history

A portrait of the University Heights Baseball Team, Seattle, from the nineteen twenties
Seattle Municipal Archives

What does Baseball history tell us about America? That we’re a nation of scandals and corrupt leadership, of racial prejudice and cold economic calculus. But we’re also a nation of humility and redemption. William Woodward teaches American history at SPU and preaches the gospel of baseball all over Washington state. The narrative he sees  in baseball gives him hope – not just for America, but for the human condition. Professor Woodward gives Ross Reynolds his pitch.

Tamim Ansary On Afghanistan's Interrupted History

Nov 26, 2012

The US military and its allies are drawing up plans to leave Afghanistan by 2014, but it will be some time before the nation is truly independent. Peace in Afghanistan has been interspersed with foreign invasion for centuries, from the Mongol Empire to today’s war. We talk with writer Tamim Ansary about his new book, “Game Without Rules: The Often Interrupted History of Afghanistan,” and what Afghan independence might look like in the future.

The Radical Roots Of Yesler Terrace

Nov 16, 2012

Yesler Terrace is Seattle's oldest public housing project. It was revolutionary when it was completed in 1940. In the near future, though, it will be completely demolished.

In its place will sprout a series of high rise towers with a limited number of low-income housing units alongside up to 4,000 market-rate private housing units, offices, retail and commercial spaces. The ultimate goal, says the Seattle Housing Authority, is to create a sustainable, healthy, mixed-income neighborhood.

It's a radical plan, controversial, and every bit as transformational as that which gave rise to Yesler Terrace in 1940.

Library of Congress Van Vechten Collection

On October 30, 1938, Orson Wells' infamous "War of the Worlds" broadcast across the nation.  Fake news of a Martian landing fooled a lot of people on the East Coast, especially around New Jersey, where phony live reports described the alien landing site. But the most infamous panic of all didn't happen in the East. And it wasn't just a single person. It was an entire town, and it happened right here in Washington state.

Wikipedia

Chances are you've seen the works of Edward Curtis, possibly without even realizing it. His images are the iconic, definitive photographs of Native Americans created as the 19th century expired and the 20th came into being. The huge project to photograph the surviving Indian tribes brought Edward Curtis from the fringes of high society to the edge of penury. He died almost forgotten a few years after publication of the last of his 20 volumes of images. The New York Times journalist and author Timothy Egan joins us to explore the remarkable life and work of Edward Curtis.

Also this hour we will hear from the two candidates running for Washington state's 9th Congressional District. Rep. Adam Smith and Jim Postma discuss the issues facing the state's first minority-majority district.

When Carver Clark Gayton was growing up in Seattle in the 1940s he didn’t hear anything about African-American history in school. But his mother told him stories, including one about his great-grandfather Lewis George Clarke.

Clarke was an escaped slave and an abolitionist. His personal story found its way into the anti-slavery novel "Uncle Tom’s Cabin" that went on to become the second most popular book in the 19th century. It’s seen as one of the causes of the Civil War.

Kvasir Society Photo/Joy Mathew

There are many stories of great floods out there, first and foremost the fable of Noah's ark. But some geologists have found that many of these legends have some basis in historical fact. We talk with University of Washington professor and MacArthur award-winner Dave Montgomery, the author of "The Rocks Don't Lie: A Geologist Investigates Noah's Flood."

Souvenirs Of Seattle’s World’s Fair

Oct 18, 2012
Paula Jones
Courtesy/Washington State Archives, Puget Sound Regional Branch

Ten million people attended the Seattle World’s Fair over the course of its six month run. Jean Roth was one of them and she was there on opening day: April 21, 1962.

That day was also Roth’s 18th birthday and she and some friends thought it would be great to be the first through the turnstiles.

"The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show" debuted on television screens in 1959. The cartoon featured an all-American squirrel and his pal the moose hotly pursued by Boris and Natasha — the Russian-accented spies with a knack for falling on their own grenades. "The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show" parodied the space race, the arms race between the US and the Soviets, and also took its share of digs at the American government and military. In an era when Yogi Bear was stealing pies off window sills — never before had an animated cartoon carried such political currency. And as Studio 360’s Julia Wetherell reports in Rocky and Bullwinkle and the Cuban Missile Crisis, it just might have predicted the fall of communism.

Other stories from KUOW Presents:

Don't Know Much About the American Presidents book cover
dontknowmuch.com/

The presidential debates are a major factor in this year’s race for the White House. When did the debates become such a big deal? 

Historian Kenneth Davis tells us the story of America’s presidential debates and talks about his new book, "Don’t Know Much About The American Presidents."

1962: Remembering The Deadly Columbus Day Storm

Oct 12, 2012
Photo by Seattle Municipal Archives.

A lot of strange things happened in October 1962.

In Hollywood, Bobby "Boris" Pickett topped the charts with “Monster Mash.” In New York, James Brown recorded his incredible "Live at the Apollo" album. And in Cuba, offensive missile sites were being built, marking the start of the Cuban missile crisis.

Meanwhile, closer to home, the Pacific Northwest was about to face one of the most destructive natural disasters in American history.

Where They Stand
(Credit/Simon & Schuster)

Who was the best US president? The worst? Biographer Robert Merry plays "rate the presidents" based on popularity and historical judgment. Here are some hints: Abraham Lincoln's at the top and James Buchanan ranks as one of the country's biggest failures.

Harriet Baskas, courtesy of Seattle Museum of Communications

The 1962 Seattle World's Fair introduced technological innovations that seemed out of reach at the time, but would eventually become a part of every day life.  Some of the ground breaking gadgets unveiled included a pager, a cordless phone and something called a computer.

Wikipedia/public domain

The University of Washington is a respected institution of higher learning, serving more than 92,000 students on campuses in Seattle, Bothell and Tacoma. But it didn’t quite start out this way; in its first 25 years, the school went broke and even shut down for a brief time. It barely had enough students and faculty to fill a large room.

The Dark Origins Of Valentine's Day

Feb 14, 2011

Valentine's Day is a time to celebrate romance and love and kissy-face fealty. But the origins of this festival of candy and cupids are actually dark, bloody — and a bit muddled.

Though no one has pinpointed the exact origin of the holiday, one good place to start is ancient Rome, where men hit on women by, well, hitting them.

Those Wild And Crazy Romans

From Feb. 13 to 15, the Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia. The men sacrificed a goat and a dog, then whipped women with the hides of the animals they had just slain.

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