrmaine Lee speaks to Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, a leading expert on how to talk to kids about race and racism, especially at this critical moment, and why starting young is so critical.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading and Viewing:

  • Assimilation Blues: Black Families in a White Community Beverly Daniel Tatum
  • Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About Race
  • Daring to Educate: The Legacy of the Early Spelman College Presidents
  • Can We Talk about Race?: And Other Conversations in an Era of School Resegregation (Race, Education, and Democracy)
  • Is My Skin Brown Because I Drank Chocolate Milk? | Beverly Daniel Tatum | TEDx Stanford

Jun 04, 2020
Into an American Uprising: White Accountability

One thing feels different about the current protests we are seeing following the recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery: the composition of the crowds.

In some parts of the country, white Americans are showing up. They are protesting, taking the knee, and flooding social media. There seems to be a renewed call for white accountability. But is posting and protesting enough? And will this energy last?

Trymaine Lee talks to Tim Wise, an anti-racist essayist, author and educator, about what white people can do to dismantle the systems of inequality in this country.

For a transcript, please visit

Tim Wise’s Recommended Reads:

  • Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, Ibram X. Kendi
  • How to be an Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi
  • White Rage, Carol Anderson
  • The Price of the Ticket: Collected Nonfiction, 1948-1985, James Baldwin
  • Our Black Year: One Family’s Quest to Buy Black in America’s Racially Divided Economy, Maggie Anderson
  • Raising White Kids, Jennifer Harvey
  • White Out: The Continuing Significance of Racism, Ashley W. Doane and Eduardo Bonilla-Silva
  • Come Hell or High Water: Hurricane Katrina and the Color of Disaster, Michael Eric Dyson

Jun 03, 2020
Into an American Uprising: Can You Hear Us Now?

As protests and riots continue following the recent deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, NBC News Now and NBCBLK convene a virtual conversation called Can You Hear Us Now? Trymaine Lee moderates this discussion on race, civil unrest and what it’s like to be Black in America with some of the biggest thinkers, policy makers, actors and activists of this moment.

We hear from Wisconsin Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes, New York Times journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, co-Founder of Campaign Zero Brittany Packnett Cunningham and actor Don Cheadle. NBCBLK reporter Janell Ross joins from the ground in Minneapolis.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading and Viewing:

Jun 03, 2020
Into an American Uprising: Keith Ellison on Prosecuting George Floyd’s Death

Tens of thousands of people across the nation took to the streets this weekend to protest racism and police brutality in the wake of the suspected murder of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died in police custody last week in Minneapolis.

On Sunday night, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz tapped state Attorney General Keith Ellison to take the lead in the Floyd case with help from the Hennepin County District Attorney’s Office. Ellison was elected in 2018 after representing Minnesota’s 5th Congressional district for 12 years in Congress. He is the first African American to be elected to statewide office in Minnesota.

Host Trymaine Lee talks with Ellison about his approach to reviewing the facts in the case, whether or not there could be more charges against the officers involved, and what it will take to create systemic change in this country.

Get NBC's most up-to-date coverage of the death of George Floyd here.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading:

Jun 01, 2020
Into Delivering an Election

The US Postal Service reaches every corner of America – from cities to small towns. In the midst of a pandemic, postal carriers are still delivering the mail, ensuring that people can pay their bills, keep up to date on medication, and connect with loved ones – even as most of us stay home to stop the spread of coronavirus.

But for years, the post office has been in financial decline – over the last 11 years the service has lost $69 billion. Postmaster General Megan Brennan estimates that without government assistance, the office could run out of cash by the end of September. And on top of all this – the USPS will play a major role in the November election. Because of the pandemic, voting-by-mail is expected to be a popular choice come fall. But could a hamstrung postal service hurt the election process?

On this episode of Into America, Trymaine Lee sits down with NBC News Business Correspondent Stephanie Ruhle to understand the financial struggles facing the post office. Plus, a former deputy postmaster general gives an inside look at how the funding debate in Washington, DC could impact the election this fall.

For a transcript, please visit

Further reading:

May 28, 2020
Into Comedy in a Crisis with Michelle Buteau

The impact of coronavirus has been devastating, but while we wait for a treatment or a vaccine, laughter may be the next best medicine.

