The official handover ceremony that marked Britain's return of Hong Kong to China. The event marked the end of 156 years of British colonial rule over the territory. PAUL LAKATOS/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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PAUL LAKATOS/AFP/Getty Images

A Borrowed Time

Over the past six months, demonstrations in Hong Kong have increasingly become more violent and more determined. What started out as a protest against a proposed extradition law has now become a call for independence. But what is at the root of this tumultuous relationship between Hong Kong and China? This week, how Hong Kong became one of the most important, and most contested, cities in the world.

A Borrowed Time

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Raphael's 'The School of Athens'. On the far left is Ibn Rushd, commonly known as Averroes, in a green robe and yellow turban. Universal History Archive/Getty Images hide caption

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The Commentator

Today the foundations of philosophy are seen as a straight line from Western antiquity, built on thinkers such as Plato and Aristotle. But, between the 8th century and 14th century, the West was greatly overshadowed by the Islamic world and philosophy was in very different hands. This week, how one Medieval Islamic philosopher put his pen to paper and shaped the modern world.

The Commentator

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The impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson in the Senate on March 13, 1868. The House approved 11 articles of impeachment against Andrew Johnson. After a 74-day Senate trial, the Senate acquitted Johnson on three of the articles by a one-vote margin each and decided not to vote on the remaining articles. Library of Congress/Getty Images hide caption

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High Crimes and Misdemeanors

When Andrew Johnson became president in 1865, the United States was in the middle of one of its most volatile chapters. The country was divided after fighting a bloody civil war and had just experienced the first presidential assassination. We look at how these factors led to the first presidential impeachment in American history.

High Crimes and Misdemeanors

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People in traditional Confederate costumes hold hands between dances at the annual Festa Confederada (or Confederate Party) on April 24, 2016 in Santa Barbara d'Oeste, Brazil. The festival is put on by Brazilian descendants of families who fled from the southern United States to Brazil during Reconstruction. Mario Tama/Getty Images hide caption

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American Exile

For centuries, the United States has been a prime destination for migrants hoping for better economic opportunities, fleeing danger in their home countries or just seeking a new life. But has there ever been a moment when Americans were the ones who felt compelled to flee elsewhere? In this episode, two stories that challenge the idea of who and why Americans sought refuge in other countries.

American Exile

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Puerto Rican nationalists Irvin Flores Rodriguez, Rafael Cancel Miranda, Lolita Lebron, and Andres Figueroa Cordero, standing in a police lineup following their arrest after a shooting attack on Capitol Hill, March 1, 1954. AP hide caption

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AP

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico became a U.S. territory in 1898 and for much of the next fifty years Puerto Ricans fought fiercely about this status. Should they struggle for independence, or to be a U.S. state, or something in between? In this episode, we look at Puerto Rico's relationship with the mainland U.S. and the key figures who shaped the island's fate.

Puerto Rico

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Rapper Lil Nas X poses with the Song of the Year Award in the press room during the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards. Lil Nas X's song "Old Town Road" was initially removed from Billboard's Hot Country Songs list which sparked controversy among fans. JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Three Chords And The Truth

When Lil Nas X released his viral hit "Old Town Road" last year, he sparked a conversation about what country music is and who is welcome in the genre. To better understand the deep and often misunderstood history of country music, we sat down with renowned filmmaker Ken Burns to talk about his new documentary series Country Music and his process as a storyteller.

Three Chords And The Truth

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A Keep America Beautiful ad that was made in partnership with the Ad Council. Library of Congress hide caption

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Library of Congress

The Litter Myth

There is more waste in the world today than at any time in history, and the responsibility for keeping the environment clean too often falls on individuals instead of manufacturers. But, why us? And why this feeling of responsibility? This week, how one organization changed the American public's relationship with waste and who is ultimately responsible for it.

