history

After years of legal wrangling and intimidation, New Orleans has begun the process of dismantling four monuments of the Confederate and Jim Crow eras.

The first monument, which honors members of a white supremacist paramilitary group who fought against the city's racially integrated, Reconstruction-era police force in 1874, was dismantled and removed before the sun rose Monday.

Following death threats, the contractors wore flak jackets and helmets as they broke down the Battle of Liberty Place monument, as WWNO's Tegan Wendland reports.

Secret crypt in London: Beware of exploding bishops

Apr 18, 2017

A forgotten crypt has been uncovered in an ancient church in London. Inside are the remains of some of England’s most influential churchmen. They will remain undisturbed for now — apparently being sealed in a lead coffin can have explosive consequences.

"Dearest Marlene: I always love you and admire you and I have all sorts of mixed up feelings about you […]  please know that I love you always and forget you sometimes as I forget my heart beats. But it beats always.”

The letter was addressed to Marlene Dietrich and written by Ernest Hemingway, one of many he sent to her over their 30 years of friendship.

It’s signed “Love, Mister Papa” and was written on Aug. 12, 1952 — a couple of months after Hemingway finished writing "The Old Man and the Sea." It goes up for auction next month.

The meat on an adult human's bones could feed another person for over two weeks, or maybe a whole Stone Age tribe for a couple of days, according to a new report on the practice of Paleolithic cannibalism. No wonder, then, that evidence of cannibalism in ancient humans pops up in the archaeological record from time to time.

In 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King delivered one of his most politically charged speeches from Harlem's Riverside Church. In "Beyond Vietnam," he not only condemns the Vietnam War, but also compares American tactics to those of Nazis. His speech paints a dark vision of the world, a contrast to the optimistic speech he had delivered 4 years earlier, "I Have a Dream."

Pinkies Up! A Local Tea Movement Is Brewing

Mar 28, 2017

On Saturday mornings, the most popular item Minto Island Growers sells at its farmers market booth is not the certified organic carrots, kale or blueberries. It's tea.

The farm grows Camellia sinensis, tea plants, on a half-acre plot in Salem, Ore. The tender leaves are hand picked and hand processed to make 100 pounds of organic, small batch tea.

Primate brains may have grown larger and more complex thanks to a fruit-filled diet, a new study suggests.

Tomb Of Jesus Is Restored In Jerusalem

Mar 20, 2017

A restoration team Monday announced the completion of a historic renovation of one of Christianity's holiest sites — the shrine that, according to tradition, houses the tomb of Jesus.

The ornate shrine, called the Edicule, sits in the center of Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre, one of the world's oldest churches, a 12th century building sitting on fourth century remains in Jerusalem's Old City.

According to Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christian belief, the Edicule encases the ancient cave where Jesus' body was entombed and resurrected.

Rowan Moore Gerety / WLRN

The St. Patrick's parade is over and the Irish (and honorary Irish) have gone home to sleep off their annual bout of intemperance, but the multi-generational marchers of the Italian-American St. Joseph Society in New Orleans are only just dusting off their tuxedos and straightening their bow ties. Once the shamrocks and shenanigans have vanished from the narrow streets of the French Quarter, and the keg of green beer is empty, another parade — in honor of an entirely different saint — is beginning to gear up.

The curious origins of the ‘Irish slaves’ myth

Mar 17, 2017
<a href="http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/ncl2004002613/PP/">Lewis Wickes Hine/Library of Congress</a>

Irish Americans were slaves once too — or so a historically inaccurate and dangerously misleading internet meme would have you believe.

The meme comes in many varieties but the basic formula is this: old photos, paintings and engravings from all over the world are combined with text suggesting they are historic images of forgotten “Irish slaves.”

The myth underlying the meme holds that the Irish — not Africans — were the first American slaves. It rests on the idea that 17th century American indentured servitude was essentially an extension of the transatlantic slave trade.

Father Columba Stewart (@ColumbaStewart) has spent more than a decade traveling to some of the world’s most dangerous regions — Iraq, Syria, the Balkans — to find and preserve manuscripts, many of them centuries old. And now, with the rise of ISIS, his work has become more urgent than ever.

Did a thirst for lemonade, the beverage that launched a thousand childhood businesses, keep Paris safe from the bubonic plague? Did ergot poisoning lead to the Crusades? According to a new book by Tom Nealon, food writer and antiquarian bookseller, it's a distinct possibility.

Nealon's book, Food Fights and Culture Wars, searches through patchy historical records to trace subjects like how chocolate led to war. In a chapter on "cacao and conflict," Nealon traces some of the violent history spawned by a love of chocolate.

Carron Case / WLRN

Harvey Mattel says there are two kinds of radio collectors: Those who collect for what's on the inside and those who collect for what's on the outside.

He's the latter. 

But you would never know this unless you stepped inside his house or caught a glimpse of the inside of his office. By day, this 67 year old man is a lawyer in Fort Lauderdale. During his off hours, thought, he's a full-fledged radio collector and enthusiast.

Now, it's no surprise that Neanderthals didn't brush their teeth. Nor did they go to the dentist.

That means bits of food and the microbes in their mouths just stayed stuck to their teeth. While not so good for dental hygiene, these dental plaques are a great resource for scientists interested in understanding more about Neanderthal diet and lifestyle.

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