Comedian, actress, podcast host and author Michelle Buteau is taking time during quarantine to slow down, reflect and stay creative. Host Trymaine Lee sits down with Buteau, who is at home in the Bronx with her twins, to discuss the value of comedy in a pandemic.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading and Viewing:

May 25, 2020
Into Joe Biden and the Women’s Vote

The 2020 election season was thrown a curve ball when the spread of coronavirus across the U.S intensified in March. By early April, former Vice President Joe Biden was the only candidate left standing.

Around the same time that Biden became the apparent nominee, a woman named Tara Reade alleged in a podcast interview that Biden sexually assaulted her when she was a staffer on his senate team in 1993.

Recent polling shows voters are split on whether or not they believe the allegation against Biden. When it comes to women voters, will this allegation hurt Biden’s bid for the presidency?

Host Trymaine Lee speaks with NBC News Political Reporter Ali Vitali about her original reporting on the allegation against Joe Biden, including her conversation with Reade herself. Lee and Vitali also talk to two different women about how they are processing the allegation and what it means for their vote come November.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading:

May 21, 2020
Into the Future of Flying

The bottom has dropped out for America’s airlines. More than 90 percent of passengers have disappeared. Airports feel deserted. And despite a huge government bailout, there’s growing concern that not all the major carriers will survive past September. Meanwhile, passengers are unsure whether it is safe to fly and there’s a whole new routine for getting from place A to place B that involves more than masks and hand sanitizer.

NBC Correspondent Tom Costello has been covering the airline industry for 15 years, and says he’s never seen anything like this, for the industry or the flying public.

Trymaine Lee talks to Tom about what the airlines are doing – and not doing – to win back the public’s confidence and save their businesses. No matter what, flying may never be the same.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading:

May 18, 2020
Into Tracking Coronavirus in Nursing Homes

One of the earliest outbreaks of coronavirus in the United States happened in a nursing home in Washington state, where dozens of people died. Over 26,000 COVID-19 deaths can now be linked to long-term care facilities. Yet, we still don’t have numbers from the federal government tracking the outbreak in nursing homes.

In early April, NBC national investigative reporter Suzy Khimm and her reporting partner Laura Strickler began looking into the numbers themselves – reaching out to state health departments to understand the scope of the problem.

For Suzy, this assignment is personal: in March, her family received word that the virus had reached her father-in-law's nursing home. On this episode of Into America, Trymaine Lee talks to Suzy about how that news propelled her reporting. They dive into the numbers, where things stand with federal tracking, and why data matters during a crisis.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading:

May 14, 2020
Into the Movement for Ahmaud Arbery

Ahmaud Arbery was shot and killed on February 23rd in Brunswick, Georgia. His family says he was going on a one of his regular jogs through his suburban neighborhood when two armed white men, a father and son, Gregory and Travis McMichael, confronted him on a shady street. The men claim they thought Arbery was a burglary suspect, that he went for Travis’s gun and that they were acting in self defense.

The killing didn’t garner widespread attention until last week, when a grainy cell phone video showing the altercation and the last moments of Arbery’s life appeared on the local news. The video spread across social media and Amaud Arbery’s name became a hashtag. The recording sparked national outrage and propelled local law enforcement to arrest Gregory and Travis McMichael. The arrests came 74 days after the shooting.

Host Trymaine Lee talks with Reverend Al Sharpton, longtime civil rights leader, founder of the National Action Network and host of MSNBC’s PoliticsNation, about his fight for justice for Arbery, despite the delays and the limitations of organizing during a pandemic.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading:

May 11, 2020
Into Mental Health and Lost Jobs

This pandemic has left millions of Americans without a job and unable to look for a new one. Another 3.2 million people filed jobless claims last week, bringing the total to 33 million since coronavirus hit. Experts predict that the US unemployment rate is now somewhere around 20 percent, a rate approaching the Great Depression.

Host Trymaine Lee talks with Anchor of Sunday Nightly News and Senior National Correspondent. Kate Snow about how unemployed Americans are dealing with the new anxieties created by this crisis, and where people can turn for help.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading and Viewing:

May 07, 2020
Into the Team Racing Toward a Vaccine

We’ve been hearing for weeks that a vaccine for coronavirus is what’s needed before life returns to some type of normalcy. But under normal circumstances, vaccine development is a long, complex process, that takes on average, 10 years, according to the National Institutes of Health. But the man in charge of the NIH’s Vaccine Research Center is trying to significantly shorten that timeline.

The center’s director, Dr. John Mascola, feels optimistic that a vaccine for coronavirus could be ready by early 2021. His team is working with private entities - and with governments around the world - to fast-track a solution to this problem.

