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July 9, 2020
Starting in 1965, summer after summer, America's cities burned. There was civil unrest in more than 150 cities across the country. So in 1967, Lyndon Johnson appointed a commission to diagnose the root causes of the problem and to suggest solutions. What the so called "Kerner Commission" returned with was hotly anticipated and shocking to many Americans. This week, how that report and the reaction to it continues to shape American life.
July 2, 2020
Hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, is effectively cancelled this year, due to concerns around the spread of the coronavirus. But, for two weeks in 1979, visits to the holy site were also upended when a group of Islamic militants seized Mecca, taking thousands of visitors hostage.
June 25, 2020
What the story of Typhoid Mary tells us about journalism, the powers of the state, and the tension between personal responsibility and personal liberty.
June 18, 2020
Protests, racial divisions, political polarization, and a law-and-order president – it's easy to draw comparisons between 2020 and 1968. But, Adam Serwer, who covers politics at The Atlantic, says that a much better point of comparison actually starts a century earlier – 1868. This week, we share an episode we loved from It's Been A Minute with Sam Sanders that explores a moment when white Republicans fought for years for the rights of Black Americans, before abandoning them to pursue white voters.
June 11, 2020
How the office of the presidency became more powerful than anything the Founding Fathers imagined possible.
June 4, 2020
The origins of American policing and how those origins put violent control of Black Americans at the heart of the system.
June 4, 2020
The origins of American policing and how those origins put violent control of Black Americans at the heart of the system.
May 28, 2020
This week, how Hong Kong became one of the most important, and most contested, cities in the world.
May 21, 2020
How conspiracy theories helped to create the U.S. and became the currency of political opportunists.
May 14, 2020
From bird beaks to wrapping paper to bras, we follow the curious history of one of the most important defenses in our fight against COVID-19.
May 14, 2020
From bird beaks to wrapping paper to bras, we follow the curious history of one of the most important defenses in our fight against COVID-19.
May 7, 2020
North Korea's famous for being a black box, one of the most secretive and authoritarian countries in the world. It has a nuclear stockpile. A history of erratic behavior. And a particular fixation on antagonizing the outside world — especially the United States. This cycle of antagonism isn't an accident – the U.S. has played a formative role in the history of North Korea. And North Korea's leaders have been invoking that history from the very beginning.
April 30, 2020
In the early hours of March 28, 1979, a system malfunction began what would become the worst nuclear accident in American history. What ensued punctured the public's belief in the safety of nuclear energy and became an awful study in the consequences of communication breakdown during a crisis. This week, the fallout of who and what to trust when a catastrophic event occurs.
April 23, 2020
In 1927, the most destructive river flood in U.S. history inundated seven states, displaced more than half a million people for months, and caused about $1 billion dollars in property damages. And like many national emergencies it exposed a stark question that the country still struggles to answer - what is the political calculus used to decide who bears the ultimate responsibility in a crisis, especially when it comes to the most vulnerable? This week, the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and what came after.
April 16, 2020
This week, three stories of the quiet legacy and the potential future of the mosquito.
April 9, 2020
The Principal Chief of Cherokee Nation told his people to stay strong during this pandemic, and to remember how much they've endured over a long history that includes the Trail of Tears. This week, we share an episode from Code Switch that takes a look at an almost 200-year-old Cherokee family feud, the right to representation and what both things have to do with the Trail of Tears.
April 2, 2020
This week, how race has played a central role in who is counted-in America.
March 26, 2020
In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic it's tempting to draw comparisons to the most severe pandemic in recent history - the 1918 flu. But as much as we can learn from the comparison, it's important to also understand just how much these two pandemics differ. This week, what we can learn from what happened then and, just as importantly, where the comparison should end.
March 26, 2020
In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic it's tempting to draw comparisons to the most severe pandemic in recent history - the 1918 flu. But as much as we can learn from the comparison, it's important to also understand just how much these two pandemics differ. This week, what we can learn from what happened then and, just as importantly, where the comparison should end.
March 19, 2020
This week, the story of Eugene V. Debs and the creation of American socialism.
March 12, 2020
In the past few weeks Delhi has become the latest place in India convulsed with religious violence as Hindu mobs burned Muslim neighborhoods, mosques and killed over 40 people. The violence comes in the wake of a new citizenship law that excludes undocumented Muslims, but it also follows years of incendiary rhetoric and policies from the ascendant right-wing Hindu nationalist party, the BJP, and India's Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. As the political philosophy of Hindu nationalism gains ground in India we look back at one of its architects - Vinayak Savarkar.
