Extraordinary Stories of Ordinary Life
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Featured story: New Podcast: Radio Row

“To invent … you need a good imagination. And a pile of junk.”
– Thomas Edison.

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Featured story: The Chamizal: A Town Between Borders

When the U.S. and Mexico chose the Rio Grande as an international border, they didn’t expect the river to move.

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Featured story: Working Then and Now

In the early 1970s, radio host and oral historian Studs Terkel recorded more than 130 interviews for his bestselling oral history “Working.”

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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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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. Over the past 16 years Melissa and her son have faced many challenges, from eviction notices to her son’s life-threatening medical diagnosis. In her new diary, Melissa chronicles her life as a working single mother, and reveals things about her past that her son has never known.

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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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Portraits Extraordinary stories from ordinary places

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The Last Man on the Mountain

In the 1990s, Arch Coal began mining Pigeonroost Hollow. Now Jimmy Weekley is the last person left there.

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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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The WASPs: Women Pilots of WWII

In the early 1940s, the government launched an experimental program to train women pilots. They were known as the WASPs, the Women Airforce Service Pilots.

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A Guitar, A Cello, and The Day That Changed Music

November 23, 1936, was a very good day for recorded music.

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