Allison Keyes

Allison Keyes is an award-winning journalist with almost 20 years of experience in print, radio, and television. She has been reporting for NPR's national desk since October 2005. Her reports can be heard on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition Sunday.

Keyes coverage includes news and features on a wide variety of topics. "I've done everything from interviewing musician Dave Brubeck to profiling a group of kids in Harlem that are learning responsibility and getting educational opportunities from an Ice Hockey league, to hanging out with a group of black cowboys in Brooklyn who are keeping the tradition alive." Her reports include award-winning coverage of the Sept. 11 terror attacks in New York, coverage of the changes John Ashcroft sought in the Patriot Act, and the NAACP lawsuit against gun companies.

In 2002 Keyes joined NPR as a reporter and substitute host for The Tavis Smiley Show. She switched to News and Notes when it launched in January 2005. Keyes enjoyed the unique opportunity News & Notes gave her to cover events that affect communities of color on a national level. "Most news outlets only bother to cover crime and the predictable museum opening or occasional community protest," she said. "But people have a right to know what's going on and how it will affect them and their communities."

In addition to working with NPR, Keyes occasionally writes and produces segments for the ABC News shows Good Morning America and World News Tonight.

Keyes is familiar with public radio, having worked intermittently for NPR since 1995. She also spent a little less than a year hosting and covering City Hall and politics for WNYC Radio. Prior to that, she spent several years at WCBS Newsradio 880.

Keyes' eyewitness reports on the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York earned her the Newswoman's Club of New York 2002 Front Page Award for Breaking News, and, along with WCBS Newsradio staff, the New York State Associated Press Broadcast Award for Breaking News and Continuing Coverage. Her report on the funeral of Patrick Dorismond earned her the National Association of Black Journalists' 2001 Radio News Award.

In addition to radio, Keyes has worked in cable television and print. She has reported for Black Enterprise Magazine, co-authored two African-American history books as well as the African American Heritage Perpetual Calendar, and has written profiles for various magazines and Internet news outlets in Chicago and New York.

Keyes got her start in radio at NPR member station WBEZ in Chicago, IL, in 1988 as an assistant news director, anchor, and reporter. She graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University with a degree in English and journalism. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Inc. and the National Association of Black Journalists.

When not on the air, Keyes can be found singing jazz, listening to opera, or hanging out with her very, very large cat.

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Politics
5:21 am
Sun November 23, 2014

Marion Barry, D.C. Former Mayor, Dies At 78

Originally published on Sun November 23, 2014 9:56 am

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

Music News
1:21 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Well, All Right, Starchild, The Mothership Is Back

George Clinton emerges from Parliament-Funkadelic's Mothership on June 4, 1977, at the Coliseum in Los Angeles.
Michael Ochs Archives Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 4, 2014 5:18 pm

"Do y'all want to fly this evening? Do you want to ride on the Mothership?"

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Music News
3:29 am
Sun May 18, 2014

How Do You Wring Sound From Sculpture? It Takes A 'Quiet Pride'

Rufus Reid has played with just about everybody in the mainstream jazz world. His latest project, Quiet Pride, is based on works by the late sculptor and civil rights activist Elizabeth Catlett.
Jimmy Katz Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun May 18, 2014 9:24 am

Bassist and composer Rufus Reid has been playing jazz for half a century. He's worked with just about everyone, from saxophonists Dexter Gordon and Stan Getz to singer Nancy Wilson and trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie.

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News
2:05 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

150 Years On, Arlington National Cemetery Honors Its First Burial

Originally published on Tue May 13, 2014 5:26 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

A wreath laying ceremony this morning marked the 150th anniversary of the first military burial at Arlington National Cemetery. Army Private William Christman was a member of the 67th Pennsylvania Infantry during the Civil War. As NPR's Allison Keyes reports, his descendants were on hand for what they say is an incredible honor.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESENT ARMS)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Present...

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Present...

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: ...Arms.

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: ...Arms.

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Around the Nation
2:02 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Nearly 3 Years After Quake, Washington Monument Reopens

A repaired crack inside the Washington Monument.
Allison Keyes NPR

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 5:58 pm

The Washington Monument reopened to the public Monday for the first time since a 2011 earthquake caused significant damage to the obelisk. More than 20,000 stones had to be inspected. Scores turned out for a ceremony under sunny skies.

