This Is How It’s Going Down, Ep. 1

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— The bicentennial of the U.S. Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1976, was marked by both nationalistic fanfare and radical protest. In Philadelphia, where the declaration was signed, city planners eager to showcase new urban development clashed with the organizers of an alternative commemoration called “People’s ’76”—a parade organized by a coalition of activists that included Vietnam vets, African-Americans, American Indians and Puerto Rican nationalists. For an intrepid toddler living on the outskirts of Philly, the layered historical significance of that day formed the backdrop for his first vivid sense of consciousness—as an individual and an American.

The Compass is pleased on this Fourth of July to present a new monthly podcast hosted by Khalil Ekulona, a musician, writer and educator based in Albuquerque. Ekulona was raised in Owings Mill, MD and earned a degree in political science from Elon University. Before relocating to New Mexico (where he teaches music and screenwriting to youth), he was the leader of Fresh Air, a hip-hop group in Los Angeles. “Basically,” says Ekulona, “I am the coolest person you’ll ever meet, probably.”

All episode music produced by Pope Yesyesyall.