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September 5, 2013

Host: Ted Simons

History of African-Americans in Tempe

  |   Video
  • Author Jarred Smith has written a book about the history of African-Americans in Tempe. We’ll talk to Smith about his book, which will be available for free.
  • Jarred Smith - Author
Category: Community   |   Keywords: author, history, ,

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Ted Simons: A new book on the history of African-Americans in Tempe will be offered to the public tonight at a forum at the Tempe History Museum. Jared Smith is the author of the book and a curator at the museum. Thank you so much for joining us on "Arizona Horizon."

Jared Smith: Thank you for having me, Ted.

Ted Simons: OK. A book on African-Americans in Tempe. Why that subject, why not Phoenix, Scottsdale, Prescott, Tucson? Tempe.

Jared Smith: Tempe is a city that takes a great deal of pride in its diversity today. And we have, over the years, those stories were not always well told. You now have the Mexican-American population of Tempe, who over the years have largely redressed the problems of not getting -- That the story wasn't told. And of course they have been here from the very beginning of Tempe. After the story of African-Americans had not yet gotten out there. And it was people in the community who saw a gentleman named Edward Smith who saw and realized that it was time for that to be redressed, which led to the formation of the African-American Advisory Committee at the museum, and then eventually led to this book project.

Ted Simons: The experience any different in Tempe than other local cities?

Jared Smith: You know, there's a lot of crossover, because the African-American community, a lot of it in this region gravitated towards Phoenix. There were small communities in Mesa, Chandler, and I know other parts of the Valley, but a lot of the focus was in Phoenix, so the Tempe community was so small, you almost wouldn't call it a community before the post-World War II period, but there were people there from the s beyond at least.

Ted Simons: The city was not always welcoming to the African-Americans. There was a Klan presence, and Tempe was considered a “sundown town.” Explain that, please.

Jared Smith: OK. It's one of those things that basically the idea that African-Americans were, they could work here, but they were not welcome to be here after dark. Which is at times is oddball because you do have some people who are living here nonetheless, very small numbers and often in the rural districts. But there was no law on the books, this was a kind of social code, and everybody knew it. And the only time there was very briefly a law on the books, it was directed towards Native Americans. After the city was incorporated, they quickly took it off the books.

Ted Simons: With that in mind, what -- World War II, what drove the change? Arizona State University, the Teachers’ College, what happened there?

Jared Smith: A lot of it, ASU is a big wedge into this. From just after World War I you start to have African-Americans attending ASU, and they have to go because they're going to be teachers for some of these various segregated schools around the state. And so that's one of the key wedges. Eventually the education system, the school system becomes another wedge in the early 50's when Tempe integrates in 1952. As far as the African-American students are concerned.

Ted Simons: And pre-Brown vs. Board of Education.

Jared Smith: That's right. It's just preceding that.

Ted Simons: Let's look at some of the photographs here. It's interesting that Buffalo soldiers in the Salt River valley, Tempe included, this photograph here, we're talking turn of the century. This is among the earliest settlers.

Jared Smith: Absolutely. Absolutely. And you know, these -- We only know of one gentleman who's probably a Buffalo soldier, he's settled in Tempe, his name is Theodore Thomas. He probably came with the 10th cavalry during the expeditions against Geronimo, but after that time period a lot of these veterans would settle especially in the Phoenix area, and you would also get some of these guys retiring after the Spanish-American War, so you had a good-sized presence, maybe pretty small in Tempe, but good sized presence overall of Buffalo Soldiers.

Ted Simons: The first African-Americans we think born in Tempe were those two young kids, the first far left and --

Jared Smith: And the far right. That's Archie on the left, Archie Lewis, his mother is Ada Green-Lewis. Their grandmother is the first acknowledged permanent African-American settler to this area. That's Mary Green. Archie was born in the mid-1890s, and his sister Susie would follow soon after. They were both born in Tempe. The first known African-American children born there.

Ted Simons: And lived where now, obviously everything kind of happened downtown.

Jared Smith: Not real clear. You still had quite a few people living in what's -- What would have been the rural districts at that time. There were a few people in town, Theodore and Maggie Thomas right after about the turn of the century and after and settled in the downtown maple area of Tempe.

Ted Simons: We have a photograph of the Crimson Rims baseball team, and we see an African-American athlete there on the side. Again, turn of the century here, athletics probably another factor in integration eventually. Correct?

Jared Smith: You know, absolutely. Even though a lot of the teams tend to be segregated in those days, but you still as this photograph is perfect evidence of, you have a lot of crossover. In the territorial period you'll see more crossover when have you an African-American player on the Tempe Crimson Rims, seated next to him is E.P. Carr, founder of Carr's Mortuary. You have white players, Hispanic players on the team. Baseball was one of those common sports everybody played, it was extremely popular and I think it did eventually help.

