History

An exhibit at the Vermont Indigenous Heritage Center displays artifacts from Abenaki history.
Fred Wiseman

On June 5, a newly expanded exhibit exploring the history, culture and present experiences of Native people in what we now know as Vermont opens at the Ethan Allen Homestead in Burlington’s Intervale. Vermont Indigenous Heritage Center coordinator Fred Wiseman says there’s a lot to see in this compact exhibit.

An unassuming roadside motel that's a spiritual home to the blues. A crumbling Navajo trading post standing right by Monument Valley, and an old filling station that offered refuge to Black travelers during Jim Crow. Campsites — for crusading civil rights demonstrators in the 1960s — and ones that housed Chinese railway workers a century before.

J.B. Stradford was a pillar of Tulsa's Greenwood neighborhood in 1921. He owned several businesses and his Stradford Hotel was one of the the largest Black-owned hotels in the United States.

It all vanished in the space of a couple of days.

The attacks in Tulsa a hundred years ago killed hundreds and destroyed scores of businesses in the then thriving neighborhood known as Black Wall Street.

Artist Paul Rucker is fearless when it comes to taking on terrible moments in American history.

"The work that I do evolves mostly around the things I was never taught about," Rucker explains. Over Zoom, he's discussing his work in progress, Three Black Wall Streets, which evokes and honors the achievements of Black entrepreneurs and visionaries who created thriving spaces of possibility and sanctuary after the end of the Civil War.

A trio of portraits of Alexander Twilight, Martin Freeman and George Floyd.
Twilight and Freeman portraits: Special Collections and Archives at Middlebury College / Photo: Carolyn Kaster, Associated Press

Vermonters often take pride in a state history that has strong ties to the abolitionist movement. The state’s history includes stories like that of Alexander Twilight, the first Black American to earn a college degree from an American university. But do Vermonters remember the contributions of Black and Indigenous people fully and honestly?

COVID-19 vaccines for Vermonters experiencing homelessness. And how the state remembers historical figures who are BIPOC.

The slow expansion of electricity in Vermont. Plus, Ripton will try to withdraw its elementary school again, the UVM Health Network’s financial recovery, and hydropower in Fair Haven.

Archaeologists discovered the fossilized remains of nine Neanderthals at a prehistoric cave site south of Rome, the Italian Cultural Ministry announced on Saturday.

The oldest of the remains date from between 90,000 and 100,000 years ago, while the other eight are believed to be younger, dating from 50,000 to 68,000 years ago.

The cover of the new memoir The Long Tail Of Trauma next to a photo of author and journalist Elizabeth Wilcox.
Green Writers Press, Courtesy

In a new memoir, journalist Elizabeth Wilcox tells both her own story, and her mother's, by recounting the neglectful and isolating experiences her mother endured when separated from her family during World War II. In telling that story, the Fairlee author revisits decades of dialogue with her mother about her undiagnosed PTSD, and the transformation that came from understanding her own trauma. 

This black and white photo, thought to have been taken in a mill in Winooski, includes a caption suggesting that the man's name is Abair.
Vermont Historical Society

We explore an aspect of the state's history that some say is overlooked — and answer listener questions about Anglicized names and discrimination — in this encore episode of Brave Little State.

Preserving Vermont’s historic maple sugaring operations. Plus, money from the American Rescue Plan, vaccines during Ramadan, and COVID-19 numbers.

One-room schoolhouses, possible changes to Town Meeting, the latest on COVID-19 in Vermont, plus more headlines.

Photograph showing the affixed tags and 3D model of the Mount Holly mammoth rib fragment housed at the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth. The rib was 3D surface scanned using a Creaform Go!SCAN50 at a resolution of 1.00 mm and has been digitally archived in
Courtesy of Dartmouth College

Dartmouth researchers just published a report showing that early humans and woolly mammoths may have shared the New England landscape at the same time. Before this rib fragment from a Vermont mammoth was carbon dated, it wasn't known if humans and woolly mammoths overlapped in this region. 

This segment, we talk with one of the researchers about this discovery. 

A black and white photograph of a group of students and a teacher standing outside a one-room schoolhouse.
Vermont Historical Society, courtesy

How did Vermont end up with so many small, one-room schools? And why don’t we use them anymore? 

The UVM gymnasium became a medical clinic when the 1918 influenza pandemic, commonly called the "Spanish flu," hit Vermont in the fall of that year.
UVM Silver Special Collections, courtesy

Over a century ago, Vermonters — and the rest of the world — faced another historic pandemic, the 1918 influenza pandemic commonly known as the "Spanish flu." We recently spoke with historians about how Vermont weathered the deadly outbreak of the flu that year, and learned how historical organizations are preserving the digital and physical artifacts of our present-day pandemic. Read highlights from our interview below.

A history of skiing in Vermont. Plus, COVID-19 case numbers, vaccination rollout, and wildlife for your Wednesday.

A lingering mistrust of the medical system makes some Black Americans more hesitant to sign up for COVID-19 vaccines. It has played out in early data that show a stark disparity in whom is getting shots in this country — more than 60% going to white people, and less than 6% to African Americans. The mistrust is rooted in history, including the infamous U.S. study of syphilis that left Black men in Tuskegee, Ala., to suffer from the disease.

A 111-year-old covered bridge collapsed last weekend. Plus, COVID-19 numbers, a variant detected, and a call for a formal apology for the state’s role in the eugenics movement.

A red covered bridge slumps into an icy river
Anna Van Dine / VPR

Over the weekend, the only covered bridge in the Northeast Kingdom town of Troy burned down. Many in town are mourning the loss of the 111-year-old landmark.

A select board member resigned following racist, sexist, classist harassment from Hartford residents. And uncovering the history of the first Black sheriff in Vermont.

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