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The People’s War – Episode 46: “How the streets were made” interview with Yelena Bailey


In this episode we talk with Dr. Yelena Bailey, author of How the Streets Were Made: Housing Segregation and Black Life in America.  The hood, the ghetto, the streets, regardless of what we call it, in her new book, Dr. Bailey argues that the streets are not just a physical geographical space but that they are a “ sociocultural entity that has influenced our understanding of blackness in America for decades.”

Dr. Bailey explains the role of government policies, advertising campaigns, colonial social sciences, and popular culture plays in shaping the confinement of Africans within these urban spaces.  A tradition of domestic and settler colonialism that she ties to the death of George Floyd.

She explains the impacts of:

  • Creation of the FHA and redlining in undermining black homeownership
  • “The Secret of Selling the Negro”, a 1954 marketing film created by Johnson publications the parent company of Ebony magazine
  • “Boyz in the Hood”, “Snowfall”, “The Wire”

She also talks about African resistance and the way African cultural production reflects that resistance. The program includes excerpts from and discussion of music by the Fugees, Nipsey Hussle, Kendrick Lamar and Buddy.

Dr. Bailey was raised in the Minneapolis area and earned her Ph.D. in literature at the University of California, San Diego.  She has taught at a number of universities and colleges including Seattle Pacific University.

The People’s War radio show is produced by WBPU 96.3 FM “Black Power 96” in St. Petersburg, Florida. It is hosted by Dr. Matsemela Odom and Muambi Tangu, bringing an African Internationalist perspective to the important issues of our world.