Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

The Dark History of Father Coughlin’s Pro-Fascist, Anti-Semitic Radio Show

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Image credit: Library of Congress

Andrew Lapin speaks with Stephen Henderson about his podcast detailing the life of Father Charles Coughlin, the founding priest of a local parish who fueled bigotry over the airwaves trough the 1930’s.

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Kate Swift/WDET
Kate Swift/WDET

Father Charles Coughlin was the founding priest of National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica Catholic Church in Royal Oak, Mich. where he broadcast his radio show during the 1930s.

Andrew Lapin, a writer and podcast producer has been researching Coughlin and joins Detroit Today to shed light on the dark history of who Father Coughlin was and how he was able to have a nationally broadcasted show filled with bigoted ideas. “He was a theatrical performer and a pathological liar,” says Lapin.

As part of the 2019 WDET Book Club, we are reading Dr. Mona Hanna Attisha’s, “What The Eyes Don’t See”, and although this conversation doesn’t relate directly to public health, water or infrastructure, it is a part of the book. Attisha writes about her youthful ignorance of Father Coughlin and his widespread message of racism and nationalism, despite growing up in Royal Oak where he was headquartered.

Click on the player above to hear host Stephen Henderson’s conversation with Andrew Lapin.


Detroit Today

Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.

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This post is a part of WDET Book Club.

Currently reading: "What The Eyes Don't See: The Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City" by Dr. Mona-Hanna Attisha. Read the book and engage with us online, on the radio and at events throughout the region.

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