Stateside: Invasive baby’s breath flowers; Yemeni Great Lakes sailors; remembering Judge Damon Keith

Apr 29, 2019

Today on Stateside, a Wayne State University law professor remembers Judge Damon Keith, the longest-serving black judge in American history who died Sunday at age 96. Plus, why the popular flower baby’s breath poses a threat to the coastal sand dunes of the Great Lakes.

Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below. 

Judge Damon J. Keith, judicial giant and civil rights icon, dies at 96

  • Judge Damon J. Keith died Sunday morning at the age of 96. The lifelong Detroiter and civil rights icon left his mark on  history with a series of landmark decisions that changed the nation’s social and legal landscape.
  • Wayne State University law professor Peter Hammer is director of the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights. He reflects on what motivated Keith to become a lawyer, and the legacy that he leaves behind as the country’s longest-serving African-American judge.

Straits of Mackinac are a bird of prey superhighway

  • The Straits of Mackinac are known for clear blue waters, strong currents, and a five-mile-long suspension bridge. They're also one of the busiest migration spots for birds of prey in the United States. Michigan Radio's Kaye LaFond brings us this story. 

The untold history of Yemeni sailors on the Great Lakes

  • Michigan is home to the nation’s largest population of Yemeni-Americans. When they first came to the state, many Yemeni men found work aboard Great Lakes ships. A history project from students at the University of Michigan-Dearborn is documenting the long, but little-known, history of Yemeni Great Lakes sailors. 
  • Sally Howell is an associate professor of history at the UM-Dearborn, where she directs the Center for Arab American Studies. Gallal Albaneh is Yemeni-American, who graduated from the Great Lakes Maritime Academy. They talk about the public history project Howell's students worked on, which focuses on the stories of Yemeni sailors like Albaneh.

Bacon: Corruption trial exposes cozy relationship between sneaker companies and college basketball

  • The NFL draft, which ended on Saturday, was filled with lots of emotion. Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon reacts to the new additions to the Detroit Lions, which picked up nine players in 2019 draft class. He also touches on the college basketball corruption trial of ex-sports agent, ex-Adidas consultant, and Michigan native Christian Dawkins.

Invasive baby’s breath plant flourishing on Michigan’s coastal sand dunes

  • Baby’s breath might be a lovely touch in a vase of long-stem roses, but when researchers see the flower flourishing on coastal sand dunes, they shudder. That’s because baby’s breath is an invasive species that wreaks havoc on native ecosystems.
  • Charlyn Partridge is an assistant professor at the Annis Water Resources Institute at Grand Valley State University. She tells us why baby’s breath is so bad for coastal dunes, and how her research into the flower’s DNA may help curb its invasion.

Review: Award-winning Michigan poet tackles getting old in new collection

  • Writer Keith Taylor reviews award-winning Michigan poet Jack Ridl's latest collection Saint Peter and the Goldfinch, in which Taylor says the West Michigan wordsmith explores a necessary, but often overlooked, subject: getting old. 

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