Extraordinary Stories of Ordinary Life
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Featured story: Frankie: 16 Years Later

As a teenager, Frankie was a high school football star whose picture was in his hometown newspaper every week. Years after graduating, Frankie was back in the paper—when he was arrested for drug related crimes. In his new diary, Frankie tells his story of crystal meth addiction and takes his recorder along while he attempts to repair his relationship with his family. With a baby on the way, Frankie is hoping for a second chance.

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Featured story: Willie McGee and the Traveling Electric Chair

Bridgette McGee is unearthing everything she can about her grandfather’s life – and his death.

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Featured story: Teenage Diaries Revisited

A lot of life happens in 16 years.

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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. 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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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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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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West Side Story: Michael Farmer and the Murder that Shocked New York

More than fifty years ago, Puerto Rican and black gang members in New York City fatally stabbed Michael Farmer, a white teenager.

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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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