American History

In the summer of 2017, the wreckage of U.S.S. Indianapolis, a Navy cruiser, was discovered some 18,000 feet under the Philippine Sea.


Photo by Emilia Brock

The newest Ken Burns series premiering in September follows the vast and varied evolution of country music over the 20th century. The eight-part series begins not in Nashville, nor Bristol, but Atlanta.

That's because, in 1923, OKeh Records music pioneer Ralph Peer came from New York to the South and set up a temporary recording studio smack dab in downtown Atlanta at 152 Nassau Street. That's where he recorded early country, blues, jazz and gospel artists, including what is known as country music's first hit, "The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane" by Fiddlin' John Carson. 

Leighton Rowell / GPB

Town and gown tensions are high at the University of Georgia as the end of the school year nears. Amid national conversations about the historical role of U.S. colleges and universities in slavery, community leaders and a group of faculty are calling on UGA to do more to address its own slave past.

But in a letter to the editor of UGA's student newspaperThe Red & Black, UGA President Jere Morehead said the university had "carefully considered all aspects" of a memorial constructed in 2018 to recognize and honor the legacy of individuals who were enslaved in Athens during the 19th Century.


(AP Photo/Library of Congress)

Casimir Pulaski was born in Poland in 1745. After proving his military mastery in independence struggles across Europe, Pulaski moved to Boston in 1777. He formed the colonists' first legion on horseback, became Brigadier General and saved George Washington's retreating troops at Brandywine. Pulaski was later mortally wounded, and died, amid the 1779 Siege of Savannah. But for centuries, his final resting place remained a mystery.

Earlier this month, the Smithsonian Channel revealed not only that the "father of the American cavalry" was indeed buried in Savannah – but also that Pulaski may biologically have been intersex. Both breakthroughs came after decades of research by a team based in Georgia with help from colleagues across the United States, Poland and Canada.


Courtesy of Sony Music Archives

From the Civil War to the Dust Bowl and from baseball to jazz, Ken Burns documentaries have covered a range of critical events in American history and culture. Now, country music is getting the Ken Burns treatment. 

 

He and long-time collaborators and producers Dayton Duncan and Julie Dunfey spent eight years researching and making an eight-part, 16-hour documentary called Country Music, which will air on PBS stations like GPB in September. GPB is a presenting partner for a preview April 1 at the Atlanta History Center and on Wednesday, April 10, at Savannah's Jepson Center.

 

 


In the summer of 2017, the wreckage of U.S.S. Indianapolis, a Navy cruiser, was discovered some 18,000 feet under the Philippine Sea.

Only weeks before being sunk by two Japanese torpedoes in July 1945, this star of the U.S. fleet had completed a top-secret mission: delivering the core components of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima to Tinian Island. Of the nearly 1,200 men on board, around 300 perished in the attack. The remaining 900 men spent five days in shark-infested waters. Only 316 were saved, after an aviator happened to spot them. 

  

Zora Neale Hurston, the celebrated Harlem Renaissance writer and anthropologist, has a new bestseller out nearly 60 years after her death. She wrote "Barracoon: The Story of The Last 'Black Cargo'" almost a century ago. It’s the nonfiction story of Oluale Kossola, the last survivor of the African slave trade in the United States. Kossola was sold into slavery and taken from West Africa when he was 19.


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Harvard American history professor Jill Lepore set out to explore ideas of political equality, natural rights and the sovereignty of the people in her new book. "These Truths: A History of the United States" is a civic book that views America through the promises made in the constitution.

 

She discusses transformative ideas of freedom, the evolution of voting and the dynamics of social struggle in the history of the United States.

 


Courtesy Saint Lous University / Yale University Press

Jim Crow laws gave rise to horrific violence, humilitation and race-based terror, which makes "The Burning House: Jim Crow and the Making of Modern America," a new examination of segregation as a means of protecting African-American culture all the more provocative. 


 

Austin History Center / Austin Public Library

June 19 is Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. However, many people have never heard of the holiday or even celebrate it. Historian and storyteller Lillian Grant Baptiste joined us from Savannah to give the history of Juneteenth and why people should celebrate the holiday.


On Second Thought For Thursday, May 24, 2018

May 24, 2018

Last month, cast members from TV’s “A Different World” reunited at Home Depot’s Atlanta headquarters. They were there to award renovation grant money to nine Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports HBCUs have received less philanthropic support than most colleges and universities, particularly for infrastructure and campus renovation projects. The AJC has looked at the role of HBCU’s across the country and the financial health of these schools. We spoke with AJC reporter Ernie Suggs.

In the year since President Trump took office, a new wave of social movements has rippled across the country. March for Science Atlanta brings together scientists, data geeks and average citizens to push for policies that support and reflect research. The group will hold its annual Rally for Science April 14. The Rally for Science keynote speaker is Emory University professor Linda DeGutis. She previously served as director of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the CDC. DeGutis will speak on the importance of gun violence research. We spoke with DeGutis and March for Science organizers Louis Kiphen and Allison Halterman.

Courtesy of National Memorial for Peace and Justice

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice details a painful legacy in American history: the lynchings of thousands of African-American men, women and children. 

Stephen Fowler, GPB News

The state of Georgia did away with Confederate History Month in 2015, but last week Atlanta suburb Griffin declared April as Confederate History Month. April 26 will be Confederate Memorial Day. 

During public comments following the proclamation, a former city commissioner, who is white, used racial slurs in an exchange with current commissioner Rodney McCord, who is black.

We’ve all seen it: somebody shops on their work computer, or takes really long lunches, or “borrows” supplies. The workplace doesn’t always foster the most ethical behavior. But recent University of Georgia research shows it can get worse than that. Many employees lie on their timesheets, and even trash their co-workers to get ahead. We discuss with Marie Mitchell, a Professor of Management in the Terry College of Business at UGA. And Karen Rommelfanger, a professor from the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory University.