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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.

33:01 | Sep 5th

How one organization changed the American public's relationship with waste and who is ultimately responsible for it.

44:47 | Apr 4th

Three stories of opioids that have plagued Americans for more than 150 years.
Get the best podcast recommendations in your inbox every week. 😎

48:46 | Aug 15th

From the creation of the first penitentiaries in the 1800s, to the "tough-on-crime" prosecutors of the 1990s, how America created a culture of mass incarceration.

34:11 | Sep 12th

We sat down with renowned filmmaker Ken Burns to talk about his new documentary series Country music and his process as a storyteller.

31:42 | Aug 8th

Colonial powers used concentration camps at the turn of the 19th century to crush rebellions. How a war between Britain and Boers gave rise to some of the first camps.

56:12 | Jun 13th

Evangelicals have played an important role in modern day American politics, but what exactly does it means to be an evangelical today and how it has changed over time?

22:22 | May 2nd

A deadly smallpox epidemic in the early 1900s and a Boston-area minister who refused mandatory vaccination — how his case ended up in front of the Supreme Court.

32:46 | Mar 28th

This week, in a special collaboration with Planet Money, we bring you the history of planned obsolescence – the idea that products are designed to break.

1:06:36 | Sep 19th

In this episode, we look at Puerto Rico's relationship with the mainland U.S. and the key figures who shaped the island's fate.

40:12 | Aug 29th

We explore three stories of protest in sports that are often overlooked but essential to understanding the current debate: Jack Johnson, Wilma Rudolph, and Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf.

31:23 | Aug 22nd

How singing "Strange Fruit" turned Billie Holiday into one of the first victims of the War on Drugs.

32:00 | Aug 1st

Who was Huey Long? He was a politician that combined progressive economic ideas with an autocratic streak, leading FDR to call him one of the most dangerous men in America.

36:41 | Jul 25th

How a plan to end segregation by busing in Detroit went to the Supreme Court and had lasting implications for the rest of the country.

50:04 | Jul 18th

For the last 40 years, the U.S. and Iran have been in almost continual conflict. We look at three different moments in this conflict to better understand where it might go next.

38:40 | Jul 11th

This week, we revisit our very first episode about an event from August 1953 — when the CIA helped to overthrow Iran's Prime Minister.

28:02 | Jul 4th

This week, we share three stories from NPR Music's American Anthem series that highlight the origins of songs that have become ingrained in American culture.

40:25 | Jun 27th

The protests at The Stonewall Inn 50 years ago fueled the gay rights movement. But gay activists were fighting harassment and discrimination years before.

41:11 | Jun 20th

How the murder of an unarmed black civil rights activist in 1965 lead to the march to Montgomery that ended in "Bloody Sunday."

33:29 | Jun 6th

Mitch McConnell is one of the least popular politicians in the country, so how did he win eight consecutive elections? This week, we share an Embedded ep. that traces his history.

34:30 | May 30th

Right-wing Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi has won reelection as Prime Minister of India. We look back at Vinayak Savarkar, one of the architects of Hindu nationalism.

47:29 | May 23rd

China is a world superpower today. But just over a century ago, the country was in complete turmoil. How one man led a movement to reshape China as we know — Sun Yat-sen.

56:31 | May 16th

We look back at the rise and fall of Venezuela through the lives of two revolutionaries turned authoritarian leaders: Simón Bolívar and Hugo Chávez.

34:53 | May 9th

How has white nationalism shaped U.S. immigration policy in the 20th century? This week, we share an episode we loved from It's Been A Minute with Sam Sanders.

37:06 | Apr 25th

From the tractor to talking robots, society has feared innovations. But usefulness usually overcomes resistance. Is today any different from the past?

35:47 | Apr 18th

Two sects of Islam, 1400 years of history, and three stories to help us better understand the Sunni-Shia divide.

24:16 | Apr 11th

Nancy Pelosi is widely seen as the most powerful woman in U.S. politics. Follow her rise from a Baltimore political family to becoming Speaker of the House twice.

15:02 | Mar 21st

In this week's episode, the history of militarization at the U.S.-Mexico border.

34:43 | Mar 14th

In this episode, we dive into the life of Vladimir Putin and try to understand how he became Russia's new "tsar."

41:35 | Mar 7th

In this episode, we'll explore how conspiracy theories helped to create the U.S. and how they became the currency of political opportunists.

17:02 | Feb 28th

This week we return to 1868 and the first presidential impeachment in U.S. history — President Andrew Johnson.

34:13 | Feb 21st

What's fueled the hostility between the U.S. and North Korea? We look back at the tangled history.

39:05 | Feb 14th

We explore three stories of protest in sports that are often overlooked but essential to understanding the current debate: Jack Johnson, Wilma Rudolph, and Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf.

37:54 | Feb 7th

This week we look back at four days in August 1953, when the CIA orchestrated a coup of Iran's elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh.

02:24 | Jan 30th

NPR's new history podcast hosted by Ramtin Arablouei and Rund Abdelfatah. New episodes every Thursday starting February 7th.