Karen Grigsby Bates

Karen Grigsby Bates is the Los Angeles-based correspondent for NPR News. Bates contributed commentaries to All Things Considered for about 10 years before she joined NPR in 2002 as the first correspondent and alternate host for The Tavis Smiley Show. In addition to general reporting and substitute hosting, she increased the show's coverage of international issues and its cultural coverage, especially in the field of literature and the arts.

In early 2003, Bates joined NPR's former midday news program Day to Day. She has reported on politics (California's precedent-making gubernatorial recall, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's re-election campaign and the high-profile mayoral campaign of Los Angeles' Antonio Villaraigosa), media, and breaking news (the Abu Ghrarib scandal, the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia and the execution of Stanley "Tookie" Williams).

Bates' passion for food and things culinary has served her well: she's spent time with award-winning food critic Alan Richman and chef-entrepreneur Emeril Lagasse.

One of Bates' proudest contributions is making books and authors a high-profile part of NPR's coverage. "NPR listeners read a lot, and many of them share the same passion for books that I do, so this isn't work, it's a pleasure." She's had conversations with such writers as Walter Mosley, Joan Didion and Kazuo Ishiguru. Her bi-annual book lists (which are archived on the web) are listener favorites.

Before coming to NPR, Bates was a news reporter for People magazine. She was a contributing columnist to the Op Ed pages of the Los Angeles Times for ten years. Her work has appeared in Time, The New York Times, the Washington Post, Essence and Vogue. And she's been a guest on several news shows such as ABC's Nightline and the CBS Evening News.

In her non-NPR life, Bates is the author of Plain Brown Wrapper and Chosen People, mysteries featuring reporter-sleuth Alex Powell. She is co-author, with Karen E. Hudson, of Basic Black: Home Training for Modern Times, a best-selling etiquette book now in its second edition. Her work also appears in several writers' anthologies.

Bates holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wellesley College. Additionally she studied at the University of Ghana and completed the executive management program at Yale University's School of Organization and Management.

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5:13am

Tue July 28, 2015
NPR Ed

The 'Swim Whisperer' Teaches Kids To Be Water-Safe

Originally published on Tue July 28, 2015 5:35 pm

Cooper is known as the Swim Whisperer. He's been teaching swimming full-time since 1995.
Elissa Nadworny NPR

If you looked at the children at the edge of Conrad Cooper's pool, you'd think you were watching an ad for something. Jell-O, maybe. Or a breakfast cereal kids like. They're that cute.

They're lined up on the steps in the shallow end, 10 little ones, ranging from age 2 to 5. The boys are in board trunks, many wearing rash-guard shirts like the weekend surfers they might become years from now. The girls wear bright one-piece suits and two-pieces that show their childish potbellies.

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4:26pm

Thu July 16, 2015
Pop Culture

MAC Cosmetics To Launch Makeup Line Inspired By Tejano Star Selena

Originally published on Thu July 16, 2015 7:55 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

1:33pm

Mon July 13, 2015
Code Switch

A Tribute To John Williams, The Man Who Wrote 'I Am'

Originally published on Mon July 13, 2015 10:14 pm

John A. Williams, a renowned poet and novelist, died July 3. He was 89.
University of Rochester River Campus Libraries

John A. Williams might be one of the most prolific writers most people have never heard of.

Although he was often compared to Richard Wright and James Baldwin, Williams didn't much like that. He felt that when black writers were lumped together by the literary establishment, only one at a time would be allowed to succeed. His novels, which were always focused through the prism of race and were told from his black characters' point of view, were well-reviewed. But Williams never reached the level of fame of writers like Wright, Toni Morrison and Alice Walker.

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5:52pm

Sun June 28, 2015
U.S.

In The Aftermath Of Charleston, Many Whites Ask What They Can Do To Fight Racism

Originally published on Tue June 30, 2015 12:59 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

And in the aftermath of those shootings in Charleston, many white Americans are wondering how they can fight racism. Karen Grigsby Bates from NPR's code-switch team reports on some suggestions.

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7:03am

Sun June 21, 2015
Code Switch

'Project Fatherhood': In A Struggling Neighborhood, Dads Are Helping Dads

Originally published on Thu June 25, 2015 2:39 pm

A group of dads from Project Fatherhood join author Jorja Leap to celebrate the publication of her book, Project Fatherhood: A Story of Courage and Healing in One of America's Toughest Communities.
Todd Cheney Courtesy of UCLA Photography

It's early evening and several men are making their way, alone or in twos or threes, to the community room at the Jordan Downs public housing complex. This building looks like everything else here: squat, rectangular, painted boring, government-regulation beige. But what's going on inside is pretty exciting.

It's Wednesday night, and Project Fatherhood is in session.

