The American History Podcast

A Program Of Virginia Foundation for the Humanities


More Than A Label

When asked about her public image, Coretta Scott King was once quoted as saying, “Often, I am made to sound like an attachment to a vacuum cleaner: the wife of Martin, then the widow of Martin, all of which I was proud to be. But I was never just a wife, nor a widow. I was always more […]

BackStory Listener Mailbag

In the segment “’A Foe Without Hate’” from BackStory’s “Too Good To Be True,” guest Gary Gallagher and host Brian Balogh discussed celebrated rebel leaders. During the segment, Gallagher said, “I’d love to know any other principle rebel leader in a major civil war who ended up with a National Memorial to him, and his […]

Nice Pipes

Uilleann (pronounced ill-en) pipes are not the instrument the average person visualizes when the word bagpipe is mentioned. Uilleann is the Irish word for elbow. It’s used to describe this style of the instrument because instead of inflating the pipes with a tube held in the mouth, Uilleann bagpipes are blown by a bellows under […]

Harriet Tubman Day

Harriet Tubman Day, celebrated every March 10, honors the life of the anti-slavery activist. Born into slavery in 1822, Tubman escaped bondage and subsequently completed about 13 missions, leading more than 70 people to freedom. This was accomplished with a network of abolitionists and safe-houses known as the Underground Railroad. The railroad extended from the […]

History Behind the Headlines

The Supreme Court temporarily blocked the Trump administration’s efforts to end the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, on Monday. After two lower courts had stopped the government from ending DACA, the Trump administration attempted to skip the court of appeals and go straight to the Supreme Court. However, SCOTUS ruled that a […]

BackStory’s New Year’s Reading List

Our goal at BackStory is to look at the history behind the headlines. That’s what we do in all the content that we produce. And what we read is no different. As we welcome 2018 and anticipate what stories will break this year, it’s worth reflecting on what captivated us in 2017-and consider which history […]

History Behind the Headlines

In a move that critics are calling the largest reduction of public lands in U.S. history, President Donald Trump stood in the Utah State Capitol on Monday and announced that his administration will decrease federal protection of two national monuments. The announcement follows an extended review by the Interior Department of how to restructure or […]

History Behind The Headlines

News surrounding the 2016 U.S. presidential election, including the Russian government’s involvement, continues to break. Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, was indicted on charges that he laundered millions of dollars through overseas companies. The money stems to Manafort’s involvement lobbying for a pro-Russian party in Ukraine. Manafort’s associate, Rick Gates, who worked on the […]

Ghosts, Witches, & Monsters…Oh My!

Halloween might not bring to mind history, but it should. A lot of the things that we find scary–for instance, ghosts, witches, and monsters–have terrified Americans for centuries. And what’s more, how Americans have thought about witches, ghosts, and monsters reflected broader social, cultural, and even political concerns going on at the time. Want to […]

Was the Las Vegas shooting the “worst” in U.S. history? Far from it.

Amid reports of the Oct. 1 shooting of at least 58 people in Las Vegas, media outlets were quick to call the tragedy the “worst” mass shooting in U.S. history. This followed a similar pattern that unfolded after the June 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting, which left 49 people dead. Time magazine, for instance, maintained that […]

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