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Welcome to Risky Business with Beau York, I’m your host… Beau York, and before we get started I want to tell you a quick story. It’s the story of a poor Irish immigrant by the name of Catherine O'Leary who, on a crisp October morning in 1870, gathered her pale, stool and lantern to go out and milk a cow. This seemingly normal and insignificant ritual that surely Ms O’Leary had performed many a time before, would become one of the most talked about events of the decade, because as she went about her work, placing the lantern in it’s usual spot, the aforementioned cow kicked the lantern over igniting the barn and connected shed into a blaze. That inferno would quickly spread into what is now known as The Great Chicago Fire, killing approximately 300 people, destroying over 17,000 structures, and leaving more than 100,000 residents homeless. It’s an incredible, if not tragic story that was etched into the collective mental histories of a generation… The only thing is, it’s not true. That is to say - yes, obviously the Great Chicago Fire occurred and Ms O’leary was one of the first to be affected… but the story of her guilt and the famous ‘cow’ that kicked it all off, was all an embellishment of journalists at the time tapping into the anti-irish and anti-catholic sentiments of the day, in order to find a scapegoat.

Today we are speaking with someone who is very familiar with the role that stories play in both telling and corrupting our understanding of history. Dr Jemar Tisby is a New York Times bestselling author, national speaker, and public historian on a mission to deliver truths from the Black experience with depth and clarity. He’s the co-host of the Pass The Mic podcast, currently celebrating it’s 10 year anniversary, as well as host of the podcast Footnotes with Jemar Tisby. 

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