Summary: BackStory is a weekly public podcast hosted by U.S. historians Ed Ayers, Brian Balogh, Nathan Connolly and Joanne Freeman. We're based in Charlottesville, Va. at Virginia Humanities. There’s the history you had to learn, and the history you want to learn - that’s where BackStory comes in. Each week BackStory takes a topic that people are talking about and explores it through the lens of American history. Through stories, interviews, and conversations with our listeners, BackStory makes history engaging and fun.
It turns out that all good things must come to an end...including BackStory.
This Friday we’re airing the final episode of BackStory, in which Nathan, Joanne, Ed, and Brian explore different kinds of finales throughout American history.
In this best of BackStory, we present three of our listener’s favorite interviews from the show.
Coming Feb 2021… In most history classes, students learn that the Emancipation Proclamation and Union victories “freed the slaves.” But ending slavery in America required much more than battlefield victories and official declarations. Black people battled for their own freedom, taking incredible risks for a country that had actively denied their right to it. And after the Civil War, they made freedom real by organizing for equality and justice. On Seizing Freedom, you’ll hear stories of freedom taking and freedom making, in the words of those who did both. Drawing on stories from diaries, newspapers, letters, and speeches, we’ll recreate voices that have been muted time and time again. This excerpt is from the first episode of the series. It tells the story of those who escaped slavery to enlist with the Union Army—an army that wasn’t particularly interested in having them. Subscribe to the entire series here.
On this episode of BackStory, Joanne is joined by Jonathan Wells and Nancy Metz to tell the story of Dickens’ tumultuous -- but ultimately triumphant -- relationship to the United States and his American readers.
On this episode of The Last Archive, historian Jill Lepore tells the story of a Spring day in 1919, when a woman’s body was found bound, gagged, and strangled in a garden in Barre, Vermont.
On this episode of BackStory, Joanne and Brian learn about how different communities have struggled to acquire adequate health care.
On this episode of BackStory, Joanne and Ed shine a light onto the dark history of true crime in modern American history.
“America” and “empire.” Do those words go together? If so, what kind of imperialism does the U.S. practice, and how has American empire changed over time?
In this best of BackStory, Joanne presents three striking conversations from her time on the show.
On this episode of BackStory, Brian and Nathan reveal the rich history of socialism in the United States.
On this episode of BackStory, Brian dives into the topic of teaching and where the virtual college classroom fits into the history of higher education in the United States.
On this episode of BackStory, Ed and Brian dig into the 1980s and explore how actions in both federal policy and grassroots movements shaped environmentalism.
How did Lyndon Johnson, who made so ruinous a mess in Vietnam, pull off such an extraordinary set of accomplishments on the domestic front? That’s the question "LBJ and the Great Society" will be exploring through the recorded recollections of those who were there when this history was being made, and who had a hand in its making. Hosted by Melody Barnes, chief domestic policy advisor to Barack Obama and now co-head of the Democracy Initiative at the University of Virginia.
In this best of BackStory, Nathan presents three of his favorite interviews from his time on the show.