Right Now in Stuff You Missed in History Class

When Dred Scott v. Sandford was decided in 1857, the court decision ruled that enslaved Africans and their descendants weren’t and could never be citizens of the United States, whether they were free or not. But before that, Scott and his family had been free by a jury in 1850.

Dred Scott vs. Sandford part 1

Dred Scott v. Sandford is one of the most notorious Supreme Court cases of all time. It wasn’t just about Dred Scott. It was also about his wife Harriet and their daughters Eliza and Lizzy. This episode covers Dred and Harriet, how they met, and what their lives were like before petitioning for their freedom in 1846.

SYMHC Classics: Gertrude Bell, The Uncrowned Queen of Iraq

This classic revisits an episode from Sarah and Deblina, talking about Gertrude Bell, the first woman to graduate with a First in Modern History from Oxford. Instead of marrying young, she went to Persia. Inspired, she traveled across the Middle East on numerous exploratory treks. But would it last in a time of war?

Libertalia: Legendary Pirate Utopia

Libertalia, which, in truth, may be completely fictional, is called a pirate settlement, though the man who spearheaded it claimed he wasn't actually a pirate. And it was set up as a sort of utopia, where men governed themselves, and every man was equal.

Annie Edson Taylor, Niagara Daredevil

Annie Edson Taylor was the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel. Taylor’s whole barrel trip was part of a much bigger story of daredevils at this natural wonder, which is tied to its industrialization and commercialization.

SYMHC Classics: How the New York Draft Riots Worked

We're revisiting an episode from 2011 featuring previous hosts Sarah and Deblina. To recruit troops for the U.S. Civil War, the Federal Congress passed the Union Conscription Act in 1863, which drafted able-bodied men between the ages of 20 and 45. Needless to say, this didn't go over well in New York. 

Emma Lazarus

Emma Lazarus became one of the United States’ first successful Jewish American writers, moving in the New York literary scene of the late 1800s. She also wrote one of the most famous poems of ALL TIME, and even if you don’t know her name, odds are you know at least some of that work.

Victorian Orchidelirium

Orchids date back millions of years. But in the 1800s, the plants became a status symbol and the cornerstone of a high-dollar industry. Collecting the plants involved adventure and excitement -- and a high death rate. 

SYMHC Classics: Dr. Virginia Apgar

This episode revisits the life of Dr. Virginia Apgar, who broke new ground in the fields of obstetrics and anesthesiology in the middle of the 20th century. When babies are born today, one of the tools doctors use to measure whether they're thriving on their own is the Apgar score.

Great Train Wreck of 1918

We’re coming up on the 100th anniversary of one of the worst train wrecks in United States history. More than 100 people died. And even though it’s usually noted as the worst train wreck in American history, it was kind of a run-of-the-mill accident for the time. 

Elizabeth Jennings Graham

Today’s topic is a person who is sometimes called a 19th-century Rosa Parks. When Elizabeth boarded a horse-drawn streetcar in Manhattan in 1854, a chain of events began which became an important moment in the civil rights of New York's black citizens. 

SYMHC Classics: Mansa Musa and the City of Gold

Today's episode revisits a Sarah and Deblina episode that revisits a tale of incredible wealth. When emperor Mansa Musa went on a pilgramage from Timbuktu to Mecca, he gave away so much gold that he crashed the gold market in Cairo.

Six Impossible Episodes: Evacuating Children

All six of today’s topics are mass evacuations of children and youth because of a war or other unrest, and include Kindertransport, Operation Pedro Pan, and Operation Babylift. 

The Tunguska Event

On June 30, 1908 at approximately 7:15am, the sky over Siberia lit up with what was described by witnesses as a massive fireball, or the sky engulfed in fire. For the last century, scientists have been trying to figure out exactly what happened. 

SYMHC Classics: Alan Turing, Codebreaker

This is a revisit of a Sarah and Deblina episode on Alan Turing, who conceived of computers decades before anyone was building one. He also acted as a top-secret code breaker during World War II. Despite his accomplishments, he was prosecuted as a homosexual by the British government.

Hurricane San Ciriaco

Hurricane San Ciriaco struck Puerto Rico at a precarious point in its history. The United States had just taken possession of the island, and the 40 or so years leading up to the Spanish-American War had also been particularly tumultuous. 

Julian Eltinge, Greatest of All Impersonators of Women

Eltinge was one of the highest-paid and most famous actors of the early 20th century, and acted alongside Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford and Rudolph Valentino. What made him famous was his skill at female impersonation.

SYMHC Classics: The Mystic Margery Kempe

We're traveling back to a 2013 episode about Margery Kempe. Born in the 1300s, Margery had 14 children with her husband before dedicating her life to God. In her 40s, she began a vision-inspired pilgrimage to visit holy sites, and these travels became the basis for her spiritual autobiography. 

The Colorful Life of Carmen Miranda

Carmen Miranda is one of those historical figures who remains hugely iconic – we STILL see her image, or some derivative of it, on a regular basis. She was luminous on camera and an excellent singer, with a personality much larger than her small stature.

Ida B. Wells-Barnett

Ida B. Wells-Barnett connects to a lot of episodes in our archive. She fought against lynching for decades, at a time when it wasn’t common at all for a woman, especially a woman of color, to become such a prominent journalist and a speaker.