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'Watch Nights,' A New Year's Celebration Of Emancipation

On Dec. 31, 1862, African-Americans and abolitionists waited for word — via telegraph, newspaper or word of mouth — that the Emancipation Proclamation had been issued. A New Year's Eve tradition marks the anniversary of President Lincoln's actions to end slavery.
NPR

Virtually Anyone Can See The Dead Sea Scrolls Now

This past week, Google and the Israel Antiquities Authority posted thousands of high-resolution images of the Dead Sea Scrolls online. Now, anyone can get up-close and personal with the ancient biblical texts — rewrites and all.
NPR

The Renaissance Man Who Got It All Wrong

In A Man of Misconceptions: The Life of an Eccentric in an Age of Change, John Glassie writes of 17th-century Jesuit priest and scientist Athanasius Kircher, a renaissance man who studied magnetism, Mount Vesuvius, even the blood of plague victims. The only problem? His theories were often wrong.
NPR

Is 'Django Unchained' The 'Blackest Film Ever?'

Quentin Tarantino's new film Django Unchained has sparked controversy about his portrayal of slavery. Also, a dispute continues over whether gun owners names and addresses should be made public. And, what are the most underreported stories of 2012? The Barbershop guys weigh in with host Michel Martin for the last time this year.
NPR

Is Kwanzaa Still A Thing?

Wednesday marked the start of Kwanzaa, the seven day festival celebrating African-American culture. In the 1980s and '90s, many considered Kwanzaa a mainstream holiday like Christmas and Hanukkah. But now there seems to be less fanfare. Host Michel Martin speaks with Duke University's Mark Anthony Neal about whether Kwanzaa is still a thing.
NPR

'The Book Of Gin' Distills A Spirited History

From medieval medicine to18th-century English "crack", gin has come a long way. But according to Richard Barnett, author of The Book of Gin, now is "the best time in the last 500 years to be drinking" it.
NPR

Former PM Edward Seaga Heralds Jamaica's Music

Former prime minister and music producer, Edward Seaga, compiled an album to mark Jamaica's 50th anniversary of independence. It's called, Reggae Golden Jubilee: Origins of Jamaican Music. Host Michel Martin speaks to Mr. Seaga about what he sees as the 100 most significant songs to emerge from the country.
NPR

The Rebirth Of Rye Whiskey And Nostalgia For 'The Good Stuff'

Rye was all but pushed off the market by sweeter, corn-based bourbon after Prohibition, but it might be coming back, no illegal still required. Bartenders from coast to coast seem to prefer its intense flavor for their cocktail creations.

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