Isaac Murphy and the Reconstruction Era (1861-96): Explaining History in conversation with Katherine Mooney
Join us in this captivating episode of Explaining History as we delve into the remarkable life of Isaac Murphy, a legendary African American jockey, and his experiences during the Reconstruction Era (1861-96).
This week Nick is joined by esteemed historian and author Katherine Mooney, who provides an insightful look into the untold stories of this pivotal period in American history. Together, they discuss the challenges faced by African Americans following the Civil War, the complexities of race relations, and how figures like Isaac Murphy navigated their way through these trying times.
You can buy Katherine's biography of Isaac Murphy here
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Discussing W.E.B. Du Bois with Chad Williams34:54In this episode of the Explaining History podcast, I'm joined by Professor Chad Williams to explore the life and thought of W.E.B. Du Bois, the foremost intellectual of the civil rights movement. We discuss his complex and often difficult relationship with the First World War and its aftermath and his unfinished work, African Americans and the Wounded World. This is a fascinating discussion of Du Bois's life, his intellectual journey and his significance. If you like this episode, remember so subscribe through the platform you're using to get weekly episodes and interviews. The Explaining History podcast is sustained by the generosity of its listeners (and a tiny trickle of ad revenue, but it's mainly you guys) - if you can support the podcast with a one off donation, you can do so here
The modern right in Spain, from the Partido Popular to Vox32:28In this episode, I've had the pleasure of talking with a good friend of the podcast, Alvaro Gomez Velasco, our eyewitness on contemporary politics in Spain. We explore the recent rise of right wing populism across Europe and the growth of the Vox movement in Spain. Examining the legacy of Franco, the suppression of the Catalan independence movement and the issue of immigration, we explore the reasons for a resurgence of the right in Spain and the prospects for the left in the future.
The origins of global free markets 1840-200131:07Description:In this episode of the Explaining History podcast, we embark on a journey through modern economic history, tracing the evolution of global free markets from the height of Victorian Britain to the transformative concepts of Francis Fukuyama's "End of History." Drawing insights from the seminal work "False Dawn: The Delusions of Global Capitalism" by renowned scholar John Gray, we delve deep into the intricate web of economic, political, and social forces that have shaped our world.This episode guides us through a narrative that illuminates the critical junctures, key figures, and paradigm-shifting events that have defined the trajectory of global capitalism. With a keen focus on historical context and nuanced analysis, we examine the rise of free markets during the 19th century, their role in the world wars, and their triumph during the late 20th century.John Gray's incisive critique serves as our compass, challenging us to reconsider the assumptions that underpin the global capitalist system. As we explore the promises and pitfalls of unrestricted markets, we question whether Fukuyama's vision of "The End of History" has truly come to pass or if it remains an elusive goal.Whether you're a history enthusiast, an economics buff, or simply curious about the forces that have shaped our modern world, this episode offers a captivating exploration of global free markets' tumultuous journey, underpinned by the invaluable insights of John Gray's "False Dawn." Join us on this intellectual odyssey as we navigate the complex terrain of capitalism's evolution and its enduring impact on our lives.Here's a link to the Explaining History Buy me a coffee page, any and all donations gratefully accepted.
Eye Witness: The End of White Rule in Rhodesia34:47This episode takes our listeners on a remarkable journey into the tumultuous period of the 1970s in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, as seen through the lens of James McManus, the former Africa correspondent for The Guardian. McManus was not just a journalist chronicling events from the periphery; he was in the thick of it, engaging with pivotal figures who would shape the course of the nation's history.In an era marked by political upheaval, civil strife, and a tug-of-war for power, McManus met the staunchly pro-white minority rule leader, Ian Smith. His insights into this enigmatic figure shed light on the psyche of a leader desperately clinging to the vestiges of colonial rule. Equally compelling is his account of Robert Mugabe, the charismatic anti-colonial leader, whose transition from liberator to dictator left an indelible mark on Zimbabwe.Yet, McManus' narrative is not limited to these towering figures. He delves into his encounters with a myriad of African nationalist leaders, painting a multi-faceted picture of a continent in flux, and a nation on the cusp of monumental change. Drawing from these rich experiences, McManus has penned his latest novel, "Love in a Lost Land," a poignant tale that encapsulates the passion, peril, and paradoxes of this transformative period.Join us for a deep dive into an era that redefined the African continent, as told by an eyewitness who stood at the crossroads of history. Whether you're a history aficionado or simply intrigued by personal tales that mirror broader societal shifts, this episode promises a captivating listen.
