Extraordinary Stories of Ordinary Life
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RadioLoveFest! Radio Diaries and The Moth Present Live Show at BAM

“Don’t Look Back: Stories from the Teenage Years” is hosted by Molly Ringwald and features two of our former Teenage Diarists telling stories on stage. Get your tickets today.

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First Kiss

“What I have here is an envelope on which this girl Nicole wrote down instructions on how to kiss. It says: ‘pucker lips, slowly open mouth, slowly slide tongue in, repeat steps 1, 2, and 3.’ She made that list for me because I made out with her and she said I was doing it wrong.”

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Remembering The Greatest Songwriter You’ve Never Heard Of

Rose Marie McCoy, one of the most prolific songwriters of the 1950’s and 60’s passed away recently at the age of 92.

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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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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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Last Man on the Mountain – Updated

On the Radio Diaries Podcast, we’re remembering Jimmy Weekley, the greatest underdog we’ve ever met.

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New Podcast: Weasel’s Diary, Revisited

We check in with Jose William Huezo Soriano – aka Weasel – 15 years after he recorded his audio diary about being deported to El Salvador.

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GET YOUR TICKETS! Teenage Diaries Revisited LIVE at 92Y

On November 19, join Joe Richman and Radiolab’s Robert Krulwich for a special multimedia event at the 92nd Street Y.

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New Podcast: Radio Row

Once upon a time, Ground Zero was known as “Radio Row.”

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New Podcast: When Borders Move

What happens when, instead of people crossing the border, the border crosses the people?

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The Two Lives of Asa Carter

Asa Carter and Forrest Carter couldn’t have been more different. But they shared a secret.

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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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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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New Podcast: Strange Fruit – Voices of a Lynching

An eerie photograph, a famous song, and the man who lived to tell the story.

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Podcast: “Halfrican” Revisited

We check in with Jeff, who recorded his teenage diary in 1998.

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Our Story on This American Life

Exciting news: We produced a brand-new (narrated!) version of our story, The Two Lives of Asa Carter for This American Life.

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Kickstarter

30 days to raise at least $40,000. Be part of it!

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Podcast: Walter the Seltzerman

Once there were thousands of seltzer men in New York City. Today, Walter Backerman is one of the last.

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Podcast: The Long Shadow of Forrest Carter

Asa Carter and Forrest Carter couldn’t have been more different. But they shared a secret.

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Transom Manifesto

If you’ve ever wanted to go behind-the-scenes at Radio Diaries, this is your chance.

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This is Radio

Check out this wonderful new collection of short videos called ‘This Is Radio.’ The latest one features Joe and the work we do at Radio Diaries.

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The Day Nelson Mandela Became Nelson Mandela

On April 20th, 1964 Nelson Mandela stood up in a stuffy South African courtroom and gave a speech.

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Frankie: 16 Years Later

As a teenager, Frankie recorded his life as a high school football star. 16 years later and with a baby on the way, he shares his struggle with drug addiction.

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Now Available: Commemorative CD of Mandela: An Audio History

Our new, expanded cd includes a special 32-page booklet with historic photos and a complete transcript of the documentary.

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Our Favorite Podcasts

An ever-expanding list of shows to listen to.

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Radiotopia Is Here

PRX (Public Radio Exchange) has launched a new collective of the best story-driven shows on the planet. We are proud to be a founding member, along with some of the most talented producers around.

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Nelson Mandela 1918 – 2013

Read our tribute to the life of Nelson Mandela.

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How to Make Radio – A Syllabus

Here’s a list of great books to start paging through.

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New Podcast: The Last Man on the Mountain

In West Virginia, people say that in the old days, communities turned into ghost towns when the coal ran out. Now they turn into ghost towns when the mountaintop mines move in.

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Mandela: An Audio History

A five-part radio series documenting the struggle against apartheid.

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Ira Glass Writes: Go to the Teenage Diaries Revisited Live Show in DC

7 PM on November 12 at the Sixth and I Synagogue and Performance Space. Get your tickets now!

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Radio Diaries Podcast: The View from the 79th Floor

Stories from the day a plane crashed into the Empire State Building.

