Sam Gringlas

Updated June 11, 2021 at 7:49 PM ET

Before there was Hamilton, there was In the Heights.

Lin-Manuel Miranda's exploration of the American dream started in his own hometown of Manhattan — which holds the first chapter in many American stories, he says. Specifically, Miranda's first Tony-winning musical takes place in the immigrant neighborhood of Washington Heights.

For generations, Sesame Street has been a mainstay of American children's television. But when the show premiered more than 50 years ago on Nov. 10, 1969, it was considered controversial, even radical.

"In 1969, what was on TV for kids was a very dire landscape," says Marilyn Agrelo, the director of a new documentary called Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street.

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Earlier this month, President Biden announced that the U.S. would withdraw all its troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, effectively bringing an end to a "forever war" spurred by the terrorist attacks 20 years earlier on Sept. 11, 2001. His promise has been met with backlash from both Republicans and moderate Democrats in Congress.

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Jillian Melton and Paul Sklar work at two restaurants hundreds of miles apart. And when it comes to the $15 minimum wage debate, their differences in views could almost be as vast.

The push by Democrats to raise the federal minimum wage would also eliminate a decades-long practice of paying restaurant servers as little as $2.13 an hour under the expectation they would earn far more through tips.

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Hanukkah is here, which means eight nights of eating latkes, spinning dreidels and lighting the menorah. Well, a new picture book makes a radical suggestion — a ninth night.

In Erica Perl's new children's book The Ninth Night of Hanukkah, Rachel and Max move into a new apartment with their parents. It's Hanukkah and they can't find the box that contains the family's menorah, dreidel and other supplies.

Hours after Joe Biden hit the 270 electoral vote threshold to win the presidency, and The Associated Press and others called the race for him, President Trump has not only refused to concede, but insisted Biden was "rushing to falsely pose as the winner."

Updated on Friday at 12:28 p.m. ET

Election officials in many states say it is now too late for voters to return absentee ballots by mail and are encouraging them instead to deliver their ballots by hand or vote in person.

Updated on Friday at 12:28 p.m. ET

Election officials in many states say it is now too late for voters to return absentee ballots by mail and are encouraging them instead to deliver their ballots by hand or vote in person.

In the musical Hamilton, there's an entire song about the election of 1800 — the contest between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson that marked the first peaceful transfer of power between opposing political factions in U.S. history.

America now is on the cusp of the election of 2020 — and cast members of the hit Broadway show have repurposed some of the show's soundtrack with new lyrics to promote voting.

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Thousands of Democratic delegates were supposed to be in Milwaukee this week. Instead, like the rest of us, they're experiencing the convention virtually. NPR's Sam Gringlas had a window into what this week's been like for two Michigan delegates.

Millions of American workers have been receiving $600 from the federal government each week during the pandemic in the form of unemployment assistance. But that's set to expire by the end of the month, leaving many in a high state of anxiety.

OK America, we see your sourdough starters, and your Duolingo sessions and your new cross-stitch hobby, and we raise you a Doorway to Imagination.

That's the backyard branch and wood art piece that David North built with all his social distancing-created free time.

His niece Kimberly Adams, a correspondent for the public radio show Marketplace, tweeted about it.

Among the more than 1,200 people in Michigan who have died during the coronavirus pandemic is Otis Knapp Lee, better known as Detroit's king of corned beef. He died Sunday, at age 72.

Lee opened Mr. Fofo's Deli in Detroit's Midtown neighborhood in the early 1970s when he was 25.

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Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg was scheduled to be in Dallas last night, rallying voters before Super Tuesday. Instead, he flew home to Indiana and suspended his presidential campaign. NPR's Sam Gringlas was in Dallas and sends this postcard.

Why the Trump administration delayed nearly $400 millions of dollars in security aid to Ukraine is the question at the heart of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

Democrats say the president tried to coerce an ally to help him take down a political opponent. Republicans argue it's a routine use of presidential power.

Interviews with current and former officials show how the Trump administration's hold-up of aid to Ukraine was irregular and likely violated U.S. law, and has far-reaching consequences at home and overseas.

The annual Harvard-Yale football game was delayed for almost an hour on Saturday as climate change activists rushed the field at the end of halftime.

Unfurling banners with slogans like "Nobody wins. Yale and Harvard are complicit in climate injustice," protesters from both schools called on the universities to divest their multi-million dollar endowments from fossil fuels companies, as well as companies that hold Puerto Rican debt.

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Now for a story about soda and state borders. It begins with a Mountain Dew marketing campaign...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Welcome to the land of those who do.

As a kid, Enrique Olvera spent hours in his grandmother's bakery in Mexico City. He loved watching everyday ingredients like flour, sugar and eggs fuse into something entirely different.

For Olvera, even the simple act of baking a cake felt like magic.

He absorbed every detail as his grandmother gently coaxed masa into handmade tortillas. On Sundays, he joined his father in the kitchen, chopping onions and tomatoes for breakfasts of scrambled eggs and dry beef.

More than a decade ago, Anaïs Mitchell was running late for one of her shows. The singer-songwriter, in her 20s at the time, was trying to get from one gig to another and found herself lost. Along the drive, a song lyric popped into her head. "The lines that came were, 'Wait for me I'm coming. In my garters and pearls with what melody did you barter me from the wicked underworld,'" she remembers.

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Tunde Olaniran is a shapeshifter. He's a Flint, Mich. native who's quickly embedded himself into the Detroit music scene; a singer, rapper, dancer, choreographer, producer and activist. Olaniran's first big single, "Namesake," was an unexpected hit, with lyrics about self love and a video full of explosive choreography.

When it's closing time at Literati Bookstore in Ann Arbor, Michigan, co-owner Michael Gustafson runs through a checklist that, for the most part, is pretty routine. First, make sure all the customers have gone, lock the doors and take out the garbage and the recycling. Shelve any stray books, adjust the tables, turn off the music.

The night before one of the biggest rallies in Washington, D.C., history, Sam Zeif is beat.

It's been a long day. It started with an early-morning hit on CNN, then another with ABC's Good Morning America, followed by an afternoon trip to MSNBC — not for the first time. Just two days earlier, he was in Los Angeles, filming a segment with Ellen DeGeneres.

Wednesday is Valentine's Day, and if you struggled to find just the right words to tell a special someone how you feel, you have options.

There are the classic options: Store-bought superhero valentines or sappy Hallmark cards. Or if you're into something sweet — boxes of pastel-colored candy hearts, emblazoned with messages like "BE MINE," "XOXO" and "HOT STUFF."

But if those candy greetings feel tired, or just aren't striking the right note, Colorado researcher Janelle Shane has some ideas.

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