history | Connecticut Public Radio
WNPR

history

Mrs. Charles Stephenson (Grace Murray) / Wikimedia Commons

Next Tuesday is “Juneteenth”, a holiday that marks the day that slavery finally ended in Texas--two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. This hour, we learn more about Juneteenth and how the holiday came to be commemorated nationwide. The Amistad Center will explain why this day is still relevant today.

Many people think of American slavery as a Southern problem, but there were in fact enslaved people in Connecticut until 1848. We take a look at the history and legacy of slavery right here in Connecticut.

Jeff Wiltse

African American children are more likely to drown in swimming pools than white American children. Jeff Wiltse, Professor of History at the University of Montana and author of Contested Waters: A Social History of Swimming Pools in America, has researched how this shocking statistic in racial disparity is rooted in America’s discriminatory past at public swimming pools.

Wiltse recently spoke with Connecticut Public Radio’s Lucy Nalpathanchil about how this problem still divides across America’s racial lines, how African Americans suffered the most, and how the disparity will separate class lines in the future.

Jonathan McNicol / WNPR

Who's afraid of the Bix bad Beiderbecke?

Hartford has an amazing jazz history, and Colin has a lot of jazz musician friends. This hour, a little onstage jazz party.

Colin and the panel look to make jazz accessible to mere mortals. They talk about what makes jazz jazz, invite the audience to sing, and teach the audience to scat.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

There has been a lot of confusion about how many people died in Puerto Rico as the result of Hurricane Maria and its aftermath. Several publications reported last week that approximately five-thousand people may have died. They based their reports on a new study published in The New England Journal of Medicine that reflected more ambiguity than often reported.  

Technical Sergeant John L. Houghton, Jr., United States Air Force / Wikimedia Commons

In March 2003, the U.S. invaded Iraq--in what turned out to be a baseless search for hidden “weapons of mass destruction.” Fifteen years later, we are still dealing with the deadly fallout of the decision to go to war.

mslavick / flickr creative commons

We've been trying to push this show out for quite a while now. It's been a bit of a strain, and we got kind of backed up.

But, this hour, we let loose a long look at... constipation.

It should be a big relief for everyone involved.

zenilorac / flickr creative commons

Numbers are so fundamental to our understanding of the world around us that we maybe tend to think of them as an intrinsic part of the world around us. But they aren't. Humans invented numbers just as much as we invented all of language.

Willie Stark / Creative Commons

I have traveled to three foreign countries since President Trump was elected. While I have always been proud to be American, even as I criticize much in my country, I was humbled by what people thought of America in the countries I visited. They were puzzled by our health care system, and appalled by our guns and voter apathy. 

The Noank Historical Society

This year marks the 150th anniversary of Memorial Day. On May 30th, 1868, a group of veteran Union soldiers known as the Grand Army of the Republic held the first "Decoration Day" as it was known back then as a way to commemorate their fallen comrades.

Noank, Connecticut has been cited by several sources on the internet for having the longest running continuous Memorial Day Parade in the country. Are those sources correct?

Carole Raddato / flickr

Perhaps the most surprising thing about the Amazons of ancient Greek mythology is that they were not entirely mythical. While many of the deeds and details ascribed to these women warriors were imagined, the Amazons themselves were inspired by a real-life horse-riding tribe of nomads called the Scythians.

Central American migrants on a train in southern Mexico
Peter Haden / Flickr

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced that anyone who enters the United States illegally will be prosecuted, even if they are seeking asylum. This hour, we get the details on current immigration policies, and we ask: what has “legal immigration" really meant throughout our country’s history?

The Flap Over Flags

May 22, 2018
Flickr Creative Commons, Sam Howzit

Flags have been in the news a lot lately. South Carolina removed the Confederate flag from its Statehouse and one Missouri county threatened to lower the flags at their courthouse for one full year to mourn the Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage.

I'm in awe of the emotions a simple flag can evoke. On the surface, it's a piece of cloth with pretty colors and designs.

Max Pixel / Creative Commons

Black children are three times more likely to drown in the United States than white children. This hour, we learn the history behind this deadly disparity.

Harvey Bravman is the director and producer of "Soul Witness: The Brookline Holocaust Witness Project." The film is playing in New Haven on Thursday, May 17 at 7:00 pm.
Patrick Skahill / Connecticut Public Radio

For years, hours of videotaped interviews with survivors of the Holocaust sat packed away in a closet in Brookline, Massachusetts. Now, a filmmaker has rescued those old tapes, weaving dozens of interviews together into a “living memorial” for survivors.

Inside a secret annex above her father's office, Anne Frank edited passages from her first diary, the book that captured a teenager's experience of the Holocaust. What she hid underneath brown gummed paper on two pages was revealed on Tuesday — five crossed-out phrases, four risqué jokes and 33 lines about sex education and prostitution.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / Flickr

If there's one thing that unites us all (literally, ALL of us) it's gravity. Gravity attracts every bit of matter in the universe to every other bit of matter in the universe, no exceptions! But for something (a warping of space-time, to be precise) so universally present, it remains one of the least understood forces in physics.

