Extraordinary Stories of Ordinary Life
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Featured story: Strange Fruit and the Inauguration

British Singer Rebecca Ferguson wanted to sing Strange Fruit at Donald Trump’s Inauguration. This is the story behind the song.

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Featured story: Busman’s Holiday

The story of William Cimillo, a New York City bus driver who snapped one day in 1947, left his regular route in the Bronx, and drove his municipal bus down to Florida.

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Featured story: The Working Tapes

In the early 1970’s, author Studs Terkel went around the country with a reel-to-reel tape recorder interviewing people about their jobs. Our new series, “Working: Then & Now” is now on NPR and The Radio Diaries Podcast.

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History
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Diaries We give people tape recorders and help them document their own lives in their own words

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Juan: 16 Years Later

16 years ago, Juan reported on his life as a recent Mexican immigrant living in poverty in Texas. In his new diary, Juan takes us on a tour of the life he has built since he first crossed the Rio Grande. It looks a lot like the typical American dream: a house, 2 cars, 3 kids—except for the fact he’s still living illegally in the U.S.

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Melissa: 16 Years Later

As an 18 year old raised in the foster care system, Melissa took NPR listeners along when she gave birth to her son Issaiah. Sixteen years later she chronicles her life as a working single mother.

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Portraits Extraordinary stories from ordinary places

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Walter Backerman, Seltzer Man

Once there were thousands of seltzer men in New York City. Today, Walter Backerman is one of the last.

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Selma Koch, Bra Saleswoman

94-year old Selma Koch runs the Town Shop, one of New York’s last old-style bra fitting shops.

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Histories Weaving together oral histories and archival tape to bring the past to life

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Ballad for Americans

How a ten minute operatic folk cantata managed to unite Democrats, Republicans and Communists.

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March of the Bonus Army

In 1932, 20,000 WWI veterans set up a tent city in Washington. They called themselves the Bonus Army.

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