Ted Simons: Dr. Martin Luther King speaking at Goodwin Stadium, the old football stadium near College and Apache, the north side of Apache, I think there’s a parking garage there now, but again, spoke here in, what, ‘64?

Jared Smith: That's right. June of '64. Robert Spendler, archivist for ASU, pointed out, think of how hot it was that night. These guys are sitting there in their suits, probably can't wait to get back into some air conditioning. Sitting to give a speech in front of 8,000 very hot but enthusiastic people.

Ted Simons: And President Obama obviously has been to Tempe as well, before and after being president if I recall. I think he was here, back when he was a senator.

Jared Smith: That's right. So you have -- A lot of people equate the two visits in a lot of ways.

Ted Simons: And finally we have Curley Culp, just inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame, homecoming king, 1967

Jared Smith: 1967. That's right. And for people at that time are still struggling to buy homes in Tempe. If you're African-American you're still having a hard time. This is a big deal. Here we have black homecoming king and a white homecoming queen. And it's pretty remarkable for a town that had some of the challenges had over the years. And it's -- Maybe in part the star power and how well liked Curley Culp was on the ASU campus. It doesn't hurt, and certainly good sign of the times.

Ted Simons: So much of this seems so long ago. And yet Tempe really, first African-American city council member is on the council now. And he's a young guy, he's Corey Woods.

Jared Smith: That's right.

Ted Simons: Looking back, seeing what's happening now, what do you want folks to take from this book?

Jared Smith: Well, I hope if nothing else there is a story there. Often the first thing people think is an African-American history of Tempe, there's history everywhere, of course. And part of it is seeking it out. Luckily for the -- Especially the post-World War II period, we have a lot of oral histories, community members who sat down and really helped make this project, really breathed life into it. It also took some digging into archives and records before that. But you know, you hope people start to think about the complexity of these things, and you know, to learn from it, if they disagree with something, go out, go out, write articles, write books, or if you agree, however it is, we need more to this story, because there are a lot of unanswered questions still.

Ted Simons: Jared, Thank you so much for joining us.

Jared Smith: Thank you so much for having me, Ted.

Medical Marijuana for Children

  |   Video
  • A 5-year-old Arizona boy, Zander Welton, has been approved to use medical marijuana to help control seizures. Representative John Kavanagh, who opposes medical marijuana use by children, and Dr. William Troutt, who supports use of medical marijuana by children, will discuss the issue
  • John Kavanagh - Representative, Arizona
  • Andrew Myers
  • Campaign Manager
Category: Medical/Health   |   Keywords: medical, marijuana,

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Ted Simons: Good evening, and welcome to "Arizona Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. 5-year-old Zander Welton of Mesa suffers from seizures caused by a genetic brain defect. The child's parents applied to have their son treated with medical marijuana by way of marijuana oil drops, and that application has been approved. But the case raises questions about exposing children to marijuana. Joining us now is state representative John Kavanagh, who says medical marijuana can harm children. And speaking in favor of medical marijuana for kids is Andrew Myers, campaign manager for Arizona's most recent medical marijuana initiative. Good to see you both here, thanks for joining us. All right. The idea of a 5-year-old granted the ability to use medical marijuana. A bad thing?

John Kavanagh: A very bad thing. Look, the FDA has not approved marijuana for the treatment of any condition whatsoever. And no major national medical association of physicians has said it should be used to treat anybody. You have a few rogue state organizations, but it's not FDA approved, no major medical organization approves it. The American Academy of Pediatrics says don't give it to children, and a new study in the last week says it is extremely dangerous for children. I would read two sentences from the author, which sum it up. "Data from epidemiological studies have repeatedly shown an association between cannabis use and subsequent addiction to heavy drugs and psychosis, that is schizophrenia. When the first exposure occurs in younger versus older adolescents, the impact of cannabis seems to be worse in regard to many outcomes such as mental health, education attainment, delinquency, and the ability to conform to adult roles."

Ted Simons: I want to get back to those studies in a second, but a 5-year-old medical marijuana, a good thing?

Andrew Myers: I don't think what we're discussing here is whether giving medical marijuana to a 5-year-old is a good thing. It's whether it's the best of the available options. And just to touch quick upon national organizations and support medical marijuana use, the American Public Health Association, the American Nurses Association, the British Medical Association, among many others support use of medical marijuana for variety of conditions. In the case of this child, I spent about an hour on the phone with his father, and he gave me a rundown of what Zander has been through over the last few years with his condition. The medications he is currently on and have already taken are so much more dangerous for him than marijuana could ever be. And the outcomes and the available treatment for him are getting so narrow, at this point marijuana is the best option. For instance, let me continue, Depakote, a drug he was taking before causes liver problems, diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness, hair loss, blur and double vision, ringing in ears, unsteadiness and weight changes. He was admitted to the hospital for organ failure when he was on that medication. For him the next step if the cannabis treatment does not work, he's going to have the entire left hemisphere of his brain detached in order to be able to treat this. Right now we're considering options between drugs that were killing him, literally, cutting his brain off from the rest of his body systems or trying something that might work.