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Around the Nation
5:38 am
Sun May 4, 2014

Under Fire, Maryland Dealer Drops Plans To Sell Smart Gun

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 11:32 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

A gun store in Maryland had been set to become the first in the country to sell something called a smart gun. But after receiving death threats, the owner of that store has changed his mind. The Armatix iP1 is electrically programmed to make it hard for anyone but the gun's owner to fire the weapon. Some gun rights activists worry that if the pistol is popular, lawmakers will require all firearms to adopt this technology. That, they say, will encroach upon second amendment rights. NPR's Allison Keyes reports.

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Science
9:11 am
Sun April 27, 2014

Fossil Fans Get Their Dino-Fix Before Smithsonian Renovates

A cast of a Tyrannosaurus rex skull greets visitors as they enter the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Sun April 27, 2014 4:45 pm

Huge lines of people, kids in tow, are waiting to get into the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, the world's second-most visited museum.

Right inside the lobby, a cast of the skull of the new Tyrannosaurus rex the museum just acquired is stopping visitors dead in their tracks.

"We wanted to get up here before the exhibit for the dinosaurs closed," says Crystal Epley, who took a three-hour trip from Broadway, Va., to bring her son, John.

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Business
4:24 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Competition Watches As Wal-Mart Debuts Money Transfer Service

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 10:06 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Wal-Mart is rolling out a new money transfer service today. The company says this will make things much simpler for people seeking to send and receive cash. For years, consumers might otherwise have looked to services like Western Union or Money Gram, and some wonder whether those companies can survive this new competition.

Here's NPR's Allison Keyes.

ALLISON KEYES, BYLINE: Tunoa Hampton was standing in line at a Wal-Mart Money Center in Washington, D.C., but she wasn't waiting to transfer funds.

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Politics
3:01 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Potential Charges Against Incumbent Throw D.C. Mayor's Race Up In Air

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 8:28 am

The possible indictment of incumbent D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray has turned what many expected to be a routine election into a referendum on whether voters trust him.

Around the Nation
4:38 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Maryland Transportation Bill Held Up Over War Reparations

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 8:28 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Now to a story of how a long ago association with the crimes of Nazi Germany could stop a French company from doing business today in Maryland. A Maryland House committee heard testimony yesterday on a bill that would bar companies that played a role in the Holocaust from bidding on state contracts unless the companies pay reparations to victims.

State officials told the hearing that if that bill passes, it could jeopardize federal funding for a major light rail project. NPR's Allison Keyes explains.

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Art & Design
7:06 am
Sun March 9, 2014

Destroyed By Rockefellers, Mural Trespassed On Political Vision

After the Rockefeller Center mural was destroyed in 1934, Diego Rivera recreated this version, named Man, Controller of the Universe, which is on display at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. The story of the original mural's creation and destruction is the focus of a Mexican Cultural Institute exhibition in Washington, D.C.
Courtesy of Museo Frida Kahlo

Originally published on Sun March 9, 2014 10:00 am

When Mexican artist Diego Rivera was commissioned in 1932 to do a mural in the middle of Manhattan's Rockefeller Center, some might have wondered whether industrialist tycoon John D. Rockefeller Jr. knew what he was getting into.

In 1934, the legendary artist's work was chiseled off the wall.

Now, in Washington, D.C., the Mexican Cultural Institute has mounted a show that tells what happened to Rivera's mural.

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Around the Nation
2:23 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

As Calendar Flips To March, People Grow Sick Of The Snow

Originally published on Mon March 3, 2014 5:19 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The latest in a series of nasty winter storms socked the nation today. It rolled north through the mid-Atlantic this morning, right up the East Coast bringing freezing rain, heavy snow and plummeting temperatures. More than 2,900 flights were cancelled today and more than 7,100 were delayed. The federal government and many schools and offices also shut down.

NPR's Allison Keyes reports, for many in the nation's capital, spring can't come fast enough.

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Law
2:01 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

At Twenty Years Old, Landmark Gun Law Weathers New World

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 8:35 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Twenty years ago today, the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act went into effect, that law pushed by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. The organization says since then more than two million gun purchases have been blocked by background checks, but as NPR's Allison Keyes reports, advocates also use this anniversary to warn about the law's loopholes.

