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HISTORY This Week
32 minutes | Jul 26, 2021
Jesse Owens Takes Germany
August 1, 1936. The opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. Adolf Hitler enters the stadium to a militaristic Wagner march. Swastikas flutter everywhere on the flag of the Nazi Party. When these moments are remembered later, one athlete’s name comes up more than any other: Jesse Owens. He’s a Black American sprinter, a legendary athlete, and one of 18 Black Americans who competed in Hitler’s Olympics. How, through these 1936 Games, does this one man become mythologized? And what is the forgotten context of his storied Olympic wins?Special thanks to Damion Thomas, curator of sports for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture; Deborah Riley Draper, director and writer of Olympic Pride, American Prejudice; and Mark Dyreson, director of research and educational programs for the Penn State Center for the Study of Sports in Society. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
31 minutes | Jul 19, 2021
Fiddling with the Truth
July 19, 64 AD. The Circus Maximus is the main arena in ancient Rome at this time, where tens of thousands watch chariot races and gladiator fights. The stadium is surrounded by shops and bars and restaurants, the whole area teeming with life. And tonight, it will all be destroyed. Nero, the emperor of Rome, will allegedly fiddle while he watches his city burn, and may have even set the fire himself. But if you look at the story a little closer, some of the details just don’t add up. So, what is really true about Nero? And how did a story that was essentially fake news last for 2,000 years?Special thanks to Anthony Barrett, author of Rome Is Burning: Nero and the Fire That Ended a Dynasty. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
32 minutes | Jul 12, 2021
The Hunt for Hieroglyphs
July 15, 1799 (approximately). In the town of Rashid on the Nile Delta, French soldiers and Egyptian laborers are rebuilding an old, falling-down fort, when someone spots something unusual. It’s a jagged black rock, inscribed with what looks like three different types of writing. This stone—the Rosetta Stone—will become the key to deciphering a language that had been lost for thousands of years. Today: the race to unlock the secrets of hieroglyphs. How did two scholars manage to decode a language that no one in the world spoke? And when modern people could finally read the messages left by a long-dead civilization, what were we able to learn? Special thanks to our guest, Edward Dolnick, whose book, The Writing of the Gods: The Race to Decode the Rosetta Stone, comes out in October 2021. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
51 minutes | Jul 5, 2021
The Last Archive: Scopes Monkey Trial
July 10, 1925. A group of Tennessee jurors is selected to judge the case of John T. Scopes, a high school science teacher. His offense? Teaching his students about evolution. Across the country, Americans are tuning in to hear science face off against religion in the eyes of the law. But as the trial unfolds, Scopes and his crime become a backdrop for a much bigger culture war, one that divides believers and skeptics and sows doubts that still exist today. This episode comes from the podcast The Last Archive, from Pushkin Industries. You can listen to more episodes of The Last Archive at http://podcasts.pushkin.fm/historythisweek. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
2 minutes | Jun 30, 2021
Introducing: Hope, Through History Season 2
Welcome back to a new season of the C13Originals critically acclaimed Hope, Through History documentary limited series. Narrated and written by Pulitzer Prize Winning and Best Selling Historian, Jon Meacham, Season Two explores some of the most historic and trying times in American History, and how this nation dealt with the impact of these moments, and how we came through these moments a more unified nation. Season Two, presented by C13Originals, in association with The HISTORY Channel, will guide you through the Battle of Gettysburg and its impact on the future of the country, the relationship between FDR and Churchill and America’s slow walk to war, the plan for AIDS relief, the sinking of the Lusitania and events impact on the future of America, and Bloody Sunday and the Voting Rights Act. As Winston Churchill once remarked, “The future is unknowable, but the past should give us hope”—the hope that human ingenuity, reason, and character can combine to save us from the abyss and keep us on a path, in another phrase of Churchill’s, to broad, sun-lit uplands. Welcome to Season Two. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
32 minutes | Jun 28, 2021
A Mob Boss Starts a Movement
June 28, 1971. It’s the second annual “Unity Day” rally at Columbus Circle in New York City, organized by the Italian American Civil Rights League. Joe Colombo is the very public face of the League, a group that actively fights discrimination and ugly stereotypes against the Italian-American community, such as their association with organized crime and the Mafia. The problem? That same Joe Colombo is a leader of the Mafia, one of the heads of the “Five Families” in New York. It’s an open secret; many people across the city know who he really is, and the FBI is hot on his tail, trying to catch him in the act. On this day, Colombo’s dual life—as a media-facing advocate and as an underground criminal—will come crashing down in a violent display. Special thanks to Don Capria, co-author of Colombo: The Unsolved Murder; Selwyn Raab, veteran Mafia reporter and author of Five Families: The Rise, Decline, and Resurgence of America's Most Powerful Mafia Empires; and Geoff Schumacher, vice president of exhibits and programs for the Mob Museum in Las Vegas. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
33 minutes | Jun 21, 2021
Two Fathers, One Fight
