American History | KALW

American History

Photo by RJ Muna


On this edition of Your Call, we discuss a new site-specific performance highlighting the legacy of San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood and its role in the nation's history.

Photo by Andre Chung

On this edition of Your Call, Dr. Ibram X. Kendi discusses his book, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. He argues that racism isn’t fading away as progress forges ahead – instead, racist ideas are evolving.

By Edward S. Curtis, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

California’s history is marked by horrific and systemic violence against Native Americans. On this edition of Your Call, we’ll speak with Bay Area Native Corrina Gould and historian Benjamin Madley about the genocide of California Indians and how the state should acknowledge it.

Your Call: Who was Jack London?

Dec 29, 2015

On the December 29th edition of Your Call, we’ll revisit our conversation with Professor Cecelia Tichi about her now book “Jack London: A Writer’s Fight for a Better America.”

Your Call: How has dissent shaped U.S. history?

Jun 11, 2015

On the June 11th edition of Your Call, we’ll have a conversation with historian Ralph Young on the key role dissent has played in shaping the United States. The book Dissent: History of an American Idea, chronicles a history of dissenters who went against the grain. It spans dissent from colonial times to the Occupy Wall Street and Tea Party movements in the 21st century. What is considered dissent and what isn’t? What can the history of dissent tell us about how social change happens? It’s Your Call, with David Onek, and you.


Tapped Out: Thirsting for Fresh Water

Apr 27, 2015
Ansel Adams, Boulder Dam. Wikimedia Commons

During a recent press event, Governor Jerry Brown said:

“As Californians, we have to pull together and save water in any way we can.”

He spoke near Echo Lake – it’s south of Lake Tahoe where the government measures snowpack. This year, when they took the April measurement, there was no snow there at all. That makes it, of course, an historic low. The Governor said we could deal with that, except for this:

Library of Congress

March 31 is César Chávez Day. Chávez is remembered as a champion of migrant workers who harvest the nation’s food. He helped create the United Farmworkers Union; He led boycotts, marches, and protests - fought for fair wages for farmworkers. Today, we aired an episode of BackStory with The American History Guys that’s all about the fair wage. And a note to our listeners, this program was made in 2014, so references go back to the original air date.

To listen to the original episode of BackStory, visit their website

BackStory - New for 2014 on KALW!  Historians Ed Ayers, Peter Onuf, and Brian Balogh tear a topic from the headlines and plumb its historical depths. This week: American Utopias - from the search for transcendence amid rural beauty, or attempts to build perfectly ordered industrial towns, they examine the nature and impact of utopian thinking across three centuries of American history.