ThroughlineThe 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.
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.
Bayard Rustin, the man behind the March on Washington, was one of the most consequential architects of the civil rights movement you may never have heard of. Rustin imagined how nonviolent civil resistance could be used to dismantle segregation in the United States. He organized around the idea for years and eventually introduced it to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But his identity as a gay man made him a target, obscured his rightful status and made him feel forced to choose, again and again, which aspect of his identity was most important.
Bayard Rustin: The Man Behind the March on Washington (2021)
When a mob of pro-Trump supporters violently stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 they also incited a defining moment in United States history. Now what? We revisit our conversation with historian Timothy Snyder about how we got here and what an insurrection could mean for the future of America.
Today, electricity in the U.S. is a utility we notice only when it's suddenly unavailable. But over a hundred years ago, electricity in the homes of every American was a wild idea and the subject of a bitter fight over who would power, and profit from, the national grid. This week, the battle that electrified our world and the extreme measures that were taken to get there.
What happens to police officers who use excessive force, tamper with evidence or sexually harass someone? In California, internal affairs investigations were kept secret from the public — until a recent transparency law unsealed thousands of files. Listen to the first episode of On Our Watch, a limited-run podcast from NPR and KQED that brings you into the rooms where officers are interrogated and witnesses are questioned to find out who the system of police accountability really serves, and who it protects.
A mugshot of Eugene V. Debs with his prisoner number in 1920. He was imprisoned in the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary for speaking out against the draft during World War I.
The New York Public Library
American workers are reaching a breaking point. We're seeing a wave of resignations and labor strikes, and a supply chain that's cracking under the pressure. At the turn of the 20th century, one man faced a similar world and dreamt of something more – Eugene V. Debs.
Are most modern problems caused by selfishness or a lack of it? Ayn Rand, a Russian American philosopher and writer, would say it's the latter — that selfishness is not a vice but a virtue — and that capitalism is the ideal system. Everyone from Donald Trump to Alan Greenspan to Brad Pitt have sung Ayn Rand's praises. The Library of Congress named her novel, Atlas Shrugged, the second most influential book in the U.S. after the Bible. Ayn Rand wasn't politically correct, she was belligerent and liked going against the grain. And although she lived by the doctrine of her own greatness, she was driven by the fear that she would never be good enough.
As the end of the 20th century approached, Radiohead took to the recording studio to capture the sound of a society that felt like it was fraying at the edges. Many people had high hopes for the new millennium, but for others a low hum of anxiety lurked just beneath the surface as the world changed rapidly and fears of a Y2K meltdown loomed.
Graffitied wall off Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo, Egypt, February 11, 2011. Egyptians celebrated minutes after former President Mubarak resigned from his presidential duties in the early evening on February 11 in Cairo, Egypt.
The Arab Spring erupted eleven years ago when a wave of "pro-democracy" protests spread throughout the Middle East and North Africa. The effects of the uprisings reverberated around the world as regimes fell in some countries, and civil war began in others. This week, we remember the years leading up to the Arab Spring, and its lasting impact on three people who lived through it.
Uncontrollable western wildfires and a hidden family history — two puzzles that can only be solved with knowledge buried in the past. Indigenous people in Montana fight fire with fire, drawing on the unique relationships their ancestors had to one of the West's greatest threats today. And a young woman grapples with the secret that binds her family together, but also tears them apart. This week, we bring you stories produced by two members of the Throughline team: Victor Yvellez and Anya Steinberg. Through their past work before joining the show, we'll travel from the homelands of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes to the freezers of a cryobank to answer questions about family, tradition, and the future.
A painting by artist Sidney King depicting a Dutch ship with 20 enslaved African people arriving at Point Comfort, VA in 1619, marking the beginning of slavery in America.
Is history always political? Who gets to decide? What happens when you challenge common narratives? In this episode, Throughline's Rund Abdelfatah and Ramtin Arablouei explore these questions with Nikole Hannah-Jones, an investigative journalist at the New York Times and the creator of the 1619 Project, which is set to be released as a book later this year.