June 21, 1998. Father's Day. At the Church of the Atonement in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, Jon and Michael Galluccio are ready to tie the knot, in front of family, friends, reporters, and one lone picketer. The Galluccios are already public figures—a few months earlier, they had secured the right for gay and unmarried couples to jointly adopt children. And today, they pull up to their wedding in a minivan, with their son in tow: as a family. How did this family come together? And how did their son's adoption end up changing the lives of other families all across the country?Special thanks to our guests, Jon and Michael Galluccio. Their book is called An American Family. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
34 minutes | Jun 14, 2021
Watergate from the Inside
June 17, 1972. In the early morning hours, five men are caught after breaking into the Watergate building in Washington, DC. The failed break-in that night will eventually lead to the unraveling of a major American scandal that reaches the highest levels of government. Why did President Nixon and the men around him believe that they could get away with something so obviously illegal? And how - for one of our producers - did this episode hit close to home?Thank you to our guest expert, Michael Dobbs, author of King Richard: An American Tragedy.Thank you also to Ken Hughes and Michael Greco from The Miller Center at UVA for speaking with us for this episode. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
34 minutes | Jun 7, 2021
Witches Among Us
June 10, 1692. Bridget Bishop is loaded into a two-wheeled cart and brought from her Salem jail cell to a pasture on a hill, where a rope is hanging from freshly-installed gallows. A crowd forms around her: law officers to read the death warrant, ministers to offer last rites, and onlookers, curious to see a witch in the flesh. Bishop’s execution raises doubts that could have stopped the Salem witch trials in their tracks. But instead, it became the first in a deluge of convictions, trials, and hangings that made the summer of 1692 go down in infamy. What happened that summer to cause a witch hunt? And what can we learn from the story of 19 supposed witches condemned to death?Special thanks to our guest, Marilynne Roach, author of The Salem Witch Trials: a Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
28 minutes | May 30, 2021
The Rise and Fall of Black Wall Street
May 30, 1921. Dick Rowland, a Black teenager, works as a shoeshine in the predominantly white downtown of Tulsa, Oklahoma. On his break, he goes into a nearby office building to use the restroom, and gets on the elevator. Sarah Page, a white teenager, is the elevator operator. What happens next is just an innocent accident, but it sparks the deadliest episode of racial violence in American history. What was the story behind Greenwood, the Tulsa neighborhood known as “Black Wall Street?” And why was it decimated on one horrific night?Special thanks to Kalenda Eaton, professor of Africana Literature at the University of Oklahoma, and Kendra Field, professor of history at Tufts University and author of Growing Up with the Country: Family, Race, and Nation after the Civil War.And for more history around the end of Reconstruction, listen to our episode from November 2, 2020, "Stealing the Presidency." See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
31 minutes | May 24, 2021
May 29, 1851. Akron, Ohio’s Old Stone Church is packed to the brim. It's the second day of a big convention on women's rights. Hundreds of activists are there, but when one of them, Sojourner Truth, takes the floor, she stands out. Truth is a formerly enslaved woman, and her speech reminds the crowd that women’s rights includes the rights of working women, of Black women, and of women who are now enslaved. But this speech would be manipulated throughout history, and Truth herself boiled down to a fictionalized slogan. How did this feminist and anti-slavery activist get turned into a symbol? And what parts of the person got lost in that process? Who was Truth, really?Special thanks to our guest, Nell Irvin Painter, author of Sojourner Truth: A Life, A Symbol. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
32 minutes | May 17, 2021
Not My Fingerprint
May 20, 2004. A lawyer named Brandon Mayfield walks out of a Portland, Oregon courtroom a free man. About two weeks earlier, Mayfield was arrested by the FBI because they thought they had his fingerprint on a key piece of evidence in the investigation of a terrorist train bombing in Madrid, Spain earlier that year. But by this afternoon in May, that key evidence has completely fallen apart. Today: a case of mistaken identity. Why did the FBI arrest the wrong man? And how did this case change forensic science for good?Thank you to our guests, Professor Simon Cole from UC Irvine, Steven Wax, author of Kafka Comes to America: Fighting for Justice in the War on Terror - A Public Defender's Inside Account, and Brandon Mayfield. Thank you also to Judge Jones and former FBI agent Robert Jordan for speaking with us. If you're interested in reading the Inspector General's Report cited, you can find it here: https://oig.justice.gov/sites/default/files/archive/special/s0601/PDF_list.htm See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
27 minutes | May 10, 2021
The Chinese Immigrants Who Built America
May 10, 1869. On the dusty, barren plains of Promontory Summit, Utah, a crowd is gathered to celebrate an American milestone – the completion of the transcontinental railroad, the first piece of infrastructure to connect the two sides of the United States. But this achievement didn’t come without great sacrifice, especially from Chinese immigrants, who made up more than 90% of the Central Pacific Railroad company workforce. How did these workers come to build what might be the most important transportation project in US history? And how were these Chinese immigrants accepted by American society, before the tides turned to violence and hate?Special thanks to Gordon Chang, professor of history at Stanford University and author of Ghosts of Gold Mountain: The Epic Story of the Chinese Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad (https://amzn.to/3hgDtOH). See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
