History

Updated August 25, 2021 at 3:40 PM ET

During World War II, Dr. Charles Drew developed a way to get life-saving blood plasma to service members injured in battle.

Known today as "the father of blood banking," Drew was a key pioneer in developing ways to store and transport blood. His methods were adopted by the American Red Cross.

In 1950, at age 45, Drew suffered serious injuries from a car crash in North Carolina. Surgeons at a nearby hospital were unable to save him.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

In 1981, President Ronald Reagan faced a test.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

RONALD REAGAN: This morning at 7 a.m., the union representing those who man America's air traffic control facilities called a strike.

Updated August 5, 2021 at 12:07 PM ET

On Wednesday evening, for the first time in almost 17 months, a new play began performances on Broadway. Called Pass Over, the play combines elements of Samuel Beckett's existential drama, Waiting for Godot, with the Exodus story from the Bible as it looks at two young Black men dreaming of a better tomorrow in a world of police violence.

Looking to spend money on a single piece of 40-year-old cake from someone else's wedding?

Well, what if that wedding was the royal nuptials of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer?

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

KELSEY SNELL, HOST:

TRIESTE, Italy — Tourists to Italy are likely to visit Rome, Florence, Venice — maybe even Naples and Sicily. Few venture as far as this city tucked in the country's northeast corner on the Adriatic Sea.

Once the flourishing port of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Trieste became a largely forgotten borderland after World War I. But today, those who visit find a blend of cultures and languages of Europe, with a rich literary legacy — a city that's lured great authors from Ranier Maria Rilke to James Joyce.

They're the ones who are always keeping a close eye on all the art exhibits. But now, a team of museum guards have a chance to become guest curators.

A new exhibit at the Baltimore Museum of Art, which is scheduled to open in March 2022, will be curated entirely by security officers who work in the museum.

The new "Guarding the Art" exhibition will be fully curated by 17 members of the museum's security team and will draw from current works of art in the BMA's collection, with each work selected by one of the participating officers.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NOEL KING, HOST:

The Olympics have always been a feel-good international sporting event that, without exaggeration, bring the world together. The Olympics are also now a multibillion-dollar industry.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The winding streets of old Istanbul are an overlapping cacophony of seagulls, ship horns and vendors of colorful fresh fruit. Shady fig trees cluster near crumbling Byzantine walls and sweeping Ottoman palaces, remnants of the empires that conquered and lost this strategic point on the Bosporus Strait, which formed the seat of the Eastern Roman Empire.

Underneath it all is an ancient world that's almost invisible, unless you know where to look.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

You've probably heard of the five stages of grief. I mean, they're pretty firmly lodged into American pop culture. There's...

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT")

A revolver that killed one of the most famous wanted men in the Wild West 140 years ago is slated to be offered for millions of dollars next month.

Prior to his killing, a judge is said to have sentenced famed outlaw Billy the Kid to hang until "you are dead, dead, dead." Billy was rumored to respond, "And you can go to hell, hell, hell."

Anyone who's seen the 1983 film The Right Stuff might remember the scene where astronaut Virgil "Gus" Grissom (played by actor Fred Ward) nearly drowns after splashdown when the hatch on his Mercury capsule unexpectedly blows, flooding the spacecraft with seawater.

ZUNYI, China — Some people splurge for beach vacations or a week in nature. Office worker Huang Ge recently decided to spend his week off touring Zunyi, a remote, mountainous town in southern China that's important to his country's modern political history.

"China's Communist Party influenced my sense of social responsibility," says Huang, who lives in the southern province of Guangdong. "My understanding of the party continues to modernize, and coming to these sites replenishes my faith in the party."

Updated July 29, 2021 at 9:40 AM ET

YAN'AN, China — Participants leave glowing with newfound optimism. They rave about their two-week stay in ways that may sound like describing a yoga retreat or a mental wellness session.

The participants are Chinese Communist Party cadres, however, and they are talking about the China Executive Leadership Academy in Yan'an, in the Shaanxi province, one of the country's leading party schools teaching Communist history and socialism-inspired management theory.

I picked up Until Proven Safe: The History and Future of Quarantine, by journalists Geoff Manaugh and Nicola Twilley, with a degree of dread. Who wants to remain, even intellectually, in that claustrophobic place in which we slunk and mouldered our way through 2020 and 2021?

James C. Schaap

It wasn't upkept--I'll say that much. The grass could have used a trim, but the City is keeping it up adequately, as well they should. It stands at the very top of Prospect Hill, where once some obscure Sioux City history was created. The Prospect Hill Monument, as it’s called, attempts to remember an event 152 years ago that today wouldn’t snag a Journal headline. 

Updated July 18, 2021 at 7:57 PM ET

More than two decades before the Biden administration announced its historic pick to lead the U.S. Census Bureau, James F. Holmes quietly blazed a trail at the federal government's largest statistical agency.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

It was another summer night in 1981. Hundreds of people gathered for a "tea dance" at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Kansas City, Mo., on July 17.

Among them were Karen Jeter, 37, and her husband, Eugene, 48, who had just gotten married a couple of weeks earlier.

"She was a really good dancer. Loved to dance, loved music. She's the one that taught me how to dance," said Karen's son, Brent Wright. "They were really wonderful people."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

We are marking a milestone, 50 years of NPR, with a look back at stories from the archive.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SACHA PFEIFFER, HOST:

For any 18-year-olds who voted in this past election, they have the 26th Amendment to thank. Fifty years ago this month, the states ratified that amendment.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

It was only a few years ago that Apple finished construction of its 2.8 million-square-foot "spaceship" headquarters in the San Francisco Bay Area. The glittering, doughnut-shaped building cost the company about $5 billion to construct, making it one the most expensive buildings in the world.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SACHA PFEIFFER, HOST:

The Colorado River is tapped out.

Another dry year has left the watershed that supplies 40 million people in the Southwest parched. A prolonged 21-year warming and drying trend is pushing the nation's two largest reservoirs to record lows. For the first time, a shortage is expected to be declared by the federal government, this summer.

Pages