77 episodes

This week, something momentous happened. Whether or not it made the textbooks, it most certainly made history. Join HISTORY This Week as we turn back the clock to meet the people, visit the places and witness the moments that led us to where we are today.

HISTORY This Week HISTORY

    • History
    • 4.5 • 2.3K Ratings

This week, something momentous happened. Whether or not it made the textbooks, it most certainly made history. Join HISTORY This Week as we turn back the clock to meet the people, visit the places and witness the moments that led us to where we are today.

    The Chinese Immigrants Who Built America

    The Chinese Immigrants Who Built America

    May 10, 1869. On the dusty, barren plains of Promontory Summit, Utah, a crowd is gathered to celebrate an American milestone – the completion of the transcontinental railroad, the first piece of infrastructure to connect the two sides of the United States. But this achievement didn’t come without great sacrifice, especially from Chinese immigrants, who made up more than 90% of the Central Pacific Railroad company workforce. How did these workers come to build what might be the most important transportation project in US history? And how were these Chinese immigrants accepted by American society, before the tides turned to violence and hate?


    Special thanks to Gordon Chang, professor of history and author of Ghosts of Gold Mountain: The Epic Story of the Chinese Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad (https://amzn.to/3hgDtOH).
     
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    • 23 min
    Mother’s Day Mayhem

    Mother’s Day Mayhem

    May 9, 1905. After weeks of illness and visits from ten different doctors, Anna Jarvis’s mother dies. In the days that follow, Jarvis makes a promise to herself: to fulfill her mother’s dream of creating a holiday devoted to celebrating mothers. Her campaign to create and define Mother’s Day would become her life’s work, and also her downfall. How did Anna Jarvis become a minor celebrity known for her fanatical devotion to this annual holiday? And why did she come to hate the holiday she created?


    Special thanks to Katharine Antolini, author of Memorializing Motherhood: Anna Jarvis and the Struggle for Control of Mother’s Day.
     
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    • 24 min
    Fighting for 504

    Fighting for 504

    April 30, 1977. Nearly a month after entering San Francisco’s Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, a group of 150 demonstrators is going home. They’re singing, drinking champagne, and hugging the friends they’ve slept alongside for weeks on a cold office floor. Many of these activists are people with disabilities, and they’ve been sitting in to push the government to sign regulations that have sat untouched for years. What happened when a group of activists with disabilities staged the longest peaceful occupation of a federal building in US history? And how did this protest change accessibility in America?


    Special thanks to our guests, Judy Heumann, Corbett O’Toole, Dennis Billups, and Debby Kaplan. Lucy Muir audio tapes courtesy of Ken Stein. Daniel Smith and Queer Blue Light Videotapes courtesy of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society.


    Click here for a transcript of this episode: https://bit.ly/3tLEXEc.
     
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    • 26 min
    The Brink of World War III

    The Brink of World War III

    April 19, 1951. General Douglas MacArthur's plane touches down in DC just after midnight. He’s coming home from fighting the Korean War. Over twelve thousand people are there to greet this person who the American people consider to be a national war hero. It’s quite the welcome for a general who has just been fired by the President of the United States. How, after this triumphant return, does the general end up losing his own party's political support? And could MacArthur have led his country into a nuclear war?


    Thank you to our guests: Professor H.W. Brands, author of The General vs. the President: MacArthur and Truman at the Brink of Nuclear War, and Professor David Kang, the director of the Korean Studies Institute at USC. Thank you also to Professor James Matray for speaking with us for this episode.
     
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    • 30 min
    Killing the Gold Standard

    Killing the Gold Standard

    April 18, 1933. It’s almost midnight in Washington, DC. Newly-elected President Franklin Delano Roosevelt has gathered his economic advisors for a late-night meeting. He called this meeting to announce his plan to effectively take the US off the gold standard, the system by which every paper dollar is tied to a certain amount of literal gold. To his advisors, this is inconceivable. Money is gold. Without gold backing the dollar, what even is money in the first place? But the president is resolute. The gold standard has driven America into the Great Depression, and he plans to drag it back out. How did FDR’s decision change the way Americans conceived of money? And how did killing the gold standard save the country?


    Special thanks to our guest, Jacob Goldstein, host of the podcast Planet Money and author of Money: The True Story of a Made-Up Thing.
     
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    • 27 min
    More Than a Home Run

    More Than a Home Run

    April 8, 1974. On a humid night in Atlanta, Hank Aaron is poised to make history. On the all-time home run leaderboard, Aaron is tied with the legendary Babe Ruth. With one swing of the bat, he can break Ruth’s record. But not everyone in America wants to see this happen; the threats against Aaron’s life have warranted FBI protection. Yet in front of 54,000 people in Atlanta and millions more watching at home, Aaron steps up to bat. What was it like to be a Black baseball superstar twenty-five years after Jackie Robinson broke the sport's color barrier? And what is the real story—of threats, fear, and danger—behind Aaron’s record-breaking game?


    Special thanks to Howard Bryant, senior writer for ESPN and author of The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron, and Bob Kendrick, President of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.
     
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    • 25 min

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