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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The March On Washington At 50
9:54 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

50 Years After March On Washington, John Lewis Still Fights

Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., speaks Saturday at the Lincoln Memorial during activities to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.
Michael Reynolds EPA /Landov

Originally published on Wed August 28, 2013 10:33 am

Fifty years ago Wednesday, John Lewis was the youngest speaker to address the estimated quarter-million people at the March on Washington.

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Race
5:55 am
Sat August 24, 2013

Marchers Flock To The Washington Mall

Originally published on Sat August 24, 2013 9:39 am

A march and rally kicks off at the Lincoln Memorial this morning to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. Organizers say the event is also meant to continue their fight for economic parity, voting rights and equality.

Around the Nation
3:27 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Project To Fix Quote On MLK Memorial Hits Snags

Originally published on Fri August 16, 2013 6:40 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

In the nation's capitol, a project to remove a disputed quotation from Martin Luther King Jr. memorial has stalled. The work may not be finished in time for the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington later this month. NPR's Allison Keyes tells us the issue is a finishing process that wasn't in the government's contract.

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Race
3:26 pm
Sat August 3, 2013

Preserving African-American Cemeteries

Originally published on Sat August 3, 2013 4:29 pm

Under a popular park in Washington, D.C., there is a 19th century burial ground that was once the largest African-American cemetery in the city. Advocates want to protect the park from further development and create space for a memorial. But how many other such burial grounds are in similar straits, and how have others solved the problem of co-existing with development and gentrification?

Around the Nation
3:05 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

Wal-Mart Threatens To Pull Out Of D.C. Over Wage Requirements

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 4:19 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Wal-Mart is threatening to walk away from plans to build three of six new stores slated for the nation's capital. Those three stores are supposed to go up in some of the city's neediest neighborhoods. But the city council in Washington, D.C., has approved a bill requiring big box stores to pay employees a living wage of $12.50 an hour. And Wal-Mart says if that becomes the law, it will scrap its plans.

NPR's Allison Keyes spoke to people in those communities about their thoughts on the standoff.

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Code Switch
7:03 am
Sun June 23, 2013

Deconstructing Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Dream

Martin Luther King, Jr. speaks to a crowd in Detroit on June 23, 1963.
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Originally published on Sun June 23, 2013 4:23 pm

"We want all of our rights!" Martin Luther King, Jr. told a throng of people gathered in and around Detroit's Cobo Arena on June 23, 1963. He was speaking at what he called the largest and greatest demonstration for freedom ever held in the United States. "We want them here, and we want them now!" he said.

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Politics
4:29 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

Va. Gubernatorial Race Could Preview Congressional Midterms

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 5:11 pm

Republicans and Democrats are looking at this year's race for governor in Virginia as a possible harbinger of the 2014 election. The contest pits Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli against Democratic Party fundraiser Terry McAuliffe. Both candidates are strongly supported by their respective bases, but sport strong negatives among moderate voters. The outcome could come down to turnout.

The Two-Way
4:56 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Winfrey Gives Millions To New African-American Museum In D.C.

Oprah Winfrey gave $12 million Tuesday to help build the Smithsonian's new National Museum of African American History and Culture, seen here in a scale model (lower center). The facility is expected to open in 2015.
Allison Keyes NPR

Media mogul Oprah Winfrey is giving a multimillion-dollar boost to the Smithsonian's new facility, the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). She gave the museum, which is being built in Washington, D.C., $12 million Tuesday, in addition to a previous $1 million donation.

"I am so proud of African-American history and its contributions to our nation as a whole," says Winfrey, chairman and CEO of the Oprah Winfrey Network. "I am deeply appreciative of those who paved the path for me and all who follow in their footsteps."

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U.S.
4:19 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

Youth Asked To Follow In Medgar Evers' Footsteps

Former President Bill Clinton and other dignitaries spoke at a memorial service for slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers on Wednesday morning. Evers was killed 50 years ago this month.

Code Switch
6:05 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

What A Lawsuit Against The Redskins Could Mean For The Brand

Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder has vowed to never change the team's name.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 7:23 pm

Once again, the long-standing controversy over the name of the Washington Redskins is in the news. In May, 10 members of Congress sent a letter to the team's owner and several others urging a name change.

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Theater
10:01 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

For Berry Gordy, Broadway Is Memory Lane

Valisia LeKae, Sydney Morton and Ariana Debose play the Supremes in the show.
Andrew Eccles

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 9:50 am

There's hardly an adult anywhere in the world who wouldn't recognize at least some of the music of Motown.

