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With Good Reason
Wednesday at 8pm and Sunday at 3pm

With Good Reason examines a wide range of topics with leading scholars. Each week, we share exciting discoveries, rigorous debates, and new knowledge, with ever-curious host Sarah McConnell guiding the conversation.

  • In 1865, the Freedman’s Bank was written into law by President Lincoln to help newly freed enslaved people save money and buy land. But the bank collapsed less than 10 years after it was established - throwing many Black Americans into financial ruin. Justene Hill Edwards says the racial wealth gap can be traced back to the rise and fall of the Freedman’s Bank. And: During Jim Crow, literacy tests at the voting booth disenfranchised many African Americans. Mark Boonshoft says lawmakers passed these literacy tests at the same time that they denied African Americans the right to education. Later in the show: During the Great Migration, millions of African Americans fled the Jim Crow South to more urban cities in the North and West. Black immigrants from the Caribbean also took part in the Great Migration. Janira Teague says the influx of African Americans and Caribbean immigrants to New York City created a vibrant fusion of Black ethnic diversity. Plus: Charles Chavis is the Vice Chair of Maryland’s Lynching Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The Commission started back in 2019 and is the first of its kind. It’s purpose is to uncover forgotten narratives and biographies of Maryland’s lynching victims.
  • In 1908, the U.S.S. Albatross set off on a research expedition to the newly acquired U.S. colony of the Philippines. Today, Kent Carpenter is studying the more than 80,000 fish samples collected by the Albatross to uncover how overfishing is actually changing fish genetics. Carpenter has been named an Outstanding Faculty member by The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. And: The Chukar Partridge is a common ground-bird found in parts of Asia and the western United States. Brandon Jackson believes this species is the key to understanding the evolutionary link between dinosaurs and birds. Later in the show: When a neighboring wind farm was endangering an entire population of bats at the Rose Guano Cave in Spring Valley, Nevada, Rick Sherwin helped come up with an ingenious system to protect them. Also: “Toad Day” is the one night that all toads in a single region mate, and biologist Jason Gibson celebrates it each year. Gibson also started HerpBlitz, an annual citizen scientist event to collect information on reptiles and amphibians.
  • 19th and 20th century poet, Alice Meynell–a.k.a. “the penciling mama”--described motherhood as “life without boundaries.” Cristina Richieri Griffin discusses the Victorian mother of eight’s complicated feelings on mothering. And: The 2003 Haitian novel, The Infamous Rosalie, tells the stories of generations of women who are enslaved on a plantation. Ima Hicks explores how for these women, mothering was a particularly complicated act. Later in the show: Camilla Morrison believes that a costume design can explore existential ideas like what it means to be a woman and how women grapple with motherhood. Plus: In recent years, experiences of postpartum depression that used to be whispered about are now shouted on tik tok and instagram. Marion Young has studied maternal depression and shares one way it changes how mothers parent.
  • Kiera Allison says that we experience pain as narrative -- there’s a beginning, middle and hopefully end. And the story we tell ourselves about that pain, and whether or not anyone hears our story, has a lot to do with how we experience it. And: Studies have shown that doctors have biases towards their patients. This impacts the treatment that people receive. Miranda Cashio and Renee Stanley created a simulation to determine if their students shared those biases, and if those biases affected the care that they gave their patients Later in the show: COVID-19 forced us all to be infectious disease experts in our own worlds. Now, through a Virginia Department of Health grant, Michelle Doll is developing curricula on what we can do to prevent the spread of disease, from the everyday person to the hospital’s CEO. Plus: Alessandra Luchini says that AI can process information, but not learn. The ability to learn is distinctly human and cannot be taken away from us.
