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Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

Every day, Seshat Mack wakes up and takes the bus to school. She’s a doctoral student in science, from Harlem. Every morning, the bus drops her off in front of a statue of a man looking down kind of heroically, kind of benevolently at passers by.

Seshat can’t stand the statue.

Dr. J. Marion Sims, born in South Carolina, is considered the father of modern gynecology — a status memorialized in that statue. He started his work in the mid 19th century.

Marchers held signs at the Black Lives Matter rally in Seattle on Saturday, April 15, 2017.
Daniel Berman for KUOW

To mark the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Detroit rebellion, Seattle Public Library hosted a discussion of the factors that create inequality, repression and resistance.

There are more than 60 schools in the U.S. with names tied to the Confederate South. One school, Robert E. Lee Elementary, is right here in the Northwest.

Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech

Jeannie Yandel talks to University of Washington associate professor Joe Janes about the Golden Records, a NASA project that compiled sounds and images from earth to send up with NASA's Voyager spacecraft in the hopes of it reaching extraterrestrial life.

Confederate flag
Flickr Photo/pixxiestails (CC BY NC 2.0)

Jeannie Yandel talks to Melanie McFarland, T.V. critic for Salon, and Mike Pesca, host of The Gist, about a proposed HBO show called Confederate. The show imagines a world where the South won the Civil War, slavery still exists in parts of the United States and the country is on the brink of it's third civil war. 

How the Old South is felt in the Northwest

Aug 17, 2017
The gates are locked at Lake View Cemetery on Thursday, August 17, 2017, in Seattle, where a monument to the Confederacy has become controversial after protests turned violent in Charlottesville last weekend.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

We originally aired this story on January 19, 2007. Statues commemorating Confederate figures have been the source of tension, protests and removal this last week – making an argument that can feel far from the Northwest top of mind.

A World War II veteran from the Inland Northwest traveled to a village in rural Japan Tuesday to personally return a "good luck flag" he picked up from the body of a fallen Japanese soldier on the Pacific island of Saipan in the summer of 1944.

"Taking the flag kind of bothered me because it is so special,” said Marvin Strombo, 93.

Seventeen thousand years ago, a massive glacier the height of five Space Needles covered what is now Seattle and a large part of western Washington.
Courtesy of the Burke Museum

Seattle was carved by ice.

KUOW Photo/ Bond Huberman

Bill Radke talks to Seafair's King Neptune, John Roderick, and Queen Alcyone, Angela Shen, about the cultural resonance of this decades old festival. Roderick is a Seattle musician and Shen is the founder and CEO of Savor Seattle Food Tours, in their day jobs.

Even the most commonplace devices in our world had to be invented by someone.

Take the windshield wiper. It may seem hard to imagine a world without windshield wipers, but there was one, and Mary Anderson lived in that world.

In 1902, Anderson was visiting New York City.

150 Years Later: Carleton Watkins' Timeless Photos Of The Gorge

Jul 18, 2017

The first comprehensive landscape photos ever taken of the Columbia River Gorge were captured 150 years ago this month by Carleton Watkins, a world famous photographer who was at the height of his career.

As a young man, Watkins had gone to San Francisco to chase the Gold Rush. Instead, he landed a job with a photographer and quickly learned the ropes. In nine years, he went from being an unknown prospector to embarking on one of the most important photography projects in U.S. history.

It has been 80 years since Amelia Earhart vanished while trying to become the first female pilot to fly around the world, and her 1937 disappearance has become one of the great mysteries of our time.

A North Korean soldier looks at the southern side through a pair of binoculars at the border village of Panmunjom, north of Seoul, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2003.
AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon

Bill Radke speaks with Seattle-based journalist and author Blaine Harden about the history of North Korea and the tensions between it and the U.S.

The triumph and tragedy of the Ballard Locks

Jul 3, 2017
A postcard of the Ballard Locks, 1917
Flickr Photo/Seattle Municipal Archives (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/ecguhZ

Bill Radke speaks with Seattle Times environment reporter Lynda Mapes about the 100-year anniversary of the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, also known as the Ballard Locks.

Mapes discusses how truly transformational the Locks were, for both good and ill. She details the ways in which the city was reshaped in ways that were only possibly because of the Locks. But she also discusses the human cost and how the oppressed Native American population was even further harmed by this progress. 

Ballard Locks under construction, 1913
FLICKR PHOTO/SEATTLE MUNICIPAL ARCHIVES (CC BY 2.0)/HTTPS://FLIC.KR/P/4TIHT9

This story originally aired in 2005. We loved it so much that we dug it out again in honor of the Ballard Locks' 100 year anniversary on July 4, 2017.

War boxes visible in a Bremerton alley.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Tiny, affordable houses line some of Bremerton’s alleys. They’re called “war boxes,” remnants of the massive building boom that transformed Bremerton during World War II.

Studying that boom and the housing it left behind offers clues on what it would take to truly meet our region's current housing needs.


