Playlist History


Gloria Steinem

From the Archive: Gloria Steinem Reflects on Gender, Race, and the Future of the Women’s Movement

We visit the WTTW archives with two interviews with feminist leader, journalist, and political activist Gloria Steinem.
Lucy Parsons in 1886. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Chicago's 'Anarchist Queen'

Lucy Parsons was full of contradictions: an anarchist who defended marriage, a Black woman born into slavery who claimed her dark skin came from Mexican and Native American ancestry, a supporter of rights for women who didn't trust elections and thus never aligned herself with suffragists.
The Legacy Walk

Walking Through LGBTQ History in Boystown

A series of bronze plaques on the famous rainbow pylons in Chicago's Boystown neighborhood make up the Legacy Walk – an outdoor museum highlighting the historical and cultural contributions of LGBTQ people.
A portrait of Jovita Idár from 'Unladylike2020.' Artwork by Amelie Chabannes

Celebrating the 'Unsung Women Who Changed America' a Century Ago

American Masters: Unladylike2020 encompasses a documentary and series of video profiles of 26 little-known women from the turn of the twentieth century who were pioneers in their fields and fought for civil rights.
Sam Ozaki

'Every One of Those Folks Has a Story': The Chicago Hearings on Japanese Internment

In 1981, nearly 100 Japanese Americans testified at Northeastern Illinois University as part of an official government investigation into the constitutionality of the World War II internment camps that incarcerated 120,000 residents and citizens of Japanese ancestry. Their stories have recently been rediscovered in a tape collection found in the University's archives.
FIRSTHAND: Coronavirus’s producer and director Pat Odom and director of photography Kimmer Olesak interview sanitation worker Sammy Dattulo. Photo: Liam Alexander/WTTW

"I've Never Covered a More Important Story": Journalism During COVID-19

"I've never covered a more important story in my career," says the producer of the new Frontline: Coronavirus Pandemic. But how are journalists and broadcasters working now, when most people are confined at home? Frontline, WTTW News, and WTTW's FIRSTHAND discuss.
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." 
Frances Willard, Grace Wilbur Trout, Jane Addams, Ida B. Wells

The Chicago Suffragists Who Fought for Women’s Right to Vote

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, which guarantees women the right to vote. Chicago was home to some of the leading suffragists in the nation, and they brought Illinois women a limited right to vote years before 1920.
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.
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