Current Event May 2, 2014
Margaret Mitchell’s novel Gone With The Wind was an instant success when it was published in 1936. It won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and was a national bestseller. Mitchell was inspired by her family’s history as Southern planters and their stories of the past. The novel’s themes of love and survival resonated with some, but her portrayal of slavery and the Civil War, through the eyes of a slaveholding woman, remains controversial. Listen to learn how the Georgia county that served as inspiration for the book is dealing with this legacy today.
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.
Current Event January 21, 2014
Kate Byroade knew her family once owned slaves. She feels uncomfortable acknowledging that her ancestors dominated other people, but she knows that the story is important. As Kate has learned more about her family’s past, it has become increasingly personal for her and hard to reconcile. For instance, she felt troubled when she learned that an ancestor once owned an 8-year-old child. Listen to this story to hear more about how Kate thinks about her family’s slave-owning past.
Current Event May 13, 2014
Anglo Americans were once considered “illegal aliens” in Texas, then a Mexican state. This story is a modern day road trip to the Alamo that looks back to 1836 when American settlers fought with Mexico to eventually gain control of Mexico and the Southwestern territories. It explains how the dividing line between America and Mexico was drawn.
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 June 19, 2014
The Second Amendment is only one sentence long. It allows for individuals to own and use guns. But since its inception, the meaning has been debated. There is still no public consensus around its meaning. Listen to this public radio story to learn more.
Current Event June 25, 2015
Why do Americans celebrate Independence Day on July 4th? John Adams himself thought that July 2nd would be the day Americans celebrated independence but he was wrong. What happened on July 4th to mark such an occasion? This story explores the origins of Independence Day and examines the issues of slavery and immigration in the early days of the United States.
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.