In the 1930s, the Dust Bowl ravaged crops and helped plunge the U.S. into an environmental and economic depression. Farmland in parts of Texas, Kansas, Nebraska and the Dakotas disappeared.
After the howling winds passed and the dust settled, federal foresters planted 100 million trees across the Great Plains, forming a giant windbreak — known as a shelterbelt — that stretched from Texas to Canada.
Now, those trees are dying from drought, leaving some to worry whether another Dust Bowl might swirl up again.
On Tuesday in Washington, D.C., the four girls killed in the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Ala., posthumously received the Congressional Gold Medal. The recognition comes after a year of civil rights ceremonies across the South. The events have drawn renewed attention to how the civil rights movement should be taught to a younger generation.
Fifty years ago this Sunday, four African-American girls died when the Ku Klux Klan bombed a church in Alabama.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
The explosion at Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church was a seminal moment in the Civil Rights Movement. It horrified the nation and helped spur passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
SIEGEL: Today, the girls received one of the nation's highest civilian awards, the Congressional Gold Medal. House Speaker John Boehner led the ceremony.
The U.S. and its allies await details of Russia's proposal to place Syria's chemical weapons arsenal under UN supervision. Meanwhile, senior Obama administration officials are continuing to press for congressional approval of a potential military strike against the Bashar al-Assad regime for its alleged use of chemical weapons in August.