BackStory with the American History Guys: Favorites

Series produced by BackStory with the American History Guys

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A collection of the best stories and features from BackStory, meant for excerpt by programs or stations.

BackStory is a weekly one-hour public radio show that provides a national broadcast audience with an enjoyable and accessible way of engaging challenging themes in American history and how they connect with today.

The pieces in this series are available for individual excerpt. If you are interested in full episodes of BackStory, check out our main series page.


188 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
Caption: Students from J.H. Rose High School in Greenville, NC raise the Confederate flag in April 1961., Credit: Library of Congress.
Historian Maurie McInnis and journalist Michael Paul Williams weigh in on the history and controversy of the Confederate monuments on Richmond, Vir...

Bought by KSFR and WETS


  • Added: Dec 04, 2015
  • Length: 10:28
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: Students from J.H. Rose High School in Greenville, NC raise the Confederate flag in April 1961., Credit: Library of Congress.
Listeners describe encountering memories of the Confederacy in their local landscapes. This story comes from the BackStory episode "Contested Lands...

Bought by WETS


  • Added: Dec 04, 2015
  • Length: 03:32
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Students from J.H. Rose High School in Greenville, NC raise the Confederate flag in April 1961., Credit: Digital Public Library of America, East Carolina University.
Film critic Eileen Jones talks with Brian Ballogh about Hollywood’s enduring love affair with Confederate heroes. This story comes from the BackSto...

Bought by WETS and KBCS 91.3 FM Community Radio


  • Added: Dec 04, 2015
  • Length: 06:56
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: Students from J.H. Rose High School in Greenville, N.C. raise the Confederate flag in April 1961., Credit: Digital Public Library of America, East Carolina University.
WBEZ Chicago’s Logan Jaffe talks with three Americans for whom the Confederate flag represents three very different things. This story comes from t...

Bought by WETS


  • Added: Dec 04, 2015
  • Length: 08:49
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: President Nixon gamely tries out his chopsticks at a banquet given in his honor, 1972., Credit: White House Photo Collection
Historian Joe Orser has the story of Chang and Eng Bunker, and how their efforts to assimilate illuminate changing attitudes towards Chinese immigr...

Bought by WETS, KRZA, Georgia Public Broadcasting, and WRIR


  • Added: Oct 26, 2015
  • Length: 06:34
  • Purchases: 4
Caption: President Nixon gamely tries out his chopsticks at a banquet given in his honor, 1972., Credit: White House Photo Collection
Author Nicholas Griffin has the story of the backchannel diplomacy that eventually lead to Nixon’s historic visit to China. This segment comes from...

Bought by WETS, New Hampshire Public Radio, and WRIR


  • Added: Oct 26, 2015
  • Length: 12:09
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: President Nixon gamely tries out his chopsticks at a banquet given in his honor, 1972., Credit: White House Photo Collection
Lisa Morehouse reports from Mexicali, Mexico, a border town which is home to a surprising legacy of the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. This segment co...

Bought by WETS, New Hampshire Public Radio, KRZA, WABE, and WRIR


  • Added: Oct 26, 2015
  • Length: 08:15
  • Purchases: 5
Caption: William Jennings Bryan beating the drum of populism, cover of 'Puck' magazine, 1901. , Credit: Library of Congress
Slate chief political correspondent Jamelle Bouie talks about the legacy of segregationist demagogue George Wallace in Donald Trump’s presidential ...

Bought by WETS and WRIR


  • Added: Oct 26, 2015
  • Length: 08:50
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: William Jennings Bryan beating the drum of populism, cover of 'Puck' magazine, 1901. , Credit: Library of Congress
Scholars Harry Watson and Jason Opal tell the story of “people’s president” Andrew Jackson’s notoriously wild inauguration party. This segment come...

