Extraordinary Stories of Ordinary Life
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Featured story: A Mother, Then and Now

In our latest podcast, we catch up with Melissa, who recorded a diary about being a teen mom in 1996.

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Featured story: Radio Diaries Turns 20!

20 years ago, NPR’s All Things Considered began running my occasional series, Teenage Diaries… which then grew up to become …

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Featured story: The Man 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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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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Amanda: 16 Years Later

At the age of 17, Amanda knew she was gay. But her parents kept insisting she’d grow out of it. Today, a lot has changed in the country, and within her own family. In her new story, Amanda goes back to her parents to find out how they came to accept having a daughter who is gay.

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

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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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Soweto 1976

On June 16th, 1976, in South Africa, a group of school children in the black township of Soweto held a protest and changed the course of a nation.

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