KWIT

History

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LYNN NEARY, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

My grandfather worked in coal and copper mines for 26 years doing back-breaking, dirty work that allowed him to support a family of nine children, purchase several acres of land, and become a community leader. (For several years leading up to World War II, he was the head of the Republican Committee in Rock Springs, Wyoming.)

When Jewish couple Mikey Franklin and Sonya Shpilyuk hung a "Black Lives Matter" banner from the window of their condominium, they hoped to voice their solidarity with the social justice movement. Instead, the backlash to their small act of resistance was swift. Two days later, their car was egged and toilet paper was strewn across a tree in front of their property.

Back in 2010, science writer Rebecca Skloot published a book that sounded like science fiction — except it was real. Skloot told the story of how a tissue sample from a young African-American woman in Baltimore, taken without her knowledge or consent, went on to become "immortal." Her cells contributed to scientific breakthroughs across disciplines and around the world, and they even went up with some of the first space missions.

In the early days of the 20th century, the United States Radium Corporation had factories in New Jersey and Illinois, where they employed mostly women to paint watch and clock faces with their luminous radium paint. The paint got everywhere — hair, hands, clothes, and mouths.

They were called the shining girls, because they quite literally glowed in the dark. And they were dying.

A legendary airplane that helped America win World War II is being reborn at age 75. The B-17 bomber "Memphis Belle" flew 25 missions against Nazi Germany and then came home to help sell war bonds and raise spirits.

In recent years, the Belle has been undergoing a patient and precise restoration at the National Museum of the Air Force Museum near Dayton, Ohio. I went to see the work in progress and talk with some of the many technicians and volunteers.

Racked by food shortages and political unrest, Venezuela swelled with what organizers are calling the "mother of all protests" on Wednesday. Demonstrators have taken to the streets in the capital, Caracas, and other major cities across the country to rally against the government of President Nicolas Maduro, who assumed office precisely five years ago.

Throughout the day, those rallies often devolved into clashes between demonstrators and security forces — chaotic, violent scenes rent by tear gas, tossed rocks and even two reported deaths.

Last week, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos appointed Candice Jackson as the acting assistant secretary of the Office for Civil Rights. Jackson will oversee a staff of hundreds charged with responding to thousands of civil rights complaints every year, including some from students who feel discriminated against based on race, color, national origin, sex, ability, and age.

A piece from New York Magazine's Andrew Sullivan over the weekend ended with an old, well-worn trope: Asian-Americans, with their "solid two-parent family structures," are a shining example of how to overcome discrimination. An essay that began by imagining why Democrats feel sorry for Hillary Clinton — and then detoured to President Trump's policies — drifted to this troubling ending:

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