“I can look out my window next to my desk and see where my grandfather was born on Ferry Street and where my mother was born on Garden Court Street,” says the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. “My father was born on Meridian Street in East Boston.”

Those words are from a Kennedy oral history, recorded in 2005 by scholars from the University of Virginia.

Robert Benson Photography

A new play premieres this weekend as part of a gala event celebrating the hundredth anniversary of a synagogue in Chester, Connecticut called Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek.

The play is called “100 Years in 36 Minutes.” Its co-writer, Lary Bloom, came to the WNPR studios earlier this week to talk about it.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Raouf Mama is a beloved storyteller by children and adults familiar with his books Why Goats Smell Bad and Why Monkeys Live in TreesHis love of storytelling stems from a long and honorable oral tradition that goes back to the ancient empire of Mali, when people preserved the lessons of life in memory instead of on the written page.

Raouf says we each have a story of belonging and identity. He uses his stories to entertain, comfort, and most of all as a tool to enlighten students.

It was 60 years ago this week that an all-white jury acquitted two white men in the murder of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old black boy visiting Mississippi from Chicago.

The case shocked the nation — drawing attention to the brutal treatment of African-Americans in the Deep South, and the failure of the justice system. The men later confessed to killing Till for whistling at a white woman.

William Warby / flickr creative commons

A man named Billy Williams became a legend during World War II, but not only for his heroic actions; Williams, stationed in Burma, became an elephant "whisperer." The book Elephant Company describes the man's exceptional ability to understand the elephants around him, and the stunning ability of the elephants to understand and communicate with him, in return.

Frankieleon / Creative Commons

There was a time when hard work brought most Americans a decent wage, a secure life, and opportunities to aim for a better life. George Packer says that's no longer the case for too many Americans.

Institutions that once anchored middle-class Americans are either collapsing or morphing into faceless institutions that benefit the wealthy, Packer says. Health and educational outcomes are significantly lower for the poor, who are also incarcerated at higher rates. 

Tensions Build Amid Resignations At Kennedy Library

Sep 21, 2015

Meandering past photos of the young Kennedy clan, Jacqueline’s signature dresses, campaign posters and a replica of the oval office Kennedy used is required fare for children growing up around Boston and thousands of tourists every year.

Ted Danforth

A judge in 17th century Connecticut ruled on the thorniest of problems. Some of these included ruling on a piglet’s paternity, who was to blame for faulty shoes, and whether illicit sex had occurred on a boat sailing to Stamford. 

While most of the rulings wouldn’t stand up in today’s court, our earliest settlers struggled to decide a fair price to pay under a harsh system. Connecticut Superior Court Judge Jon Blue shares some of the liveliest tales from our past, vividly described by court reporters not bound by modern day legalese.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / Creative Commons

Online guidebook Atlas Obscura bills itself as a "friendly tour-guide to the world's most wondrous places" -- a number of which can be found right here in Connecticut. 

Ed Lescoe/Hartford Times / Hartford History Center, Hartford Public Library

As deputy mayor of Hartford, Nicholas Carbone was a blend of old and new -- a bare-knuckles, lapel-grabbing pol wrapped around a dreamy urban visionary.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

There are over 120 train stations in the Metro-North system and Emily Moser, a photographer, blogger, and Connecticut native, has documented them all.

Scientists have discovered the fossilized remains of an unusual human-like creature that lived long ago. Exactly how long ago is still a mystery — and that's not the only mystery surrounding this newfound species.

The bones have a strange mix of primitive and modern features, and were found in an even stranger place — an almost inaccessible chamber deep inside a South African cave called Rising Star.

National Archives

Scientists are attempting to use submersibles to explore a sunken German U-boat seven miles off the Rhode Island coast.

They're streaming the attempts online as they work to learn more about how shipwrecks affect the environment. 

Seattle Municipal Archives / Flickr Creative Commons

A 1965 Senate subcommittee predicted that Americans would work 14-hour weeks by the year 2000. Needless to say, their prediction was a little off. Fifty years later, the five-day, 40-hour work week remains the standard here in the U.S. 

