history

Chris Stone/flickr creative commons

Back in the days when rock and roll was still young and three-chord bands were popping up everywhere, The Grateful Dead were unique in just about every way. They fused multiple music styles: rock, blues, folk, R&B, country, jazz, and, of course, more than a peppering of psychedelia.

ctinworldwar1.org / Connecticut State Library

State residents are being asked to participate in a digital archive project to mark the the 100th anniversary of the U.S. entering into World War I. The Connecticut state library has launched the project in partnership with the Connecticut Digital Archive and the national World War I Centennial Commission. 

Lawrie Cate / Creative Commons

Jews make up 2.2 percent of the population although it fluctuates depending on who gets counted. The U.S. Jewish population is roughly the same size, north of 6 million, as the Jewish population of Israel. 

And, since there are about 14 million Jews in the whole world, an astonishingly high percentage of them live in those two countries. 

Josh Hough / Creative Commons

Since the ISIS takeover of Palmyra in Syria, hundreds are feared killed by the so-called Islamic State. Amateur videos posted online yesterday also appear to show buildings of the ancient city damaged in the fighting.  Palmyra is considered to be one of the most important cultural centers in the world.

Two men are sliding nine pine coffins into a vault in the ground on Chestnut Street in downtown Portsmouth, N.H. The remains were disinterred in 2003, part of a long-forgotten burial ground for African slaves discovered during routine road work. Now, they are being reburied among 200 other long forgotten men and women as part of Portsmouth's new African Burying Ground Memorial Park.

Calvin Health / Rakkasan Delta

On Memorial Day, WNPR will air a special documentary about men who served in Delta Company, a Vietnam-era paratrooper unit. It's called "We've Never Been the Same: A War Story."

Frankie Leon / Creative Commons

News about other countries tends to focus a lot more on what’s wrong with a place, than what’s going right.

Recently, reports about the earthquake in Nepal, kidnappings in Nigeria and Islamic extremism in Iran have dominated the news.

Following the self-declared Islamic State's capture of Palmyra, concern today is turning to the security of the ancient Syrian city's archaeological sites and fears that the Islamist extremists might try to destroy them, as they have done elsewhere.

Chris Boland / Creative Commons

It's been more than 40 years since Graham Nash first sung with David Crosby and Stephen Stills.

Bengt Nyman / Creative Commons

Looking every inch a silver-maned patriarch of Biblical grandeur, Sonny Rollins, the 84-year-old genius of the jazz tenor saxophone, was especially elated last weekend to receive an honorary doctor of music degree from the University of Hartford at graduation ceremonies on its West Hartford campus.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Sometimes being in the right place at the right time -- with your radio tuned into WNPR -- can lead to unexpected connections...

When WNPR's Where We Live first met Stanley Maxwell, we asked musicians Andy Chatfield, Mark Crino, Eric DellaVecchia, and Evan Green to explain the origin of their unusual name. 

Fibonacci Blue / Creative Commons

Hartford is one of the poorest cities in America. While there is lots to love about this city, like the fact that poor minorities are not subject to the police brutality seen in Baltimore and Ferguson, people of color who live in Hartford and who also happen to be poor share the same high levels of unemployment and urban decay seen in those cities. 

Jason Neely

The beautiful spring weather helps fill up local parks. In Middletown, residents walk and picnic at one of the highest points in the city. It's not a park, but a cemetery. 

The Library of Congress

The Ohio House approved a resolution repudiating Connecticut for claims that Bridgeport's Gustave Whitehead beat the Wright brothers as first in flight.

The bill asserts that Ohio-born brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright were first with their 1903 flight off Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. It goes further though, declaring that Whitehead did not fly in a "powered, heavier than air machine" in 1901, "or on any other date."

Banning Eyre

If you listen closely to the music of Thomas Mapfumo, you will hear the pulse of Zimbabwe. It’s a sound unlike any other, driven by decades of struggle, brutality, and cultural sabotage. 

A 110-pound silver ingot thought to be from the treasure of Capt. William Kidd — the notorious 17th century Scottish pirate who was ultimately hanged for his misdeeds — has been brought up from the shallows off Madagascar's eastern coast.

The discovery was made by the American underwater explorer Barry Clifford near the island of Sainte Marie, which itself lies just off Madagascar.

A soon-to-be released documentary film called "Uncommon Ground" will be screened this weekend in Connecticut. It explores the struggle over the future of the last remaining abandoned Palestinian village on the outskirts of Jerusalem.

