A show for July 4th weekend. We begin with perhaps the most moving, poetic inaugural speech in American history, and look at its legacy today. In his second inaugural address, Lincoln wondered aloud why God saw fit to send the slaughter of the Civil War to the United States. His conclusion: that slavery was a kind of original sin for the United States, for both North and South, and all Americans had to do penance for it.
Host Ira Glass explains that today's show begins in 1865 and ends today. Ira reads briefly from Lincoln's Second Inaugural address, which describes slavery as America's Original Sin of sorts. (6 minutes)
A documentary by Cecilia Vaisman and Christina Egloff, with Jay Allison, about a white woman named Carolyn Wren Shannon, who grew up hating blacks in a Catholic neighborhood, and how her attitudes change. (17 minutes)
David Rakoff tells the story of the day that used to hold the record as the worst disaster in New York history: June 15th, 1904, when the steamship The General Slocum, caught fire and sank in the Hudson river, killing 1,031 passengers.