  • Mt. Trashmore has the distinction of being the first landfill converted into a park. And for many years, it was a popular spot for locals to hangout in Virginia Beach. Until it exploded on April 1st 1992… Well, not exactly. It was an April Fools prank that went wrong. VERY wrong. Producer, Matt Darroch has the story. And: In grade school, many of us learn that America was founded as an exceptional society - a land of religious freedom and boundless opportunity. But Nancy Isenberg says Britain saw colonial America as a wasteland where they could get rid of their underclass of poor whites, otherwise known as “waste people.” Also: Some of the most iconic athletes, like Muhammad Ali, used trash-talk to get into the head of their opponents and gain the upper hand. But does trash talk hit the same if it’s coming from a robot? Aaron Roth set up an experiment to see how humans were influenced by a trash talking robot. Later in the show: From reality shows to b-list rom coms, we’ve all found ourselves vegging out on the couch watching trashy or bad TV. And it’s not like we’re unaware that shows like Love Island are bad. We KNOW they’re bad. So why do we watch? Roscoe Scarborough says there are four categories of people who watch “trashy” TV. Plus: Corin Hewitt gives new meaning to the phrase one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. He’s been making art from trash for decades. Now he’s shifting his work to Adventure Playgrounds. He says these playgrounds are filled with junk and other discarded material so kids can build their own little worlds under minimal supervision.
  • We’re drawn to people who are kind to others. But once that kind person becomes our partner, we want special treatment. Lalin Anik says we get a boost from feeling our "uniqueness" affirmed. She shares just how critical that special treatment is to a fulfilling relationship. And: Can one person really satisfy all of our needs? Julian Glover says no. They share how non-monogamy can be a freedom practice. Later in the show: Studies show that the more we look at screens, the less we feel our body. Scary, right? In our virtual world, we are becoming increasingly out of touch. Two days after Sushma Subramanian got engaged, she moved to Virginia to teach, leaving her fiance behind. She tells us about the app that got them talking -- and touching-- across the distance. Plus: Kristina Feeser shares her bittersweet realities of love.
  • Lauren K. Alleyne lived the first part of her life in Trinidad and then moved to America at 18 and has been there since. Her poems explore what it’s like to have one foot in Trinidad and one in America. Home, she says, is her poetry. And: Alexia Arthurs award-winning short story collection is called How To Love A Jamaican. She says she wrote the collection while she was in the Midwest as a way to feel closer to her cultural home. Later in the show: The themes of a coming-of-age story are universal: independence, disillusionment, purpose, power. But it’s the particulars, whether Dickens’ England or Baldwin’s Harlem that make a story stick with us. Maggie Marangione’s novel Across the Blue Ridge Mountains roots coming-of-age in the Appalachian communities of Shenandoah. Plus: Solomon Isekeije says his art is all about mixing, just like his identity. He grew up in Lagos, Nigeria with a mix of languages and backgrounds all around him. Now Isekeiji makes art that grapples with the different parts of who he is.
  • Gay men’s choruses have a rich history that stretches back to San Francisco in the 1970’s. Kevin Schattenkirk-Harbaugh is a longtime member of a gay men’s chorus and he says it was one of the first spaces where he truly felt like he belonged. And: David Trouille embedded himself in a community of Latino immigrants who regularly played park soccer in West Los Angeles. The soccer field was a place where these men could bond, share work opportunities, and blow off steam. But then the surrounding white neighborhood started to take notice… Later in the show: Many African American intellectual and civil rights leaders like W.E.B Du Bois, Thurgood Marshall, and Medgar Evers were Freemasons. But little has been written about the role of Black freemasonry during the Civil Rights Movement. Derrick Lanois says African American fraternal organizations offered a safe space where Black men could plan the resistance against racial oppression. Plus: Boys learn what it means to be a man from various sources in society. And one of the biggest sources today is video games. Marc Ouellette says video games take the player through what he calls “a life course of masculinity.”
