Sarah Handel | WAMC

Sarah Handel

Updated June 11, 2021 at 7:49 PM ET

Before there was Hamilton, there was In the Heights.

Lin-Manuel Miranda's exploration of the American dream started in his own hometown of Manhattan — which holds the first chapter in many American stories, he says. Specifically, Miranda's first Tony-winning musical takes place in the immigrant neighborhood of Washington Heights.

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For more than a year, we have shared stories about people who have died of COVID-19 in the U.S. Today, the story of an Ohio couple who were childhood sweethearts.

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Tennessee could owe a historically Black university more than a half-billion dollars after it withheld funding for decades.

A bipartisan legislative committee determined last month that the state failed to adequately fund Tennessee State University in matched land grants going all the way back to the 1950s, costing the public university between $150 million and $544 million.

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When the pandemic began and lots of people moved to remote work, some also moved full stop to new places - places they would rather live in far from the offices they had long been tied to.

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This afternoon the family and friends of Andrew Brown Jr. gathered for his funeral in Elizabeth City, N.C.

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UNIDENTIFIED SINGER: (Singing) When I'm weak, you are my strength.

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Before she became a writer for TV, Sierra Teller Ornelas worked at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian. And she remembers one year, teenagers kept coming in and asking about the Quileute Nation.

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President Biden imposed a tough new round of sanctions on Russia today.

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If you've turned on your radio anytime over the past quarter century, there's a decent chance you heard the voice of Sheryl Crow. From "All I Wanna Do" to "If It Makes You Happy," the Missouri-born music-maker has been consistently pumping out feel-good pop rock for more than three decades. Now, after nine Grammys and more than 50 million albums sold, the singer-songwriter says her 11th album, Threads, out Aug. 30, will be her last.

#NPRreads is a weekly feature on Twitter and on The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers throughout our newsroom share pieces that have kept them reading. They share tidbits using the #NPRreads hashtag — and on Fridays, we highlight some of the best stories.

This week, we bring you four reads.

From NPR's Washington correspondent Don Gonyea:

It's only rock and roll.

This fall, the more than 38 million kids who get their lunches through the National School Lunch Program are seeing big changes on their trays.