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
Thursday 25 February 2021
: Bayard Rustin, the man behind the March on Washington, was one of the most consequential architects of the civil rights movement you may...
Octavia Butler: Visionary Fiction
Thursday 18 February 2021
: Octavia Butler's alternate realities and 'speculative fiction' reveal striking, and often devastating parallels to the world we live in...
Marcus Garvey: Pan-Africanist
Thursday 11 February 2021
: Decades before Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey attracted millions with a simple, uncompromising message: Black...
The Lasting Power Of Whitney Houston's National Anthem
Sunday 07 February 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...
What Happened After Civilization Collapsed
Thursday 04 February 2021
: What happens after everything falls apart? The end of the Bronze Age was a moment when an entire network of ancient civilizations collapsed,...
The Anatomy Of Autocracy: Masha Gessen
Thursday 28 January 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...
The Anatomy of Autocracy: Timothy Snyder
Thursday 21 January 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...
Thursday 14 January 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...
Outside/In: Everybody Knows Somebody
Thursday 07 January 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...
Outside/In: War of the Worlds
Thursday 31 December 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...
Outside/In: The Dark Side Of The Moon
Thursday 24 December 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...
Outside/In: Rules of Engagement
Thursday 17 December 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...
Thursday 10 December 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...
The Modern White Power Movement
Thursday 03 December 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...
The Spotted Owl
Thursday 26 November 2020
: The story of how the Endangered Species Act went from unanimous passage under a Republican president to becoming a deeply partisan wedge....
The Invention of Race
Thursday 19 November 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...
BONUS: Louder Than A Riot
Monday 16 November 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...
The Shadows of the Constitution
Thursday 12 November 2020
: The Constitution is like America's secular bible, our sacred founding document. In her play, What the Constitution Means to Me, Heidi...
Bush v. Gore and Why It Matters in 2020
Thursday 05 November 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...
The Most Sacred Right
Thursday 29 October 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...
How We Vote
Thursday 22 October 2020
: Drunken brawls, coercion, and lace curtains. Believe it or not, how regular people vote was not something the founding fathers thought much...
The Electoral College
Thursday 15 October 2020
: What is it, why do we have it, and why hasn't it changed? Born from a rushed, fraught, imperfect process, the origins and evolution of the...
(mis)Representative Democracy, A New Series From Throughline
Thursday 08 October 2020
: America has never been a country of one person, one vote. And that's by design. Our system was built by a select few, for a select few. We...
The United States vs. Billie Holiday
Thursday 08 October 2020
: Billie Holiday helped shape American popular music with her voice and unique style. But, one song in particular has become her greatest...
The Everlasting Problem
Thursday 01 October 2020
: Health insurance for millions of Americans is dependent on their jobs. But it's not like that everywhere. So, how did the U.S. end up with...