Playlist History


2nd Lt. William Robertson and Lt. Alexander Sylvashko, Red Army, shown in front of sign [East Meets West] symbolizing the historic meeting of the Soviet and American Armies, near Torgau, Germany on Elbe Day. Photo: Pfc. William E. Poulson/U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

75 Years Ago, World War II Began to Draw to a Close in Europe

April, 1945—75 years ago—saw major events in the ending of World War II in Europe, from the deaths of three of the most prominent antagonists of the era to the meeting of American and Soviet troops in Germany and an early beginning of the UN.
Children being treated in iron lungs. Photo: U.S. Food and Drug Administration

"One of the Greatest Events in the History of Medicine": The Defeat of Polio

DuPage county, outside Chicago, took part in Jonas Salk's polio vaccine trials in 1954, a successful nationwide experiment that led to the virtual end of a terrifying disease and was called "one of the greatest events in the history of medicine." 
Workers on the Sanitary and Ship Canal excavate and load rock onto hoppers on September 20, 1894. Photographer unknown. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District for 10 That Changed America

Chicago's Historical Ingenuity in the Face of Disease

Waterborne diseases like cholera periodically devastated Chicago in the nineteenth century. The attempt to beat them inspired three of the most ambitious engineering feats the country has seen.
WTTW's John Callaway interviews the 'New Yorker' writer Jane Kramer in 1978

From the Archive: 'New Yorker' Writer Jane Kramer

New Yorker writer Jane Kramer discusses the myth of the American West, the rise of big agribusiness and its effect on both traditional ranching and cows, and what bringing her daughter along on her reporting could do, in this 1978 interview from the WTTW archives. 
The CTA Green Line at 51st Street. Photo: Cragin Spring/Wikimedia Commons

When the Green Line Shut Down for More Than Two Years

If weekend closures of Red Line stations are an inconvenience, comfort yourself with the thought that it could be worse. More than 25 years ago, the Green Line—like the Red Line today—needed maintenance and modernizing. Back then, the CTA shut down the whole line—for more than two years.
Hazel Johnson with Vice President Al Gore at the White House

The Chicago Woman Who Fought to Clean Up the Southeast Side

Hazel Johnson described her Southeast Side community as existing within a "toxic donut," surrounded by landfills, industrial facilities, incinerators, and more. Her activism on behalf of marginalized communities led her to the White House and the title of the "mother of environmental justice."
Brochures advertising events organized by Vivian Harsh at the Hall Branch of the Chicago Public Library

The Chicago Librarian Who Created a Lauded Collection of African American History and Literature

Vivian Harsh helped make Bronzeville's library a center for African American writers and intellectuals, hosting speakers such as Gwendolyn Brooks and Zora Neale Hurston and amassing a collection of books and manuscripts by the likes of Langston Hughes and Richard Wright.
Jim Lehrer speaking at the Miller Center of Public Affairs, in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2011. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

'PBS NewsHour' Co-Founder Jim Lehrer Has Died

Jim Lehrer, the co-founder and anchor of PBS NewsHour, died Thursday, January 23 at the age of 85. He covered such earth-shaping events as the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the Watergate hearings, and was admired by journalists of all sorts.
Chicago Union Stock Yards

How Upton Sinclair’s 'The Jungle' Unintentionally Spurred Food Safety Laws

Muckraker journalist Upton Sinclair started a national movement for food safety after the publication of his 1906 novel, The Jungle, although that wasn't his aim. “I aimed at the public's heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach,” he said. 
PBS NewsHour: The Trump Impeachment Trial

PBS's Coverage of the Impeachment Trial

The impeachment trial in the Senate has begun. Find all the ways to watch PBS NewsHour's special live coverage here.
Barack Obama and Donald Trump. Photo: Courtesy of left to right: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images; BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

'America's Great Divide' and the 2020 Election

"This is really the most important political year coming that I have ever experienced," says Michael Kirk, the producer of Frontline's new, two-part documentary America's Great Divide. "I thought these films could be a kind of overture as the curtain goes up on the political year."
Maggie Daley Park in Chicago

A Decade in Review

As we approach a new year and a new decade, take a look back at what was yet to come in 2010, from changes in Chicago's built environment and restaurant industry to tech innovations and other developments.
Fred Hampton. Image: Chicago Defender Archives, from WTTW's Dusable to Obama

The Killing of Fred Hampton

50 years ago, the promising young Black Panther leader Fred Hampton was killed during a police raid. Hampton's organizing and the outcry after his death helped lead to the election of Harold Washington and Bobby Rush, who was a Panther at the time of the raid. 
The Impeachment Hearings. PBS NewsHour

PBS's Coverage of the Impeachment Hearings in December

Find all the ways you can watch the House Judiciary Committee's public impeachment hearings, either over-the-air or digitally, here. 
The Impeachment Hearings - coverage by PBS Newshour

PBS's Special Coverage of the Impeachment Hearings

Find all the ways you can watch, either over-the-air or digitally, here. 
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