These days, we're more likely to see professional athletes on products than protest lines. But it wasn't always this way. In the 1960s, sports stars were often as famous for what they believed as for their home runs.
Back then, many athletes spoke out about civil rights. Muhammad Ali was stripped of his heavyweight title and threatened with imprisonment for refusing to fight in Vietnam, on the grounds of racial discrimination.
This is WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee, in for Guy Raz.
(SOUNDBITE OF CLOCK TICKING)
HEADLEE: You know what that means. It's time for Three-Minute Fiction, our contest where listeners come up with original stories in under 600 words. The challenge this round was to write a story that revolves around a U.S. president - fictional or real. Our judge, the writer Brad Meltzer, will be deciding the winner in just a few weeks. Until then, here's an excerpt from one standout story.
Gen. John D. Lavelle was accused of authorizing illegal bombing raids in North Vietnam. Stripped of two stars, he was forced into retirement in 1972.
Even though Lavelle was officially retired in disgrace as a two-star general, his widow ordered a gravestone displaying four. No one has ever protested.
Credit Paul Hays
President Nixon meets with Ellsworth Bunker, U.S. ambassador to South Vietnam, and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger at the White House on June 16, 1971. Lavelle would be mentioned in their recorded conversations a year later.
Gen. John D. Lavelle commanded the Seventh Air Force during the Vietnam War. He served five steps down the chain of command from President Nixon. In his oral history — recorded by an Air Force history officer in 1978 — he explained how, six years earlier, his life changed forever.
It started with a meeting with a Thai general, Dawee Chullasapya, who had charged Lavelle with overseeing an operation to destroy anti-aircraft guns in North Vietnam. It was a mission necessary to keep Thailand in the war.
The race for the Republican nomination of 1860 was one of the great political contests of American history. It was Abraham Lincoln versus Salmon Chase, versus William Seward.
Author Walter Stahr spoke with Weekends All Things Considered host Guy Raz about his new biography, Seward: Lincoln's Indispensable Man. He describes how a man who was Lincoln's fiercest and most critical opponent eventually became his most loyal and trusted adviser.
British pirate radio broadcaster Paddy Roy Bates with his wife, Joan, and daughter, Penny, in 1966.
Credit Evening Standard / Getty Images
The sovereign principality of Sealand is an artillery platform built during World War II about seven miles off the coast of Essex, England. Paddy Roy Bates founded Sealand in 1967, proclaiming it an independent state.
Paddy Roy Bates, the self-proclaimed prince of Sealand, was almost 80 when I met him in the summer of 2000. He was silvery and straight-backed — very much the model of a modern major, which he was in the British Army during World War II, when he survived frostbite, malaria, snakebites and a German bomb that shattered his jaw so badly a surgeon told him no woman would ever love him. So he married a former beauty queen named Joan and made her the princess of Sealand.
Kevin Sheppard was an outstanding point guard at Jacksonville University and he hoped to play professional basketball - maybe in places like Miami, Boston or Los Angeles. Instead, he wound up playing in places like Brazil, China and Israel. Then, came an offer from the heart of the Axis of Evil.
(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "THE IRAN JOB")
KEVIN SHEPPARD: I had no idea they played basketball in Iran. But it was actually very popular in Iran.
Falafel — those crispy, filling fried balls of mashed beans, herbs and spices — is found in cafes and homes all over the Middle East and parts of Africa. It's like a common language shared among sometimes fractious nations.
But until recently, I always thought falafel was made one way — garbanzo beans, onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro and cumin. (That's how my Sudanese mother taught me.) But it turns out there are many recipes out there, each with a flavor distinct to its region.
The right to choose the school you want your child to attend has been the subject of court battles and bitter political debates. Still, both President Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney have made school choice a cornerstone of their efforts to reform public education.
Romney says he wants to give every student trapped in a failing school the chance to attend a better school. He supports private-school vouchers in states where they're allowed, but his main focus is on creating more public-school choices.
There is one corner of the European Union where a kind of war still rages.
Nicosia, on the Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus, is the last divided capital city in Europe. In 1974, Turkey invaded Cyprus, taking over the northern part of the island — including half of the capital.
History teacher Maria Chrysanthou says she's blunt with students who ask her if the two sides of Cyprus — one Greek-speaking and Christian, the other Turkish-speaking and Muslim — will ever be united.