Throughline The past is never past. Every headline has a history. Join us every week as we go back in time to understand the present. These are stories you can feel and sounds you can see from the moments that shaped our world.

Subscribe to Throughline+. You'll be supporting the history-reframing, perspective-shifting, time-warping stories you can't get enough of - and you'll unlock access bonus episodes and sponsor-free listening. Learn more at plus.npr.org/throughline
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Throughline

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The past is never past. Every headline has a history. Join us every week as we go back in time to understand the present. These are stories you can feel and sounds you can see from the moments that shaped our world.

Subscribe to Throughline+. You'll be supporting the history-reframing, perspective-shifting, time-warping stories you can't get enough of - and you'll unlock access bonus episodes and sponsor-free listening. Learn more at plus.npr.org/throughline

Most Recent Episodes

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The Right to An Attorney

Most of us take it for granted that if we're ever in court and we can't afford a lawyer, the court will provide one for us. And in fact, the right to an attorney is written into the Constitution's sixth amendment. But for most of U.S. history, it was more of a nice-to-have — something you got if you could, but that many people went without.

The Right to An Attorney

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Dance Yourself Free (Throwback)

Beyonce's Renaissance brought house music back to mainstream audiences. But even when it wasn't gracing the Grammys, house never went away. Born from the ashes of disco in the late 1970s and '80s, house was by and for the Black, queer youth DJing and dancing in Chicago's underground clubs. Since then it's become the soundtrack of parties around the world, and laid the groundwork for one of the most popular musical genres in history: electronic dance music. Today on the show, the origins of house music — and its tale of Black cultural resistance — told by the people who lived it.

Dance Yourself Free (Throwback)

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Love, Throughline

We asked you to call us with your stories of looking for love in the 21st century — and man, did you come through. We heard the whole range of human experience in your stories, but one theme rang out loud and clear: dating, and especially online dating, is a struggle.

Love, Throughline

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WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 23: A young woman smells the blooms inside the branch of one of the cherry trees surrounding the Tidal Basin near the National Mall March 23, 2016 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images hide caption

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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Scent of History

What if we told you that the key to time travel has been right in front of our eyes this whole time? Well, it has: it's in our noses. Today on the show, the science — and politics — of smell, and how it links our past and our present.

The Scent of History

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James Baldwin's Shadow (Throwback)

James Baldwin believed that America has been lying to itself since its founding. An insightful commentator on Black identity, American democracy, and racism, he saw something deep and ugly and stubborn in American culture, and never hesitated to call it by its name — to bear witness, regardless of what it cost him. As the United States continues to reckon with all aspects of its history, writer and professor Eddie S. Glaude Jr. guides us through the meaning and purpose of James Baldwin's work, and how his words can help us navigate our current moment.

James Baldwin's Shadow (Throwback)

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Bonus: The Empty Grave of Comrade Bishop

In October of 1983, Grenada's Prime Minister Maurice Bishop was assassinated in a coup, along with seven of his cabinet members and supporters. Six days later, the United States invaded the island country, and took control of it. The bodies of those eight people were never found.

Bonus: The Empty Grave of Comrade Bishop

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New York Public Library

The Man Who Cured Aging

In 1899, Elie Metchnikoff woke up in Paris to learn that he had defeated old age. At least, that's what the newspaper headlines said. Before long he was inundated with mail from people begging him to help them live forever. The only problem? He didn't know how to do it.

The Man Who Cured Aging

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The Right to Bear Arms

In April 1938, an Oklahoma bank robber was arrested for carrying an unregistered sawed-off shotgun across state lines. The robber, Jack Miller, put forward a novel defense: that a law banning him from carrying that gun violated his Second Amendment rights.

The Right to Bear Arms

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When Things Fall Apart (Throwback)

Climate change, political unrest, random violence: modern society can often feel like what the filmmaker Werner Herzog calls "a thin layer of ice on top of an ocean of chaos and darkness." In the United States, polls indicate that many people believe law and order is the only thing protecting us from the savagery of our neighbors. This idea is often called "veneer theory." But is it true?

When Things Fall Apart (Throwback)

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Hokyoung Kim

The Nostalgia Bone (2021)

They say "everything old becomes new again." Today, that's baggy jeans, shag haircuts, 90s music, TV sitcoms – the latest version of finding comfort in nostalgia and familiarity in what came before. We constantly look for safety in the permanence of the past, or at least, what we think the past was. But, when it first appeared, nostalgia itself wasn't considered a feeling; it was a deadly disease. This episode traces the history of nostalgia from its origins as an illness to the dominating emotion of our time. And in doing so, we wrestle with its eternal paradox to both hold us back and keep us going.

The Nostalgia Bone (2021)

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