History

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Robert E. Lee lost the Civil War, and now his statue has lost its place on Richmond's Monument Avenue. A pair of filmmakers tells the story of why both those things matter.

A self-taught electrical engineer transformed the video game world in the 1970s.

Before Gerald "Jerry" Lawson helped invent the first video game console with interchangeable game cartridges, players were limited to a preset selection of games built into systems.

As such, Lawson has been called the "father of modern gaming." But to Karen and Anderson Lawson, he was first and foremost "Dad."

Jerry died in 2011 at age 70. At StoryCorps, Anderson, now 49, and Karen, 52, remembered how their father's pioneering spirit also influenced how he raised them.

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A statue of the journalist and activist Ida B. Wells has been unveiled at a new middle school which is named after her in Washington, D.C. In the late 19th and early 20th century, Wells covered stories that weren't being told elsewhere.

Shortly after signing the August 1821 treaty that formally established Mexico's independence from Spain, Agustín de Iturbide paid a visit to the city of Puebla.

Legend has it that the nuns of a local convent prepared the leader of the Mexican Army — and soon to be the country's first emperor — a pepper dish that reflected the three colors of the Mexican flag.

It's one of the nation's great mysteries: The first permanent colony of English settlers in what would become the U.S., founded in North Carolina in 1587 by Sir Walter Raleigh, disappeared three years later with virtually no trace.

Now, archaeologists hope a new search for the Lost Colony will unearth clues about what happened to 117 men, women and children who vanished and were never seen again.

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Mexico celebrates its independence from Spain at the stroke of midnight tonight. And in addition to the country, the traditional dish eaten on Independence Day also celebrates a big birthday this year.

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The Code Switch team had so much fun talking about books and freedom this summer that we decided we're not going to stop. So from time to time, we'll be sharing conversations about books that helped us understand a different dimension of freedom. Up next: an interview with Leila Slimani, about her new book, In The Country of Others.

Leila Slimani is obsessed with so-called "others." The French Moroccan author and journalist says she sometimes wants to be like a little mouse, quietly getting to watch how other people "live, how they talk, how they fall in love."

A group of Latino lawmakers wants the Biden administration to rename Fort Hood in Texas after the country's first Hispanic American promoted to four-star general.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus recommended that Fort Hood, one of the country's largest military installations, be renamed in honor of the late Gen. Richard E. Cavazos.

Robert E. Lee Statue Comes Down In Richmond

Sep 12, 2021

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Bethany C. Morrow already had several books in different genres published when she was asked to consider another: a re-envisioning of the beloved classic Little Women. She agreed, on one condition — her book would not reimagine anything. "I know that as soon as I make the March sisters Black girls, I am not reimagining Little Women," she said, "I'm telling a completely different story."

As the United States marks the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks that have forever changed life in America, the leaders of U.S. allies are also honoring the lives lost during the attacks, offering sympathies and remembering the legacies left behind.

This is how I remember New York City during the first summer after the September 11 attacks. I was 19 years old and had just moved to Manhattan from my family's farm on Long Island.

Workers were removing the last of the debris from the collapsed Twin Towers. People were coming outside again. The parades were packed. Much of the city felt alive, hopeful, and strong – even in the shadow of the event that had just happened 9 months before.

There is a long list of ways America was transformed by the terrorist attacks that destroyed the Twin Towers on 9/11/2001. But the question of how TV itself was changed – particularly in ways still relevant today – is more complicated.

CNBC anchor Shepard Smith, who covered the attack and its aftermath when he worked at Fox News Channel, points to a small but impactful TV innovation: the constant presence of an onscreen news ticker, scrolling through headlines, on cable news channels.

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In 1924, a flourishing beach resort for Black people along the Southern California coast was seized by the local city government through eminent domain.

The stated reason was to build a park, but historical records show the resort was shut down because the resort's owners and its patrons were Black.

Now, an effort to return what is known as Bruce's Beach to the descendants of its original owners — and make amends for a historical wrong — is poised to become reality.

It's hard to fathom now, but we used to be able to arrive at the airport just minutes before a flight. We'd keep our shoes and coats on as we went through a simple metal detector, and virtually anyone could go right to the gate without a boarding pass or even showing an ID.

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Editor's note: This story is adapted from reporting for the podcast Sacred Ground by NPR's Scott Detrow and WITF's Tim Lambert.

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One of the largest Confederate monuments came down Wednesday in Richmond, Va. Now, the state is announcing new plans for the base that used to hold the massive statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

They're going to remove a 133-year-old copper time capsule inside the pedestal and replace it with one that they say will reflect the current cultural climate in Virginia.

Updated September 8, 2021 at 9:17 AM ET

On Wednesday, the state of Virginia removed the 12-ton statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee more than 130 years after it was installed in Richmond.

Despite its massive size, it was lifted from its pedestal in one piece and is headed for storage. Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, was there as the statue came down and appeared pleased by its removal. A crowd also chanted and cheered as the statue of Lee — atop a horse — was lifted into the air by a crane.

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This is FRESH AIR. Our guest interviewer, Arun Venugopal, has the next interview. He's a host and senior producer at public radio station WNYC in New York. Here's Arun.

Countless books have been written — and films made — about the Warsaw Ghetto. It saw more than 400,000 Jews packed into the largest urban ghetto created by the Nazis in Europe, leading to a Jewish uprising on April 1943 that was crushed four weeks later. It's a story that should be told over and over again.

Pockets of militant Jewish resistance surfaced in smaller ghettos across Nazi-occupied central-eastern Europe too. But those stories are not as widely known.

Editor's note: This story is adapted from the podcast Sacred Ground by WITF's Tim Lambert and NPR's Scott Detrow. It contains explicit language.

Richard Guadagno's memory is scattered through his sister Lori's house two decades after his death.

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When the Banner family sought shelter from Hurricane Ida, which was roaring across the Gulf, they looked for the sturdiest building in the tiny community of Wallace, La., where they live. So they decided to ride out the storm in the Big House on the Whitney Plantation.

Labor Day became an official federal holiday in 1894, thanks to President Grover Cleveland. At its core, the day is meant to celebrate the common worker.

But hear Labor Day and what comes to mind? Grilled hot dogs, the end of summer? Maybe back-to-school sales?

Finding a purpose in life is tough. For Max Krieger, it was simple: find and document the most unusual McDonald's locations of the world.

A game designer by day, Krieger, 28, has spent the past year and a half scouring the internet for photos of unusually themed McDonald's locations and posting them to Twitter.

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