A story recorded in Topeka Kansas 1993 about the successes and failures of integration. Part of my Sony Award-winning series Homeward Bound.
1993 was a critical year in America’s march towards the presidency of Donald Trump. Bill Clinton became President. The economy was only just beginning to emerge from recession. The nation was feeling unsure of itself. IN 1993 I traveled around the Midwest for the BBC World Service. I had been a student there 20 years earlier and wanted to see how things had changed. My westernmost stop was in Topeka Kansas. I had lived in Topeka just after graduating college. The city ahd changed enormously. There was a new Hispanic population. Downtown area businesses had been hammered by the opening of a Wal-Mart superstore at the junction of two interstate highways on the edge of the Kansas capital.
I was traveling on my own and lucked into meeting Topeka’s head of press and marketing, a young African-American, and we had a very interesting conversation about integration’s successes and failures.