The Litter Myth

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Denver Nuggets guard Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf bows his head in prayer during the singing of the national anthem before playing the Chicago Bulls on March 15, 1996. Abdul-Rauf was suspended for one game after refusing to stand for the national anthem, but reached a compromise with the NBA. ERIC CHU/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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ERIC CHU/AFP/Getty Images

On The Shoulders Of Giants

When Colin Kaepernick stopped standing for the national anthem at NFL games it sparked a nationwide conversation about patriotism and police brutality. And in the last few weeks that conversation was rekindled when the NFL announced a deal with Jay-Z that some thought moved attention away from Capernick's continued absence from the league. The discussion about the utility of athletes taking a stand is nothing new - Black athletes using their platform to protest injustice has long been a tradition in American history.

On The Shoulders Of Giants

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Portrait of Billie Holiday singing at the Downbeat club in New York City on February 1947. Library of Congress hide caption

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Library of Congress

Strange Fruit

Billie Holiday helped shape American popular music with her voice and unique style. But, her legacy extends way beyond music with one song in particular — "Strange Fruit." The song paints an unflinching picture of racial violence, and it was an unexpected hit. But singing it brought serious consequences.

Strange Fruit

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Angela Hsieh

Mass Incarceration

The United States imprisons more people than any other country in the world, and a disproportionate number of those prisoners are Black. What are the origins of the U.S. criminal justice system and how did racism shape it? From the creation of the first penitentiaries in the 1800s, to the "tough-on-crime" prosecutors of the 1990s, how America created a culture of mass incarceration.

Mass Incarceration

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Boer prisoners in a camp at Bloemfontein, 2nd Boer War, 1899-1902. Ann Ronan Pictures/Print Collector/Getty Images hide caption

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Ann Ronan Pictures/Print Collector/Getty Images

Scorched Earth

The term "concentration camp" is most associated with Nazi Germany and the systematic killing of Jews during World War II. But colonial powers used concentration camps at the turn of the 19th century to crush rebellions. In this episode, how a war between Britain and South African Boers gave rise to some of the first camps.

Scorched Earth

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Huey P. Long, U.S. Senator from Louisiana, speaking in Washington, DC. Library of Congress hide caption

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Library of Congress

Huey Long Vs. The Media

Huey Pierce Long: you either loved him, or hated him. He combined progressive economic ideas with an autocratic streak, earning him thousands of adoring fans and fearful enemies. Long went from traveling salesman to Louisiana governor, and then US senator, through his mastery of the media. Then once in power, he waged a war against it.

Huey Long Vs. The Media

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A policeman examines some of the ten school buses destroyed by fire and dynamite in late Aug. 30, 1971, just days before a court-ordered plan to desegregate schools in Pontiac, Michigan, by busing children went into effect. Five members of the Ku Klux Klan were later convicted of the bombing plot. Bettmann/Bettmann Archive hide caption

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Bettmann/Bettmann Archive

Milliken v. Bradley

After the landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education, public schools across the country were supposed to become more integrated, but by the 1970s, many weren't. As a way to remedy segregation in their city, the Detroit school board introduced busing across Detroit. But the plan was met with so much resistance that the issue eventually led all the way to the Supreme Court.

Milliken v. Bradley

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Thousands of Iranians chanting "Death to America," participate in a mass funeral for 76 people killed when the USS Vincennes shot down Iran Air Flight 655, in Tehran, Iran, July 7, 1988. They hold aloft a drawing depicting the incident. 290 people were killed in the July 3, 1988 incident. Mohammad Sayyad/CP/AP hide caption

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Mohammad Sayyad/CP/AP

Rules of Engagement

After Iran shot down an American surveillance drone in June, tensions between the two countries have only gone up. But the US and Iran have been in some state of conflict for the last 40 years, since the Iranian revolution. This week, we look at three key moments in this conflict to better understand where it might go next.

Rules of Engagement

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August 19, 1953: Massive protests broke out across Iran, leaving almost 300 dead in firefights in the streets of Tehran. Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh was soon overthrown in a coup orchestrated by the CIA and British intelligence. The Shah was reinstalled as Iran's leader. AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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AFP/Getty Images

Four Days In August

The U.S. and Iran have had a tense relationship for decades — but when did that begin? Over the next two weeks, we're exploring the history. This week, we feature our very first episode about an event from August 1953 — when the CIA helped to overthrow Iran's Prime Minister.

