April 27, 2018

Random Acts of History

Stories about people who accidentally bump into unsettling facts of history in settings meant to teach them history. What they end up learning is very different from what they’re supposed to.

Ping Zhu

Note: The internet version of this episode contains un-beeped curse words. BEEPED VERSION.


Host Ira Glass talks to senior producer Brian Reed about encountering an intriguing plaque in Alabama. (7 minutes)

Professor Kathryn Braund at Auburn University unearthed the original source for the speech mentioned in this story and helped us trace the origins of the historical marker in Tuscaloosa.

Act One

The Miseducation of Castlemont High

A bunch of high school students gets taken to see a movie that’s supposed to teach them about history. But they end up learning about a lot of other stuff instead. Producer B.A. Parker tells the story. (38 minutes)