Ted Simons: If it helps with debilitating seizures for a 5-year-old, why not?

John Kavanagh: Nobody knows it helps. You just don't flip a coin and guess. The United States has the safest prescription and nonprescription drug program in the world. Because we don't allow snake oil to be peddled. Before a drug can be given to the public, studies have to be shown that convinces the FDA, research doctors, statisticians, pharmacologists that it's safe and it's effective. Marijuana has not passed the hurdles for any condition whatsoever. And I heard the doctor of this poor child on TV and the evidence she gave to give this child this dangerous drug which can have very bad effects, was, quote, “anecdotal evidence.” That means rumor or stories that it helps some people. You don't treat patients based on that kind of flimsy evidence, contrary to the FDA and every major medical association.

Andrew Myers: The truth of it is that off-label often experimental treatments are tried with patients in dire medical situations all of the time, including Zander. This is a family at the end of their rope. I would actually ask those who would deny his ability to pursue this treatment, is having the left hemisphere of his brain shut off a more preferable option than using a natural remedy that even if it is dangerous, even if there may be negative side effects associated with marijuana, they are -- They pale in comparison to the side effects of the current he's currently getting and won't be felt for many years. Right now we have to treat the condition at hand. We have a child who is dying from this condition and must be treated.

John Kavanagh: Drugs can be used off-label, but those are approved. And marijuana snot approved. When they're used off label it has to be with the concurrence of the medical community. One of the problems I've learned at the legislature is when you try to make law based on a really unusual case, this poor child is an extremely unusual case. I don't deny the fact a case like this maybe we should have a medical committee or procedure which would allow this use. But certainly this child's condition does not justify that the 21,000 people on medical marijuana right now in Arizona, many of whom seem to be faking pain.

Ted Simons: We'll put that 21,000 over here we'll keep the 5-year-old over here. If it provides any relief whatsoever, is it a bad thing? 5-year-old with debilitating seizures.

John Kavanagh: Oxycodone could give relief, heroin, if you're going to pick among drugs where there's no evidence this helps, no reliable evidence --

Ted Simons: If oxycodone and heroin provided relief would you be against a child taking those particular medications?

John Kavanagh: Oxycodone is a legal prescription drug that could be used. If a doctor said yes, then it’s legal and I would not object to that.

Andrew Myers: I think we're getting -- We're showing how ridiculous the debate is around this now. We're saying we ought to give heroin to a child before we would give marijuana to a child to treat a condition --

John Kavanagh: I didn't say that. I said they shouldn't give heroin because it's not approved. Like marijuana is not approved.

Andrew Myers: Getting to the research, there are five distinct areas of medicine where marijuana has been shown time and again to be effective. And to get the research done has to be a priority for the medical industry, but we have a situation where the federal government says we cannot use this because we don't have the studies to be able to prove its effectiveness. But then they do not all lout studies to proceed. And they catch medical marijuana and its treatment in a Catch-22, but there have been many studies, many of them double blind that show marijuana is effective in treatment of nausea, the treatment of pain, particularly neuropathic pain, in the treatment of spasms and seizures, like in the case of this child; in the treatment of anxiety and the treatment of dementia and Alzheimer's. There's a large study of 60 coming out of Israel this year showing exceptional results for dementia patients.

John Kavanagh: Not one of these studies, not one has passed the FDA's hurdle. That's what protects from us snake oil. And alluding to studies that the FDA considers inadequate is not a justification to use a drug. There is research being taken place, University of Arizona is doing research. I supported a bill to allow more research. The day that medical marijuana is shown by the FDA to treat a condition then we won't need dispensaries because a person can have a legitimate doctor to dispense it and go to a regular pharmacy to get it.

Ted Simons: If marijuana were legal that would change as far as were you concerned. Medical marijuana is legal in Arizona.

John Kavanagh: By legal I mean legal in terms of the FDA allowing it to be prescribed as a drug.

Ted Simons: You have to have those -- You have to have that OK from certain, what, agencies, from certain hierarchies --

John Kavanagh: In this country, before anybody can market a drug, it has to be proven scientifically to be safe and effective. That's how all of your drugs get to the marketplace. To protect you. Marijuana has never passed the hurdle for any condition.

Ted Simons: Do you believe medical marijuana or this oil which we don't even know if this oil is legal, we're finding out because it's a derivative of medical marijuana it may not pass muster legally, but do you believe this would be more harmful to a 5-year-old child with this condition than the other therapies the child is taking now?

