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Encyclopedia of Black Radio Includes White Broadcasters, but Why?

Encyclopedia of Black Radio in the United States, 1921-1955 copyRyan Ellett is a teacher at Schwegler Elementary but he's also a fan of old-time radio. That interest led him into research about African American broadcasters. But his book also includes a lengthy section on a show performed by two white men pretending to be black. "Amos 'n' Andy" was one of the most popular radio programs of all time but by today's standards, the show is seen as derogatory to blacks - even racist. KPR's J. Schafer spoke to Ellett about his Encyclopedia of Black Radio and why he felt  compelled to include the section on "Amos 'n' Andy."

Ryan Ellett is the author of the Encyclopedia of Black Radio in the United States. He was speaking to KPR's J. Schafer. Ellett is a special education teacher at Schwegler Elementary in Lawrence. He's also the founder and former editor of "The Old Radio Times," an electronic publication about the "Golden Age of Radio."

Hattie McDaniel Flickr_classic film scans
Radio and movie star Hattie McDaniel, who grew up in Wichita, was the first African American to win an Academy Award. She has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame - one for contributions to radio and another for motion pictures. (Flickr Photo via kate gabrielle)
Freeman Gosden_Charles_Correll_Amos_n_Andy
Publicity photo of Freeman Gosden as Amos and Charles Correll as Andy from the radio program Amos 'n' Andy. (Photo via Wikimedia)

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