History

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Updated July 15, 2021 at 7:55 AM ET

A new review of states' learning standards brings fresh insight — and facts — to the heated debate over critical race theory (CRT) and America's K-12 schools.

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

James Baldwin discusses cinema's role in perpetuating myths about American history and culture. "History is not a matter of the past. It's a matter of the present," he warns.

From the program Voices in the Wind (May 30, 1976)

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Coprolites - they're ancient and important for scientific discovery.

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The United States is about to undertake a national investigation into hundreds of American Indian boarding schools that from the 1800s through the 20th century served to "kill the Indian to save the man," according to one school's founder.

Saturday marked a day of sweeping changes to the landscape of Charlottesville, Va., as local officials removed three statues seen by many as symbols of perpetuating racial inequality in America.

Updated on July 14 at 12:46 p.m. ET

Less than two months before the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, the chief prosecutor of the alleged 9/11 conspirators announced his surprise retirement Thursday, making a trial in the case appear increasingly unlikely.

Updated July 10, 2021 at 1:15 PM ET

The city of Charlottesville, Va., removed a statue of Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson on Saturday, toppling symbols that were at the center of the deadly Unite the Right rally in 2017.

The statues will remain on city property until the city council decides what to do with them. Ten groups have expressed interest in the statues, according to a statement from the city.

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This April, BTS, the biggest group in K-pop, became the most streamed group of all time on Spotify. But the origins of the group, and really K-pop, have an interesting political history.

Updated July 26, 2021 at 2:20 PM ET

When former President Donald Trump announced his lawsuit against Facebook, Twitter and Google this month, he used a word that has become a familiar signal in modern politics.

The statue of Robert E. Lee that sparked the deadly Unite the Right rally four years ago in Charlottesville, Va., will be removed Saturday, the city council announced Friday.

Along with it, another statue of Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson that sits nearby will also be removed, though the stone bases of both statues will remain for now. Fencing around both monuments was set up Friday afternoon.

What will happen to the statues after they are removed, though, is still unknown.

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In 1873, Congress passed a law outlawing the distribution, sale, mailing and possession of "obscene" materials — including contraception.

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Beneath the pine and birch forest of northern Germany lies Unicorn Cave, named for the bones found by medieval treasure hunters.

DUBROVNIK, Croatia — The first state-imposed quarantine happened here, in present-day Dubrovnik, Croatia, an ancient walled city atop the cliffs of the Adriatic Sea. The first people to ever be quarantined — more than 500 years ago — had a nice view but not-so-nice consequences if they decided they had had enough of it.

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The Throughline team has been thinking about capitalism a lot these days. It's hard not to when so many people are struggling just to get by.

Capitalism is an economic system, but it's also so much more than that. It's become a sort of ideology, this all-encompassing force that rules over our lives and our minds. It might seem like it's an inevitable force, but really, it's a construction project that took hundreds of years and no part of it is natural or just left to chance.

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Elizabeth Martinez was a leading social justice activist, a feminist writer and historian. She was 95 when she died this week in San Francisco. NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports.

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What to the American slave is your Fourth of July? That is a question Frederick Douglass posed 169 Julys ago in a speech to a group of abolitionists, one that's become perhaps his most famous.

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That speech confronted the glaring hypocrisy of a day celebrating freedom in a country that still endorsed the bondage and forced labor of more than 1 in 8 of its residents. And while the institution of slavery has been abolished, its consequences have endured through the generations.

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Over the past 32 years, Morning Edition has broadcast a reading of the Declaration of Independence by NPR staff as a way of marking Independence Day.

But after last summer's protests and our national reckoning on race, the words in the document land differently.

It famously declares "that all men are created equal" even though women, enslaved people and Indigenous Americans were not held as equal at the time.

Updated July 2, 2021 at 1:02 PM ET

Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson knows you have probably heard a lot about Woodstock, the legendary summer concert festival of the late 1960s. But a few years back, Questlove, best known as drummer and composer with The Roots, was asked to direct a music documentary, Summer of Soul, about another legendary concert, one you probably haven't heard about.

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The oldest church bells in the U.S. hang inside of Boston's Old North Church. And on Independence Day, members of a bellringing guild will pull their ropes. Here's WBUR's Andrea Shea with a preview.

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Updated July 1, 2021 at 6:09 PM ET

A century ago, around the dawn of the Harlem Renaissance, New York City was brimming with music. Black artists like Eubie Blake, Florence Mills and Fats Waller were performing in dance halls and nightclubs including Edmond's Cellar and The Lincoln Theatre.

"Every block between 110th Street and 155th Street buzzed with creative energy," says journalist Paul Slade, author of Black Swan Blues: the hard rise and brutal fall of America's first black-owned record label.

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Once upon a time, he shot at surfacing German subs in the North Atlantic, tried to pick off the crews who were aiming anti-aircraft at Navy bombers whose depth charges could blow those subs right out of the water.

Johnson County, Iowa, has a new name.

It will still be Johnson County. But henceforth, the county is taking its name from a different Johnson: Lulu Merle Johnson, a professor and historian who was the first Black woman to earn a Ph.D. in Iowa.

It was originally named for Richard Mentor Johnson, who served as vice president under President Martin Van Buren.

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