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Friday, February 3, 2006

WSIU to Air Locally-Produced Documentary on Cairo, Illinois

WSIU Public Broadcasting

Downtown Cairo, IL
Cairo, Illinois: A City Caught Between Two Tides will be aired Monday, February 13 from 9:30-10pm.

Carbondale, IL - Cairo's history is defined by its colorful past, which is among the most complex and fascinating of small towns in southern Illinois - rife with skirmishes, phenomenal growth, and devastating decline. Cairo, Illinois: A City Caught Between Tides, a new half-hour documentary by SIUC graduate and Kenya native, John Njagi, will shed light on the city's troubled past. WSIU TV 8/DT 40 and WUSI TV 16/DT 19, the public television stations of Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC), will air the program on Monday, February 13 from 9:30-10pm.

Little was known about Cairo until the summer of 1968 when it was thrust into the national spotlight, becoming the scene of the longest civil rights movement in the nation. Cairo, Illinois: A City Caught Between the Tides attempts to put into perspective Cairo's present day condition by highlighting events that contributed to the shaping of the town. It examines major historical factors that stimulated the town's development, its economic successes during the early 1900s, its deterioration during and after the 1960s, and its contribution to the history of southern Illinois and the nation.

Although the civil rights movement in Cairo ended in 1980, the town was left in ruins. Shops closed, schools were shut down, and thousands of people moved away in search of opportunities elsewhere. Today, the population is roughly 3,600. Cairo now has one of the highest unemployment and welfare rates in Illinois.

Born in Nairobi, Kenya, John Njagi graduated from SIUC in May 2005 with a Master's Degree from the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts. He is an associate producer at KTWU, a public television station on the campus of Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas.

Contact: John Njagi, KTWU-Topeka, KS; (785) 670-1111; or

WSIU's Black History Month programming can be found here:

WSIU Public Broadcasting is licensed to the Board of Trustees of Southern Illinois University. It operates two analog and two digital public television channels, and three public radio stations. WSIU's mission is to improve the quality of life of the people we serve. Through programs, services and outreach, WSIU partners with other community organizations to promote positive change and to support the academic and public service missions of Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Visit for more information.

© 2005 The Cairo Gate