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Business
3:21 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Delaware, Nevada Sign First Multistate Internet Gaming Deal

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 12:00 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with dealing with long distance.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: Dealing - we're talking about poker. Poker players in Delaware and Nevada will one day get to sit at the same virtual table. This week, their governors signed the first multi-state Internet gambling law.

NPR's Allison Keyes reports that while some casino I'm not so thrilled, the states see a winning hand.

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Around the Nation
1:35 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Maryland Bill May Require Holocaust Reparations From Rail Company

Holocaust survivor Leo Bretholz's Change.org petition has more than 107,000 signatures.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 7:29 am

Lawmakers in Maryland are considering a bill that would block one of the firms seeking to bid on a multibillion-dollar light rail project from winning its bid unless its majority stockholder agrees to pay reparations to Holocaust victims.

The legislation, co-sponsored by Maryland Delegate Kirill Reznik, would block a consortium including Paris-based rail company Keolis from winning a public-private partnership for the state's Purple Line project, a 35-year contract worth more than $6 billion.

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Around the Nation
3:55 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Maryland Drug Officials Worry Over A Deadly Mixture

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 5:55 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Tomorrow in Maryland, agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration will sit down with other law enforcement groups to talk through some big questions. Tainted heroin has recently killed at least 50 people across several states, and they want to find out where it's coming from. The heroin is laced with the powerful painkiller fentanyl. While the DEA races to find the drug's source, NPR's Allison Keyes reports community groups are scrambling to warn addicts of the danger.

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Business
2:42 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Lawmakers To Address Delaware's Troubled Casino Industry

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 2:27 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Delaware's gambling industry is struggling. Revenues at the state's three casinos have steadily declined in recent years, as competition from neighboring states grows. A state task force is set to make recommendations to lawmakers this week to save the troubled casino industry from layoffs - or worse. NPR's Allison Keyes reports.

(SOUNDBITE OF BACKGROUND CASINO NOISES)

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Around the Nation
3:41 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Storm And Stress Visit The East Coast

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 5:55 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

A fast-moving winter storm is barreling across the mid-Atlantic and up the East Coast today. Some places are expecting up to a foot of snow. The blizzard conditions from Virginia to Massachusetts will be followed by bitterly cold temperatures. NPR's Allison Keyes reports.

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The Salt
3:25 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

D.C. Barbecue Joint Serves Food For Soul And Mind

Chef Furard Tate says he wanted to "bring love back" to a Washington, D.C., neighborhood damaged since the 1968 riots.
Allison Keyes NPR

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 5:44 pm

Chef Furard Tate is the kind of man who never sits still. He flits from the order desk at Inspire BBQ back to the busy kitchen, where young men are seasoning sauce, cooking macaroni and cheese, and finishing off some dry-rubbed ribs smoked on a grill.

"We grill on a real grill," Tate says. "None of this electric stuff."

But as important as the food is, Tate says it's also important that it's made by young hands who must learn a slow, consistent process.

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Around the Nation
4:48 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Sweet 16 And Barreling Toward Cowgirl Racing Fame

Megan Yurko and her horse, Beea. Now 16, Megan has been cowgirl barrel racing since the age of 6.
Courtesy of Megan Yurko

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 10:19 am

Megan Yurko is small, but she's a big name in barrel racing. And the 16-year-old is on track to be crowned the world's top cowgirl barrel racer at the upcoming International Professional Rodeo Association's finals in Oklahoma City.

Just under 4-foot-10, Megan depends on her 1,200-pound filly Beea in a sport where the fastest rider around three barrels in a cloverleaf pattern wins.

"The thrill of it all is awesome," Megan says.

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Around the Nation
2:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Giving Up Info To Drive A Worthy Risk For Maryland's Undocumented

Maryland has just become one of several states that allow undocumented immigrants to apply for driver's licenses. Such licenses are issued as long as the immigrants show some form of legal ID — such as a passport — and they will have to take road exams. But critics worry about security risks, and costs to the state.

Around the Nation
6:59 am
Sun December 29, 2013

Task Force Recommends Changes At Maryland's Prisons

Originally published on Sun December 29, 2013 9:12 am

Transcript

JENNIFER LUDDEN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Jennifer Ludden. A scandal at a Baltimore jail this year prompted Maryland to review procedures that all of its state and local detention centers. Dozens of correction officers and others are accused of conspiring with gang members in the jail, smuggling in drugs, even having sex with inmates.

