history

The drawdown of water behind Wanapum Dam in central Washington is exposing dozens of human gravesites and hundreds of Native American cultural artifacts.

An Eye For An Eye: Did It Make The World Blind?

Apr 9, 2014
Thane Rosenbaum's book, "Payback."

Steve Scher talks with Thane Rosenbaum, author of "Payback: The Case For Revenge," about how we view the phrase "an eye for an eye" and the role of revenge in our current justice system.

Seventy-five years ago, on April 9, 1939, as Hitler's troops advanced in Europe and the Depression took its toll in the U.S., one of the most important musical events of the 20th century took place on the National Mall in Washington. There, just two performers, a singer and a pianist, made musical — and social — history.

Olive Mukankusi lives in a two-room house with mud walls and a dirt floor in a village called Igati, in eastern Rwanda's Rwamagana province. To get there, you have to drive about 30 minutes down a dirt road.

It's there, in her home, on a warm and sunny afternoon, that she tells a story that she's only told three times in 20 years: first to a local judge, then to an American genocide researcher — and now.

KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Ross Reynolds talks with academic and activist Roger Roffman about his involvement with marijuana and public policy for 45 years. His latest book is "Marijuana Nation: One Man’s Chronicle of America Getting High: From Vietnam to Legalization."

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

On April 4th, 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.

“The students that I was with were in a panic, I mean, it’s not like any of us had ever been in a riot,” Heyde said. “So they grabbed me and they said, ‘Gary, we need to tell you this. When we first got here and we stopped at the dorm, students were already a little upset that you were going to be staying in the dorm. So I think we need to get out here.’”

Gary Heyde barely escaped the calamity of riots and violence surrounding him. He made it out. Listen (at 10:31 for those short on time) to find out how.

This archive originally aired in October 2011. Produced for the Web by Brieana Ripley.

Tom Mueller's book, "Extra Virginity."

Marcie Sillman talks with author Tom Mueller about his book, "Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil."

Flickr Photo/gfpeck (CC BY-NC-ND)

Steve Scher talks with Chieko Phillips, exhibitions manager at the Northwest African American Museum, about its new exhibit, "Pitch Black: African American Baseball in Washington."

U.S. Geological Survey Photographic Library

Fifty years ago, a large earthquake centered near Anchorage, Alaska, set off a fatal chain of destruction that reached through Washington and all the way down into California.

March 27, 1964 – Good Friday – was a typical early spring day in Seattle. But just after 7:30 p.m., an earthquake disrupted the peaceful evening all along the Pacific coast.

At Ross Mullins' home in Cordova, Alaska, you have to slam the front door extra hard to make it close. The former commercial fisherman lives in a small wood-frame house that's in need of repair. Some of the windows are cracked and he leaves the water faucets dripping to protect uninsulated pipes from the harsh Alaskan winter.

When the Exxon Valdez oil tanker ran aground and started leaking oil 25 years ago, the disaster drastically changed the fishing industry in Prince William Sound, Alaska. Mullins has never recovered from that blow.

On March 24, 1989, the tanker Exxon Valdez struck a reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska, spilling 11 million gallons of crude oil into the pristine water. At the time, it was the single biggest spill in U.S. history. In a series of stories, NPR is examining the lasting social and economic impacts of the disaster, as well as the policy, regulation and scientific research that came out of it.

It's a blustery, snowy March day when Michelle Hahn O'Leary offers a tour of Cordova, Alaska, situated on the eastern shore of Prince William Sound.

Peter Stark's book, "Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson's Lost Pacific Empire."

David Hyde talks to author Peter Stark about his new book, "Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson's Lost Pacific Empire."

How Coffee Sobered Up The Modern World

Mar 20, 2014
Mark Pendergrast's book, "Uncommon Grounds."

Ross Reynolds talks with Mark Pendergrast, author of "Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World," about early coffee houses and why some leaders wanted to ban the popular caffeinated drink.

If you want to get an earful about paying for college, listen to parents from states where tuition and fees have skyrocketed in the last five years. In Arizona, for example, parents have seen a 77 percent increase in costs. In Georgia, it's 75 percent, and in Washington state, 70 percent.

The Dark History Of Green Food On St. Patrick's Day

Mar 17, 2014

Green food may mean party time in America, where St. Patrick's Day has long been an excuse to break out the food dye. But in Ireland, where the Irish celebrate their patron saint on March 17, green food has bitter connotations that recall the nation's darkest chapter, says historian Christine Kinealy.

Pages