State of the Re:Union: Hawai'i: The Legacy of Sugar

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Sugarcane fields in Hawaii

For many Americans, Hawai'i is a tropical playground, the place of surf, sun and dream vacations. Behind the tourist façade, though, is one of the most unique multicultural states in the nation, one still dealing with the complicated legacy of the circumstances under which it become part of this country.

In this episode of State Of The Re:Union, learn about one thing that has shaped so much of Hawai'i's character: sugar. Long before the state was a tourist's paradise, Hawai'i depended on sugar plantations to grow its economy, and it's still navigating the complicated legacy which has been left behind.

Host Al Letson guides us on a journey from the 1300s to the 21st century, chronicling how sugar became such a driving force in this unexplored land, the resulting racial tensions and attempts to preserve culture, and how the United States managed to annex a foreign country outside its borders.