Slate Presents: One Year

The people and struggles that changed America—one year at a time. In each episode, host Josh Levin explores a story you may have forgotten, or one you’ve never heard of before. What were the moments that transformed politics, culture, science, religion, and more? And how does the nation’s past shape our present?

1955: The Cutter Incident
In 1955, the polio vaccine was rightly heralded as a miracle. A medical mystery threatened to derail it.
32 min
1955: Siberia, USA
The Communist-hunting housewives who spawned a far-right conspiracy theory about an American gulag.
51 min
1955: The Weather Girls
In the 1950s, women weathercasters were idolized and lusted over. They were also seen as a major threat.
41 min
1955: The Crockett Craze
How Walt Disney created the first baby-boom phenomenon totally by accident.
53 min
1955: The Team Nobody Would Play
In 1955, a team of Black Little Leaguers battled the white establishment in the Deep South.
53 min
1942: The Black-Japanese Axis
A shadowy organization, a mysterious leader, and an alleged conspiracy against America during World War II.
35 min
1942: When Internment Came to Alaska
The U.S. military claimed it was protecting indigenous Alaskans during World War II. The real story is much darker.
37 min
1942: The Info Wars of World War II
How the Nazis used radio propaganda as a weapon against the United States.
43 min
1942: The Day the Music Stopped
How a 1942 recording ban changed America forever.
52 min
1942: The Year Everyone Got Married
In 1942, matrimony was a national obsession. How would those weddings change America?
39 min
1942: The Most Hated Man in America
In 1942, it was up to Leon Henderson to stop inflation. He became a nationwide villain.
42 min
1986: The Man From Fifth Avenue
The stranger-than-fiction story of a mysterious American who starred in a Soviet propaganda film.
53 min
1986: The Miracle of Cokeville
How the worst school attack in U.S. history was narrowly averted.
62 min
1986: Herschel vs. the Blubber Busters
How a cute story about a hungry sea lion became a fight over targeted animal killing.
46 min
1986: A Boycott in Mississippi
The civil rights battle that divided a small Southern town, and captivated the nation.
54 min
1986: The Mystery of Al Capone’s Vaults
How a live television special became a legendary American fiasco.
58 min
1986: The Ultimate Field Trip
They competed for a spot on the Space Shuttle Challenger. Then they watched it explode.
55 min
1986: No Crime Day
Would Isiah Thomas’ vision of a crime-free world set Detroit on a new path, or was it a recipe for failure?
50 min
1977 Rewind: Anita Bryant's War on Gay Rights
The pop singer who launched an anti-gay movement, and the activists who fought back.
61 min
1995: Carolyn's Diary
The first true online diarist blurred the lines between private and public life—and paid a price for her radical transparency.
30 min
1995: Hey Macarena!
A musical phenomenon that wormed its way into our brains, and maybe never left.
54 min
1995: Ann Arbor's DNA Dragnet
A controversy over genetic testing ripped a college town apart, and put 160 innocent Black men under suspicion.
46 min
1995: Hitting the Spot
In 1995, an online soap opera revealed the internet’s potential as a venue for creative expression—and a tool for destruction.
56 min
1995: Dr. GIFT
At a fertility clinic in California, patients entrusted their dreams—and their genetic material—to a doctor who followed no code of ethics but his own.
52 min
1995: Fake Oxford
A group of American teenagers went looking for old-world excellence. They got a different kind of education.
50 min