John Kavanagh: I don't know. And quite frankly I would leave it to medical experts, the FDA, their pharmacologists, their researchers, their statisticians. They're impartial experts who look at the evidence objectively and not with the emotion of a distraught father or the politics of someone who wants to legalize marijuana.

Ted Simons: Wait for folks who are experts in the field to say this is safe, this is effective?

Andrew Myers: I think we should listen to experts. The experts in the field that have studied this have been overwhelmingly clear that medical marijuana is effective. What the representative wants to us do is wait for a federal government agency that is influenced heavily by the pharmaceutical companies, not to approve a drug that cannot be patented. I think we need to remember that. We would like to believe all government agencies are equal and just when they hand down these decisions, but corporate interests have a lot of control over these types of decisions at the FDA level.

Ted Simons: Gentlemen, good to have you both here. Thanks for joining us.

Andrew Myers: Appreciate it.


  |   Video
  • A Phoenix dance company is gaining international attention for its unique style. Last month, Scorpius Dance Theatre became the first Arizona Company invited to the Booking Dance Festival, part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which is considered the largest arts festival in the world. We’ll take a look at the unique style of Scorpius.
Category: The Arts   |   Keywords: phoenix, dance, scorpius, theatre,

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Ted Simons: Last month Scorpius Dance Theatre became the first Arizona company invited to the Booking Dance Festival, part of the world-renowned Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Producer Christina Estes and photographer Steven Snow introduce us to the Scorpius Dance Theatre.

Lisa Starry: A little bit more closer to each other. I felt were you separated.

Lisa Starry: I’m the director and choreographer and founder of Scorpius Dance Theatre, it's my baby.

Christina Estes: Lisa Starry's baby was born in 1999.

Lisa Starry: I was focusing on my teaching career, and it was really hard to go to rehearsals. I just felt like really I needed to do my own work. So I gathered a bunch of friends and said, “Do you want to start this company?” And they all said yes. And that’s how we started.

Christina Estes: What they started was pretty unusual. Performances packed with beauty, emotion, and diversity.

Gavin Sisson: We have such a wide array of technical dancers. Hip hop, ballet, contemporary, acrobatic. I love having all of those art forms combined into one dance company or dance theatre.

Christina Estes: Gavin Sisson took his aerial artistry to Scotland. "Water Dreams" was one of two Scorpius performances at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Gavin Sisson: It's amazing. You get to fly. You totally are suspended off the ground, just by wrapping yourself up in this piece of fabric and floating around and being twirled in the air, and then taking a risk and taking that breath and falling all the way down.

Lisa Starry: There was a review from “The Scotsman” which is a huge newspaper there, it's like "The New York Times" in New York City. And both my pieces were mentioned in there. And that was the icing on the cake.

Christina Estes: Starry says the exposure can lead to teaching opportunities and tours, like their first big paid gig coming up in Helena, Montana.

Lisa Starry: They're paying us a nice lump sum, and I have to budget that because you have to pay for airfare, and then the rest of the money will go to performers, your crew, and food stipend and stuff like that. So it's exciting.

Christina Estes: They'll perform "A Vampire Tale." After 10 years in Phoenix, Starry says it's become a cult classic.

Lisa Starry: We've marketed and called it like “The Nutcracker” of Halloween.

Christina Estes: It's about a young woman who falls into a clan of vampires, and then falls for the king, which angers the queen. Assistant director Nicole Olson is the queen.

Nicole Olson: It's my favorite place to be. It's the best high, to be on stage in front of people.

Christina Estes: It's not just different styles that set Scorpius apart.

Lisa Starry: We can do one to two to three-week runs, which is really rare for a dance company, because most dance companies will work for six months on a piece and perform one night at a large theatre, and that's it. If you come you come, if you didn't, you missed out. So we have been able to develop a really big and diverse audience because we perform longer throughout the year.

Gavin Sisson: We want Joe Schmo off the sidewalk to come in and take something away from our show, whether it be the athleticism, the subtle movement, the amazing lights, the amazing music. We want anybody to take away anything. One thing, at least, from one of our shows.

Nicole Olson: Lisa believes that you should have an audience leave saying, I wish could I have seen more minutes of that, instead of saying, I wish that would have ended minutes ago.

Christina Estes: Starry’s baby is celebrating its 14th year, a challenging time for any parent.

Lisa Starry: It seems like it's been a long time, a lot of sacrifices, a lot of financial sacrifices.

Christina Estes: But Starry says the payoff comes with every performance.

Lisa Starry: Seeing all these people come and smile, or cry, and clap really loud is -- That just makes my day.

Ted Simons: Scorpius will present "A Vampire Tale" in mid-October at the Phoenix Little Theater before moving on to performances in Montana.