On this episode of Into America, Dr. Mascola talks to host Trymaine Lee about herd immunity, the anti-vaccine movement, and about the steps necessary to get millions of Americans access to a coronavirus vaccine.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading:

May 04, 2020
Into the Survival of Main Street

Small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy, but recent years haven’t been so kind to them. The 2008 financial crisis left Main Street in a precarious position, and now the coronavirus pandemic has left millions of small business owners at risk of not being able to reopen their doors.

Take Andrew Gaouette. At Mutt Waggin’, his pet supply shops in southeastern Massachusetts, he has seen his sales drops 60 percent. The government is offering relief to small businesses through emergency lending programs like the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, but so far, Andrew hasn’t gotten any money. The demand is so great that many owners like Andrew are worried they will never see the benefits.

This week, host Trymaine Lee talks with NBC News senior financial reporter Gretchen Morgenson about the state of Main Street, and what this crisis means for its future.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading:

Apr 30, 2020
Into 2020 with Stacey Abrams

Stacey Abrams has been making a very public case for why she would be a strong running mate for the Democrats’ presumptive nominee, Joe Biden. She’s not shy about her desire to serve, why she believes her experience is relevant, and whether Biden should choose a woman of color for the ticket.

As the founder of Fair Fight, a national organization to ensure voting rights, Abrams told us that regardless of whether she’s on the ticket, she wants Georgia and states across the country to take steps to ensure safe elections this fall.

In this Monday episode of Into America, host Trymaine Lee talks to Abrams about the VP nomination, the November elections, and about COVID-19 in her home state of Georgia.

The Into America team wants to hear from you about what’s happening in your community. Send feedback, questions, and story ideas to Find host Trymaine Lee on Twitter @trymainelee.

For a transcript, please visit

Further Reading:

Apr 27, 2020
Into Dirty Air

Black Americans are dying from COVID-19 at a disproportionally high rate. One of the reasons why is proximity to pollution.

In St. James Parish, Louisiana residents have been fighting for decades to stop industry-related pollution that causes a high prevalence of cancer, hypertension and other diseases. Those health disparities are now making residents a target for COVID-19. St. James and neighboring St. John the Baptist Parishes are among the 20 U.S. counties with the highest per-capita death rate from Coronavirus.

Host Trymaine Lee interviews Sharon Lavigne, a community leader and lifelong resident of St. James, who is fighting for clean air. And Dr. Robert Bullard, Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy at Texas Southern University, explains the link between race, health and the environment.

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Find host Trymaine Lee on Twitter @trymainelee.

For a transcript, please visit

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Apr 23, 2020
Into Music as a Lifeline

What do a famous DJ, an indie musician, and an all-girls choir have in common? It’s simple: a love of music. As we continue to collectively distance ourselves during this global pandemic, people are creating and listening to music to stay connected and bring joy to each other.

This week, host Trymaine Lee talks about the power of music in the time of quarantine with writer and producer Bonsu Thompson. In this episode, we hear performances from Nashville artist Rachel Baiman, and members of the Seattle Girls Choir who have taken their musical talents online. After all, the show must go on.

For a transcript, please visit

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Apr 16, 2020
Into an Outbreak Behind Bars

Prisons are hotbeds of infection. People live in close quarters, where they often struggle to have access to soap and hot water. As COVID-19 sweeps the country, these men and women are doing everything they can to avoid getting sick. As many prisons reduce visitation rights, families that are already separated are struggling to remain in contact.

This week, host Trymaine Lee talks to a Colorado woman who is struggling to stay in touch with her incarcerated husband as the outbreak intensifies. We hear from corrections officials in New York and Colorado about the steps being taken to reduce the risk of coronavirus behind bars. And Dateline NBC producer Dan Slepian takes us inside Sing Sing Correctional Facility to meet JJ Velazquez. Velazquez describes how social dynamics inside prison are changing as fears of an outbreak grow.

For a transcript, please visit

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Apr 09, 2020
Into Life and Loss in a Pandemic

There are moments in life that call for celebration and communion. When a baby is born and when a loved one dies, we cook meals, share stories and help out where we can. These moments of life and death are the moments that pull us together.

But in the age of COVID-19, we are told to keep our distance. To prevent the spread of the virus, hospitals around the country are placing restrictions on who can be present in the delivery room. And there are limits on who can remain by the side of someone who is dying.

