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Bill Radke talks to Seattle Weekly reporter David Lewis about the Ballard Locks and the man behind their construction, Hiram M. Chittenden. Lewis has researched Chittenden and found that not only did he consider Native Americans genetically inferior, but the construction of the locks themselves drained a body of water sacred to them -- the Black River. 

Marcie Sillman and Virginia Wright at SAM on Dec. 1, 2016.
KUOW Photo/Lisa Wang

Seattle’s reputation as a vibrant, progressive, culturally relevant city is the product of decades of vision and growth. Many Seattleites participated in building that progress, but no one has done more to develop the arts culture of this city than Virginia Wright. Over the last 60 years of her adult life, Wright has helped transform what was once a cultural outlier into a world-class art destination.

A survivor of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor who now lives in Lincoln City, Oregon, has vivid memories of the surprise strike on the Pacific Fleet that pushed the U.S. into World War II. Ed Johann, then a 17-year-old apprentice seaman, was crewing a hospital ship's water taxi when the first fighter bombers came over the horizon.

As museums and historians polish exhibits and remembrance programs for the 75th anniversary on Wednesday, Johann recalled the attack that killed more than 2,300 U.S. servicemen.

Italian archaeologists discovered the plundered tomb of Queen Nefertari in Egypt's Valley of the Queens in 1904, and amid the debris, they found a pair of mummified knees.

Now, for the first time, researchers have conducted a broad array of tests on the knees and say they are confident they belong to Nefertari, who was the wife of Pharaoh Ramses II and one of the most famous of Egypt's queens.

Brevet Major General George Armstrong Custer, United States Army, 1865
Public Domain

Bill Radke speaks with T.J. Stiles about his book, "Custer's Trial: A Life on the Frontier of a New America." Stiles draws parallels between a changing America during the time of Custer and changes happening in our country today. Stiles book won the 2016 Pulizter Prize for history.   

The Plane That Won A War And Polluted A River

Dec 1, 2016

This is a condensed version of a story originally published Sept. 29, 2015. Read the complete story here.

There's an old photograph in my father’s office that I’ve always wondered about. In it my grandfather and nine other young airmen stand in front of their B-17 plane, shoulders squared, smiling for the camera. They were probably in England at the time, getting ready to fly bombing raids over Germany in 1943.

Paul Fishman spots a rusty chunk of metal jutting out of the riverbank on Portland’s South Waterfront.

“Ah-ha!" he said. “Here’s a piece of ship’s hull."

The piece came from a World War II ship – one of the few signs of the post-war industry that used to be here.

During World War II, the site was one of several Willamette River shipyards devoted to building military vessels. But when victory made all those warships obsolete, this stretch of the waterfront became the scrapyard where many of those ships were torn apart.

Growing up, Paul Skirvin milked a lot of cows.

“Dad went and borrowed the money,” he says. “And before we was through milking cows, we was milking about 60 head.”

This was outside of Portland in the 1930s and '40s. Skirvin was too young to fight in World War II. Soon after it ended he received a quick lesson in economics when he and his brother were hired to log off their neighbor’s land.

“We milked those cows all month and about the same as we’d make in a week logging.” he says.

Andrew Gomez
Courtesy of Caroline Chamberlain

Bill Radke spoke with Andrew Gomez, a Cuban-American who teaches modern Latin American history and U.S. history at the University of Puget Sound. Gomez was visiting family in Miami the day of Fidel Castro's death. He describes how he and his father, a Cuban immigrant, processed the death of the controversial leader and the country's possible future.

Front page of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper on March 9, 1970.
University of Washington

People across the nation are protesting and Native Americans are occupying. It’s against the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota.

Courtesy of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer Collection, MOHAI

Seattle's food scene is booming.

Not only is it doing well economically, but people come from all over the world to try our oysters and berries and stroll Pike Place Market.


Minidoka Japanese internment camp in Idaho.
Flickr Photo/Samantha Smith (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/Nhc4WG

Bill Radke talks to Tom Ikeda, the director of nonprofit Densho, about his family's experience in the Minidoka internment camps and how he's working to make sure no community in America is interned again.  

Even a well known story depends on where you begin to tell it.

In the summer of 1955, Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African-American boy visiting Mississippi, was lynched by white men who said he'd flirted with a white woman. Till's body was returned home to Chicago where his mother insisted on an open casket. Photos were wired around the globe and the world saw his mutilated body. His murderers would be free within a month.

Donald Trump compared to Andrew Jackson

Nov 11, 2016
A
The White House

A lot of people have been saying the triumph of a man like Donald Trump is unprecedented in American history. But then you have to remember Andrew Jackson.

Even former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a close Trump confidante and advisor, compared Trump favorably with Jackson.

Kim Malcolm talks with UW historian Margaret O'Mara about the 2016 presidential election. She says in a historical context, this election isn't as polarizing and vitriolic as it's being made out to be.

National Archives, Seattle collection

Seattle traffic, as you know, has become monstrous.

