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.

Pages

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.

Read more

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:

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

7:52am

Mon February 23, 2015
Author Interviews

Struggling Writer's Debut Novel Gets Coveted Oprah Winfrey Nod

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 7:53 pm

First-time author Cynthia Bond
Courtesy of Cynthiabond.com

Oprah's Book Club has turned unknown authors into superstars. Her latest selection is the novel Ruby. The book is set in an all-black hamlet called Liberty Township, in East Texas, and is part of a planned trilogy by first-time author Cynthia Bond.

Read more

7:03am

Fri February 13, 2015
Code Switch

Study: Black Girls Are Being Pushed Out of School

Originally published on Fri February 13, 2015 5:05 pm

According to a new study from African-American Policy Forum, black girls and teens are disproportionately impacted by zero-tolerance policies in schools.
Terry Vine Getty Images

News surrounding a confrontation in a Baltimore school is raising new questions about the role race plays in discipline for black girls. Baltimore television station WBAL has been reporting on an October incident that led to three students at the city's Vanguard Middle School being injured, and later arrested and suspended, after an altercation with a school security officer.

Read more

5:37pm

Tue January 13, 2015
Code Switch

Style Over Substance: How Clothes Can Work For And Against Us

Originally published on Tue January 13, 2015 7:28 pm

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife, Chirlane McCray, attend the funeral of New York Police Officer Wenjian Liu in New York City on Jan. 4. McCray was criticized for her choice in clothing.
Dennis Van Tine UPI/Landov

New York city's first lady, Chirlane McCray, is being publicly dressed down for not dressing up enough when she attended the funeral of slain NYPD officer Wenjian Liu on Sunday.

Read more

5:23pm

Sat December 27, 2014
Code Switch

For Hollywood, 'Selma' Is A New Kind Of Civil Rights Story

Originally published on Sat December 27, 2014 6:54 pm

Common plays James Bevel, Tessa Thompson plays Diane Nash, Lorraine Toussaint plays Amelia Boynton and Andre Holland plays Andrew Young in Ava DuVernay's Selma.
Atsushi Nishijima Paramount Pictures

The movie Selma opened to high praise on Christmas Day — Variety says director Ava DuVernay delivers "a razor-sharp portrait of the civil rights movement." The film focuses on a 1965 voting rights march from Selma, Ala., to the state capital in Montgomery — a march remembered for the savage beatings participants sustained at the hands of both state and local police.

Read more

4:52am

Thu December 25, 2014
Book News & Features

Demand For Audio Books Keeps Penguin Random House Recording

Originally published on Thu December 25, 2014 7:00 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Pages