History Detectives Special Investigations
The History Detectives team brings cutting edge tools to some of our biggest historical mysteries. Each episode asks probing questions behind a single iconic mystery from America's past. Three investigators team up to solve each case: Wes Cowan, an independent appraiser and auctioneer; Kaiama Glover, professor at Barnard College, Columbia University; and Tukufu Zuberi, professor of sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. As the detectives unearth fresh evidence, sift through clues and crisscross the country in search of answers, they reveal new perspectives on stories we thought we knew.
History Detectives Special Investigations Previous Broadcasts
Civil War Sabotage? (Episode #101H)
KQED Plus: Sun, Sep 7, 2014 -- 9:00 PM
It was one of the worst maritime naval disasters in US history. Officially, the death toll was 1500. Unofficially, the count may have been far higher. When it mysteriously exploded on April 27, 1865, the Mississippi steamboat USS Sultana was packed with Union soldiers. The war had ended that month; at every stop more and more men clamored to board the homeward-bound ship, which blew up mid-river. However, the story of the sinking quickly vanished from the papers. What really sank the Sultana? Was it Confederate sabotage? Securing the original investigative report and its archives allows the team to forensically examine and scientifically test theories of the boilers' failure. The team also researches the stories of a Confederate agent and spy who burned Union ships on the Mississippi and was an expert in using "coal torpedoes" and a former Union inspector's deathbed revelation.
- KQED Plus: Mon, Sep 8, 2014 -- 3:00 AM
Who Killed Jimmy Hoffa? (Episode #104H)
KQED Plus: Mon, Sep 1, 2014 -- 3:00 AM
In one of history's most fascinating unsolved mysteries, former Teamsters president Jimmy Hoffa went missing on July 30, 1975, never to be found. Hoffa, a hero to many working Americans, played a major role in the growth and development of the trucking union. But he fell afoul of the law, with allegations that the powerful pension fund was under mob control and used, among other things, to finance Vegas casinos. What exactly happened to Hoffa that day, and why? Recently declassified FBI files and interviews with people close to the story allow a detailed accounting of what likely occurred. The investigation is an exploration of Hoffa's final days and hours and a revelatory window on power and corruption in the post-war era labor movement.