Slow Burn

In 1978, state Sen. John Briggs put a bold proposition on the California ballot. If it passed, the Briggs Initiative would ban gays and lesbians from working in public schools—and fuel a growing backlash against LGBTQ+ people in all corners of American life. In the ninth season of Slate’s Slow Burn, host Christina Cauterucci explores one of the most consequential civil rights battles in American history: the first-ever statewide vote on gay rights. With that fight looming, young gay activists formed a sprawling, infighting, joyous opposition; confronted the smear that they were indoctrinating kids; and came out en masse to show Briggs—and their own communities—who they really were. And when an unthinkable act of violence shocked them all, they showed the world what gay power looked like.

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Season 8: Becoming Justice Thomas

Where Clarence Thomas came from, how he rose to power, and how he’s brought the rest of us along with him, whether we like it or not. Winner of the Podcast of the Year at the 2024 Ambies Awards.

Season 7: Roe v. Wade

The women who fought for legal abortion, the activists who pushed back, and the justices who thought they could solve the issue for good. Winner of Apple Podcasts Show of the Year in 2022.

Season 6: The L.A. Riots

How decades of police brutality, a broken justice system, and a video tape set off six days of unrest in Los Angeles.

Season 5: The Road to the Iraq War

Eighteen months after 9/11, the United States invaded a country that had nothing to do with the attacks. Who’s to blame? And was there any way to stop it?

Season 4: David Duke

America’s most famous white supremacist came within a runoff of controlling Louisiana. How did David Duke rise to power? And what did it take to stop him?

Season 3: Biggie and Tupac

How is it that two of the most famous performers in the world were murdered within a year of each other—and their killings were never solved?

Season 2: The Clinton Impeachment

A reexamination of the scandals that nearly destroyed the 42nd president and forever changed the life of a former White House intern.

Season 1: Watergate

What did it feel like to live through the scandal that brought down President Nixon?

Decoder Ring: The “Sex” Scandal That Made Mae West
Before she hit the big-screen, the sultry actress starred in a 1927 tabloid trial.
41 min
Decoder Ring: The First Alien Abductees
The alien abduction narrative started right here on Earth.
36 min
Decoder Ring: The Most Famous Poet No One Remem...
Searching for Rod McKuen.
43 min
Slow Burn presents: Decoder Ring - The Mall is ...
For a supposedly dying place, the mall keeps hanging around.
44 min
Roe v. Wade | 4. Roe Against Wade
How Justice Harry Blackmun became an accidental abortion rights hero.
10 min
Roe v. Wade | 3. Women vs. Connecticut
What it took to strike down one of the oldest abortion laws in the country.
8 min
Roe v. Wade | 2. Life or Death
How a doctor and nurse from Cincinnati irrevocably changed the debate over abortion in America.
10 min
Roe v. Wade | 1. Get Married or Go Home
In 1971, Shirley Wheeler became the public face of the fight for abortion rights.
52 min
The L.A. Riots | 8. Damages
How Rodney King and the city of Los Angeles tried to reckon with everything they’d suffered.
47 min
The L.A. Riots | 7. Into Ashes
April 30 felt like the calm after the storm. Then the fires started burning again.
37 min
The L.A. Riots | 6. No Peace
After the verdicts, Los Angeles erupted into fire and chaos.
39 min
The L.A. Riots | 5. The System
The officers who beat Rodney King had been caught in the act. Why wasn’t that enough to secure a conviction?
39 min
SB6 Extra: Leading Up to the Riots
A few excerpts from Season 6's Slate Plus interviews.
16 min
The L.A. Riots | 4. Glen
Rodney King woke up in a prison hospital to find himself at the center of the biggest story in the world.
32 min
The L.A. Riots | 3. The Chief
In the aftermath of the Rodney King beating, the city wanted Daryl Gates out. Gates had other plans.
43 min
The L.A. Riots | 2. No Justice
With the beating of Rodney King still on America’s TV screens, the killing of a teenager in South Central further inflamed the tension in Los Angeles’ Black neighborhoods.
44 min
The L.A. Riots | 1. The Tape
In 1991, a 68-second video set off a chain of events that would change Los Angeles forever.
38 min
Season 6 Trailer: The L.A. Riots
Coming November 3rd
2 min
One Year: Jesus on a Tortilla
How a burn mark in the shape of Christ changed a family.
50 min
One Year: Roots: The Saga of Alex Haley
The author who changed America—and ignited a controversy about fact and fiction.
51 min
One Year: Mr. Marijuana and the Drug Czar
Keith Stroup and Peter Bourne were on the verge of changing America’s pot laws—and then a blowout Christmas party in 1977 changed everything.
48 min
One Year: Elvis, the Pledge, and Extraterrestrials
Three stories from a single day in August 1977.
54 min
One Year: The Miracle Cure
Medical experts said the cancer drug Laetrile was dangerous quackery. It became a national sensation anyway.
57 min
One Year: Mary Shane's Rookie Season
The little-known story of the first woman hired as a legitimate major-league baseball announcer.
49 min
Decoder Ring: The Sign Painter
From the new season of Slate's documentary culture podcast, Decoder Ring.
62 min