March 5, 2020
America in the run-up to the Revolutionary War wasn't just a period of dramatic political change, it was also a time of great religious and social instability, anxiety and experimentation. And in the midst of it all there arose a self-proclaimed genderless prophet — the Public Universal Friend. This week, how the Public Universal Friend rocked society's norms and paved the way for others to reject religious and gender expectations for centuries to come.
February 27, 2020
Today, the border that divides Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is "soft", in most places you could almost forget that it's there. But for decades it was a deadly flash point in the bitter conflict known as "The Troubles" . This week, we share an episode from Today, Explained that takes a look at the history of this conflict and how Brexit could jeopardize a fragile peace.
February 20, 2020
The story of how finding our fates in the stars moved from the fringes to the mainstream and became a multi-billion dollar industry.
February 13, 2020
When the United States of America was founded, it was only a union of a small number of states. By the beginning of the 20th century, the United States had become an empire; with states and territories and colonies that spanned the globe. As a result, the country began to not only reconsider its place in the world, but also its very name.
February 6, 2020
How three women ran and challenged the notion of who could and should be president of the United States.
January 30, 2020
In this episode, we look back at a 1905 Supreme Court case that set a precedent for whether or not the state can enforce compulsory vaccinations.
January 30, 2020
In this episode, we look back at a 1905 Supreme Court case that set a precedent for whether or not the state can enforce compulsory vaccinations.
January 23, 2020
In this episode, the origins of the shadow commander and what he means to Iran.
January 16, 2020
In the mid-1980's a woman who didn't consider herself a feminist was asked to solve perhaps the biggest problem women face.
January 9, 2020
How one Brooklyn-born entrepreneur ruthlessly created the modern banana industry and the infamous banana republics.
January 2, 2020
From the tractor to talking robots, society has feared innovations. But usefulness usually overcomes resistance. Is today any different from the past?
January 2, 2020
From the tractor to talking robots, society has feared innovations. But usefulness usually overcomes resistance. Is today any different from the past?
December 26, 2019
In this episode, we dive into the life of Vladimir Putin and try to understand how he became Russia's new "tsar."
December 19, 2019
In a special collaboration with Planet Money, we bring you the history of planned obsolescence – the idea that products are designed to break.
December 12, 2019
Three stories of opioids that have plagued Americans for more than 150 years.
December 5, 2019
The battle that electrified our world and the extreme measures that were taken to get there.
November 28, 2019
In this episode, we'll explore how conspiracy theories helped to create the U.S. and how they became the currency of political opportunists.
November 21, 2019
This week, how the eruption of the Icelandic volcano Laki awed, terrified and disrupted millions around the world and changed the course of history.
November 14, 2019
This week, how one man led an uprising that would have repercussions around the world and inspire the future of Islamic extremism.
November 9, 2019
NPR science correspondent Geoff Brumfiel shares the story of Nazi Germany's attempt to build a nuclear reactor — and how evidence of that effort was almost lost to history.
November 7, 2019
This week we explore who the Kurds are, who they are to the United States and what, if anything, we owe to them.
October 31, 2019
This week, how one of our favorite monsters is a window into Haiti's history and the horrors of slavery.
October 31, 2019
This week, how one of our favorite monsters is a window into Haiti's history and the horrors of slavery.
October 24, 2019
This week, the story of how the U.S. space program was made possible by former Nazis.
October 17, 2019
This week, how Hong Kong became one of the most important, and most contested, cities in the world.
October 10, 2019
This week, how one Medieval Islamic philosopher put his pen to paper and shaped the modern world.
October 3, 2019
This week we return to 1868 and the first presidential impeachment in U.S. history — President Andrew Johnson.
September 26, 2019
In this episode, two stories that challenge the idea of who and why Americans sought refuge in other countries.
September 26, 2019
In this episode, two stories that challenge the idea of who and why Americans sought refuge in other countries.
September 19, 2019
In this episode, we look at Puerto Rico's relationship with the mainland U.S. and the key figures who shaped the island's fate.
September 12, 2019
We sat down with renowned filmmaker Ken Burns to talk about his new documentary series Country music and his process as a storyteller.
September 5, 2019
How one organization changed the American public's relationship with waste and who is ultimately responsible for it.
September 5, 2019
How one organization changed the American public's relationship with waste and who is ultimately responsible for it.
August 29, 2019
We explore three stories of protest in sports that are often overlooked but essential to understanding the current debate: Jack Johnson, Wilma Rudolph, and Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf.
August 29, 2019
We explore three stories of protest in sports that are often overlooked but essential to understanding the current debate: Jack Johnson, Wilma Rudolph, and Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf.
August 22, 2019
How singing "Strange Fruit" turned Billie Holiday into one of the first victims of the War on Drugs.