In this episode of Into America, Trymaine Lee speaks with a first-time expecting mom about how the coronavirus outbreak is changing her birth plan. And MSNBC contributor Eric Deggans talks about the death of his mother and having to coordinate a funeral that many could only attend online. These are stories of life and loss in a pandemic.

For a transcript, please visit

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Apr 02, 2020
Into Coronavirus for the Uninsured

Coronavirus is continuing to spread and Americans are relying on the healthcare system to save them if they get sick. But what if you’re one of the 30 million Americans who are uninsured?

Penny Wingard is one of them. As a breast cancer survivor, she’s immunocompromised and facing uncertainty about how to get proper care without coverage. In Charlotte, North Carolina, where Penny is from, federally funded community health centers are on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic for the uninsured. The toll that coronavirus is taking, both on the patients and the centers’ operations, may be irreversible.

Host Trymaine Lee talks with Phil McCausland, national reporter for NBC News, about his reporting on the healthcare gap in North Carolina and the patients and providers hoping the system can survive this outbreak.

If you or someone you know is living without health insurance, find a Community Health Center in your area on the website.

Read Phil McCausland’s piece here.

For a transcript, please visit

Mar 26, 2020
Into Democracy Delayed

This week, the coronavirus outbreak reached all 50 states and is now responsible for more than 140 deaths. Doctors and government officials are scrambling to address the problem.

As schools close, employers send their workers home, and entertainment venues go dark, Americans are also wondering how the spread of the coronavirus will impact the 2020 election. This week’s primary states saw an increase in absentee ballots, as people heeded the guidance of the CDC to avoid crowded spaces. And Louisiana became the first state to postpone its primary, with several others following suit.

This week, Into America goes into the intersection of politics and a pandemic. Host Trymaine Lee speaks with the Louisiana Secretary of State about the state’s decision to delay its Democratic primary. And we hear from a Georgia voter who worries how the delays in her state could impact voter turnout.

For a transcript, please visit

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Mar 19, 2020
Into the Future of Lordstown, Ohio

The Mahoning Valley in northeast Ohio is in the middle of an economic transition.

Manufacturing jobs have been leaving the region for decades, but the closure of the General Motors Lordstown factory last year was a major blow to the community. Some families were split apart as GM employees took transfers to other plants. Others are still mourning the departure of steady union jobs. But new opportunities in technology and warehouse distribution are coming to the area.

Residents near Lordstown are no stranger to promises. In 2017, President Trump came to the region, saying he would bring jobs back. Now, voters in this swing district must choose whether to back the President or one of his Democratic challengers.

What will these changes mean for the future of the region? Host Trymaine Lee talks with National Digital Reporter Erin Einhorn about her reporting in the Mahoning Valley, why voters in the area are divided on their pick for 2020, and how the local community is working to carve out a new economy after significant economic loss.

For a transcript, please visit

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Mar 12, 2020
Into the Fight for Lindsey Graham's Seat

Lindsey Graham is a giant in politics. The three-term Republican Senator has served more than two decades in Congress. He’s now a close ally to President Donald Trump.

He’s also up for re-election in 2020, and for the first time ever he’s facing a serious challenge to his South Carolina Senate seat. The fight comes from Jaime Harrison, a young, black Democrat, and a relative newcomer to the national stage. Harrison has raised more money than any Democrat running for the seat in state history, but he’s still a relative unknown.

In this episode of Into America, Trymaine Lee talks to Harrison and Graham’s campaign, to find out why both believe they will win. And we visit the red city of Greenville, to talk to a voter who has supported Graham in the past and is now backing Harrison.

For a transcript, please visit

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Mar 05, 2020
Into Bloomberg’s Legacy of Stop and Frisk

Days before announcing his candidacy, Michael Bloomberg apologized for the use of stop-and-frisk, a policing tactic he championed as Mayor of New York City. In their search for weapons, the New York Police Department made nearly 4.5 million stops over the span of a decade. Eighty-eight percent of people stopped were innocent, and the majority were Black and Latino boys and men.

Now, in order to have a real shot at the Democratic nomination, the former Mayor needs the support of Black voters. But will his decision to support stop and frisk hurt his chances?

In this episode, host Trymaine Lee goes into East New York, a community that experienced more stops than any other part of the city. Plus, a look at whether Bloomberg’s efforts to shore up support with Black voters nationwide will pay off.

For a transcript, please visit

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Feb 27, 2020