One Year

One Year

The people and struggles that changed America—one year at a time. In each episode, host Josh Levin explores a story you may have forgotten, or one you’ve never heard of before. What were the moments that transformed politics, culture, science, religion, and more? And how does the nation’s past shape our present?

Episodes

May 6, 2019 2 mins
Linda Taylor was a con artist, a kidnapper, maybe even a murderer. She was also America’s original “welfare queen,” the villain Ronald Reagan needed to create a vision of a country being taken advantage of by its poorest citizens. Josh Levin reveals the never-before-told story of a woman whose singular life was forgotten in the rush to create a vicious American stereotype. This podcast is based on Josh Levin’s new book, The Queen: ...
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Linda Taylor became the “welfare queen” in 1974 when the Chicago Tribune publicized her outrageous exploits. The reporter who introduced her to the world was a Pulitzer Prize winner named George Bliss. He stumbled into the Taylor story while investigating waste and fraud in the public aid system, and his fixation on a single welfare recipient may have been more damaging than he ever realized. This podcast is based on Josh Levin’s n...
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May 20, 2019 24 mins
In the 1970s, a pair of very different men fought to define Linda Taylor’s image. For presidential candidate Ronald Reagan, Taylor epitomized the brokenness of the federal bureaucracy and the broader trend of poor people getting rich off the public dime. Taylor’s defense lawyer, the civil rights attorney R. Eugene Pincham, believed she was a scapegoat, and that her actions were crimes of survival. This podcast is based on Josh Levi...
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May 27, 2019 26 mins
A decade before she became known as the “welfare queen,” Linda Taylor put herself at the center of a different Chicago scandal. Upon the death of gambling kingpin Lawrence Wakefield, Taylor posed as the heir to his sizable fortune. The ensuing court proceeding was full of lies and surprise witnesses. That heirship hearing would ultimately reveal Taylor’s real identity and offer a window into her troubled past. This podcast is based...
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June 3, 2019 31 mins
Linda Taylor had a tendency to emerge from out of nowhere, upend everything in her path, then vanish without leaving a forwarding address. The final episode of The Queen focuses on two different stories about the lives Taylor changed. In one case, she helped a vulnerable family escape the degradations of the Jim Crow South. In the other, she kidnapped a child and may have been responsible for her own husband’s death. This podcast i...
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Is it possible that Linda Taylor perpetrated one of the most infamous child abductions in American history? In this excerpt from the first bonus episode of The Queen, Josh Levin talks to Paul Joseph Fronczak about how Taylor could be connected to the April 1964 kidnapping of a 1-day-old boy born to Paul’s parents, Dora and Chester Fronczak. They also discuss Paul’s search for his true identity. To hear the full episode, join Slate ...
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June 10, 2019 20 mins
In this excerpt from the second bonus episode of The Queen, Dan Kois talks to Josh Levin about the process of writing the reporting-intensive book the podcast series is based on. They’re joined by a panel of three distinguished authors, who share their own lessons about what it takes to write a book-length investigation: David Grann, a New Yorker staff writer and the author of Killers of the Flower Moon; James Forman Jr., winner of...
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June 17, 2019 23 mins
Listen to the first chapter of the audiobook version of The Queen: The Forgotten Life Behind an American Myth. Narrated by January LaVoy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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June 16, 2020 45 mins
If you liked The Queen, subscribe to Slow Burn Season 4: David Duke. Here's Episode 1. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, a white supremacist became an American political phenomenon. David Duke’s rise to power and prominence—his election to the Louisiana legislature, and then his campaigns for the U.S. Senate and the governorship—was an existential crisis for the state and the nation. The fourth season of Slate’s Slow Burn will e...
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June 28, 2021 1 min