Courtesy Norman Rockwell Museum Digital Collection

It would have been difficult for 19-year-old Mary Doyle Keefe to realize the incredible influence she would have on women when she sat to have her portrait painted by Norman Rockwell in the early 1940s.

Bain News Service / Creative Commons

Some Connecticut students may soon be taught the history of labor and free markets. A bill passed through the state senate on Monday that would require the education department to make relevant curriculum materials available to local school districts.

The 1950s was a hinge decade for noteworthy and nation-changing civil rights events across the United States, including Brown v. Board of Education in Kansas, the bus boycott in Alabama and the National Guard-protected integration of Central High School in Arkansas.

Meanwhile, there was also a revolution brewing in bookstores and public libraries.

By design or by happenstance, a handful of children's picture books were focal points of the American movement toward integration in the '50s.

Back in 1890, Thomas Edison gave us some of the world's first talking dolls. Today, the glassy-eyed cherubs that are still around stand about 2 feet tall; they have wooden limbs and a metal body; and they sound supercreepy. (If you're looking for a soundtrack to your nightmares, listen to the audio story above.) Edison built and sold about 500 of them back in 1890. Now, new technology has made hearing them possible for the first time in decades.

Orville Wright / Library of Congress

For decades, David McCullough has chronicled some of the biggest chapters of U.S. history. In his latest book, McCullough focuses on two brothers who not only had a massive impact on the United States, but on the world. The Wright Brothers follows Orville and Wilbur’s path to immortality and their lasting legacy.

Among those who dispute the Wright brothers' claim to fame are supporters of Connecticut resident Gustave Whitehead who they say was the first to fly in 1901. In fact, Connecticut lawmakers went so far as to officially declare that Whitehead was the first to fly, ticking off North Carolina and Ohio in the process.

Swayambhunath — also known as the Monkey Temple, for its holy, furry dwellers that swing from the rosewood trees — is one of the oldest and most sacred Buddhist sites in Nepal's Kathmandu Valley, an important pilgrimage destination for Hindus as well as Buddhists. It was also one of the worst damaged by last month's earthquake.

Which Writers Get Museums?

Apr 30, 2015
Creative Commons

Mark Twain has many literary sites; yet Henry James has none. You can visit Edith Wharton's house but not Shirley Jackson's. You can walk where Wallace Stevens walked but you can't buy a ticket to go through his front door. And can you believe there's no single museum devoted to all American writers-- yet?

New England is about to get two great new writers’ museums: The Dr. Seuss museum in Springfield, Massachusetts and-- if we're lucky-- the Maurice Sendak Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut. Today we look at who gets a writer's house and why-- and what sort of experience we’re looking for when we make pilgrimages to the desks of our literary heroes.

Mike Licht / Creative Commons

University of Kentucky Biology professor James Krupa is frustrated with the resistance of his non-biology students to accept the theory of evolution as established fact, despite what he calls an "avalanche of evidence" supporting its validity.

Krupa says that evolution is the foundation of our science, and just as we accept germ theory, cell theory, quantum theory, and even game theory, we must understand the significance of evolution even if it challenges long-held religious beliefs.

Courtesy of Joshua Engelhardt

The remnants of an old depression-era work camp deep in the woods of Madison, Connecticut are being unearthed and preserved by several local groups.

Public Domain

Pope Francis recently called the 1915 deaths of more than a million Armenians a genocide. The Turkish government hasn't responded kindly. To mark the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, we speak with local experts and artists about what happened and the lasting political tension that still exists today. 

Also, did you know that one of two plaster casts of Pope John Paul II’s hand is in Chicopee, Massachusetts? It’s part of a collection of thousands of pieces of Polish culture and history. WNPR’s Catie Talarski gets a tour of the Polish Center of Discovery and Learning with founder Stas Radosz.

Updated at 12:50 p.m. ET

European leaders attended a ceremony marking the centenary of the massacre of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War I, as German lawmakers risked triggering a diplomatic row with Turkey by voting to acknowledge the historical event as "genocide" –- a charge Ankara has strongly denied.

Catie Talarski / WNPR

The town of Chicopee, Massachusetts first reported Polish settlers in 1880. It was the beginning of an influx of immigrants to the Connecticut River Valley to work as farmers and factory workers. 

Stanislaw, or Stas, Radosz is working to keep that history alive at the Polish Center for Discovery and Learning.

Mike Massimino is one of the last people to ever see the Hubble Space Telescope in person.

From inside his orbiting space shuttle, the telescope first appeared on the horizon as a star, says Massimino, who was an astronaut on the final mission to service the space telescope in 2009.

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