Three years ago, Rufus McDonald found historic documents in an abandoned house and took them to a rare-books dealer. The papers and books belonged to Richard T. Greener, a 19th century intellectual who was the first African-American to graduate from Harvard University.
Credit Cheryl Corley / NPR
Greener's 1870 Harvard diploma was among the items found.
Three years ago, just moments before sledgehammers ripped through an abandoned home in Chicago, the head of a demolition crew decided to save the contents of an old steamer trunk stored in the attic.
"They were about to demolish it because they couldn't get it down the stairs," says Rufus McDonald, who gathered what was inside the steamer trunk — documents and old books — and took them to a rare-book dealer in Chicago.
"He said, 'Do you know who this is?' I said, 'Nah, who is it?' He said, 'It's Richard Theodore Greener," McDonald recalls. "I said, 'Who is he?' "
Miller Farms in Maryland is a family-run operation that sells its home-grown vegetables at farmers' markets and local grocery stores. Phil Miller, whose family owns the farm, says he's trying to earn a food safety certification now required by many food buyers.
Credit Maggie Starbard / NPR
Phil Miller with this year's crop of cabbage at his farm in Clinton, Md.
Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 6:23 am
There were lots of comments on this blog regarding my recent stories about making salads safer. Many of those comments argued that the solution is to grow your own. Or at least buy from local farmers.
Which raises an interesting question: Are salad greens from your local farmer's market actually safer than packaged lettuce from thousands of miles away? And should the same safety rules apply to both?
In 1985, Chris Turner was convicted of the murder of Catherine Fuller. After spending decades in prison, Turner is now out on parole; he maintains his innocence. He is shown here in his childhood neighborhood in Northeast Washington, D.C., about 100 yards away from what was Fuller's home.
Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 2:39 pm
Six men wearing bright orange prison jumpsuits appeared in a D.C. courtroom today, seeking to overturn their decades-old convictions in a brutal murder by arguing the Justice Department failed to turn over critical evidence that could have helped them assert their innocence.
Facebook didn't necessarily make Tanja Hollander lonely, per se, but it did make her curious. It was a little over two years ago when she looked at that number representing "friends," 626 in her case, and started to analyze it.
The Vatican reprimanded America's largest organization of Catholic nuns, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. The Holy See charged the LCWR with promoting programs with "radical feminist themes" that are incompatible with doctrine on issues ranging from homosexuality to women's ordination.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. In a few weeks, Egyptians vote in a presidential election that many hoped would mark a full transition from military rule. Then the Egyptian Election Commission disqualified 10 candidates, including the two leading Islamists and the former intelligence chief.
Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 3:37 pm
The trustees in charge of nation's Social Security program said a sagging economy has hit the program hard. The program's trust fund, which goes mostly to retirees, said the trustees, will run dry by 2033.
The AP reports "Medicare's finances have stabilized but the program's hospital insurance fund is still projected to run out of money in 2024."
Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 1:43 pm
Regular readers of Michael Gerson's column in the Washington Post know he usually tackles timely issues in politics, religion, foreign policy and global health and development. Recently, he dealt with what may be an even more challenging — and personal — issue: the difficulties of dieting.
The AP analyzed government data and came up with this stunning figure: "Half of young college graduates [are] either jobless or underemployed in positions that don't fully use their skills and knowledge."
The whole story is worth a read, so we encourage you to click over, but here is the meat of the AP's analysis:
Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 12:13 pm
President Obama announced a set of new sanctions that target "Syria and Iran and the 'digital guns for hire' who help them oppress their people with surveillance software and monitoring technology," the AFP reports.
The president made the announcement during a visit to the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. His visit was the first as president.
The forces on the unmanned hypersonic glider tested last summer by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) were so great that large parts of its skin peeled off causing its emergency system to plunge it into the ocean.
As we reported last August, the Falcon HTV-2 "was shot up on a rocket and right at the edge of space, it separated and glided through the atmosphere at 13,000 mph."
If you're into images of Earth taken from space, NASA has a new video for you. Called Walking on Air, it "features a series of time lapse sequences photographed by the Expedition 30 crew aboard the International Space Station" and is set to the song Walking in the Air by Howard Blake.
Activist Van Jones served as special adviser to President Obama on green jobs. He resigned in 2009 after media reports questioned his beliefs about the 9/11 attacks. Now, Jones is back with a new book, Rebuild the Dream, outlining his vision for the progressive movement. He speaks with host Michel Martin.
Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 10:59 am
Actor Jack Black is best known for his comedic performances in films like Nacho Libre and School of Rock. In his latest film, Bernie, Black goes to a darker place: He plays a serious small-town funeral director who uncharacteristically murders his live-in companion, a wealthy widow played by Shirley MacLaine.
While the headlines proclaim that thanks to a new draft agreement the U.S. will continue to defend Afghanistan for a decade after the planned 2014 withdrawal of foreign combat forces from that country, the stories themselves make clear that many of the key details remain to be worked out:
Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 10:17 am
A British winemaker has finally been given official approval to release a limited-edition wine made in collaboration with Malbec grape growers in Argentina, on one condition: It can't sell the wine, or label it a Malbec. Actually, it can't even call it wine at all.
The Chapel Down winery's only option for getting rid of its wine is to give it away as a sample, calling it a "fruit-derived alcoholic beverage from produce sourced outside the EU."
Todd Snider is, on one level, your average guitar-strumming singer-songwriter with varying amounts of musical accompaniment for songs he sings with mush-mouthed intimacy. But Snider, now in his mid-40s and impressively prolific, is also an exceptional singer-songwriter, able to set up scenes with quick, precise details.
Within the next few days, several more Secret Service agents will lose their jobs because of their roles in the so-called summit scandal during which they allegedly cavorted with prostitutes in Colombia earlier this month, the chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security said this morning.
"Far-right National Front candidate Marine Le Pen" now has a chance to swing the French presidential election, as France 24 reports, after pulling in 18 percent of the ballots in the first round of voting Sunday.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. A precious piece of his childhood is going back to a teenager in Japan. Misaki Murakami and his family lost everything in last year's tsunami. But waves carried his soccer ball, covered in notes from third grade friends, to a beach in Alaska. David Baxter found it there and his Japanese wife translated the writing, including the teenager's name. It will be the first bit of North American tsunami debris officially returned to Japan. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
As a part of Earth Day celebrations, performance artist Alison Knowles took salad making to the extreme in New York City. Knowles chopped romaine lettuce, carrots and cucumbers to the beat of live music. She then tossed the avalanche of salad off a balcony into a giant tarp, where the salad was served up to audience members.