Throughline The past is never past. Every headline has a history. Join us every week as we go back in time to understand the present. These are stories you can feel and sounds you can see from the moments that shaped our world.
Throughline
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Throughline

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The past is never past. Every headline has a history. Join us every week as we go back in time to understand the present. These are stories you can feel and sounds you can see from the moments that shaped our world.

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The ARF Representative Convention of 1919, when they agreed to carry out Operation Nemesis. This photo includes five known Operation Nemesis participants: Armen Garo, first row, fourth from the left; Zadig Matigian, fourth from the right; Aaron Sachaklian, second row, second from the right; Shahan Natalie, second row, third from the right; and Zaven Nalbandian, top row, seventh from the left. Courtesy of Marian Mesrobian MacCurdy/Kerning Cultures hide caption

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Courtesy of Marian Mesrobian MacCurdy/Kerning Cultures

Operation Nemesis

An estimated 1.5 million Armenian Christians were killed by the Ottoman government during World War I, in what came to be known as the Armenian Genocide. The perpetrators escaped Constantinople in the middle of the night and began new lives undercover in Europe. So, a small group of Armenian survivors decided to take justice into their own hands. In this episode from Kerning Cultures, the secretive operation to avenge the Armenian Genocide, and how it changed the idea of justice in the modern world. This story originally aired on Kerning Cultures, a podcast telling stories from across the Middle East and North Africa and the spaces in between.

Operation Nemesis

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James Baldwin poses while at home in Saint Paul de Vence, South of France during September of 1985. Ulf Andersen/Getty Images hide caption

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Ulf Andersen/Getty Images

James Baldwin's Shadow

James Baldwin believed that America has been lying to itself since its founding. He wrote, spoke, and thought incessantly about the societal issues that still exist today. As the United States continues to reckon with its history of systemic racism and police brutality, Eddie S. Glaude Jr. guides us through the meaning and purpose of James Baldwin's work and how his words can help us navigate the current moment.

James Baldwin's Shadow

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Earth Day on April 20, 1970 in New York, New York. Santi Visalli/Getty Images hide caption

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Santi Visalli/Getty Images

Force of Nature

Rivers on fire, acid rain falling from the sky, species going extinct, oil spills, polluted air, and undrinkable water. For so long, we didn't think of our planet as a place to preserve. And then in the 1960's and 70's that changed. Democrats and Republicans, with overwhelming public support, came together to pass a sweeping legislative agenda around environmental protection. In today's episode, what led to Earth Day, and what Earth Day led to.

Force of Nature

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The Black Panthers march in protest of the trial of co-founder Huey P. Newton in Oakland, California. Bettmann/Getty hide caption

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Bettmann/Getty

The Real Black Panthers

The Black Panther Party's battles for social justice and economic equality are the centerpiece of the Oscar-nominated film 'Judas and The Black Messiah.' In 1968, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover said the Black Panther Party "without question, represents the greatest threat to internal security of the country." And with that declaration he used United States federal law enforcement to wage war on the group, But why did Hoover's FBI target the Black Panther Party more severely than any other Black power organization? Historian Donna Murch says the answer lies in the Panthers' political agenda and a strategy that challenged the very foundations of American society.

The Real Black Panthers

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A line of policeman take aim. Bettmann/Bettmann Archive hide caption

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Bettmann/Bettmann Archive

Policing in America

Black Americans being victimized and killed by the police is an epidemic. As the trial of Derek Chauvin plays out, it's a truth and a trauma many people in the US and around the world are again witnessing first hand. But this tension between African American communities and the police has existed for centuries. This week, the origins of policing in the United States and how those origins put violent control of Black Americans at the heart of the system.

Policing in America

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Yuri Kochiyama speaks at an anti-war demonstration in New York City's Central Park around 1968. Courtesy of the Kochiyama family/UCLA Asian American Studies Center hide caption

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Courtesy of the Kochiyama family/UCLA Asian American Studies Center

Our Own People

"Build bridges, not walls." Solidarity was at the heart of Yuri Kochiyama's work. A Japanese-American activist whose early political awakenings came while incarcerated in the concentration camps of World War II America, Kochiyama dedicated her life to social justice and liberation movements. As hate crimes against AAPI people surge in this country, we reflect on Yuri Kochiyama's ideas around the Asian American struggle, and what solidarity and intersectionality can mean for all struggles.

Our Own People

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Illustration of Luxurious American Pullman Dining Car, 1877. Getty Images hide caption

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Getty Images

The Land of the Fee

Tipping is a norm in the U.S. But it hasn't always been this way. A legacy of slavery and racism, tipping took off in the post-Civil War era. The case against tipping had momentum in the early 1900's, yet what began as a movement to end an exploitative practice just ended up continuing it.

The Land of the Fee

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Xuanyu Han Getty Images hide caption

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Getty Images

Chaos

What happens when teenagers are shipwrecked on a deserted island? Can you find the fingerprint of God in warzones? Why was the concept of zero so revolutionary for humanity? A year into a pandemic that has completely upended the lives of people around the world, we look at how we cope with chaos, how we're primed to make order out of randomness, and why the stories we're taught to believe about our propensities for self-destruction may not actually be true.

Chaos

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A plague doctor in protective clothing. The beak mask was filled with incense thought to purify air and the cane was used to avoid touching patients. Artwork by Paul Furst. Hulton Archive/Getty Images hide caption

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Hulton Archive/Getty Images

N95

The N95 respirator has become one of the most coveted items in the world during the pandemic, especially by medical professionals. But how did this seemingly simple mask become the lifesaving tool it is today? From bird beaks to wrapping paper to bras, we follow the curious history of one of the most important defenses in our fight against COVID-19.

N95

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Fernando Norat WNYC Studios hide caption

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WNYC Studios

Levittown: Where the Good Life Begins

In this episode from WNYC's La Brega, Alana Casanova-Burgess traces back the story of the boom and bust of the Puerto Rican Levittown. For many Americans, Levittown is the prototypical suburb, founded on the idea of bringing Americans into a middle-class lifestyle after WWII. But while the NY Levittown was becoming a symbol of American prosperity, there was a parallel story of Levittown in Puerto Rico during a time of great change on the island. Casanova-Burgess (herself the granddaughter of an early PR Levittown resident) explores what the presence of a Levittown in Puerto Rico tells us about the promises of the American Dream. It's a story that reflects and reveals how la brega has defined so many aspects of life in Puerto Rico.

Levittown: Where the Good Life Begins

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