The R&B label changed the course of music in the United States and made household names of Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder and The Jackson 5. Now, the man who created Motown — Berry Gordy — is headed to Broadway to tell his version of how it all began.

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Animals
1:32 am
Mon February 11, 2013

Woof Out The Red Carpet: Westminster Dogs Take New York

Jerry Grymek, doggie concierge at the Hotel Pennsylvania in Manhattan, hands a treat to Rennet, a 10-week-old French bulldog. Rennet came to the hotel from Pennsylvania ahead of the 137th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
Lam Thuy Vo NPR

Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 12:30 pm

On Tuesday night, one dog will be named "best in show" at the 137th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York.

Many of the canines that have flocked to Manhattan are staying at the Hotel Pennsylvania across the street from Madison Square Garden, where judging of the main events in the show is held.

The hotel has special amenities for its four-legged guests.

"Hey, buddy," doggie concierge Jerry Grymek says to a border collie in a crate. "Welcome to the Hotel Pennsylvania."

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The Two-Way
1:12 pm
Sat January 26, 2013

Newtown Residents Join Gun Control Rally In Washington

Newtown, Conn., residents Darren Wagner and Georgia Monaghan traveled to Washington, D.C., to attend the gun control rally on Saturday.
Lizzie Chen NPR

Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 4:47 am

Residents of Newtown, Conn., where 20 children died in December's school shootings, marched alongside other supporters of gun control at a rally on the National Mall on Saturday.

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Around the Nation
3:23 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

Anti-Abortion 'March For Life' Draws Thousands In Washington

Tens of thousands of anti-abortion protesters gathered on the National Mall on Friday to mark the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.

History
9:20 am
Sat December 29, 2012

'Watch Nights,' A New Year's Celebration Of Emancipation

Pocket versions of the Proclamation of Emancipation were distributed through Union troops to be read to slaves.
Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 6:16 pm

The National Archives is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation by putting the original document on display over New Year's weekend.

The institution is also hosting a series of programs, including a "Watch Night" on New Year's Eve, following a tradition dating back to 1862.

The first Watch Night was Dec. 31, 1862, as abolitionists and others waited for word — via telegraph, newspaper or word of mouth — that the Emancipation Proclamation had been issued.

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Around the Nation
2:42 pm
Sun December 9, 2012

Ill. Considers Licenses For Undocumented Immigrants

Former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar speaks to reporters at the Illinois State Capitol on Dec. 4, before a Senate vote on a law that would allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver's licenses.
Seth Perlman AP

Originally published on Sun December 9, 2012 5:09 pm

Illinois could become the third state — after Washington and New Mexico — where undocumented immigrants can obtain driver's licenses. The legislation is halfway there. A bill that passed the state Senate 41-14 last Tuesday has bipartisan support.

Before the Senate vote, leaders from both parties, including Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican former Gov. Jim Edgar, spoke out in favor of the legislation. Supporters say that the roads will be safer if undocumented immigrants can pass the tests and get driver's licenses.

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It's All Politics
9:06 am
Mon November 5, 2012

Arab-American Voters Lean Toward Obama, But With Less Enthusiasm

Originally published on Sun November 11, 2012 6:32 am

Arab-American voters strongly supported President Obama in 2008, and polls show most are doing so this time around as well. But some of those voters are concerned about the way Obama has handled issues important to their community — even if they still intend to cast their ballots for his re-election.

At the Washington, D.C., headquarters of the Arab American Institute, the walls are full of red, white and blue signs in English and Arabic urging people to vote.

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Science
1:26 pm
Sun October 28, 2012

Millennia Of Stargazing At 'African Cosmos' Exhibit

Untitled, by South African artist Gavin Jantjes, is one of the works in the "African Cosmos" exhibition.
National Museum of African Art

Originally published on Sun October 28, 2012 4:33 pm

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Politics
3:04 pm
Sat September 8, 2012

Social Issues Hold Sway Over Ohio's Black Voters

Originally published on Sat September 8, 2012 6:55 pm

Transcript

GUY RAZ, HOST:

In 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama won nearly all the African-American vote. And this year, a recent poll found that less than 1 percent of black voters will back Mitt Romney. But in Ohio, as NPR's Allison Keyes found out, some black voters are agonizing over whether to vote in November at all.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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