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Lost Highways - Season 3

January 2022 - May 2022

Season three looks at concepts of justice and will leave the listener with a deeper understanding of how that has operated—and where it has fallen short of its promise—in the historical West and, more broadly, in the United States. Our premier focuses on the notorious case of Alfred Packer, and later episodes discuss topics as varied as the Black Denver doctor who infiltrated the Klu Klux Klan, the story of striking coal miners of the 1913-1914 Coalfield War, and more.

Episode 1: Flesh for Fantasy

In the winter of 1874, Alfred Packer led a group of prospectors into the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. After returning alone, he confessed to eating the remains of his travel companions, and was convicted of murder despite claiming self-defense. The conviction sealed his place in history as the "Colorado Cannibal." After almost 150 years, Noel and Tyler look back at Packer's story and discover there’s much more to it than simple questions of guilt or innocence.

Guests: David Bailey | Dr. Christiana Gregoriou | Regina Lopez Whiteskunk | Dr. Megan Kate Nelson | Tom Noel (“Dr. Colorado.”) | Dr. Terrion Williamson

Transcript of the episode "Flesh for Fantasy."

Episode 2: A Lynching in Limon

People don't often think of Colorado when they hear the word "lynching." But in 1900, one of the most horrifying racial terror lynchings in US history took place in the small town of Limon on the Eastern Plains. Hundreds of spectators looked on as fifteen-year-old Preston Porter, Jr., was burned alive. More than a century later, a group of people from across the state of Colorado came together to make sure that he was remembered—and that his story was told.

Guests: Terri Gentry | Stephen Leonard | Rosemary Lytle | Jovan Mays | Dara Ollman | Judy Ollman | Anthony Suggs

Resources: Colorado Lynching Memorial Project | Equal Justice InitiativeLynching in Colorado, 1859-1919 by Stephen Leonard

Transcript from the episode "A Lynching in Limon."

Episode 3: The Original BlacKkKlansman

In 2019, Spike Lee's 2018 film "BlacKkKlansman" won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. The film brought national attention to the story of Ron Stallworth, the first Black Detective to work in the Colorado Springs Police Department, who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s. But what many people don't know is that Colorado has been home to THREE Black Klansmen. In this episode, Noel and Tyler talk to experts, scholars, Theo Wilson (the most recent Black Klansman), and more as we explore the story of Dr. Joseph Westbrook, who infiltrated the KKK in the 1920s in an effort to protect the thriving Five Points community in Denver.

Guests: Sam Bock | Shaun Boyd | Cara Caddoo | Terri Gentry | Robert "Bob" Goldberg | Nicki Gonzales | Linda Gordon | Theo Wilson

Resources: "A Black Man goes Undercover in the Alt-Right", TEDx Talk by Theo Wilson | CPR: "Wish We Were Here, Episode 8: CSPD Black — The True Story of COS’ First African American Detective"Hooded Empire: the Ku Klux Klan in Colorado by Robert Alan Goldberg | The Second Coming of the KKK: The Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s and the American Political Tradition by Linda Gordon

Episode 4: Beyond the Valley of Doubt

In 1863, two brothers from Colorado's San Luis Valley allegedly went on one of the most infamous killing sprees in the history of the American West. But the story's sensationalized lore has been entwined with the deeply contentious and unresolved history of land rights in the Borderlands of Southern Colorado for centuries. In this episode, we work with folklorist Jake Rosenberg to peel back the layers and see why the story still resonates today.

Guests: Eric Carpio | Louise Coleville | Adam James Jones | Jake Rosenberg | Virginia Sanchez

Resources: American Lore Theater | Pleas and Petitions | Fort Garland Museum & Cultural Center

Script for the episode Beyond the Valley of Doubt

Episode 5: Spirits of Place

In November of 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) into law. Now, more than 30 years later, we look back at both the letter and spirit of the law, which aims to return tens of thousands of stolen Indigenous remains and funerary artifacts to their tribes.

Guests: Cassandra Atencio | Garrett Briggs | Chip Colwell | Sheila Goff | Glenys Ong Echevarri | Anton Treuer | Shannon Voirol

Excerpts From: Dr. Kim TallBear | Dr. April Laktonen Counceller | Suzan Shown Harjo

Resources: Decolonizing Museums: Representing Native America in National and Tribal Museums | NAGPRA | Native America Calling: “Proposed NAGPRA rules to strengthen repatriation” | Plundered Skulls and Stolen Spirits: Inside the Fight to Reclaim Native America’s Culture | Red Hoop Talk EP 61: Suzan Shown Harjo | “Tell Me a Story: Genomics vs. Indigenous Origin Narratives”

Transcript of the episode "Spirits of Place."

Episode 6: The Mother of All Strikes

On this episode of Lost Highways, we look back at Mother Jones, one of the fiercest labor organizers in American history, and her role in the United Mine Workers of America's massive strike in the southern Colorado coalfields that led to the Ludlow Massacre on April 20, 1914.

Guests: Thomas Andrews | Ginny Ayers | Bob Butero | Rosemary Feurer | Elliot Gorn | Karin Larkin | Linda Linville | Zeese Papanikolas

Resources: Mother Jones: The Most Dangerous Woman in America by Elliot J. Gorn. | Killing for Coal: America's Deadliest Labor War by Thomas Andrews. | Matewan | Never Justice, Never Peace | Thunder in the Mountain: The West Virginia Mine War, 1920-21 by Lon Savage. | The New Gilded Age from NPR's Throughline.


More Coming Soon!