White Lies Season 2, presented by Embedded, revisits 1991 Alabama prison riot White Lies Season Two, presented by Embedded, revisits the historic Alabama prison riot of 1991

White Lies Season 2, presented by Embedded, revisits historic 1991 Alabama prison riot

White Lies' second season, presented by Embedded, premieres on January 26. NPR hide caption

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White Lies' second season, presented by Embedded, premieres on January 26.


January 24, 2023; Washington, D.C. – NPR's signature documentary show Embedded is proud to present the second season of White Lies, the award-winning, investigative podcast that probes the uncomfortable truths deeply embedded in our nation's history.

In White Lies Season Two: The Men on the Roof, hosts Chip Brantley and Andrew Beck Grace revisit the dramatic story of an Alabama prison riot in 1991, when approximately 120 Cuban detainees took over a prison in Talladega, AL, for nine days. They were part of the 125,000 Cuban refugees brought to South Florida over the span of a few months in 1980. How did the U.S. government justify detaining thousands of Mariel Cubans indefinitely throughout the 1980s and 1990s, resulting in an untold human and legal tragedy that has unfolded across generations? The issues explored in this season echo current headlines and provide historical context to the ongoing immigration crisis.

The season will launch on January 26. New episodes will publish every Thursday. And for the first time, listeners can get new episodes an entire week early with Embedded+ (and even enjoy sponsor-free listening), all while supporting public media. More details available at plus.npr.org/embedded or on the Embedded channel in Apple podcasts.

Listen to the trailer here.

"We're thrilled to be back for a second season with such an intriguing and different kind of story," said Brantley. "What unites the two seasons is a mandate to really interrogate our history in order to make sense of the past."

"For us, this small story about a prison riot in Alabama in the early 90's turned out to be the tip of the iceberg in a sprawling saga about the creation of our modern immigration system," said Grace. "We've spent years reporting out this story, interviewing sources from Havana to Vancouver and digging through archives to bring our listeners this fascinating and troubling story about how we decide who has the right to have rights in this country."

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"The way that Chip and Andrew combine deep, original reporting with incisive narrative storytelling has really set the standard for what we can aspire to in this format," said Robert Little, head of NPR's Investigations Team and lead editor on the project. "We're thrilled to do it again."

"This story started with a photo Chip and Andrew found in 2015, of inmates forcefully taking over a prison," said Irene Noguchi, who oversees the unit that produces Embedded. "As the hosts pull back layer after layer, we realize the photo may not be the full truth at all. This is a story about immigration – but we're now looking at a desperate act by refugees in 1991 through a new lens in 2023. These are the stories we want to share on Embedded, stories that force us to reexamine the histories we've been told."

Listeners will find enterprise documentary storytelling projects from across the NPR Network in the Embedded feed. NPR's Embedded, hosted by Kelly McEvers, features stories that are bingeable, riveting and touch on the important issues and ideas of our day. Embedded presented the critically acclaimed The Last Cup and the award-winning criminal justice podcast On Our Watch, the 2022 Murrow award winner Capital Gazette and now the second-season of White Lies. Season one of White Lies, which investigated the murder of a civil rights activist during the voting rights movement in Selma, Alabama, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and for iHeartRadio's Best True Crime Podcast Award. Apple Podcasts named the show the best true crime podcast of the year.

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Emma Gordon