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / Creative Commons

In her latest book, author and scholar Marcia Bartusiak shows how the black hole helped bring Einstein's general theory of relativity back into the spotlight.

Creative Commons

Hunter S. Thompson was one of those writers whose lives start to matter more than their art. From almost the beginning, life and art were intentionally interwoven. Thompson's outsized appetites for drugs and food and stimulation were set into his hyperbolic prose. The story of the wrier was the story of the story. He was hardly the first to do it, but he did it in a fashion that made both the lifestyle and prose of Norman Mailer seem comparatively restrained. 

A cantor chanted a Hebrew prayer of mourning, as the afternoon sun beat down on some one hundred people gathered for the dedication of the state’s Holocaust memorial. Local politicians and prominent members of the state’s Jewish community offered remarks on the project. Many highlighted the memorial’s significance in the light of more recent violence and genocide worldwide.

The newly unveiled memorial sits at the edge of Downtown Providence, near statuary dedicated to the two World Wars.

America and Iran have not had an easy relationship since 1979, when 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days by students supporting the Iranian Revolution. The resulting rise of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini further weakened the relationship.

Protest Music: Then and Now

Aug 25, 2015
Chion Wolf / WNPR

Music can be a powerful, transformative tool in the quest for social change. Protest songs are the songs associated with a particular movement. 

Earlier this month, Janelle Monáe and Wondaland produced the searing protest song "Hell You Talmbout." Nearly seven minutes long, it's a tribute to a long list of black men and women lost, and has been performed alongside protesters at Black Lives Matter rallies.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

A few miles down the road from the University of Connecticut campus in Mansfield, Connecticut, an abandoned prison sits empty. It's shrouded from public view by a fence of vines and razor wire. 

Dragons Rule!

Aug 20, 2015
William O'Connor - William O'Connor Studios

She who controls the dragon controls the world.

Drogon, Rhaegal and Viserion are the most recent dragons to capture our attention, thanks to "Game of Thrones," the wildly popular HBO hit that's placed dragons front and center in our imagination.


From 1901 to 1953, Indian motorcycles were manufactured in Springfield Massachusetts. But the first Indian motorcycle, the first prototypes, were actually built in Middletown, Connecticut.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Mystic Seaport hosted its 30th annual marathon reading of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick aboard the Charles W. Morgan last weekend, America’s oldest commercial ship still afloat. 

Across Connecticut, abandoned sites are being built back up. It’s complicated and expensive work, but in recent years, the state has put millions of dollars towards breathing new life into the long-forgotten spaces of the industrial era.

Marriage in Our Modern World

Jul 28, 2015
Pete / Creative Commons

Across the United States, partners still hold the institution of marriage dear. Yet as time moves on, there are significant changes in the way Americans approach marriage. Many years ago, the idea of marrying for love was ludicrous. Now, the love match is the heart of a modern marriage.

Marc Nozell / Creative Commons

The life of the black Republican is pretty lonely these days, but it hasn’t always been that way. Black Americans were deeply rooted in the party of Lincoln for decades to avoid joining a Democratic Party controlled by "devils from below the Mason-Dixon line."

Official White House portrait of Thomas Jefferson; James Tooley, Jr. portrait of Andrew Jackson / Creative Commons

Connecticut Democrats are changing the name of the party's annual Jefferson Jackson Bailey Dinner, agreeing to strip the names of two former slave owners.

The Flap Over Flags

Jul 22, 2015
Sam Howzit / Creative Commons

Flags have been in the news a lot lately. South Carolina removed the Confederate flag from its Statehouse this month and one Missouri county threatened to lower the flags at their courthouse for one full year to mourn the Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage. 

The Backstory of Advice

Jul 21, 2015
Chion Wolf / WNPR


What makes advice good or bad? When and why do we listen to what others have to say? It is human nature to turn to others for advice when the going gets tough; we seek the wisdom of loved ones, lawyers, doctors, therapists, and advice columnists. But even when presented with good advice, we don't always take it. This hour, we get down to business about advice.