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Bob Mondello Remembers Columbus Day 1963, And A Visit To Camelot

Bob Mondello remembers a Columbus Day 50 years ago made special by what seemed to him a visit to a real-life Camelot — and an unexpected encounter with John F. Kennedy. The president was atoning for some injudicious remarks about Italian Americans by hosting a special Rose Garden ceremony for government workers with Italian heritage.
NPR

How Columbus Sailed Into U.S. History, Thanks To Italians

The making of Columbus Day involved much glorification of the Italian explorer, including some historical inaccuracies. But Christopher Columbus also became the face of a celebration of Italian heritage, amid discrimination in the U.S.
NPR

Pledge Of Allegiance Past Its Prime?

Millions of American school children begin the day with the pledge of allegiance. But do they, or their teachers, really understand what it means? Host Michel Martin discusses the issue with journalist Mary Plummer, of KPCC, and Peter Levine, director of the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement.
NPR

Birds Of A Feather Spy Together

Journalist Tom Vanderbilt discusses the nonhuman operatives — from pigeons to house cats — deployed by the United States government during the Cold War. He wrote about the program recently for the Smithsonian magazine.
NPR

Some In Congress Has Behaved Badly From The Start

The shutdown of the U.S. government has sparked lots of finger-pointing and name-calling in Congress. But A.J. Jacobs, editor at large at Esquire Magazine, tells host Scott Simon that this is hardly the nastiest dispute in the history of our democracy.
NPR

'Fetch Clay, Make Man': Ali, Fetchit And The 'Anchor Punch'

The play Fetch Clay, Make Man explores the sense of identity through the eyes of two significant figures in black history — Stepin Fetchit (Lincoln Perry) and Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali).
NPR

Rep. Gutierrez: I Am A Product Of The Civil Rights Movement

Chicago Congressman Luis Gutierrez's life has been marked by arrests, no-holds-barred Chicago-style political fighting, and even the occasional Molotov cocktail thrown through his window. He speaks with host Michel Martin about his life and new memoir Still Dreaming: My Journey from the Barrio to Capitol Hill.
NPR

In 'Dallas 1963,' A City Of Rage, Seized By 'Civic Hysteria'

Bill Minutaglio and Steven L. Davis have written a portrait of the city that saw John F. Kennedy's death firsthand. In those years, they say, Dallas was a roiling stew of superpatriotism and Communist paranoia — and, above all, distrust of the president.
NPR

Property Taxes May Cause Slaves' Descendants To Lose Homes

Sapelo Island, off the coast of Georgia, has been home to generations of African-Americans since their ancestors were freed from slavery. Now, they might be losing their homes as growing property values send tax bills through the roof. Host Michel Martin speaks with Sapelo Island resident Cornelia Walker Bailey about the situation.
NPR

Govt. Shutdown 'Wake-Up Call' To Native Americans

Native American tribes often rely on their relationship with federal agencies to keep themselves afloat. Host Michel Martin speaks with Tara Gatewood, host of the public radio show Native America Today, about how the government shutdown affects Native Americans. NPR Senior Business Editor Marilyn Geewax also joins the conversation.

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