The first season of One Year will focus on 1977, a year when gay rights hung in the balance, Roots dominated the airwaves, and Jesus appeared on a tortilla. Follow the show now to get our first episode on July 8th. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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Miami, 1977: Pop singer and orange juice spokeswoman Anita Bryant takes a stand against a local ordinance—and becomes the leader of a national anti-gay movement. Her campaign against gay rights, and the gay community's fight against her, would change America. One Year is produced by Josh Levin, Evan Chung, and Madeline Ducharme. Mixing by Merritt Jacob. Slate Plus members get to hear more about the making of One Year and more about...
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July 15, 2021 52 mins
America’s top weed evangelist and the nation’s drug czar shared the same goal: to loosen up the country’s marijuana laws. In 1977, everything was trending their way—until a blowout Christmas party destroyed their plans, and transformed the future of marijuana in the United States. One Year is produced by Josh Levin, Evan Chung, and Madeline Ducharme. Mixing by Merritt Jacob. Slate Plus members get to hear more about the making of O...
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July 22, 2021 53 mins
Mary Shane made history with the Chicago White Sox, becoming the first woman hired as a legitimate major-league baseball announcer. But in 1977, she had to fight to be taken seriously in one of America’s most sexist industries. One Year is produced by Josh Levin, Evan Chung, and Madeline Ducharme. Mixing by Merritt Jacob. Slate Plus members get to hear more about the making of One Year and more about the culture of 1977 in suppleme...
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July 29, 2021 61 mins
Medical authorities said that Laetrile was dangerous quackery. It became a sensation anyway. Diana Green saw this drug made from apricot pits as her son Chad’s best chance to survive leukemia. Her shocking actions, and the little boy affected by them, became the focus of a heated national debate over freedom of medical choice. One Year is produced by Josh Levin, Evan Chung, and Madeline Ducharme. Mixing by Merritt Jacob. Slate Plus...
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Three stories from one day in August 1977. Elvis Presley dies, and the National Enquirer goes after the ultimate tabloid scoop: a photo of the King in his coffin. A New Jersey high schooler becomes a pariah when she refuses to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. Astronomers in Ohio get a mysterious signal from outer space—could it be a message from aliens? One Year is produced by Josh Levin, Evan Chung, and Madeline Ducharme. Mixin...
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August 12, 2021 57 mins
Alex Haley’s Roots displayed the brutal realities of slavery to more than 100 million Americans. The book and mini-series also made a bold claim: that Haley was the first Black American to trace his lineage all the way back to Africa, and to a specific ancestor captured into slavery. What would it mean, for Haley and America, if he hadn’t found what he said he’d found? Slate Plus members get to hear more about the making of One Yea...
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August 19, 2021 56 mins
After Maria Rubio saw Jesus on a tortilla, her family got besieged by believers and gawkers and the national press. But for the Rubios, the tortilla wasn’t just a public spectacle. It was the miracle that changed their family. And decades later, they’re still reckoning with how that tortilla upended everything. One Year is produced by Josh Levin, Evan Chung, and Madeline Ducharme. Mixing by Merritt Jacob. Slate Plus members get to ...
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If you enjoyed exploring 1977 in One Year, you'll want to listen to this season's Slate Plus episodes, where Slatesters like June Thomas, Chris Molanphy, Willa Paskin, Matthew Dessem, Sam Adams, and Karen Han dive deeper into the music, movies, TV, and culture of 1977. Become a Slate Plus member now for just $1 to hear all these episodes in full, and to support the One Year podcast. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone...
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November 16, 2021 1 min
Coming this Thursday, Nov 18th: The new season of One Year covers 1995, a year when homegrown terrorists attacked Oklahoma City, America went online, and the Macarena took over nightclubs. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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November 18, 2021 62 mins
White supremacist, anti-government terrorists attacked Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. A Muslim American came under immediate suspicion. How did a man who had nothing to do with the bombing get connected to one of the most horrific crimes in U.S. history? One Year is produced by Josh Levin, Evan Chung, and Madeline Ducharme, with additional production help from Cheyna Roth. Mixing by Merritt Jacob. Slate Plus members get to hear m...
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