Linton Weeks

Linton Weeks joined NPR in the summer of 2008, as its national correspondent for Digital News. He immediately hit the campaign trail, covering the Democratic and Republican National Conventions; fact-checking the debates; and exploring the candidates, the issues and the electorate.

Weeks is originally from Tennessee, and graduated from Rhodes College in 1976. He was the founding editor of Southern Magazine in 1986. The magazine was bought — and crushed — in 1989 by Time-Warner. In 1990, he was named managing editor of The Washington Post's Sunday magazine. Four years later, he became the first director of the newspaper's website, Washingtonpost.com. From 1995 until 2008, he was a staff writer in the Style section of The Washington Post.

He currently lives in a suburb of Washington with the artist Jan Taylor Weeks. In 2009, they created The Stone and Holt Weeks Foundation to honor their beloved sons.

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11:03am

Thu April 23, 2015
NPR History Dept.

7 Lost American Slang Words

Originally published on Fri April 24, 2015 7:36 pm

In the Roaring '20s, flappers were dancing and slang was advancing.
Library of Congress

In American English, some slang words come and go. And some stay and stay.

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10:33am

Fri April 17, 2015
NPR History Dept.

Addiction In American History: 14 Vivid Graphs

Originally published on Fri April 17, 2015 10:44 am

Addiction.
Recovery.org

The language of addiction is always evolving. Maybe we need an addictionary.

For example, when the word "alcohol" was written or spoken in early 19th-century America. it was often used in the chemical and medical sense. This is from an article about drawing out the essence of stramonium, or jimson weed: "The virtues of stramonium," the New England Journal of Medicine reported in January of 1818, "appear to be seated in an extractive principle, which dissolves in water and alcohol."

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10:54am

Fri April 10, 2015
NPR History Dept.

Defeating Polio, The Disease That Paralyzed America

Originally published on Sat April 11, 2015 8:57 am

A nurse prepares children for a polio vaccine shot as part of citywide testing of the vaccine on elementary school students in Pittsburgh in 1954.
Bettmann/CORBIS

Tens of thousands of Americans — in the first half of the 20th century — were stricken by poliomyelitis. Polio, as it's known, is a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

The hallmarks of the Polio Era were children on crutches and in iron lungs, shuttered swimming pools, theaters warning moviegoers to not sit too close to one another.

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2:33pm

Tue April 7, 2015
NPR History Dept.

When Wearing Shorts Was Taboo

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 2:52 pm

A golfer wears a long black skirt in mock protest of the USGA ban on golfing shorts in tournament play, 1953.
AP

As the weather warms more and more and people wear less and less, it's sometimes hard for Americans to remember that there are cultures in other parts of the world that enforce severe dress codes.

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10:34am

Thu April 2, 2015
NPR History Dept.

After Selma, King's March On Ballot Boxes

Originally published on Thu April 2, 2015 11:16 am

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaking in Kingstree, S.C., as seen in the video clip.
University of South Carolina Archives

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — who was assassinated 47 years ago this week — will long be remembered for the many meaningful marches he led or joined, including ones on Washington in 1963, on Frankfort, Ky., in 1964 and from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., in 1965.

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4:03pm

Tue March 31, 2015
NPR History Dept.

Media Mischief On April Fools' Day

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 9:04 am

Mickey Mantle was the subject of a newspaper hoax in 1961. Here he is that year taking practice swings at Yankee Stadium.
AP

In the annals of journalism, there is a long tradition of newsfolks — reporters, writers, broadcasters — pulling April Fools' Day tricks on readers and listeners. Sometimes the prank prevails; sometimes it fails.

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11:48am

Thu March 26, 2015
NPR History Dept.

Board Games That Bored Gamers

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 7:51 pm

iStockphoto

Gaming is a way of life for Americans of all ages.

We play games on Facebook, on our phones, on phantasmagorical home systems. We play on fields and courts and dining room tables. Contemporary culture mavens speak of the gamification of education and the workplace and our day-to-day communications.

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10:18am

Tue March 24, 2015
NPR History Dept.

Old-Timey Slang: 'Polking' Was A Vulgar Word

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 1:48 pm

"All slang words are detestable from the lips of ladies," Eliza Leslie said in 1867. She was the author of the Behavior Book, a 19th century etiquette manual published in Philadelphia.

How times have changed. Men and women in contemporary America sling slang around like hash — or like weed. From txt msgs to the Twitterverse, the jargon can be jarring.

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9:23am

Thu March 19, 2015
NPR History Dept.

When The KKK Was Mainstream

Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 1:44 pm

Recently I tumbled on this story from Kansas Humanities — and an earlier post from Only A Game — about a 1925 baseball game between Wichita's African-American team, the Monrovians, and the Ku Klux Klan.

Wait a minute. The Ku Klux Klan once had a baseball team?

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11:33am

Tue March 17, 2015
NPR History Dept.

7 Creative Wedding Ideas From History

Originally published on Tue March 17, 2015 12:43 pm

Grant and Amanda Engler celebrate in jet packs at their wedding ceremony in 2012 in Newport Beach, Calif.
Lenny Ignelzi Associated Press

Wedding websites today are aswirl with inventive suggestions, including 10 Unique Wedding Venues from Burnett's Boards; 23 Unconventional But Awesome Wedding Ideas from Buzzfeed and 21 Most Unique Ceremony Ideas from Emmaline Bride.

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9:03am

Fri March 13, 2015
NPR History Dept.

A King Speech You've Never Heard — Plus, Your Chance To Do Archive Sleuthing

Originally published on Fri March 13, 2015 9:54 am

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1965.
AP

Historically speaking, I need your help.

Davis Houck, a communications professor at Florida State University, recently pointed me toward a little-explored archive at Stanford University called Project South.

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10:48am

Tue March 10, 2015
NPR History Dept.

Who Takes 3,000 Photos Of NYC's Doors?

Originally published on Tue March 10, 2015 1:24 pm

Roy Colmer New York Public Library

Street View: New York City's Doors: A Special Research Project of NPR History Dept.

A door is for closing. And for opening.

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11:50am

Tue March 3, 2015
NPR History Dept.

The Secret History Of Knock-Knock Jokes

Originally published on Tue March 3, 2015 7:54 pm

Knock knock.

Who's there?

Joe King.

Joe King who?

Joking like this used to be considered a sickness by some people.

The knock-knock joke has been a staple of American humor since the early 20th century. With its repetitive set-up and wordplay punchline, the form has been invoked — and understood — by people of all ages and sensibilities.

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11:26am

Thu February 26, 2015
NPR History Dept.

How Black Abolitionists Changed A Nation

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 4:52 pm

This year we commemorate the 150th anniversary of the passage of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution — abolishing slavery. So it's worth pointing out that the emancipation movement in 19th century America was pushed forward by many different forces: enlightened lawmakers, determined liberators of captive slaves and outspoken abolitionists — including an influential number who were black.

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10:33am

Tue February 24, 2015
NPR History Dept.

The Courage And Ingenuity Of Freedom-Seeking Slaves In America

Originally published on Tue February 24, 2015 1:17 pm

In the opening of his new book, Gateway To Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad, Eric Foner lays out the inspirational story of Frederick Bailey — a young slave in Maryland who teaches himself to read and write; plans to escape slavery by canoe, but gets caught; boards a train wearing seaman's clothes and carrying false papers; and after several unsettling detours — and despite the fact that slave catchers are everywhere — arrives in the free state of New York.

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