GOVERNOR MARTIN O'MALLEY: I share the public's revulsion at these allegations and we have a zero tolerance policy towards corruption of any kind.

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Law
2:41 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

An Unusual Call To Quash Ga. Judicial Nominees

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 3:56 pm

In an unusual move, a group of politicians and community leaders in Atlanta is urging President Obama to withdraw some candidates nominated to sit on the bench in the Northern District of Georgia. The group says the candidates aren't diverse and some are racially insensitive.

Around the Nation
2:43 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Diary Of Influential Nazi Given To Holocaust Museum

A page dated Feb. 2, 1941, from the diary of German Nazi ideologue Alfred Rosenberg is displayed at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington on Tuesday.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 10:31 pm

A long-lost diary kept by a top aide to Adolf Hitler was formally transferred to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on Tuesday. Scholars say the 425-page document gives a glimpse into the mind of Alfred Rosenberg, and a view of his role in shaping the Nazi regime's genocidal policies.

Rosenberg's meticulous script runs straight as a ruler across the sepia-colored pages. The notes are from 1936 through 1944.

Museum Director Sara Bloomfield says it took years — and the help of many — to procure the diary.

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Code Switch
3:38 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

African-American Gun Club Hopes To Help Curb Youth Violence

The Maryland Tenth Cavalry Gun Club, based in Marriottsville, Md., focuses as much on discipline and black history as it does on shooting.
Courtesy of the Maryland Tenth Cavalry Gun Club

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 7:17 pm

More than 200 people have been killed this year in Baltimore. Most of them were black, and most of them were shot to death, despite Maryland having one of the nation's toughest gun laws. This comes two years after the city recorded its lowest murder rate in more than two decades.

Members of one of the few African-American social firearm clubs in the nation think teaching young people different ideas about guns might help deter them from a life of violence.

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Economy
2:59 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Wal-Mart Brings Jobs To D.C. And Complaints Over Low Wages

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 2:05 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Wal-Mart opened its first two stores in Washington, D.C. yesterday, earning cheers from the district's mayor and some residents who say they'll be happy to shop in the city and not in the suburbs. But there have been months of debate over the wages the big box store pays its employees. Some activists and lawmakers say Wal-Mart does not pay workers enough to live on.

NPR's Allison Keyes has our story.

(APPLAUSE)

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Code Switch
1:19 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

Trove Of Artifacts Trumpets African-American Triumphs

Hence We Come, by Norman Lewis
Courtesy of The Kinsey Collection

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 4:44 pm

Seventeen-year-old Tonisha Owens stared wide-eyed at the faded script on an 1854 letter. It was once carried by another 17-year-old — a slave named Frances. The letter was written by a plantation owner's wife to a slave dealer, saying that she needed to sell her chambermaid to pay for horses. But Frances didn't know how to read or write, and didn't know what she carried.

"She does not know she is to be sold. I couldn't tell her," the letter reads. "I own all her family and the leave taking would be so distressing that I could not."

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Theater
5:14 am
Sat November 9, 2013

'We Will Rock You': A Bohemian Musical

Originally published on Sat November 9, 2013 9:24 am

Transcript

DON GONYEA, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Don Gonyea. Whether or not you're a fan of rock and roll, you've surely heard at least one of the hits by Queen. The British band dominated the airwaves in the '70s and '80s and now their music is rocking the world again, this time in a jukebox musical called "We Will Rock You."

The show has been running in London for a dozen years but now an Americanized version is touring the United States and Canada. NPR's Allison Keyes was at the opening show in Baltimore.

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Around the Nation
3:45 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

For DC, Prospect Of Prolonged Shutdown Provokes Anxiety

Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 6:33 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

With no sign of an end to the government shutdown, the economy here in Washington, D.C., is getting walloped. The D.C. region, including parts of Virginia and Maryland, is the biggest hub of federal workers and contractors in the nation. And a local economist projects the region could be losing $200 million a day during the shutdown.

NPR's Allison Keyes reports the impact extends far beyond federal workers and angry tourists.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: You got them coffee?

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Around the Nation
3:21 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Government Shutdown Takes A Toll Across D.C.

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 4:38 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Of the hundreds of thousands of federal workers not working because of the shutdown, many are, of course, here in Washington, D.C. The region is home to dozens of federal agencies, from Homeland Security to the Environmental Protection Agency. NPR's Allison Keyes spoke with some of those affected.

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