Things You Didn’t Know

Did you know that cats were CIA operatives during the Cold War, (yes I did say cats)? Or that blood was literally spilled over the equal rights amendment? Through this series we take a look at the unexpected stories, facts and people that shine a light on bigger concepts and ideas in American History.

Charles Curtis: Native American Vice President

In 1929, Charles Curtis – a member of the Kaw Nation – made history by becoming the first Vice President of color in the U.S. Yet he left behind a complicated legacy that some claim had a lasting negative impact on Native Americans.

WWII POW Camps on U.S. Soil

Between 1942 and 1946, the U.S. government constructed around 700 POW camps on U.S. soil, housing around 400,000 captured enemy soldiers. But what were the conditions like there?

The Know Nothings

In the mid 19th century a new political party, the Know Nothings, set the stage for xenophobia and nationalism to take root in American politics.

Why Did the Colonies Declare Independence?

In the late 1770s, U.S. patriots banded together to declare independence from Great Britain. But why did they want their independence and what kind of country did they want the United States to be?

The Teapot Dome Scandal Explained

The Teapot Dome Scandal in the 1920s stunned the American public by exposing the large-scale greed of some US politicians, and empowered Congress to launch investigations – reaffirming that no one is above the law.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Constructed after the First World War, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier stands as a memorial to all those U.S. service members whose remains were never identified.

Native American Code Talkers

Native American Code Talkers used their own indigenous dialects to bamboozle enemy code breakers and help Allied forces to win two World Wars.

The Lavender Scare

The Cold War persecution known as the Lavender Scare barred members of the LGBTQ+ community from working for the federal government for decades.

Operation Paperclip

Operation Paperclip saw around 1,600 Nazi scientists recruited by U.S. intelligence to aid American innovation. As a result, none were ever held accountable for their crimes.