The American History Podcast

A Program Of Virginia Foundation for the Humanities


History Behind The Headlines

Last year, American football player and current free agent Colin Kaepernick began quietly taking a knee during the national anthem in protest to police brutality. The response was anything but quiet. The resulting media firestorm questioned everything from if the act was unpatriotic to what style of protest, especially by African Americans, is considered acceptable […]

BackStory Live: Who Speaks for America? 200 Years of Debate

Using Thomas Jefferson’s founding of University of Virginia as a starting point, BackStory’s Ed Ayers, Nathan Connolly, Joanne Freeman, and Brian Balogh will weave together the founder’s ideas about the role of an educated citizenry in a democracy to discuss who has the ability to shape our country and how this group has changed with […]

9/11 Tribute museum offers hopeful take on tragic events

A somber crowd gathered outside the 9/11 Tribute Museum in downtown Manhattan, one block away from the site of the September 11, 2001 attacks, to reflect on a surprising subject: hope. The gathering took place this past June in honor of the official opening of the 9/11 Tribute Museum, a project of the September 11th […]

BookStory’s September Selection

This year, Yale University named a new undergraduate residential college for Pauli Murray. Who is Murray, you might ask? To answer the question, September’s BookStory selection is a new biography of Murray by Rosalind Rosenberg, “Jane Crow: The Life of Pauli Murray.” Rosenberg, a professor of history emerita at Barnard College, Columbia University, sheds light […]

History Behind The Headlines

BackStory’s hosts have been at work, doing what they do best – using history to put the recent events into context. Here’s a running list of what Ed, Brian, Nathan and Joanne have said and written in the last few days. There are also a few links where past episodes have been used in recent […]

History Behind The Headlines

The “Unite the Right” rally, scheduled to kick off at noon in Charlottesville, Va. today, was canceled after violence broke out at approximately 11:35 a.m. (EDT). Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has declared a state of emergency. To help you place the events into context, BackStory offers the following segments: A FOE WITHOUT HATE is a segment […]

BookStory’s May Selection

Most of us are familiar with the story surrounding Pocahontas’s journey from colonial Virginia to metropolitan London. But Pocahontas was just one of hundreds of Indigenous people who travelled-voluntarily or coercively-to London from the 16th century to today. Historian Coll Thrush traces these stories in his new book, “Indigenous London: Native Travelers at the Heart of Empire,” […]

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