Bought by WETS


  • Added: Oct 26, 2015
  • Length: 07:33
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: William Jennings Bryan beating the drum of populism, cover of 'Puck' magazine, 1901. , Credit: Library of Congress
Producer Kelly Jones and scholar Ranjit Dighe explain how The Wizard of Oz is more than just a children’s story—it’s also a great way to make sense...

Bought by WOUB, WVTF, New Hampshire Public Radio, and WETS


  • Added: Oct 26, 2015
  • Length: 08:37
  • Purchases: 4
Caption: William Jennings Bryan beating the drum of populism, cover of 'Puck' magazine, 1901. , Credit: Library of Congress
Historian Omar Ali tells the story of the Black Populists of the American South, who paid an immense price for their brief rise to political power ...

Bought by WETS and WRIR


  • Added: Oct 26, 2015
  • Length: 07:21
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: William Jennings Bryan beating the drum of populism, cover of 'Puck' magazine, 1901., Credit: Library of Congress
Historian Paul Gilje describes a series of riots against smallpox inoculation in colonial Massachusetts, making the case that 18th century mobs and...

Bought by WETS


  • Added: Oct 26, 2015
  • Length: 07:38
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: "Quiet! Loose talk can cost lives." Office of War information 1943., Credit: National Archives
Reporters Joe Galloway and John Fialka, along with scholar Dan Hallin, discuss how coverage of Vietnam lead to new restrictions on the press in war...

Bought by WOUB, WETS, and New Hampshire Public Radio


  • Added: Oct 02, 2015
  • Length: 08:36
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: "Quiet! Loose talk can cost lives." Office of War information 1943., Credit: National Archives
Scholar Thomas Doherty explores the Motion Picture Production Code, a 5,000 word guideline that censored — and shaped –American cinema for nearly t...

Bought by WETS and PRX Remix


  • Added: Oct 02, 2015
  • Length: 08:28
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: "Quiet! Loose talk can cost lives." Office of War information 1943., Credit: National Archives
Producer Nina Earnest has the story of Ida Craddock, whose spiritualist sex advice became the target of censor Anthony Comstock’s crusade to ban th...

Bought by WETS, New Hampshire Public Radio, and WRIR


  • Added: Oct 02, 2015
  • Length: 09:40
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: "Quiet! Loose talk can cost lives." Office of War information 1943., Credit: National Archives
Host Peter Onuf and scholar Joanne Freeman discuss efforts by Southern Congressmen in the 1830s to bar any mention of slavery on the floor of the U...

Bought by WETS


  • Added: Oct 02, 2015
  • Length: 07:06
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, painted by Claude Chuchetiere c.1696., Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Presidential scholar Barbara Perry discusses Protestant fears that JFK would answer to the Pope, not the American people if elected president — and...

Bought by WOUB, WETS, KMRE-LP, and PRX Remix


  • Added: Sep 24, 2015
  • Length: 09:39
  • Purchases: 4
Caption: Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, painted by Claude Chuchetiere c.1696., Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Host Brian Balogh heads to Our Lady of the Angels, a Trappist monastery in the Blue Ridge Mountains, to find out what life is really like behind th...

Bought by WETS, KMRE-LP, and PRX Remix


  • Added: Sep 24, 2015
  • Length: 07:12
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, painted by Claude Chuchetiere c.1696., Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Producer Bruce Wallace heads to the birthplace of Kateri Tekakwitha, the first indigenous saint from North America, to see how she is remembered to...

Bought by New Hampshire Public Radio, WETS, and KMRE-LP


  • Added: Sep 24, 2015
  • Length: 08:22
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: New York Mayor Seth Low shown taming the Tammany Tiger on the cover of Puck Magazine, Credit: Library of Congress
Horrified by accounts of lynchings in his home state of Missouri, Mark Twain penned a dark, satirical essay on the subject — but then, he chose not...

Bought by WETS, KREV-LP, and KMRE-LP


  • Added: Aug 18, 2015
  • Length: 07:35
  • Purchases: 3