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Throughline

NPR

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.

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.

Location:

United States

Networks:

NPR

Description:

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.

Language:

English


Episodes

Bayard Rustin: The Man Behind the March on Washington

2/25/2021
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,...

Duration:01:11:24

Octavia Butler: Visionary Fiction

2/18/2021
Octavia Butler's alternate realities and 'speculative fiction' reveal striking, and often devastating parallels to the world we live in today. She was a deep observer of the human condition, perplexed and inspired by our propensity towards self-destruction. Butler was also fascinated by the cyclical nature of history, and often looked to the past when writing about the future. Along with her warnings is her message of hope - a hope conjured by centuries of survival and persistence. For every...

Duration:01:08:11

Marcus Garvey: Pan-Africanist

2/11/2021
Decades before Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey attracted millions with a simple, uncompromising message: Black people deserved nothing less than everything, and if that couldn't happen in the United States, they should return to Africa. This week, the seismic influence and complicated legacy of Marcus Garvey.

Duration:01:05:48

The Lasting Power Of Whitney Houston's National Anthem

2/7/2021
Why does Whitney Houston's 1991 Super Bowl national anthem still resonate 30 years later? Listen to this episode from our friends at It's Been A Minute with Sam Sanders where they chat with author and Black Girl Songbook host Danyel Smith about that moment of Black history and what it says about race, patriotism and pop culture.

Duration:00:25:14

What Happened After Civilization Collapsed

2/4/2021
What happens after everything falls apart? The end of the Bronze Age was a moment when an entire network of ancient civilizations collapsed, leaving behind only clues to what happened. Today, scholars have pieced together a story where everything from climate change to mass migration to natural disasters played a role. What the end of the Bronze Age can teach us about avoiding catastrophe and what comes after collapse.

Duration:00:58:35

The Anatomy Of Autocracy: Masha Gessen

1/28/2021
Russian-born journalist Masha Gessen talks to us about how the rule of the people becomes the rule of the one, the role of the media, and what we can learn about the building blocks of autocracy from the work of philosopher and writer Hannah Arendt, and what history tells us are the ways to dismantle it.

Duration:00:45:42

The Anatomy of Autocracy: Timothy Snyder

1/21/2021
When a mob of pro-Trump supporters violently stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6, they also incited a defining moment in United States history. Now what? Historian Timothy Snyder talks to us about how we got here and what an insurrection could mean for the future of America.

Duration:00:40:02

Impeachment

1/14/2021
When Andrew Johnson became president in 1865, the United States was in the midst 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.

Duration:00:19:17

Outside/In: Everybody Knows Somebody

1/7/2021
In the mid-1980's a woman who didn't consider herself a feminist was asked to solve perhaps the biggest problem women face. How she and a small group of people seized on that rare moment and fought back in the hopes that something could finally be done.

Duration:00:59:45

Outside/In: War of the Worlds

12/31/2020
The Sunni-Shia divide is a conflict that most people have heard about - two sects with Sunni Islam being in the majority and Shia Islam the minority. Exactly how did this conflict originate and when? We go through 1400 years of history to find the moment this divide first turned deadly and how it has evolved since.

Duration:00:39:26

Outside/In: The Dark Side Of The Moon

12/24/2020
50 years ago the world watched as man first landed on the moon, an incredible accomplishment by the engineers and scientists of NASA. But what if some of those same engineers and scientists had a secret history that the U.S. government tried to hide? This week, the story of how the U.S. space program was made possible by former Nazis.

Duration:00:43:43

Outside/In: Rules of Engagement

12/17/2020
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.

Duration:00:53:23

Supreme

12/10/2020
When, why, and how did the Supreme Court get the final say in the law of the land? The question of the Court's role, and whether its decisions should reign above all the other branches of government, has been hotly debated for centuries. And that's resulted in a Supreme Court more powerful than anything the Founding Fathers could have imagined possible.

Duration:01:02:18

The Modern White Power Movement

12/3/2020
It has been nearly twenty years since 9/11 and during that time much of the media coverage and government attention has been directed at the threat of radical Islamist terrorism. Yet, during that time, it has been domestic terrorism from armed, mostly white American men, that has posed the biggest threat. This week, the rise of the modern white power movement.

Duration:00:52:01

The Spotted Owl

11/26/2020
The story of how the Endangered Species Act went from unanimous passage under a Republican president to becoming a deeply partisan wedge. The act was passed to protect big, beloved animals like bald eagles and blue whales; no one thought it would apply to a motley, reclusive owl. In this episode from Oregon Public Broadcasting's Timber Wars, a story about saving the last of America's old growth forests and the push to roll back environmental protections.

Duration:00:35:31

The Invention of Race

11/19/2020
The idea that race is a social construct comes from the pioneering work of anthropologist Franz Boas. During a time when race-based science and the eugenics movement were becoming mainstream, anthropologist Franz Boas actively sought to prove that race was a social construct, not a biological fact.

Duration:00:42:42

BONUS: Louder Than A Riot

11/16/2020
This week we're bringing you something extra, an episode from the NPR Music series, Louder Than A Riot. The series examines the relationship between hip hop and mass incarceration and you can find the rest of the series here.

Duration:00:50:33

The Shadows of the Constitution

11/12/2020
The Constitution is like America's secular bible, our sacred founding document. In her play, What the Constitution Means to Me, Heidi Schreck goes through a process of discovering what the document is really about – who wrote it, who it was for, who it protected and who it didn't. Through Heidi's personal story, we learn how the Constitution and how it has been interpreted have affected not just her family but generations of Americans.

Duration:00:46:42

Bush v. Gore and Why It Matters in 2020

11/5/2020
In the 2000 presidential election, results weren't known in one night, a week, or even a month. This week, we share an episode we loved from It's Been A Minute with Sam Sanders that revisits one of the most turbulent elections in U.S. history and what it could teach us as we wait for this election's outcome.

Duration:00:30:53

The Most Sacred Right

10/29/2020
Frederick Douglass dreamed of a country where all people could vote and he did everything in his power to make that dream a reality. In the face of slavery, the Civil War and the violence of Jim Crow, he fought his entire life for what he believed was a sacred, natural right that should be available to all people - voting.

Duration:01:05:08