Host, Executive Producer, Idea Man, and Top Dog of State of the Re:Union, Al Letson has received national recognition and built a devoted fan base with soul-stirring, interdisciplinary work. He established himself early in his career as a heavyweight in the Poetry Slam Movement, which garnered artistic credibility and renown. Performing on a number of national, regional and local stages including HBO's Def Poetry Jam, CBS's Final Four PreGame Showand commercial projects for Sony, the Florida Times Union, Adobe Software, and the Doorpost Film Project, Al has honed his professional voice and artistic sensibilities into a unique brand that is all his own. After winning the Public Radio Talent Quest, Al received a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to create three episodes of his public radio show concept State of the Re:Union. His company finished their first grant in August of 2009 and has just been awarded one of the largest public radio grants every given to a single project to produce a full season of shows.
An Arizona law that went into effect last year essentially ruled that the program offered in the city's public school system was divisive and should be scrapped. At the end of the first semester without the classes, hard feelings still linger.
Haitians who fled to Miami after last year's earthquake have found new sorrow. Used to working and being independent, refugees are now forced to accept welfare and relying on friends and relatives for help. State of the Re:Union host Al Letson explores their stories.
To this day, Birmingham, Ala., is dealing with the aftermath of a brutal civil rights history. Many programs in the city seeking to heal lingering wounds by crossing racial and economic barriers. One of them is called Scrollworks. Through it, children are offered music lessons and instruments to practice on, free of charge.
Before the civil rights movement made Birmingham, Ala., a dateline in history, it was a famous steel town. Its mines have been closed for more than three decades, but the network of old tramways is being turned into a large park. Now it's a place to explore both the history of mining and the subtleties of race.