The great American patriot and Bostonian Paul Revere died 200 years ago on May 10, 1818. He's often remembered as one of the infamous "midnight riders" who rode into Concord, Massachusetts, to warn residents about a planned British attack.

Adam Tiner / flickr creative commons

Lauren Bacall probably does have the most famous line about smoking in all of cinema. But there are other good ones too. "What are you gonna do? Charge me with smoking?" "Smoke if ya got 'em." And many more.

Cigarettes have been such an integral part of movies for so long that one big concern in the lead up to Disney and Fox's planned merger is -- seriously -- all the smoking in Fox movies.

ICE returned 3,800 ancient artifacts, including cuneiform tablets, cylinder seals, and clay bullae, to the Republic of Iraq. The artifacts were smuggled into the U.S. in violation of federal law and shipped to Hobby Lobby Stores.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

When the Green family, the owners of the Oklahoma-based arts and craft store Hobby Lobby, purchased thousands of artifacts from dealers in the United Arab Emirates in 2010, it was believed many of the objects were looted from archaeological sites in Iraq. 

Phil Guest / flickr creative commons

The bands Yes, Genesis, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Rush, Asia, and Styx have sold, literally, hundreds of millions of albums.

And that's despite the fact that This Is Spinal Tap is a devastatingly accurate spoofing of, ya know... all those bands.

This hour: a look at the rise and fall of progressive rock.

Evan Kalish / Postlandia

When Alexis de Tocqueville toured America in the early 1830's to gather observations that he would later put on the pages of Democracy in America, he was impressed with the efficiency of our American Postal Service.

Ed Dunens / Flickr

As President Trump talks about draining the swamp in Washington D.C., we turn our attention to actual swamps. Associated with death and decay, while also celebrated for their beauty and biodiversity, few landscapes evoke such contradictory sentiments as swamps.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

This week's Nose tackles Kanye's bromance with President Trump. And we've got an update on monkey selfies!

Plus: Courtney Balaker's Little Pink House, which opens today at Real Art Ways in Hartford, tells the story of Kelo v. City of New London. Catherine Keener plays Susette Kelo. There's an unnamed version of Governor John Rowland. Keith Kountz makes an appearance. The movie is kind of Erin Brockovich, but on the Connecticut Shoreline in the Late '90s/Early 2000s. The Nose has seen it.

Connecticut State Library, State Archives Picture Group 034

One of Connecticut’s most highly decorated World War I veterans is featured in a new animated film, opening in theaters nationwide Friday. He warned his fellow soldiers of a possible gas attack, located wounded men in the field, and even helped to catch an enemy spy hidden in the Allied trenches.

Colin Dunn / Creative Commons

A mosaic of boldly colored labels and brightly lit bottles, the vitamin aisle is as much a drug store staple as it is a monument to a multi-billion dollar industry. This hour, we trace the history of dietary supplement sales in the U.S. and consider why these supplements remain so popular today. 

Jamle / flickr

They smell better, they're better at sensing temperature changes and they can handle more pain. These are just a few of the actual differences between redheads and the rest of us. But while having red hair does come with certain advantages, there are more than a few disadvantages as well.

Eleanor Roosevelt (second from left) and Lorena Hickok (far right)
Franklin D. Roosevelt Library / Wikimedia Commons

Eleanor Roosevelt was a woman with a huge historical footprint—First Lady, first U.S. delegate to the United Nations General Assembly. She was dubbed “The First Lady of the World” by Harry Truman. 

But how much is known about Eleanor’s personal life beyond the politics and activism? This hour, we sit down with Connecticut author Amy Bloom. Her new book, White Houses, is a fictional novel that explores Eleanor’s real-life romantic relationship with female journalist Lorena Hickok.

Shaheen Lakhan / Creative Commons

H.M. is one of the most important and studied human research subjects of all time. He revolutionized what we know about memory today because of the amnesia he developed after a lobotomy in 1953 to treat the severe epilepsy he developed after a head injury sustained earlier in life. 

Lydia Brown / WNPR

This hour: a lesson in public history. How are towns and cities across Connecticut and the Northeast engaging residents with the past?

We check in with a team of experts and historians. We look at examples of locally driven projects and initiatives, and consider their impact on community building and sense of place.

Do you feel a strong tie to your community’s history? We want to hear from you. 

IFC Films

Armando Iannucci is the creator of Veep and The Thick of It and the writer and director of In the Loop. Those, you'll note, are all contemporary political satires. Iannucci's new movie, The Death of Stalin, is set in 1953 Moscow and tells a true-to-some-degree version of the story of, logically, Joseph Stalin's death. Historical period piece or no, The Death of Stalin is still utterly recognizable Iannucci: it's funny, it's filthy -- it's mostly about the incompetence of the powerful. And, at the same time, stories about Russian authoritarianism have a certain contemporary vibe too, ya know?

Pages