Delays on regional freeways doubled between 2010 and 2015, according to the Puget Sound Regional Council. 

Why have our highways failed us so? A 50-year-old document provides one answer. 

A view of the Pike Place Market in July 1919.
Seattle Municipal Archives

Pike Place is haunted by the ghosts of children.

Mercedes Carrabba is a second generation vendor at Pike Place. She says the nine acre Pike Place district “is the most haunted location in the city, if not possibly the state.”

It's one of the biggest medical mysteries of our time: How did HIV come to the U.S.?

By genetically sequencing samples from people infected early on, scientists say they have figured out when and where the virus that took hold here first arrived. In the process, they have exonerated the man accused of triggering the epidemic in North America.

Seattle's Hooverville, 1939
Courtesy of MOHAI, Seattle P-I Collection.

Bill Radke sits down with Crosscut's Knute Berger to talk about Hoovervilles, the shantytowns that sprang up during the Great Depression, and how they can inform our current debates over homelessness.

Oxford University Press has announced that its new edition of the complete works of William Shakespeare will credit Christopher Marlowe as a co-author on the three Henry VI plays.

Despite years of controversy about the authorship of some of Shakespeare's work, this is the first time a major publishing house has formally named Marlowe as a co-author.

In the aftermath of the Great Depression, the U.S. government set out to evaluate the riskiness of mortgages — and left behind a stunning portrait of the racism and discrimination that has shaped American housing policy.

Now a new digital tool makes it easier than ever to see that history in high-resolution.

The Austrian government says it plans to tear down the house where Adolf Hitler was born to prevent the property from being a pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis.

This comes after a long fight with the current owner, who for years has rejected the government's attempts to purchase the property located in Braunau, near the German border. Now, the government intends to confiscate it, reporter Kerry Skyring in Vienna tells our Newscast unit.

With her infant son in a sling, Monique Black strolls through a weekend open house in the gentrified Shaw neighborhood of Washington, D.C. There are lots of factors to consider when looking for a home — in this one, Monique notices, the tiny window in the second bedroom doesn't let in enough light. But for parents like Black and her husband, Jonny, there's a more important question: How good are the nearby schools?

Architecture was one of Adolf Hitler's passions, and he commissioned hundreds of buildings and arenas reminiscent of imperial Rome to inspire and intimidate.

It's a legacy Germany has struggled to erase by re-purposing or razing Nazi-era structures. The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, for example, was placed in an old SS barracks in Nuremburg, while the German Finance Ministry took over the Nazi aviation building in Berlin.

The Berlin bunker where Hitler spent his final days was reduced to a parking lot.

Colosseum, Rome, Italy
Flickr Photo/Jean-Marc (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/ggWBMX

From Romulus and Remus to its infamous fall, the once “small, ordinary” town of Rome came to define empire and change the world forever. British scholar, television host and author Mary Beard has made mining the history of that empire her central work.

Beard is a classics professor at Cambridge and the author of “SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome.” 

For decades, artifacts of life and work from the Manhattan Project and Cold War era at Hanford have been locked away. Now, these historical items are being trucked off the southeast Washington nuclear site and curated at Washington State University Tri-Cities.

Many Americans are familiar with the astronaut heroes of the 20th century space race — names like Gus Grissom and Neil Armstrong. But who did the calculations that would successfully land these men on the moon?

Several of the NASA researchers who made space flight possible were women. Among them were black women who played critical roles in the aeronautics industry even as Jim Crow was alive and well.

When Olympia was run by (musical) women

Sep 21, 2016
The band Sleater-Kinney is one of the most famous products of the 90s punk scene in Olympia, Washington.
Flickr Photo/peta_azak (CC BY ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/t3x8LT

Bill Radke speaks with Len Balli about the history of punk music in Olympia. Balli is the curator of a new exhibit at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma that displays called "A Revolution You Can Dance To." 

3,000-Year-Old Cooking Fail Found At A Danish Dig Site

Sep 21, 2016

Denmark currently holds the title of world's happiest country. But we could imagine at least one Norseman back in time who, after a failed cooking attempt, probably felt little of the famed Danish hygge.

In a hilly wetland north of Silkeborg, archaeologists have unearthed a wholly intact Bronze Age clay pot containing a cheesy and charred residue burned to its inside.

Adrienne Bailey, 62, recalls when black people in Seattle had to buy or rent homes with the help of benevolent whites, who were known as shields.
KUOW Photo/Jamala Henderson

When you drive to north Seattle from south Seattle, you may notice that the city becomes a lot more white. That’s because north Seattle is 69 percent white, according to Census data. South Seattle is just 28 percent white. Of non-whites in the south end, Asians make up the majority at 36 percent.

Listener David Newman asked the Local Wonder team to look into why Seattle seems so segregated. Our first stop was the Ship Canal, that skinny waterway near Husky Stadium that connects Lake Washington with Puget Sound.

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