Extraordinary Stories of Ordinary Life
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Featured story: George Wallace and the Legacy of a Sentence

Listen to our story about “Segregation Now, Segregation Tomorrow, Segregation Forever” on the Radio Diaries Podcast.

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Featured story: The View from the 79th Floor

On July 28, 1945 an Army bomber pilot on a routine ferry mission found himself lost in the fog over Manhattan. A dictation machine in a nearby office happened to capture the sound of the plane as it hit the Empire State Building at the 79th floor. Find out what happened next on the Radio Diaries Podcast.

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Featured story: Miss Subways

Beauty pageants promote the fantasy of the ideal woman. But for 35 years, the Miss Subways contest in New York City celebrated the everyday working girl.

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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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My So-Called Lungs

Laura Rothenberg tried to live a normal life, with lungs that betrayed her and the awareness that she might not live to see her 30th birthday.

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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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Portraits Extraordinary stories from ordinary places

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

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The Pygmy in the Zoo

On September 8th, 1906, New York’s Bronx Zoo unveiled a new exhibit that would attract thousands of visitors. Inside a cage, in the monkey house, was a man.

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Segregation Now, Segregation Forever: The Infamous Words of George Wallace

On the 50th anniversary of Wallace’s inaugural speech as the Governor of Alabama, Radio Diaries tells the story behind those infamous words, and the man who delivered them.

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