The Memory Palace

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Episode 62:
We’ve Forgotten James Powell

Jul 17, 2014

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Music, Footnotes & Ephemera

The music is “Blue Sands” by the Chico Hamilton Trio.

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12 Comments | Leave a Comment

12 Comments on We’ve Forgotten James Powell

  1. Ben Fast says:

    Thanks Nate for sharing this important reminder. As a history student it is often important to look for the “match” within the “fire” as you put it, but I feel many people often don’t get that far. This is a very important episode, keep up the good work!

  2. P jones says:

    Worst episode yet…. middle-aged white guy wrote a poem about racism? Snore.

  3. Rick says:

    Great Episode Nate! One minor quibble: Chicago is on Lake Michigan, not the ocean

  4. pinellas says:

    Just listened to this & it strikes me as particularly relevant today, considering the recent events in MO, CA, etc. It appears to me that long-overlooked racial inequities. injustices & outrages seem to be coming to a head, noticed & reported by our media…..finally.

  5. Damon says:

    Looks like some people are starting to remember James Powell

  6. Betsy says:

    How timely and how unfortunate that the United States has not learned the lessons necessary to prevent unarmed African American men from being targets for police gunfire. Shamefully we have forgotten James Powell.

  7. Jilly says:

    Seems like America has not changed much since James Powell’s time, tragically. I have never even heard of James Powell before and I like to think I know about American history. Thank you for this podcast! Great episode.

  8. Ceci says:

    Hi Nate, I just found this brilliant podcast through Planet Money. I was just leaving my building on East 76th Street when this episode began. I knew the name James Powell, but didn’t know who he was, and I was chilled and stunned to find out that he was killed right on my sleepy, quiet street. You didn’t mention the location, but I could picture any number of buildings where poor James died.

    I’ve lived in that neighborhood all of my life (26 years), and my parents, who were native New Yorkers and 12 years old when the Harlem race riots happened, never mentioned that our block was where it began. They probably never knew. Certainly almost no one in this neighborhood remembers. But I will never walk by 215 East 76th Street again without remembering James Powell.

  9. CJ says:

    Thanks for this episode – I had never heard of James Powell. This one gave me chills, and is still relevant today.

  10. LacyJoy says:

    I hadn’t ever heard of James Powell. Thank you for sharing his story with me. A particularly poignant moment–“We remember the fire, but we’ve forgotten the match.”
    Sadly, you could replace Mrs. Powell with any number of mothers who have wept over their son’s coffin; sons that have died at the hands of Abused Power and Racism.

  11. niam. says:

    Just saw Kareem Abdul Jabba documentary ,it was very interesting and fact it led me to the name James Powell. . I looked up james powell on the Internet I was saddened to see that the only website that had any mention of him was this…gone,forgotten,never happened..these are historical moments though sad,should be part of our African American history. …

  12. eli montgomery says:

    I heard this when it first came out and interestingly, it was one of the first things I thought about when I heard about Alton Sterling, and then Philando Castile, but before that Eric Garner, and Trayvon Marton, and Tamir Rice…and…