Great Dismal Swamp, in Virginia and North Carolina, was once thought to be haunted. For generations of escaped slaves, says archaeologist Dan Sayers, the swamp was a haven. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hide caption

itoggle caption U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

History

Fleeing To Dismal Swamp, Slaves And Outcasts Found Freedom WVTF

Most Americans know about the Underground Railroad, which allowed Southern slaves to escape to the North. But some slaves stayed in the South, hidden in a place where they could resist enslavement.

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WVTF

Gov. Bill Haslam announces his proposal to expand Medicaid in Tennessee on Dec. 15. Under the plan, the hospital association would pay the state's portion of the program. Erik Schelzig/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Erik Schelzig/AP

Health Care

Tennessee's Medicaid Deal Dodges A Partisan Fight WPLN

An agreement between the Tennessee Hospital Association and Republican Gov. Bill Haslam expands Medicaid without tax dollars, an agreement that could be a blueprint for other states.

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WPLN

Adebisi Alimi, an actor-turned-activist, was the first person ever to come out as gay on Nigerian television. He now shares his story when he speaks up for the rights of the LGBT community. Claire Eggers/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Claire Eggers/NPR

Goats and Soda

Gay Nigerian Actor Puts His Sexuality In The Spotlight

Rising star Adebisi Alimi was the first Nigerian to come out on national TV, was nearly beaten to death in his home, and is now an international activist for LGBT rights and men with HIV.

Unlike her sister, Vanessa Bell, seen here circa 1910, didn't keep a journal. "Her voice is largely unheard and I was really interested in that," Priya Parmar says. George C. Beresford/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption George C. Beresford/Getty Images

Author Interviews

Novel Gives Voice To Virginia Woolf's Overshadowed Sister

In Vanessa and Her Sister, Priya Parmar imagines what Vanessa Bell wrote in her journal when she and Woolf were helping to form the Bloomsbury Group, a gathering of London artists and intellectuals.

Trumpeter John McNeil (far right) rejoins Hush Point, a group of friends from the New York jazz scene, on the new album Blues and Reds. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Music Interviews

John McNeil, A Trumpeter Robbed Of His Breath, Blows Again

McNeil suffered from a neural disorder that prevented him from performing for decades at a time. Thanks to a medical study, he's regained enough coordination to join a band.

Beemer, shown at the Mars Society's Mars Desert Research Station in Utah in 2011, is a candidate for both Mars One and the Mars Arctic 365 program. Max Fagin hide caption

itoggle caption Max Fagin

Space

An Aspiring Martian Continues To Pursue The Red Planet

Heidi Beemer has dreamed of going to Mars since she was 8 years old. In January, NPR talked to her about her application to Mars One, which is still pending, but now she has a plan B, too.

Common plays James Bevel, Tessa Thompson plays Diane Nash, Lorraine Toussaint plays Amelia Boynton and Andre Holland plays Andrew Young in Ava DuVernay's Selma. Atsushi Nishijima/Paramount Pictures hide caption

itoggle caption Atsushi Nishijima/Paramount Pictures

Code Switch

For Hollywood, 'Selma' Is A New Kind Of Civil Rights Story

The film, about a 1965 voting rights march, stands out for its focus on black characters — including some of the movement's lesser-known organizers — and the way it humanizes Martin Luther King Jr.

Minister Ryan Bell decided to "try on" atheism for a year; now, although he says atheism is an "awkward fit," he's going to continue to not believe in God. Natalie Gee hide caption

itoggle caption Natalie Gee

Religion

After Year Of Atheism, Former Pastor: 'I Don't Think God Exists'

Former pastor Ryan Bell embarked on a year without God at the start of 2014. He says, "Before, I wanted a closer relationship to God, and today I just want a closer relationship with reality."

A negative image of Kks3, made using the Advanced Camera for Surveys on the Hubble Space Telescope. The core of the galaxy is the right-hand dark object at the top center of the image. D. Makarov/Royal Astronomical Society hide caption

itoggle caption D. Makarov/Royal Astronomical Society

The Two-Way - News Blog

Dwarf Galaxy, Long Overlooked, Discovered In Our 'Hood

Tiny Kks3, 7 million light years distant, is made up mostly of star stuff that's just a billion or so years younger than the Big Bang.

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