Stevie Wonder Went On Tour To Make Martin Luther King Jr. Day A National Holiday (Cool Weird Awesome 696)

On this Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, we look at how music legend Stevie Wonder and his song "Happy Birthday" helped raise awareness in the effort to create a national holiday in Dr. King's honor. 

Washington Phillips, A Legendary Gospel Musician Surrounded By Musical Mysteries (Cool Weird Awesome 692)

Today in 1880 was the birthday of Washington Phillips, a musician who made some astonishing music in the 1920s, but we know very little about his life and his music - we aren't even completely sure what instrument he played.

By |2022-01-11T06:42:14-05:00January 11, 2022|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , |

Scott Joplin, The King Of Ragtime, Also Wrote Operas (Cool Weird Awesome 663)

Today in 1868, at least on paper, Scott Joplin was born, though his actual birth date is probably a different day. He's best known for his groundbreaking ragtime works like "Maple Leaf Rag" and "The Entertainer," but Joplin also wrote two operas. Plus: today in 2013, musician Dave Mustaine of Megadeth composed an unforgettable tweet about a "cool building" in Wisconsin. 

By |2021-11-24T06:53:57-05:00November 24, 2021|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , , , |

Massachusetts Is Putting Solar Panels On Highway Sound Barriers (Cool Weird Awesome 656)

There are countless efforts underway to bring more green energy into the world, and some of them are in some unusual places. Like a project in Massachusetts that’s going to try mounting solar panels on those sound-absorbing barriers on the sides of the highway. Plus: today in 1859, New York City is host to what's believed to be the first ever baseball game between two Black teams. 

By |2021-11-15T06:39:59-05:00November 15, 2021|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , , |

The Undertaker Who Developed Automatic Phone Dialing (Cool Weird Awesome 648)

Today in 1892 a phone system that made automated calls - no switchboard operator - began operating in Laporte, Indiana. The first automatic dial network happened, as the story goes, because of a business dispute between two undertakers. Plus: today in 1882, the birthday of John Baxter Taylor, Jr, the first Black American to win an Olympic gold medal.

Edmonia Lewis, A Sculptor Who Brought Her Subjects To Life (Cool Weird Awesome 631)

On Indigenous Peoples Day, here's the story of sculptor Edmonia Lewis. She was born in the 1840s to a Black father and a Chippewa mother, and became the first Native American and Black woman to become an acclaimed sculptor. Plus: Happy Thanksgiving to our listeners in Canada. It’s a big country, except for the exhibit known as Little Canada, which features miniature versions of some of the country’s most famous cities, landmarks and attractions.

When Countries Stayed Out Of The Olympics, They Held Their Own Olympic-Style Games (Cool Weird Awesome 589)

The Olympic Games are supposed to bring the countries of the world together, but that isn't always what happens. Several times the Games have been canceled, and at other times, boycotts have led some countries to hold their own alternative competitions. Plus: we mark the birthday of the great Black scientist and inventor Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson.

Stephen Bishop Explored Mammoth Cave And Shared It With The World (Cool Weird Awesome 557)

The man now known as “First Guide & Explorer of Mammoth Cave," had been enslaved in the 19th century and sent to explore what was becoming a hot tourist site. He set the bar for every guide who came after him. Plus: today in 1976, a baseball game at the Houston Astrodome was called off... due to weather?!?

By |2021-06-15T09:18:25-04:00June 15, 2021|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , |

Henry Brown Escaped From Slavery By Mailing Himself To Philadelphia (Cool Weird Awesome 507)

On this day in 1849, Henry Brown escaped slavery from a Virginia plantation in a very unusual way: he arranged it so he could hide in a small wooden box that was sent to Pennsylvania. Here's some of his story. Plus: it was on this day in 2011 that a paramedic rescued a doctor from a fiery car crash, 30 years after that same doctor had helped the paramedic survive as a newborn.

By |2021-03-29T08:13:24-04:00March 29, 2021|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , |

“Stagecoach” Mary Fields, Montana’s One-Of-A-Kind Mail Carrier (Cool Weird Awesome 496)

Mary Fields was the first Black woman to receive a Post Office contract to deliver the mail, and in the Wild West, no less. Here's a little more about a pioneer who definitely made some history. Plus: the story of a sibling who found a practical use for her identical twin.

By |2021-03-15T08:45:15-04:00March 15, 2021|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , , , |
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