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From the Archives podcast hosted by John Pemble
From the Archives

To understand civil, political and social movements in the United States today, it helps to hear how these issues were handled in the not-so-distant past. From the Archives revisits historical audio from the late 1960s through early 80s, discussing topics including the Civil Rights Movement, Vietnam War and Women's Rights.

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  • The final episode of this eight part series features remarks from Iowa politician Minnette Doderer on two seperate occasions: once in 1970 and the other in 1982. In both instances she is forthright with reporters about how women, particularly political candidates, don’t receive the same news coverage as men.
  • In the 1970s, Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment. Debates about the merits of the amendment raged across the country, including one in Iowa City in 1979. Phyllis Schlafly, the leader of the Stop ERA movement, debated the issue with Karen DeCrow, the former president of the National Organization for Women.
  • There are many origins to the Black Power Movement, but political scientist Charles V. Hamilton and his colleague Stockley Carmichael elevated it with their 1967 book Black Power: the Politics of Liberation in America. Hamilton says Black Power can organize Black people’s rage and force answers to hard questions.
  • On the fifth episode of From the Archives, a member of the Kerner Commission discusses the findings of the report at Grinnell College during a memorial symposium honoring the late civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
  • In October 1967, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at Grinnell College, six months before his assassination. King encourages people implores the audience to "remain awake during the revolution."
  • World heavyweight champion boxer Muhammad Ali was at the top of his game in the 1960s. After Ali refused to serve in the Vietnam War for religious reasons, he was arrested and convicted of draft evasion, facing five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. His boxing license was suspended, and he was barred from leaving the country. With his boxing career on hold and his future uncertain, the champ began speaking at college campuses around the country, including in Iowa City.
  • Almost a year after President Herbert Hoover’s death, former Vice President Richard Nixon visits the library on what would be Hoover’s 91st birthday. Four years later, Nixon would be elected President of the United States.
  • The 31st U.S. President, Herbert Hoover, returns to his hometown of West Branch, Iowa on his 88th birthday for the dedication of his presidential library. During his speech, he cautions against allowing the spread of communism across the world.
  • A preview of Iowa Public Radio's eight part series "From the Archives."

Around 200 recordings with little to no labeling or documentation were pulled from Iowa Public Radio storage and converted to digital files to identify their contents. We found audio marking points in the nation’s history from the late 1960s through the 1980s, ranging from the United States’ military involvement in Vietnam, the Civil Rights Movement, and the attempt to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.

On From the Archives, we discuss the importance of this audio with experts to understand the significance of these pivotal moments in history and to discuss what we can learn from these speeches today.

This eight-episode series is hosted by John Pemble in collaboration with producers Katherine Perkins, Caitlin Troutman and Rick Brewer — and Dennis Reese, who found these recordings in our basement.

From the Archives was made possible through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.