How a ten minute operatic folk cantata managed to unite Democrats, Republicans and Communists.
Weaving together oral histories and archival tape to bring the past to life.
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.
What makes a hero? Why do we remember some stories and not others?
November 23, 1936, was a very good day for recorded music.
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.
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.
When the U.S. and Mexico chose the Rio Grande as an international border, they didn’t expect the river to move.
In the early 1970s, radio host and oral historian Studs Terkel recorded more than 130 interviews for his bestselling oral history “Working.”
Bridgette McGee is unearthing everything she can about her grandfather’s life – and his death.
On July 28, 1945 an Army bomber pilot on a routine ferry mission found himself lost in the fog over Manhattan.
25 years ago, university students in Burma sparked a countrywide uprising. They called for a nationwide strike on 8/8/88, a date they chose for its numerological power.
The Massacre of Tlatelolco has become a defining moment in Mexican history, but for forty years the truth of that day has remained hidden.
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.
Asa Carter and Forrest Carter couldn’t have been more different. But they shared a secret.
In 1932, 20,000 WWI veterans set up a tent city in Washington. They called themselves the Bonus Army.
Outside the Appalachian mountains, his name was barely known. But Claude Ely influenced some of the pioneers of rock & roll.
George F. Johnson was the owner of the Endicott Johnson Corp. — at one time the country’s leading shoe manufacturer — and one of the nation’s leading welfare capitalists known for his labor policy, the “Square Deal.”
“Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck, for the rain to gather, for the wind to suck, for the sun to rot, for a tree to drop. Here is a strange and bitter crop.” -Abel Meeropol
Mandela was a lawyer, freedom fighter, leader of the African National Congress, and finally, president.
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.
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.
More than fifty years ago, Puerto Rican and black gang members in New York City fatally stabbed Michael Farmer, a white teenager.
Paula Bernstein and Elyse Schein were both born in New York City and adopted as infants. When they were 35-years-old, they met, and found they were “identical strangers.”
In the 19th century, Victoria Woodhull was many things: a clairvoyant, a businesswoman, an advocate for women’s rights and sexual freedom, and a presidential candidate.
William Jenning Bryan’s “Cross of Gold” speech is known today as one of the most important oratorical performances in American history.
The 1952 presidential campaign pitted the popular General Dwight D. Eisenhower against the intensely private Adlai Stevenson. It was an election fought on a new battleground: television.
In 1964, Margaret Chase Smith became the first woman from a major party to run for President.
In 1972, Shirley Chisholm launched a spirited campaign for the Democratic nomination. She was the first woman and first African American to run.
In 1940 the United States was just emerging from the shadow of the Great Depression and war loomed in Europe. Into these serious times stepped Gracie Allen.
Alben Barkley served in Congress for close to 40 years and was Harry Truman’s vice president. But he never made it to the pinnacle of power.
For more than four decades, the area around Cortlandt Street in lower Manhattan was the largest collection of radio and electronics stores in the world. Then in 1966 the stores were bulldozed to make way for the new World Trade Center.
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.
The men of the 10th Mountain Division led a series of daring assaults against the Nazis in the mountains of Italy. After returning home, many of these soldiers helped to create the modern ski industry.
A century ago, a steamship on its way to a church picnic sank in the East River. More than 1,000 people, many of them women and children, died in the disaster.
You may not know her name, but Rose Marie McCoy was one of the most prolific songwriters of the 1950s and 1960s.
The NBA, now a multi-billion dollar entertainment industry, looked very different a half century ago.
Seven decades ago, Daisy Anderson and Alberta Martin were brand new brides. And their husbands served on opposite sides of the Civil War.