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Megan and the Columbia

Apr 20, 2017
Original photo courtesy of NASA

On February 1, 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia breaks apart on its 28th mission while re-entering the atmosphere. The seven-member crew are killed almost immediately, the first astronaut fatalities in almost 20 years.

On the same day, Megan Sukys travels to see her dying father and come to terms with what his life meant. 

Whales and 9/11

Apr 20, 2017
Original photo courtesy of Ted Nigrelli

On September 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.

Geov Parrish.
Courtesy of Geov Parrish

The Seattle Times dropped a bombshell on the local political scene last week, publishing a lengthy account of interviews with three separate men who claim that Mayor Ed Murray paid them for sex while they were underage gay drug abusers in the 1980s.

You know the name Rosa Parks. But do you know David Sohappy? He was at the center of a 30-year legal battle over Native American rights to fish salmon.

Next week the Yakama will mark the 30th anniversary of what they call the “Fish Wars.”

Blink while driving on Highway 34, east of Greeley, Colo., and you might miss the former town of Dearfield.

All that's left of the once-thriving town on Colorado's eastern plains are a rundown gas station, a partially collapsed lunch counter and a former lodge. They are the only indication that there was once a community here. The grass around these buildings is crispy and straw-colored, whipped back and forth by relentless winds. The snowcapped Rocky Mountains barely peek through the haze to the west.

On Nov. 18, 1978, an itinerant preacher, faith healer and civil rights activist named the Rev. Jim Jones led more than 900 of his followers to kill themselves by drinking cyanide-laced Flavor Aid at their Jonestown settlement in the jungle of Guyana. Nearly 40 years later, questions still linger regarding the Jonestown massacre and the man who inspired it.

Journalist Jeff Guinn details how Jones captivated his followers in his new book, The Road to Jonestown. He calls Jones a "tremendous performer" who exhibited "the classic tendencies of the demagogue."

Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968.
Wikimedia Commons

On April 4, 1968,  Gary Heyde had just arrived for a conference at Kentucky State College. He and more than 500 students from every major black university waited in line to register. Heyde happened to be the only white student there.

No more than 20 minutes had passed when a girl came running into the lobby where conference-goers waited to register. “They’ve killed Martin,” she screamed.

At first, the room was cloaked in complete and total silence. Then chaos ensued.

A 1960s sign from an old flophouse in Pioneer Square in Seattle.
Flickr/Matthew Klein (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/4PF4Bn

It’s not an easy time to find an apartment in Seattle. You’d be hard pressed to find a one-bedroom on Capitol Hill for less than $1,400 per month — and rents for similarly-sized apartments in swanky new buildings regularly soar upward of $3,000.

Echoes from Northwest history rang loudly for people in the present at a memorial ceremony Thursday to mark 75 years since the U.S. government forcibly removed the first Japanese Americans from their West Coast homes and sent them to internment camps. This happened in the wake of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in World War II.

KUOW Photo/Posey Gruener

If this ghost town had a mayor, it would be Don Mason.

Back in the 1970s, Mason was hiking when he stumbled on evidence of a town called Franklin. He’d never heard of it. Since then, Mason has been collecting proof that a town once sat on this hillside, high above the Green River Gorge. 

Author Viet Thanh Nguyen at Seattle Public Library
KUOW photo/Sonya Harris

Before Viet Thanh Nguyen became the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the novel “The Sympathizers,” he was a 4-year-old boy uprooted from war-torn Vietnam and transported to a refugee camp in the United States.

Nguyen’s experience as a refugee marked his journey towards becoming an American in crucial ways. He describes the experience of being both a refugee and an American as being “split in two.”

Downtown Seattle and Mount Rainier, circa 1920s, probably when more people said Warshington.
Flickr/Seattle Municipal Archives https://flic.kr/p/cydqbs (CC BY 2.0)

We’re a quirky bunch out here in Washington state. We eat cream cheese on our hotdogs. The western part of the state freaks out when it snows. We don’t pay income tax.

Moon Bang, originally from Korea, owns the Black Diamond Bakery. She has periodically encountered racism since she bought the bakery 10 years ago.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Our region was built with immigrant labor. It’s part of the story of growth and development here. There are many ways to tell that history. How we tell it signals who belongs, and who is a foreigner.


James Gregory, history professor at the University of Washington.
KUOW/Kara McDermott

Recent hate crimes prompted President Donald Trump to condemn such acts in a speech to Congress. Some of those incidents have been in the Pacific Northwest, and now the shooting of a Sikh man in Kent is being investigated as a possible federal civil rights violation. 

UW history professor James Gregory told KUOW's Kim Malcolm about the prevalence of hate crimes in the Pacific Northwest. 


Courtesy of Angela Carlye

In 1963, John Lewis was 23 years old when he addressed a crowd of over 200,000 people at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

Lewis was already a veteran of the civil rights movement. He had been a devoted anti-segregation and voting rights activist in college and was one of the original 13 Freedom Riders who dared to ride integrated buses into the segregated South. He had become the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and a colleague of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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