History

Note to our readers: This report contains some strong racial language.

This month Selma, Ala., will mark the 50th anniversary of "Bloody Sunday." That's the day police beat demonstrators attempting to march to Montgomery in support of voting rights. Some of the most iconic images of that day were captured by a white photographer — the late Spider Martin.

The cast of "Letters to the Editor": Shellie Shulkin, David Bestock, Molli Corcoran, Andrew Litzky, Laura Ferri and Carl  Shutoff.
KUOW Photo/John O'Brien

The Jewish Transcript newspaper, now known as The Jewish Sound, first went to print in Seattle in March 1924. Its founder, Herman Horowitz, said he felt a duty to the Jewish community of the Northwest to provide a forum for “their ideas, aspirations and principles." 

To mark the publication’s 90th anniversary, the editors of The Jewish Sound approached Seattle’s Book-It Repertory Theatre about a collaboration. 

The World War II-era Japanese battleship Musashi was sunk by U.S. warplanes on Oct. 24, 1944, during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, one of the war's largest naval battles. Despite numerous eyewitness accounts at the time, the location of the wreckage was never known. Until now.

Monopoly can be pretty addictive once you start playing it, right? Well, for author and journalist Mary Pilon, searching for the game's true origins proved just as consuming. She writes:

"In the process of reporting this story, I hacked off over a foot of hair in one anguished swoop, sold off many of my material possessions, was confronted by law enforcement for falling asleep in public places ... found Monopoly money in my linens when doing laundry, fretted about finances, [and] had nightmares about the various aspects of the story. ..."

Rosa Parks is well-known for her refusal to give up her seat to a white passenger on a public bus in Montgomery, Ala., in December 1955. But Parks' civil rights protest did have a precedent: Fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin, a student from a black high school in Montgomery, had refused to move from her bus seat nine months earlier. However, Colvin is not nearly as well-known, and certainly not as celebrated, as Parks.

Seattle's city hall was a mishmash of additions, including a basement where some prisoners were sent and brutally treated, fed a minimal diet of bread and water.
Seattle.gov

Little surprises Knute Berger, writer and local historian, when it comes to Seattle history.

So when he discovered that Seattle had used chain gangs – ball and chain style – into the 1900s, he thought, “Chain gangs? That’s a Southern thing.”

New ownership is giving new hope to a decrepit, unseaworthy fishing boat with a notable literary pedigree.

Seattle gets more clouds than blue sky, so do we really buy that many sunglasses?
Flickr Photo/Phil Buckley

Do Seattleites buy more sunglasses than residents of other cities?

Was there really a dead horse in Ballard’s water supply in the early 1900s?

And did prostitutes start the Seattle School District?

Listener Kristie Fisher of Belltown asked about Seattle’s urban myths as part of our Local Wonder project. So we asked our Facebook friends to share their favorites and chose a few for KUOW’s Jeannie Yandel to investigate.

KUOW Photo/Keva Andersen

KUOW acquisitions producer Keva Andersen spotted some familiar pieces of scrap metal near the parking lot of Salty's on Alki. 

Could it be? Is this pile of detritus a souvenir from the Kalakala, the infamous former Washington state ferry that recently took its final voyage to the junk yard? If so, why is it there?

Update: West Seattle Herald has the answer! 

Nearly 4,000 blacks were lynched in the American South between the end of the Civil War and World War II, according to a new report by the Equal Justice Initiative.

The report, Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror, says that the number of victims in the 12 Southern states was more than 20 percent higher than previously reported.

Lynchings were part of a system of racial terror designed to subjugate a people, says the Alabama-based nonprofit's executive director, Bryan Stevenson.

The organization United4Iran displayed this billboard in Washington, D.C., in 2012 to protest the treatment of Baha'is in Iran.
Flickr Photo/United4Iran (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Jeannie Yandel talks with Mitra Zarakani, an employment specialist at Jewish Family Service's Eastside location, about her immigration to the U.S. and attending a secret university in Iran.

Courtesy Jason Yeatman

Two years ago Jason Yeatman, a researcher at the University of Washington, stumbled into a secret corridor of the mind.

The Kalakala on the day she was to be scrapped. The unlucky vessel had shone on Puget Sound waters as a ferry between 1933 to 1967.
KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

It was before dawn on Thursday, and the cold air off the Blair Waterway in Tacoma was damp and penetrating.

Karl Anderson, a mustachioed man in his 70s, stood on his company’s graving dock, waiting for the Kalakala.

American soldiers in presence of gas, 42nd division. Essey, France. September 20, 1918.
Flickr Photo/Otis Historical Archives (CC-BY-NC-ND)

To mark the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, University of Washington professor Robin McCabe planned a series she calls “Music from the War to End All Wars.”

The debut event includes professor Robert Stacey’s talk ,“A Gathering Storm? Artistic Crisis and the Coming of the First World War.” 

Matt Smith in "My Last Year With The Nuns"
John Jeffcoat

Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood is hipster central these days: the place to go for the latest in music clubs, trendy restaurants and street style.

That wasn't always the case.

Pages