History

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Yesterday, Johnson County, Iowa, renamed itself Johnson County. The change was in the first name.

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On the corner of East 123rd Street and Imperial Avenue, in Cleveland, Shirley Bell-Wheeler watches over a community garden with freshly planted raspberries, purple asparagus and a little apple tree.

"Trees are trees, but fruit trees are just better," she says with a hearty laugh. Bell-Wheeler is a full-time teacher aide, part-time gardener and the guardian of all green things in this neighborhood. She wishes there were more of them.

One day in the summer of 1860, an Illinois woman named Elizabeth Packard watched as an ax crashed through her bedroom window.

Updated June 22, 2021 at 9:24 PM ET

Carl Nassib has made history as the first active NFL player to announce that he is gay.

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(Reading) Richmond must stop waging war with the past and fight for its future. We've got to leave the lies behind.

1971. What a year.

We at NPR have a special soft spot for it because it's the year we were founded. We've been celebrating our 50th anniversary, and you can come join the party here, here, and here.

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At the White House today, President Biden signed a bill that establishes June 19 as a federal holiday. Juneteenth, as the day is known, celebrates the end of slavery in the U.S.

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Updated June 17, 2021 at 4:28 PM ET

President Biden on Thursday signed a bill to recognize Juneteenth — the celebration to commemorate the end of chattel slavery in the United States — as a federal holiday.

Federal employees will observe the holiday for the first time on Friday.

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

On June 17, 1972, a band of five burglars broke into the Democratic National Committee's headquarters at the Watergate Complex in Washington, D.C. After failing to wiretap the office's phones during their first break-in, they returned with a new microphone. However, before successfully carrying out their plan, a security guard had noted that the doors' locks were taped. The police were called, and the burglars were arrested.

It goes by many names. Whether you call it Emancipation Day, Freedom Day or the country's second Independence Day, Juneteenth is one of the most important anniversaries in our nation's history.

On June 19, 1865, Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger, who had fought for the Union, led a force of soldiers to Galveston, Texas, to deliver a very important message: The war was finally over, the Union had won, and it now had the manpower to enforce the end of slavery.

Memorial Day. Thanksgiving. Labor Day.

You may be used to seeing your calendar punctuated by the various holidays that occur throughout the year.

But on one New Jersey school district's calendar, each one of these days will be listed, simply, as "day off."

It all started when the school board in Randolph Township voted to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples' Day. Some residents were outraged, so the board said that instead it would wipe holiday names from the school calendar altogether while still observing the days off.

How A Bunch Of Boys Changed Ballet Forever

Jun 16, 2021

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In some ways, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo is like any other ballet troupe you might see pirouetting and dancing on pointe.

CHANA GAZIT: It's a group dressed up in tutus and heavy makeup and just ballerinas on the stage.

Remember the Alamo? According to Texas lore, it's the site in San Antonio where, in 1836, about 180 Texan rebels died defending the state during Texas' war for independence from Mexico.

The siege of the Alamo was memorably depicted in a Walt Disney series and in a 1960 movie starring John Wayne. But three writers, all Texans, say the common narrative of the Texas revolt overlooks the fact that it was waged in part to ensure slavery would be preserved.

A growing number of companies such as Nike, JCPenney and Target are embracing Juneteenth as a holiday.

Their efforts are happening alongside a push to make Juneteenth a federal holiday.

Juneteenth, or June 19, 1865, is the day slaves in Texas learned of their freedom. President Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863, freeing those in bondage in the rebellious slave-holding states, but it wasn't until 1865 that Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger of the Union Army landed in Galveston, Texas, and delivered the news that the Civil War had ended.

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Whidbey Island is a lovely place about 30 miles north of Seattle on the Puget Sound. Most days the tranquil sounds of rolling waves and chirping birds provide an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. But these days, all is not so serene. Residents are complaining about the ruckus created by humongous container ships anchored off their shore.

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It all started with a challenge from Invisibilia co-host Yowei Shaw: "Is it possible to tell a boring story that people will listen through to the end?"

When Richard and Mildred Loving awoke in the middle of the night a few weeks after their June, 1958 wedding, it wasn't normal newlywed ardor. There were policemen with flashlights in their bedroom. They'd come to arrest the couple.

"They asked Richard who was that woman he was sleeping with? I say, I'm his wife, and the sheriff said, not here you're not. And they said, come on, let's go, Mildred Loving recalled that night in the HBO documentary The Loving Story.

President Biden's first meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin could be the most contentious between the leaders of the two countries since the Cold War ended three decades ago.

Biden has an agenda of grievances, complaints and protests pertaining to Russian activities abroad and Putin's suppression of dissidents at home. Putin has shown no interest in altering his behavior and has his own lists of accusations about U.S. actions in Europe and the Middle East.

After seven years of planning and $12.5 million in restoration work, the National Park Service reopened the former home of Confederate General Robert E. Lee on Tuesday. The mansion — officially called the Robert E. Lee Memorial — was built by enslaved people more than 200 years ago. It sits high on a Virginia bluff across the river from Washington, D.C., overlooking the Lincoln Memorial. Located within Arlington National Cemetery, it's surrounded by the graves of, among others, Union soldiers.

It's an embattled site for a home with a difficult past and a complicated present.

Researchers in Australia have confirmed the discovery of Australia's largest dinosaur species ever found.

Australotitan cooperensis was about 80 to 100 feet long and 16 to 21 feet tall at its hip. It weighed somewhere between 25 and 81 tons. For comparison, the Tyrannosaurus rex was about 40 feet long and 12 feet tall.

Despite great expectations, the British Guiana One-Cent Black on Magenta stamp got licked in a much anticipated auction this morning.

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Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak met with members of the Nevada Indian Commission in Carson City on Friday as he signed legislation removing racially discriminatory identifiers or language from schools. Additionally, counties can no longer sound "sundown sirens," which once signified it was time for certain people to leave town.

The law will require schools to change any name, logo, mascot, song or identifier that is "racially discriminatory" or "associated with the Confederate States of America or a federally recognized Indian tribe."

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On Friday, Nov. 22, 1963, at 12:30 p.m. CST in Dallas, Texas, John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, was riding in the back of a car as his presidential motorcade wound its way through Dealey Plaza. A second later, a bullet entered his head and ended his life.

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