Podcasts About History You May Not Know.

One of the things I love about podcasts is being able to learn about different things outside of a classroom and school. Regardless of how much schooling/education you have under your belt, you can always learn something new! There are many podcasts about many topics, including many about history. Podcasts like Buried Truths, Order 9066, and Making Gay History are some of my favorite podcasts because they’ve taught me about little known parts of United States history and have helped put some current events into a better perspective. Here are some recommendations for history podcasts:

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Buried Truths

Because when we understand who we were, we can better understand who we are. – Hank Klibanoff, episode 1

If there’s just one podcast you listen to this year, it should be Buried Truths from WABE in Atlanta, Georgia. This show is about three black farmers who decided to vote in the 1948 election in rural Georgia and the reactions from local white supremacists. In six episodes, host Hank Klibanoff shares how white supremacists in Georgia at the time were determined to stay in power and worked to suppress voting rights through legislation and intimidation. One of the black farmers who voted in the 1948 election was warned by a friend not to vote; another was savagely beaten by two white men for both voting and helping other black folks in the area to vote; another was tragically killed over his vote.

This show is important for the obvious reasons, as it sheds light on events and a history that was swept under the rug but had immense impacts on people, especially those present during that time. But it’s also important because it gives a larger understanding to issues we’re still dealing with today. At one point, Klibanoff talks about how self-defense was used as a legal defense for the men who killed Isiah Nixon and it’s easy to see how that translates to different events happening today.

This is one show you should start from the beginning, as each episode builds on the last one. You can find it on many podcasting platforms.

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Making Gay History

Learning about LGBTQ history can be really hard, as it’s not often taught in schools and there aren’t many resources about this community’s history. But back in the 1980s/90s, Eric Marcus interviewed numerous LGBTQ folks for his book “Making Gay History: The Half Century Fight for Lesbian and Gay Equal Rights” that was published in 2002. But in late 2016, Marcus used some of the audio he still had from those interviews to create the podcast of the same name. So far, the show has had three seasons and you’ll be able to hear from folks like Sylvia Rivera, Jean O’Leary, Tom Cassidy, Ellen DeGeneres, Larry Kramer, and so many more.

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No Man’s Land

This show is from the women’s community group, The Wing and takes a look at women who have been overlooked in history books. The show recently wrapped its first season at the end of 2018 and there are episodes about women like Ida B. Wells, Sylvia Plath, and Ana Mendieta. No Man’s Land is well done on multiple levels; the research goes deeper into different women’s lives than other, more mainstream productions and the production quality allows for a rich understanding of the woman’s life.

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Order 9066

From APM Reports and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, this show takes a look at Executive Order 9066 and the Japanese “relocation”/incarceration camps. Each episode shares different parts of the history, context, and first-person accounts of these camps, including the roundup of ~120,000 people of Japanese ancestry, life inside the camps, and how some joined the American military to fight in World War II.

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Historically Black

This is another APM Reports podcast that partnered with The Washington Post and the Smithsonian’s relatively new National Museum of African American History. Each episode takes a look at an object that someone submitted that highlights real lived experiences of black history. There’s an episode about a family’s great great grandfather’s bill of sale as a slave, a recording of a great-grandfather playing the fiddle, a photo of a grandmother who worked as a ‘computer’ during World War II, and more.

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History is Gay

This show is hosted by friends, Gretchen and Leigh, and covers all sorts of queer history. There’s an episode on queer pirates, Magnus Hirschfeld, the first Pride, and so much more! The tagline for History is Gay sums up the show perfectly: ‘because history has never been as straight as you think’.

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Like I and many others have said before, history can teach us about ourselves, our lives, and the world around us. When we start to forget, ignore, and/or sweep history under a rug, we are doomed to repeat mistakes and forget just how we got here. Whether we realize it or not, history influences our lives and how we interact with others all the time and the aforementioned podcasts are just some of how people are keeping those stories and histories alive.

Author: Andrea Merrill

My name is Andrea Merrill and I created Animals of the Pacific Northwest and '...Wherever You Get Your Podcasts', where I write about animals, both domesticated and wild, and podcasts respectively.

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