Search Results

Fair and Unbiased

“The big type war of the yellow kids” by Leon Barritt. Published in Vim, June 29, 1898. Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst, full-length, dressed as the Yellow Kid, each pushing against opposite sides of a pillar of wooden blocks that spells WAR. Source: Library of Congress By Diana Williams   This year, the Pulitzer Prizes celebrates one hundred years of recognizing excellence and integrity in newspaper journalism and,...

Contagion

Responding to Infectious Disease [rebroadcast]

It’s the height of the flu season, and federal agencies have been spending millions of dollars trying to keep this year’s virus under control. But when yellow fever struck Philadelphia in 1793, the entire federal government picked up and left town, leaving stricken individuals to fend for themselves. How and why has the pendulum swung so sharply toward government action? And how have epidemics themselves shaped American history? In this...

Contagion

Responding to Infectious Disease

When yellow fever struck Philadelphia in 1793, the entire federal government picked up and left town, leaving individuals to fend for themselves. A hundred years later, the pendulum had swung sharply in the other direction. Health workers took extreme measures to contain disease – imprisoning the sick, burning entire districts, and vaccinating resistant citizens at gunpoint. In this hour of BackStory we trace the trajectory of that change...

Contagion 2016

Responding to Infectious Disease [rebroadcast]

...As the Zika virus spreads across the Americas, it’s worth looking at how the U.S. has responded to past epidemics. In this episode of BackStory, the Guys consider the impact of smallpox on New York City’s 19th century immigrant communities, and explore the rampant spread of diseases in the wake of the Civil War and the first World War.        ...

American Exodus

A History of Emigration [rebroadcast]

With Donald Trump vowing to keep undocumented Mexicans out of the U.S. with a wall and Hillary Clinton promising the same immigrants a path to citizenship, immigration was a big issue in the 2016 presidential election. But what about the flip side – emigration? In this episode of BackStory, we ask who’s chosen to leave the U.S. and what parts of their American identities they took with them – from the Loyalists who fled to Canada in the...

American Exodus

A History of Emigration

With immigration reform in the headlines, BackStory takes a look at the flip side of the Ellis Island story: emigration. This week, we bring you the stories of Americans who have left the country in search of a better life elsewhere. From the Loyalists who fled to Canada in the wake of the Revolution, to the free blacks who sailed to Liberia in search of freedom (and a spot at the top of the racial hierarchy), to the Depression-era refugees who...

Little Feet

Children Starting Over in America [rebroadcast]

Tens of thousands of refugees have been arriving in Western Europe, fleeing civil war and unrest in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of the migrants making these perilous border crossings are children. This is hardly the first time minors have made such treacherous journeys. This week, BackStory revisits our episode on the many paths of child migrants in our own country. Some were thought of as innocents to be saved, whether from the Nazi...

Bridge for Sale

Deception in America

...In America, you can be anything you want to be. Or anyone. Literally. So on this April Fools edition of BackStory, we dig into the long story of confidence men and counterfeiters. We discover a time when fake money jump-started the economy, and take a look at the long, strange history of “the truth compelling machine.” And, oh yeah… we try to sell the Brooklyn Bridge....

Bridge for Sale [2016]

Deception in America [rebroadcast]

...America has a long and colorful history of confidence men and counterfeiters. On this episode of BackStory, we go back to the time when fake money and fly-by-night banks dominated the economy, and uncover the origins of the lie detector test, known as “the truth compelling machine.” We’ll also try to sell you the Brooklyn Bridge....

American Apparel

A History of Fashion [rebroadcast]

Summer vacation is drawing to a close, and for many Americans that means heading to the mall for some back-to-school shopping. What better time to revisit our show on the history of American fashion? In this episode, Peter, Ed, and Brian explore what self-presentation says about our society and culture, and how fashion has reflected moments and movements in American history. When do fashion statements become political statements? Does fashion...