Stillman Alum Makes Great Strides in Public Radio
For James A. Muhammad ’92, 2010 has already been a phenomenal year. In addition to winning one of the top awards in broadcasting, the Peabody Award, he now has a two-hour documentary in national distribution on the life and work of Dr. Della Taylor Hardman. Muhammad’s Peabody Award was for his station’s documentary The Great Textbook War produced in partnership with Trey Kay Productions. His documentary on Dr. Hardman, The Black Experience, has been added to the archives of the prestigious Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center at Boston University.
“Great things have happened to me this year and I’m very humbled by the public’s response,” said James A. Muhammad. “I know that I would not be one of the few African Americans working in this field if it were not for my experiences at Stillman College.” Muhammad began his public radio career at Alabama Public Radio in Tuscaloosa as the first intern from Stillman. At the urging of Professor Stephen Jackson, Muhammad pursued and obtained a highly coveted internship from among numerous other students being considered from the University of Alabama.
Muhammad’s The Great Textbook War documents the 1974 clash between school board authorities in Charleston, West Virginia and members of the local community regarding newly adopted textbooks. Factions of the community began violent protests of the new books they viewed as encouraging children to question authority and disregard traditional values. This event is often cited as the birth of the conservative movement in America.
The Black Experience documents the evolution of the 1970’s radio show by the same name produced in Charleston, West Virginia. Hosted by Peabody award-winning journalist Charlayne Hunter Gault, the documentary features historical interviews of prominent African Americans like poet Gwendolyn Brooks, entertainer “Scatman” Crothers, singer William Warfield, singer Carmen McRae, baseball legend Clint Thomas, and writer Dorothy West.
James A. Muhammad is currently the Director of Radio Services at West Virginia Public Broadcasting. He is a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, a member of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, a board member of the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame, and a board member of Eastern Region Public Media. His wife, Shelia Culpepper-Muhammad ’94, is the Senior Vice President of WeSave, Inc. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, The Links, the National Smart Set, Book Lovers, and the Junior League.
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