Scene on Radio host/producer John Biewen :

As the 2020 election approaches, the survival of the United States as a democratic republic is a topic of national conversation—Trumpian authoritarianism; voter suppression and gerrymandering; concerns about foreign intervention, election security, and the role of money in politics.

Our twelve-part Season 4 series on democracy will touch on those concerns but will go much deeper, effectively retelling the story of the United States from its beginnings up to the present as we complicate, maybe upend, our listeners’ understanding of American history. Our series title, The Land That Never Has Been Yet, is borrowed from the Langston Hughes poem, “Let America Be America Again.”

The Land reunites the Seeing White series team: my collaborator Chenjerai Kumanyika, journalism and media studies professor at Rutgers University, and our editor, the public radio veteran Loretta Williams.

  • Season 4 Trailer: The Land That Never Has Been Yet

    Season 4 Trailer: The Land That Never Has Been Yet

    Our season-long series will touch on concerns like authoritarianism, voter suppression and gerrymandering, foreign intervention, and the role of money in politics, but we’ll go much deeper, effectively retelling the story of the United States from its beginnings up to the present. Through field recordings and interviews with leading thinkers, we’ll tell under-told stories and ...

  • S4 E1: Rich Man’s Revolt

    S4 E1: Rich Man's Revolt

    In the American Revolution, the men who revolted were among the wealthiest and most comfortable people in the colonies. What kind of revolution was it, anyway? Was it about a desire to establish democracy—or something else? By producer/host John Biewen with series collaborator Chenjerai Kumanyika. Interviews with Davy Arch, Barbara Duncan, Rob Shenk, and Woody Holton. ...

  • S4 E2: “The Excess of Democracy”

    S4 E2: "The Excess of Democracy"

    In the summer of 1787, fifty-five men got together in Philadelphia to write a new Constitution for the United States, replacing the new nation’s original blueprint, the Articles of Confederation. But why, exactly? What problems were the framers trying to solve? Was the Constitution designed to advance democracy, or to rein it in? By producer/host John Biewen with series ...

  • S4 E3: The Cotton Empire

    S4 E3: The Cotton Empire

    In the decades after America’s founding and the establishment of the Constitution, did the nation get better, more just, more democratic? Or did it double down on violent conquest and exploitation?   Reported, produced, written, and mixed by John Biewen, with series collaborator Chenjerai Kumanyika. The series editor is Loretta Williams. Interviews with Robin Alario, Edward Baptist, Kidada Williams, and ...

  • S4 E4: The Second Revolution

    S4 E4: The Second Revolution

    After the Civil War, a surprising coalition tried to remake the United States into a real multiracial democracy for the first time. Reconstruction, as the effort was called, brought dramatic change to America. For a while. Reported and produced by John Biewen, with series collaborator Chenjerai Kumanyika. The series script editor is Loretta Williams. Interviews with Victoria Smalls, Brent ...

  • S4 E5: Feminism in Black and White

    S4 E5: Feminism in Black and White

    People fighting for more democracy in the United States often have to struggle against sexism and racism. In fact, those two struggles are often inseparable—certainly from the perspective of black women and some other women of color. Reported and produced by host John Biewen, with Season 3 co-host Celeste Headlee and Season 4 collaborator Chenjerai Kumanyika. Interviews with Glenda Gilmore, ...

  • S4 E6: A New Deal

    S4 E6: A New Deal

    The Great Depression presented a crisis not only for the U.S. economy, but for American democracy. President Franklin Roosevelt wanted to save the nation’s system of government, and its economic system, while reforming both. What did the New Deal achieve, and not achieve? Reported and produced by John Biewen, with series collaborator Chenjerai Kumanyika. Interviews with Eric Rauchway and ...

  • S4 E7: Freedom Summer

    S4 E7: Freedom Summer

    In the summer of 1964, about a thousand young Americans, black and white, came together in Mississippi to place themselves in the path of white supremacist power and violence. They issued a bold pro-democracy challenge to the nation and the Democratic Party. Produced by John Biewen, with series collaborator Chenjerai Kumanyika. Interviews with John Lewis, Bob Moses, ...