34 EpisodesProduced by NPRWebsite

The past is never past. Every headline has a history. Join us every week as we go back in time to understand the present. These are stories you can feel and sounds you can see from the moments that shaped our world.

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Puerto Rico

September 19th, 2019


Puerto Rico became a U.S. territory in 1898 and for much of the next fifty years Puerto Ricans fought fiercely about this status. Should they …

Three Chords And The Truth

September 12th, 2019


When Lil Nas X released his viral hit "Old Town Road" last year, he sparked a conversation about what country music is and who is welcome in the genre. To better understand the deep and often misunderstood history of …

The Litter Myth

September 5th, 2019


There is more waste in the world today than at any time in history, and the responsibility for keeping the environment clean too often falls on individuals instead of manufacturers. But, why us? And why this feeling of …

On The Shoulders Of Giants

August 29th, 2019


When Colin Kaepernick stopped standing for the national anthem at NFL games it sparked a nationwide conversation about patriotism and police …

Strange Fruit

August 22nd, 2019


Billie Holiday helped shape American popular music with her voice and unique style. But, her legacy extends way beyond music with one song in …

Mass Incarceration

August 15th, 2019


The United States imprisons more people than any other country in the world, and a disproportionate number of those prisoners are Black. What are the origins of the U.S. criminal justice system and how did racism shape …

Scorched Earth

August 8th, 2019


The term "concentration camp" is most associated with Nazi Germany and the systematic killing of Jews during World War II. But colonial powers used …

Huey Long Vs. The Media

August 1st, 2019


Huey Pierce Long: you either loved him, or hated him. He combined progressive economic ideas with an autocratic streak, earning him thousands of …

Milliken v. Bradley

July 25th, 2019


After the landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education, public schools across the country were supposed to become more integrated, but by the …

Rules Of Engagement

July 18th, 2019


After Iran shot down an American surveillance drone in June, tensions between the two countries have only gone up. But the US and Iran have been in some state of conflict for the last 40 years, since the Iranian …

Four Days In August

July 11th, 2019


The U.S. and Iran have had a tense relationship for decades — but when did that begin? Over the next two weeks, we're exploring the history. This week, we feature our very first episode about an event from August 1953 …

American Anthem

July 4th, 2019


The Star-Spangled Banner is the official anthem for the United States, but there are plenty of songs that have become informal American anthems for millions of people. This week, we share three stories from NPR Music's …

Before Stonewall

June 27th, 2019


Fifty years ago, a gay bar in New York City called The Stonewall Inn was raided by police, and what followed were days of rebellion where protesters …

The X On The Map

June 20th, 2019


In 1965, Jimmie Lee Jackson was an unarmed black civil rights activist who was murdered in Marion, Ala., after a peaceful protest. His murder brought …

Apocalypse Now

June 13th, 2019


Evangelicals have played an important role in modern day American politics - from supporting President Trump to helping elect Jimmy Carter back in …

Mitch McConnell

June 6th, 2019


Mitch McConnell has been described as "opaque," "drab," and even "dull." He is one of the least popular - and most polarizing - politicians in the …

Savarkar's India

May 30th, 2019


Right-wing Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi has won reelection as India's Prime Minister. As the political philosophy of Hindu nationalism gains …

A Dream Of Modern China

May 23rd, 2019


China is a world superpower today. But just over a century ago, the country was in complete turmoil — foreign powers had carved up the country, the …

El Libertador

May 16th, 2019


Venezuela is facing an economic and humanitarian crisis as extreme poverty and violence have forced many to flee the country in recent years. How did …

White Nationalism

May 9th, 2019


The white nationalist ideas of Madison Grant influenced Congress in the 1920s, leaders in Nazi Germany, and members of the Trump administration. This week, we share an episode we loved from It's Been A Minute with Sam …


May 2nd, 2019


More than 700 measles cases have been recorded in the U.S. in the recent outbreak, the worst being in New York. This past April, Mayor Bill de Blasio issued a public health emergency that required residents in parts of …

Resistance Is Futile

April 25th, 2019


Artificial intelligence, gene modification, and self-driving cars are causing fear and uncertainty about how technology is changing our lives. But …

War Of The Worlds

April 18th, 2019


The Sunni-Shia divide is a conflict that most people have heard about - two sects with Sunni Islam being in the majority and Shia Islam the minority. Exactly how did this conflict originate and when? We go through 1400 …

Nancy Pelosi

April 11th, 2019


Nancy Pelosi is the highest-ranking woman in American politics. She made her first run for public office at 47 years old and went on to become …

Opioids In America

April 4th, 2019


A record number of Americans have died from opioid overdoses in recent years. But how did we get here? And is this the first time Americans have faced this crisis? The short answer: no.

The Phoebus Cartel

March 28th, 2019


Have you ever wondered why your smartphone or toaster oven doesn't seem to last very long, even though technology is becoming better and better? This …

The Border

March 21st, 2019


In February, President Trump declared a national emergency at the US-Mexico border. Last year, he ordered thousands of National Guard troops to the border. Is this the first time an American president has responded with …

The Moth

March 14th, 2019


Vladimir Putin has been running Russia since 2000 when he was first elected as President. How did a former KGB officer make his way up to the top …

American Shadows

March 7th, 2019


Conspiracy theories are a feature of today's news and politics. But they've really been a part of American life since its founding. In this episode, …

High Crimes And Misdemeanors

February 28th, 2019


When Andrew Johnson became president in 1865, the United States was in the middle of one of its most volatile chapters. The country was divided after …

The Forgotten War

February 21st, 2019


President Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un are preparing to meet for a second nuclear summit. What has fueled the hostility between these two countries for decades? On this episode, we look back at the tangled …

On the Shoulders of Giants

February 14th, 2019


When Colin Kaepernick stopped standing for the national anthem at NFL games it sparked a nationwide conversation about patriotism and police …

Four Days in August

February 7th, 2019


It's no secret that Iran and the U.S. have a history of animosity toward each other. But when and how did it begin? This week we look back at four days in August 1953, when the CIA orchestrated a coup of Iran's elected …

Introducing Throughline

January 30th, 2019


NPR's new history podcast hosted by Ramtin Arablouei and Rund Abdelfatah. New episodes every Thursday starting February 7th.

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