Four Days In August

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Around 1963, as the civil rights movement heated up, Nina Simone's music took a sharp turn toward activism. She would go on to create "To Be Young, Gifted and Black" in 1969 as a dedication to her friend, playwright Lorraine Hansberry, author of A Raisin in the Sun. Getty Images hide caption

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Getty Images

American Anthem

The Star-Spangled Banner is the official anthem for the United States, but there are plenty of songs that have become informal American anthems for millions of people. This week, we share three stories from NPR Music's American Anthem series that highlight the origins of songs that have become ingrained in American culture.

American Anthem

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A gay rights march in New York in favor of the 1968 Civil Rights Act being amended to include gay rights. Peter Keegan/Getty Images hide caption

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Peter Keegan/Getty Images

Before Stonewall

Fifty years ago, a gay bar in New York City called The Stonewall Inn was raided by police, and what followed were days of rebellion where protesters and police clashed. Today, that event is seen as the start of the gay civil rights movement, but gay activists and organizations were standing up to harassment and discrimination years before. On this episode, the fight for gay rights before Stonewall.

Before Stonewall

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Pallbearers carry the casket of Jimmie Lee Jackson into a church in Marion, Ala., where a sign reads "Racism killed our brother." Bettmann/Getty Images hide caption

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The X On The Map

In 1965, Jimmie Lee Jackson was an unarmed black civil rights activist who was murdered in Marion, Ala., after a peaceful protest. His murder brought newfound energy to the civil rights movement, leading to the march to Montgomery that ended in "Bloody Sunday." This week, we share an episode we loved from White Lies as they look for answers to a murder that happened more than half a century ago.

The X On The Map

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Angela Hsieh

Apocalypse Now

Evangelicals have played an important role in modern day American politics - from supporting President Trump to helping elect Jimmy Carter back in 1976. How and when did this religious group become so intertwined with today's political issues? In this episode, what it means to be an evangelical today and how it has changed over time.

Apocalypse Now

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Al Behrman/AP

Mitch McConnell

Mitch McConnell has been described as "opaque," "drab," and even "dull." He is one of the least popular - and most polarizing - politicians in the country. So how did he win eight consecutive elections? And what does it tell us about how he operates? This week, we share an episode we loved from Embedded that traces McConnell's political history.

Mitch McConnell

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Portrait of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar in India's Parliament House, on May 28, 2016. Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times/Getty Images hide caption

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Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times/Getty Images

Savarkar's India

Right-wing Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi has won reelection as India's Prime Minister. As the political philosophy of Hindu nationalism gains ground in India we look back at one of its architects - Vinayak Savarkar.

Savarkar's India

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Sun Yat-sen. Angela Hsieh/NPR hide caption

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Angela Hsieh/NPR

A Dream Of Modern China

China is a world superpower today. But just over a century ago, the country was in complete turmoil — foreign powers had carved up the country, the ruling dynasty was losing control, and millions of citizens were struggling to survive. However, that political chaos inspired a nationalist movement that reshaped China as we know it, and it was led by one man - Sun Yat-sen.

A Dream Of Modern China

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Graffiti depicting late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and revolutionary leader Simon Bolivar. LUIS ROBAYO/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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LUIS ROBAYO/AFP/Getty Images

El Libertador

Venezuela is facing an economic and humanitarian crisis as extreme poverty and violence have forced many to flee the country in recent years. How did a country once wealthy with oil resources fall into such turmoil? Through the lives of two revolutionaries turned authoritarian leaders separated by two centuries, we look back at the rise and fall of Venezuela.

El Libertador

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Immigrants being sworn in as naturalized US citizens in 1929. A national immigration law passed five years earlier, in 1924, greatly reduced the number of non-white immigrants to the US. Bettmann/Bettmann Archive hide caption

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Bettmann/Bettmann Archive

White Nationalism

The white nationalist ideas of Madison Grant influenced Congress in the 1920s, leaders in Nazi Germany, and members of the Trump administration. This week, we share an episode we loved from It's Been A Minute with Sam Sanders that explores a throughline of white nationalism in American politics from the early 20th century to today.

White Nationalism

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