30 minutes | May 3, 2021
Mother’s Day Mayhem
May 9, 1905. After weeks of illness and visits from ten different doctors, Anna Jarvis’s mother dies. In the days that follow, Jarvis makes a promise to herself: to fulfill her mother’s dream of creating a holiday devoted to celebrating mothers. Her campaign to create and define Mother’s Day would become her life’s work, and also her downfall. How did Anna Jarvis become a minor celebrity known for her fanatical devotion to this annual holiday? And why did she come to hate the holiday she created?Special thanks to Katharine Antolini, author of Memorializing Motherhood: Anna Jarvis and the Struggle for Control of Mother’s Day. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
29 minutes | Apr 26, 2021
Fighting for 504
April 30, 1977. Nearly a month after entering San Francisco’s Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, a group of 150 demonstrators is going home. They’re singing, drinking champagne, and hugging the friends they’ve slept alongside for weeks on a cold office floor. Many of these activists are people with disabilities, and they’ve been sitting in to push the government to sign regulations that have sat untouched for years. What happened when a group of activists with disabilities staged the longest peaceful occupation of a federal building in US history? And how did this protest change accessibility in America?Special thanks to our guests, Judy Heumann, Corbett O’Toole, Dennis Billups, and Debby Kaplan. Lucy Muir audio tapes courtesy of Ken Stein. Daniel Smith and Queer Blue Light Videotapes courtesy of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society.Click here for a transcript of this episode: https://bit.ly/3tLEXEc. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
32 minutes | Apr 19, 2021
The Brink of World War III
April 19, 1951. General Douglas MacArthur's plane touches down in DC just after midnight. He’s coming home from fighting the Korean War. Over twelve thousand people are there to greet this person who the American people consider to be a national war hero. It’s quite the welcome for a general who has just been fired by the President of the United States. How, after this triumphant return, does the general end up losing his own party's political support? And could MacArthur have led his country into a nuclear war?Thank you to our guests: Professor H.W. Brands, author of The General vs. the President: MacArthur and Truman at the Brink of Nuclear War, and Professor David Kang, the director of the Korean Studies Institute at USC. Thank you also to Professor James Matray for speaking with us for this episode. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
29 minutes | Apr 12, 2021
Killing the Gold Standard
April 18, 1933. It’s almost midnight in Washington, DC. Newly-elected President Franklin Delano Roosevelt has gathered his economic advisors for a late-night meeting. He called this meeting to announce his plan to effectively take the US off the gold standard, the system by which every paper dollar is tied to a certain amount of literal gold. To his advisors, this is inconceivable. Money is gold. Without gold backing the dollar, what even is money in the first place? But the president is resolute. The gold standard has driven America into the Great Depression, and he plans to drag it back out. How did FDR’s decision change the way Americans conceived of money? And how did killing the gold standard save the country?Special thanks to our guest, Jacob Goldstein, host of the podcast Planet Money and author of Money: The True Story of a Made-Up Thing. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
29 minutes | Apr 5, 2021
More Than a Home Run
April 8, 1974. On a humid night in Atlanta, Hank Aaron is poised to make history. On the all-time home run leaderboard, Aaron is tied with the legendary Babe Ruth. With one swing of the bat, he can break Ruth’s record. But not everyone in America wants to see this happen; the threats against Aaron’s life have warranted FBI protection. Yet in front of 54,000 people in Atlanta and millions more watching at home, Aaron steps up to bat. What was it like to be a Black baseball superstar twenty-five years after Jackie Robinson broke the sport's color barrier? And what is the real story—of threats, fear, and danger—behind Aaron’s record-breaking game?Special thanks to Howard Bryant, senior writer for ESPN and author of The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron, and Bob Kendrick, President of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
26 minutes | Mar 29, 2021
148 Tornadoes in 18 Hours
April 3, 1974. Across America, many people wake up this morning thinking it will be a normal day. But in the next 24 hours, almost 150 tornadoes will hit the United States. It will be then the largest tornado outbreak in the nation's history. Why did so many deadly tornadoes hit on this one day? And how did it spur life-saving changes that are still with us decades later?Thank you to our guests Greg Forbes, former severe weather expert with the Weather Channel, and Atmospheric Sciences professor, Jeff Trapp, from the University of Illinois. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
27 minutes | Mar 22, 2021
Surrogacy on the Stand
March 27, 1986. Mary Beth Whitehead is in labor. She’s giving birth to a baby girl today, and her husband Richard is by her side. But the Whiteheads are not, contractually-speaking, this child’s parents. Surrogacy is a brand new advancement, and another couple, William and Elizabeth Stern, are contractually owed a baby. When the little girl is born, Mary Beth has a change of heart and runs. This begins a two-year legal battle that launches the complicated question of surrogacy onto the national stage. Who is Baby M’s mother? And how did this case change our understanding of parenthood forever? See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
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