August 22, 2019
How singing "Strange Fruit" turned Billie Holiday into one of the first victims of the War on Drugs.
August 15, 2019
From the creation of the first penitentiaries in the 1800s, to the "tough-on-crime" prosecutors of the 1990s, how America created a culture of mass incarceration.
August 15, 2019
From the creation of the first penitentiaries in the 1800s, to the "tough-on-crime" prosecutors of the 1990s, how America created a culture of mass incarceration.
August 8, 2019
Colonial powers used concentration camps at the turn of the 19th century to crush rebellions. How a war between Britain and Boers gave rise to some of the first camps.
August 1, 2019
Who was Huey Long? He was a politician that combined progressive economic ideas with an autocratic streak, leading FDR to call him one of the most dangerous men in America.
July 25, 2019
How a plan to end segregation by busing in Detroit went to the Supreme Court and had lasting implications for the rest of the country.
July 25, 2019
How a plan to end segregation by busing in Detroit went to the Supreme Court and had lasting implications for the rest of the country.
July 18, 2019
For the last 40 years, the U.S. and Iran have been in almost continual conflict. We look at three different moments in this conflict to better understand where it might go next.
July 11, 2019
This week, we revisit our very first episode about an event from August 1953 — when the CIA helped to overthrow Iran's Prime Minister.
July 4, 2019
This week, we share three stories from NPR Music's American Anthem series that highlight the origins of songs that have become ingrained in American culture.
June 27, 2019
The protests at The Stonewall Inn 50 years ago fueled the gay rights movement. But gay activists were fighting harassment and discrimination years before.
June 20, 2019
How the murder of an unarmed black civil rights activist in 1965 lead to the march to Montgomery that ended in "Bloody Sunday."
June 13, 2019
Evangelicals have played an important role in modern day American politics, but what exactly does it means to be an evangelical today and how it has changed over time?
June 6, 2019
Mitch McConnell is one of the least popular politicians in the country, so how did he win eight consecutive elections? This week, we share an Embedded ep. that traces his history.
May 30, 2019
Right-wing Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi has won reelection as Prime Minister of India. We look back at Vinayak Savarkar, one of the architects of Hindu nationalism.
May 23, 2019
China is a world superpower today. But just over a century ago, the country was in complete turmoil. How one man led a movement to reshape China as we know — Sun Yat-sen.
May 23, 2019
China is a world superpower today. But just over a century ago, the country was in complete turmoil. How one man led a movement to reshape China as we know — Sun Yat-sen.
May 16, 2019
We look back at the rise and fall of Venezuela through the lives of two revolutionaries turned authoritarian leaders: Simón Bolívar and Hugo Chávez.
May 9, 2019
How has white nationalism shaped U.S. immigration policy in the 20th century? This week, we share an episode we loved from It's Been A Minute with Sam Sanders.
May 2, 2019
A deadly smallpox epidemic in the early 1900s and a Boston-area minister who refused mandatory vaccination — how his case ended up in front of the Supreme Court.
April 25, 2019
From the tractor to talking robots, society has feared innovations. But usefulness usually overcomes resistance. Is today any different from the past?
April 18, 2019
Two sects of Islam, 1400 years of history, and three stories to help us better understand the Sunni-Shia divide.
April 11, 2019
Nancy Pelosi is widely seen as the most powerful woman in U.S. politics. Follow her rise from a Baltimore political family to becoming Speaker of the House twice.
April 4, 2019
Three stories of opioids that have plagued Americans for more than 150 years.
March 28, 2019
This week, in a special collaboration with Planet Money, we bring you the history of planned obsolescence – the idea that products are designed to break.
March 21, 2019
In this week's episode, the history of militarization at the U.S.-Mexico border.
March 14, 2019
In this episode, we dive into the life of Vladimir Putin and try to understand how he became Russia's new "tsar."
March 7, 2019
In this episode, we'll explore how conspiracy theories helped to create the U.S. and how they became the currency of political opportunists.
February 28, 2019
This week we return to 1868 and the first presidential impeachment in U.S. history — President Andrew Johnson.
February 21, 2019
What's fueled the hostility between the U.S. and North Korea? We look back at the tangled history.
February 14, 2019
We explore three stories of protest in sports that are often overlooked but essential to understanding the current debate: Jack Johnson, Wilma Rudolph, and Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf.
February 7, 2019
This week we look back at four days in August 1953, when the CIA orchestrated a coup of Iran's elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh.
January 30, 2019
NPR's new history podcast hosted by Ramtin Arablouei and Rund Abdelfatah. New episodes every Thursday starting February 7th.
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