California: A Slave State - Part Two46:14**Explaining History Podcast Episode Description:**In the highly anticipated second installment of our conversations with the esteemed Professor Jean Phaelzer, author of the groundbreaking work, "California: A Slave State," we delve deeper into the interwoven tapestry of California's historical landscape. The Gold Rush, a period synonymous with opportunity and prosperity, bore witness to the dark side of fortune as it intersected with the repercussions of the Fugitive Slave Act. The Gold Rush not only lured countless individuals with the promise of golden riches, but it also inadvertently became a playing field for slave owners to exploit the Fugitive Slave Act, transforming California into a contentious battleground for slavery's final stand in the West. This episode elucidates the complex dynamics between runaway slaves seeking refuge, opportunistic slave catchers, and the mounting tensions in a territory grappling with its identity.Yet, the episode does not merely halt at this juncture of history. Prof. Phaelzer expertly bridges the past with the present as she exposes the insidious birth of the American carceral state. Born from the ashes of this era was the unofficial slavery of prison labor, a system that continued to tether marginalized communities to systemic oppression and economic exploitation. This clandestine practice has deeply influenced modern policies and perceptions surrounding incarceration, and its roots lie surprisingly close to the gold-laden hills of California.Join us in this captivating journey as we uncover the obscured truths of California's past and its indelible mark on the America we know today.You can purchase California: A Slave State here
Colonialism and Culture Wars - In conversation with Professor Alan Lester33:59In this episode, we navigate the contemporary debates around colonialism, empire and slavery and its resonating echoes in modern culture wars with the guidance of Professor Alan Lester. As an eminent historian, Alan brings profound insight into the intricate relationship between colonial legacies and the contemporary debates surrounding them.Together, we journey into the heart of the British Empire, examining its impact on the world and, more importantly, how it's remembered and debated today. Why are discussions about the Empire so polarized? How have past actions and decisions shaped present-day perspectives? And, crucially, how can we approach this topic in a divisive and politically charged environment?Professor Lester sheds light on these questions, offering both historical context and nuanced strategies for fostering constructive dialogues about the Empire in today's culture wars.Dive into "Colonialism and Culture Wars: In Conversation with Professor Alan Lester" for a thought-provoking exploration that bridges the past with present-day challenges. This episode is not just a history lesson; it's a guide to understanding and navigating one of the most contested terrains in contemporary discourse.
Slavery in California - In conversation with Jean Pfaelzer31:24n this eye-opening episode, we journey into the often-overlooked history of slavery in California, guided by the insights of Professor Jean Pfaelzer, author of the seminal book, "California: A Slave State."Pfaelzer's groundbreaking research uncovers a hidden chapter of California's past, where the institution of slavery played a significant, if clandestine, role. Through an engaging conversation, we explore the legal, political, and social mechanisms that allowed slavery to exist in a state that, ostensibly, had outlawed the practice.We discuss the complex and contradictory laws, such as the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, that both supported and clashed with California's "Free State" status. We also examine the lived experiences of those who were enslaved, their struggles, triumphs, and the lasting impact on their descendants.This episode illuminates a neglected part of American history and challenges our understanding of the Golden State's legacy. By tracing the intricate web of laws, politics, and personal narratives, we paint a vivid picture of a California that is far removed from its popular mythos.Tune in to "Slavery in California: In Conversation with Jean Pfaelzer" for an engaging and thought-provoking exploration that will leave you with a deeper understanding of California's complex past and its enduring impact on present-day issues of race and justice. Whether you are a student of history, an avid reader, or someone looking to broaden their understanding of American history, this episode offers valuable insights that will provoke reflection and discussion.
The Fear of War in 1930s Europe26:13In this episode of the Explaining History podcast, we delve into the intellectual climate of 1930s Europe, as detailed in Richard Overy's illuminating work, "The Morbid Age." The episode seeks to uncover the complex web of fears, anxieties, and escalating tensions that pervaded Britain and the broader European landscape, leading many to view the outbreak of war as an inevitability by the late 1930s.The 1930s, marked by economic turmoil, political instability, and the rise of totalitarian ideologies, were a period of profound apprehension. Overy's book provides a rich backdrop against which we explore this era, characterized by a deep-seated dread of the imminent war.This episode traverses the intricate maze of the public consciousness during this tense period, from the intellectual debates raging in Britain to the pervading sense of dread that gripped the European continent. We examine how, against this backdrop of escalating international tension, war was increasingly viewed not as a possibility, but as an impending reality.We shed light on how intellectuals, commentators, and the general populace grappled with this looming specter of conflict. From fears of aerial bombardment and the potential for total societal collapse, to the chilling realities of the totalitarian regimes emerging in Europe, this episode delves into the psyche of a continent on the brink of cataclysm.Tune in to this in-depth exploration of a Europe gripped by fear, forever shadowed by the looming specter of war. This journey into the heart of the 'Morbid Age' offers invaluable insights into a critical period in our history, shaping our understanding of the years leading up to World War II.
Black Britain 1948-89 Part One24:40In the first episode of our exploration into "Roots and Culture" by Eddie Chambers, we delve into the history of Black Britain from 1948 to 1989. This period witnessed a profound shift in Britain's cultural, social, and racial landscape, marked by the arrival of the Windrush Generation in 1948 and culminating with the end of the 1980s.In this episode, we navigate the complex tapestry of Black British history, charting the experiences, struggles, and triumphs of Black communities within Britain. We delve into the intricate web of immigration, systemic racism, cultural heritage, and identity formation that defines this era.The tale unfolds with the arrival of the Empire Windrush at Tilbury Docks, bringing the first large group of Caribbean migrants to the UK. This pivotal moment marked the beginning of significant Black immigration to Britain, shaping the multicultural society we know today.Throughout the subsequent decades, Black Britons forged a space for themselves in the face of adversity, enriching Britain with their unique culture, talents, and resilience. Despite persistent challenges, their legacy resonates in every facet of British society – from music and arts to politics and sports.Join us as we journey through this dynamic period in history, unveiling the vibrant and often overlooked narrative of Black Britain. The lessons learnt from this saga of resilience and cultural revolution hold vital importance for our understanding of modern Britain.