  • In the summer of 1982, a group of six paraplegic men set out to climb the highest natural peak in Dallas, Texas. Sometimes carrying their wheelchairs up the Guadalupe Peak, they made it. Perri Meldon is working on a disability handbook that tells these stories and more. And: How Lauren McMillan and her students are working with the Patawomeck and Rappahannock Tribes to develop the Virginia Indian Trail in King George County. Later in the show: Tens of thousands of people take pilgrimages to Camino de Santiago each year. Kathleen Jenkins finds that children and parents are especially enlightened by their pilgrimages. Plus: Jolanta Wawrzycka takes us along James Joyce's route through Bloomsday in Dublin.
  • This year, we’re bringing you some of our favorite segments from 2022. We’re starting in the 60’s. Formed in the mid 1960’s, The Soulmasters was an interracial soul band from Danville, VA. Jerry Wilson and John Irby were the two African-American lead singers of The Soulmasters and the other 8 members of the band were white. Producer Matt Darroch met up with Jerry to reflect on his three years in the band, and what it was like touring the South during the height of segregation. This interview originally aired in the April episode Music as Escape. And: The first federally registered Black neighborhood in the United States was Jackson Ward, a once-booming economic and residential district in Richmond, Virginia. Through the Skipwith-Roper Homecoming initiative, Sisters Sesha Moon and Enjoli Moon (JXN Project) are working to reconstruct the gambrel roof cottage of Richmond’s first known Black homeowner: Abraham Skipwith. The JXN Project has since revealed renderings for the Skipwith-Roper Cottage. This past Autumn they hosted an archeological dig on the site. This interview originally aired in the February 2022 episode Homecoming. Later in the show: Fifty years after the last atmospheric nuclear tests on American soil, radioactive elements remain in our food supply. Jim Kaste says the honey is especially hot. This segment originally aired in the September episode How Hot is Your Honey. Plus: Bruce Cahoon spends most of his summers reading a book called Freshwater Algae of North America. It’s fascinating really! But if that’s not your thing, he’s also got two great audiobooks to recommend. This segment originally aired in the July 2022 WGR's 2022 Summer Reading Recs episode.
  • In the mid-20th century, American women were bombarded with tips, tricks, and goods to help them become the perfect housewife. Laura Puaca has studied four records released by General Mills that featured Betty Crocker “talking recipes.” They were developed in response to and in collaboration with blind homemakers and they extended to blind women choices that had long been an option for their non-disabled counterparts. And: Hearing aids are now available to purchase over-the-counter and without a prescription. Christine Eubanks discusses who OTC hearing aids are right for and who is better off working with a doctor. Later in the show: About half of all Americans who get an upper limb prosthetic eventually stop using it. The technology is difficult to use and the limbs don’t always do that much. Siddhartha Sikdar is working with a team to develop new technology for better, more helpful prosthetic arms and hands. And: Many people have heard of wheelchair basketball, but what about kayaking, water skiing, or wakeboarding for full-time wheelchair users? Physical therapist Daniel Miner works with Wheel Love, a Virginia community group that helps make recreational activities available to people with disabilities.
  • eSports has recently grown into a billion dollar industry. Top professional players rake in millions from competing in games like League of Legends, Overwatch, and Rocket League. Earlier this year, Old Dominion University opened a new state of the art eSports arena. Producer Matt Darroch has the story. And: Video games have inspired hit songs and have been adapted into countless movies. Boris Willis says the next horizon for video games is the stage. He uses cutting-edge video game technology to turn his performances into interactive experiences. Also: Arcades defined pop culture in the 1980’s and 90’s. But today, they’re almost extinct. Zach Whalen charts the rise and fall of one of America’s most nostalgic institutions: the arcade. Later in the Show: In 2014, Anita Sarkesian posted a series of videos criticizing sexist tropes in video games. The onslaught of harassment directed towards Sarkesian and other women in the gaming community is known as the Gamergate scandal. Bruce Williams says we’re still dealing with the social and political fallout from Gamergate today. Plus: Over the years, politicians and pundits have been quick to blame violent video games for mass shootings. But Jimmy Ivory says there's no evidence to suggest video games lead to violent behavior.