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11:30am

Tue June 2, 2015
Around the Region

In Rural Alabama, Limited Access To Obstetrics Care

Only 17 of 54 of Alabama's rural counties have hospitals that offer obstetrics services. It's one of the state's greatest healthcare challenges. NPR's Karen Grigsby Bates speaks with journalist Anna Claire Vollers of AL.com and Dale Quinney of the Alabama Rural Health Association.

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5:09am

Fri May 22, 2015
Race

Players' Costs May Be A Factor In Why Tennis Leads Golf In Diversity

Originally published on Fri May 22, 2015 7:32 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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4:00pm

Thu April 30, 2015
Code Switch

Is It An 'Uprising' Or A 'Riot'? Depends On Who's Watching

Originally published on Fri May 1, 2015 11:08 am

What do you see in this image? An "uprising" or a "riot"?
David Goldman AP

3:13pm

Wed April 1, 2015
Code Switch

Trevor Noah Is A Quarter Jewish. Does That Make His Anti-Semitic Jokes OK?

Trevor Noah at a Comedy Central event in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2012.
Dominic Barnardt/Gallo Images Getty Images

Editor's note: This post contains words and sentiments you might find deeply offensive.

The glow had barely dimmed on Comedy Central's unveiling of comedian Trevor Noah as the new host of The Daily Show when Noah's Twitter past came under fire. His critics have called some of his old tweets offensive, racist, misogynistic, homophobic and — the charge that seems to be getting the most attention — anti-Semitic.

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7:31pm

Fri March 20, 2015
Code Switch

From Selma To Eisenhower, Trailblazing Black Reporter Was Always Probing

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 9:39 am

Ms. Payne interviewing a soldier from Chesapeake, Va., in Vietnam in 1967.
Courtesy of the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center/Harper Collins

When Ethel Payne stood to ask President Dwight Eisenhower a question at a White House press conference in July 1954, women and African-Americans were rarities in the press corps. Payne was both, and wrote for The Chicago Defender, the legendary black newspaper that in the 40s and 50s, was read in black American households the way The New York Times was in white ones.

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3:03pm

Fri March 13, 2015
Code Switch

North Carolina Looking Into 'Black Tax' At Charlotte's Ritz-Carlton

Originally published on Fri March 13, 2015 6:30 pm

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper in 2010.
Jim R. Bounds AP

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper has directed his Department of Consumer Affairs to look into reports that some African-American customers at the Ritz-Carlton in Charlotte were recently subjected to unwarranted fees.

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5:10am

Thu March 12, 2015
NPR Ed

A Child Of Slavery Who Taught A Generation

Originally published on Fri March 13, 2015 1:15 pm

Anna Julia Cooper was the fourth African-American woman in the U.S. to earn a doctoral degree.
Scurlock Studios Smithsonian

Some great teachers change the life of a student, maybe several. Anna Julia Cooper changed America.

Cooper was one of the first black women in the country to earn a Ph.D. Before that, she headed the first public high school for black students in the District of Columbia — Washington Colored High School. It later became known as the M Street School and was eventually renamed for poet Paul Laurence Dunbar.

Dunbar was a citadel of learning in segregated Washington, a center for rigorous study and no-holds-barred achievement. Its graduates over the years include:

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3:08pm

Wed March 11, 2015
Code Switch

Claude Sitton, 'Dean Of The Race Beat,' Dies At 89

Originally published on Wed March 11, 2015 5:56 pm

It may be that Claude Fox Sitton so outraged the white Southern segregationists he reported on throughout the civil rights movement because, by all appearances, he could have been standing beside them instead of writing about them in the New York Times.

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3:56pm

Thu March 5, 2015
Code Switch

A 'Black Tax' At Charlotte's Ritz-Carlton?

A photo of a table tent at the lobby bar of the Ritz-Carlton in Charlotte during CIAA week.
Courtesy Patrice Wright

A Charlotte news station reported on Monday that the Ritz-Carlton, one of prosperous uptown Charlotte's swankiest hotels, added what looks suspiciously like a black tax to the lobby bar tabs of patrons in town last week for the CIAA, the popular mega-tournament for basketball teams at historically black colleges and universities from Pennsylvania to North Carolina.

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3:45am

Thu February 26, 2015
News

In Hollywood, MLK Delivered A Lesser-Known Speech That Resonates Today

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 9:40 am

Rabbi Max Nussbaum (left) and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Los Angeles.
Temple Israel of Hollywood

Shortly after winning the Nobel Peace Prize and coming back from Selma, Ala., where residents were protesting discrimination and repeated police brutality, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a lesser-known speech to a full house at the Temple Israel of Hollywood in Los Angeles in 1965.

Formally dressed in his dark minister's robes, he told the 1,400 people assembled how much their support meant to those in the thick of the struggle.

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