William Bremer (1863-1910) immigrated to America from Germany as a young man, and settled in Seattle. When he heard the U.S. Government would be buying up land for a shipyard on the western side of Puget Sound, Bremer jumped at the opportunity.
COURTESY OF KITSAP COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY

William Bremer, born in Germany, moved to Seattle first.

But it was Bremerton, the city across Puget Sound, to which Bremer "gave his name and his fortune and all of this thought and energy," according to Leonard Garfield, director of Seattle's Museum of History and Industry.

A one-paragraph letter, barely a hundred words long, unwittingly became a major contributor to today's opioid crisis, researchers say.

"This has recently been a matter of a lot of angst for me," Dr. Hershel Jick, co-author of that letter, told Morning Edition host David Greene recently. "We have published nearly 400 papers on drug safety, but never before have we had one that got into such a bizarre and unhealthy situation."

Original photo courtesy of Ted Nigrelli

On Sept. 11, 2001, four commercial airplanes in America are hijacked by extremists and crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania, becoming the most deadly and devastating terrorist attack in history.

On the same day, whale researchers off the Atlantic coast begin exploring a phenomenon that hasn’t existed for a hundred years.

The Watergate building in Washington D.C.
Flickr Photo/Rudi Riet (CC BY-SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/2FEW1m

Bill Rakde talks to Joseph Janes, associate professor in the University of Washington Information School, about why he includes the 18 and a half minutes of static recording from the Nixon tapes in his new book "Documents that Changed the Way We Live."

You can hear his podcast Documents that Changed the World.

Editor's Note: This piece contains language that some may find offensive.

It's Flag Day! On this week's podcast, we explore the ways that communities of color in the United States relate to the Stars and Stripes.

And we thought it worth a few moments to celebrate a flag created nearly a century ago for black Americans.

A biker on the Burke-Gilman Trail.
Flickr Photo/King County Parks Your Big Backyard (CC BY NC 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/TEXi8A

If you live in Seattle and own a bike, you’re probably acquainted with the Burke-Gilman trail. But are you acquainted with Burke and Gilman?

Vietnam Vet Steve Gardener at the Drift Inn remembers Bremerton's rough and rowdy past
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Bremerton's mayor wants people who've been priced out of Seattle to move there. But there's been something holding Bremerton back: the town's reputation. Bremerton used to be known less for its beautiful water views and more for its bar fights and prostitution.


D.J. and Angela Ross were not supposed to end up together, according to their families.

"Actually my grandma on both sides used to tell me, 'Boy, you better leave those white girls alone or else we're going to come find you hanging from a tree,' " says D.J., 35, who is black and grew up in southern Virginia.

Angela, 40, who is white and was also raised in Virginia, remembers being warned: "You can have friends with black people, and that's fine. But don't ever marry a black man."

Hidden in green hills east of South Korea's capital is the House of Sharing, a nursing home for elderly women.

It's a bright, spacious place. But its residents are survivors of a dark chapter of history.

"It was 1942 and I was only 15, running an errand for my parents [in our Korean hometown of Busan], when two Japanese men in uniform grabbed me by the arms and dragged me away," recalls Lee Ok-seon, now age 90. "That's how I became enslaved."

She was sent to work in a brothel in a Japanese-occupied area of northeast China.

Jeremy Chirinos of Renton was in middle school when Jimi Hendrix's house arrived. The failure of a museum project that would have surrounded the house meant he had an affordable place to grow up.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

The body of musician Jimi Hendrix lies in a Renton cemetery. Across the street is the Hi-Land Mobile Manor Park, which looks like it hasn’t changed much since it was built in the 1950s.

A few years ago, a 900-square-foot house showed up to the mobile home park on a flatbed truck trailer. It was Hendrix’s childhood home. It rolled up to the mobile park because of a dream. A dream that would not come true.


Auburn's population was almost 1/3 Japanese American, before World War II and the internment. After the war, many families did not come back. This family photograph is on display at the White River Valley Museum, in Auburn.
White River Valley Museum

Auburn, Washington, used to be an agricultural community surrounded by farmland. Many of those farms were owned by Japanese-Americans. But the internment in WWII changed everything.


One week ago workers found a tunnel filled with radioactive waste caved in at the Hanford nuclear site in southeast Washington. State officials and tribes are calling for quick cleanup action.

But how did we get here?

This image is a close up of the standing timber on the south end of Mercer Island.  The image is generated using a side scan sonar towed behind a boat about 20 feet off the bottom. The trees are visible mostly from the shadows they cast.
Courtesy of Ben Griner of Coastal Sensing & Survey

At the southern end of Lake Sammamish, just off Greenwood Point, several jagged, gray logs stick up from the water. They’re the only visible sign of an ancient, perfectly-preserved underwater forest that’s been sitting at the bottom of the lake for over a thousand years.

Workers in New Orleans dismantled the city's Jefferson Davis monument early Thursday, removing the prominent statue of the Confederate leader that had stood for more than 100 years.

"This historic moment is an opportunity to join together as one city and redefine our future," Mayor Mitch Landrieu said as he announced that crews had begun removing the statue, the second of four planned removals of Confederacy-related monuments.

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