Tune in to this episode of the My Nuclear Life Podcast, as Shelly is joined by Dr. Vincent Intondi, history professor at Montgomery College in Maryland. Intondi is the director of the Institute for Race, Justice, and Civic Engagement (IRJC) at Montgomery College. He is invited on the podcast today to discuss his recent authorship of his eye opening book entitled African Americans Against the Bomb: Nuclear Weapons, Colonialism, and the Black Freedom Movement. Shelly shares that while reading this book, she was uncomfortable with material, and had to process material from perspectives that she had never considered before. This interview proves to be a true eye-opener for listeners. If you enjoy the conversation, and want to dive deeper into further study, check out Intondi’s book!
Shelly begins the conversation by asking Vincent about some particulars he addresses in this book, along with his overall passion for sharing the narrative of history that people have never been taught before. Has history and education been tunneled to avoid talking about things we’d have to take responsibility for? Learn about Black History and the connection with the Hiroshima bomb. While so much of American history has been written by rich white males, there is a growing desire for re-writing the narratives from other points of view, but there is a lot of catching up to do. Recently, there has been more work done on the role of African Americans in history in general, but Vincent shares that he is working to fill in the gap of African American involvement in the nuclear movement.
Next, the podcast moves on to discussing the clear connections between nuclear weapons and racism. Listen as they chat about how Martin Luther King Jr. drew this connection, along with many others over the course of history. Questioning colonialism and racism, Shelly and Vincent set out to take a look at the many specific events proving connection to the nuclear movement. Learn more about President Truman and how different sources recount history in contradictory ways. How were the Japanese people described in the media during WWII? How many millions of deaths had to be “saved” in order to make dropping the bomb acceptable? Mainstream newspapers wrote about the events of Pearl Harbor, while avoiding addressing Dory Miller as a war hero, until enough pressure from the African American community forced them to face reality. Shelly and Vincent chat about the difference in how mainstream media, and African American newspapers, presented the drop of the nuclear bomb. Did everyone justify this decision? How did the NAACP respond? Allying with certain forces, it is clear that politics were the driving underlying force for the NAACP and many others. Listen to issues of gender, race, inequalities, and all of the activists fighting for these. History has characters that everyone can identify with, the question is just whether or not we will bring these stories to light. Learn that LGBTQ communities have people to identify with in the history details that are not commonly recounted.
What things threaten the history narrative? Vincent shares about his passion for the ways in which we ought to be educating, highlighting, and branding. Shelly asks him to share about going up against the “machine”. They discuss the Nuclear Ban Treaty movement and the creativity required to get people on board. Learn about the musicians and athletes who have supported movements like this in the past. Young people bring the crucial new and fresh ideas that drive these movements to success. Vincent is convinced that the humanities and STEM silos need to be connected in schools, so people understand the importance of the interrelationships between art and science.
In closing this conversation, Shelly goes back in time to have Vincent talk about the Stockholm Peace Appeal. In the early 50s, this is appeal was presented and commonly seen as communist propaganda. Hear about the ideas behind this movement and listen as Vincent ties it to recent history through tracing President Obama’s own interest in nuclear disarmament. The vision for a nuclear free world, is this a human rights or civil rights issue?
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Production costs for this episode provided though National Science Foundation Grants PHY-1713816 & 2011267.