Current Event March 20, 2015
As the United States grew as a nation, people moved West seeking opportunity. In 1846 a group of 87 pioneers, called the Donner Party, left Illinois for California in a wagon train. The westward pioneers were trapped in the Sierra Nevada mountains from November to February because of heavy snow. More than half the party died from starvation and disease. Some who survived did so by eating the remains of the less fortunate pioneers. This made the Donner Party the most infamous group of Westward migrants. Listen to learn more about the history of this trip from a descendant of a Donner Party survivor.
Note: This story contains a discussion of cannibalism.
Current Event January 22, 2015
Time capsules are used by communities across the United States to capture a moment in time and preserve artifacts for future generations. Colonial leaders in Boston, Massachusetts buried a time capsule under the Massachusetts State House in 1795. The contents from this time capsule have been removed and displayed. Listen to learn more about who buried the time capsule and what they found inside.
Current Event January 1, 2015
In December 1864, nearly 200 Cheyenne and Arapaho were killed by a United States cavalry who hoped to drive Native Americans out of the Western territory. This year descendants of these tribes returned to the massacre site for the 150th anniversary and received an official apology from Colorado’s governor. Listen to learn more about the massacre and its legacy.
Current Event December 20, 2014
Harriet Tubman escaped slavery in Maryland and then used her freedom and the Underground Railroad to free more than 70 slaves. Known as the “Moses of Her People,” Tubman lived a purposeful life fighting slavery. She also joined the fight for women’s suffrage after the Civil War. Congress has approved the creation of two national historic parks, one in Maryland and the other in New York, to commemorate and honor the life of this pioneering woman.
Current Event November 21, 2014
The traditional Thanksgiving story tells us that the Pilgrims arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620 and were greeted by an English speaking Native American named Squanto. Squanto taught the Pilgrims to survive in the New World and prevented them from starving. But this legend fails to tell the whole story; for example, why did Squanto speak English? Listen to learn the real story of Squanto, which began 400 years ago in 1614.
Current Event October 31, 2014
When we imagine a witch today, we think about a halloween costume with a pointy black hat, warts and a broom. This public radio story takes us back to a darker period in colonial America, when people believed that witches lived among them unnoticed. At this time, accusations of being a witch led to the Salem witch trials and the execution of more than a dozen women. We hear from an author who recently compiled a book about the reality behind these accusations of witchery, and what they say about society and stereotypes.
Current Event October 10, 2014
Columbus Day is celebrated every October, but our understanding of Christopher Columbus and his “discovery” of America has changed dramatically since Columbus Day became a federal holiday in 1937. This change of perception has come with more knowledge of what the Americas and Native American cultures were truly like before Europeans arrived. Highly complex and organized communities could be found in places like the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. This public radio story paints a vivid picture of the Americas before Columbus and compares our original understandings of the area with reality.
Current Event July 29, 2014
When corporations were first created, they were given one right and that was to the right to make a contract. But as the country industrialized, they received more rights under the Bill of Rights, like individual people. Listen to this radio story to learn how rights for corporations have changed over time and how the most recent Supreme Court ruling about Hobby Lobby gives corporations more rights than ever before.
Current Event July 22, 2014
Fort Stevens in Washington DC is the site of an attempted assassination on President Abraham Lincoln. It was Lincoln's height that saved his life. This site was also a place that could have changed the outcome of the Civil War if not for timely reinforcements. Listen to this public radio story and learn more about the "What Ifs" of the first attempt on Lincoln's life.
Current Event July 7, 2014
The creator of America’s much-loved anthem, "The Star Spangled Banner" was not only a poet, but a celebrated lawyer, known for settling controversial disputes with oratorical skill. However, Francis Scott Key never mentioned the anthem after writing it again. He was also known for his adamant representation of African Americans and their rights. Listen to this public radio story to learn more about the man who is best known for writing “The Star Spangled Banner.”
Current Event July 3, 2014
The Magna Carta is a single document that outlines the origins of American freedom and equality. It was created in 1215 by British subjects who wanted to limit King John’s power and protect their rights. The Magna Carta inspired American democracy. Listen to this story to learn more about why it survived so many years and its special significance to Boston.