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Josh: 16 Years Later

In high school, Josh documented his life with Tourette’s Syndrome. 16 years later, Josh records a new diary about trying to live a normal adult life with a brain that often betrays him.

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Teenage Diaries Revisited LIVE Coming to DC

Get your tickets now for our Teenage Diaries Revisited event on November 12.

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Burma ’88

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.

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RDRonNPR
Listen to our latest series on  n  p  r .

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Teenage Diaries Revisited Podcast: Josh

Listen to Josh’s teenage and grown-up diaries in our latest podcast. (Plus, outtakes!)

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The Art (and Science) behind Teenage Diaries

A video of Joe’s talk at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism about producing Teenage Diaries Revisited.

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Hey Teens! Tell Your Story by May 31

The deadline for our Teenage Diaries contest is just around the corner.

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Producer’s Notebook: Shaping ‘Teenage Diaries’

Joe writes about how the Teenage Diaries Revisited project began.

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Hey Teenagers! We Want To Hear Your Stories

Are you a teenager with a story to tell? Write it down, photograph it (and record it if you want) and then submit it to the storytelling site Cowbird.

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Melissa’s Diary, Revisited

Learn how the Teenage Diaries Revisited series began.

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Amanda’s Diary: Revisited

Amanda was the first teenage diarist I ever worked with (and the last before the world went digital). Now, more than 16 years later, Amanda is back on NPR as part of our Teenage Diaries Revisited series.

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Teenage Diaries Revisited Reading List

The editors at Bookish.com have developed a reading list with books that correspond to the stories in Teenage Diaries Revisited.

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Josh’s Diary: Revisited

One of the things that makes Josh Cutler a great diarist is that I never know what he is going to say next. Sometimes he doesn’t either.

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Frankie’s Diary, Revisited

From football star, to junkie, to dad. A lot of life happens in 16 years.

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Juan’s Diary, Revisited

16 years after his teenage diary, Juan has achieved a version of the American dream: a good job, happy marriage, three kids, two cars, and his own home. But he’s still undocumented.

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Teenage Diaries Revisited “The Movie”

Watch this trailer for our new series, airing May 6-10 on NPR’s All Things Considered.

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Win Tickets to Teenage Diaries Revisited at BAM!

Tell your story to the folks at Bookish for a chance to win a pair of VIP tickets to our Teenage Diaries Revisited event at BAM on May 6.

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Teenage Diaries Revisited at BAM

On May 6 at 7:30 PM, join Ira Glass of This American Life and Joe Richman of Radio Diaries in a special live multimedia event at BAM’s Fishman Space to kick off our new series, Teenage Diaries Revisited.

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Teenage Diaries Contest

Radio Diaries is looking for the next generation of Teenage Diarists, so we’re hosting a contest to find the country’s most talented teenage storytellers.

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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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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. Sixteen years later she chronicles her life as a working single mother.

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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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Teen Contender

At 16, Claressa Shields was the youngest woman to compete for a spot on the first-ever women’s Olympic boxing team.

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From ‘Halfrican’ to ‘Mulatto History Month’

When Jeff Rogers recorded his Teenage Diary back in 1998, he referred to himself as a ‘halfrican.’ We caught up with Jeff in this week’s podcast, while he was in the midst of celebrating ‘Mulatto History Month.’

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Teenage Diaries Series

Since 1996, Radio Diaries has given tape recorders to young people around the country and worked with them to produce the Teenage Diaries series for NPR.

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Mexico ’68: A Movement, A Massacre, and the 40-Year Search for the Truth

The Massacre of Tlatelolco has become a defining moment in Mexican history, but for forty years the truth of that day has remained hidden.

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Weasel’s Diary: Deported

A 26-year-old Los Angeles resident gets deported to his parents’ home country of El Salvador, which he has not seen since age five.

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An Accidental Archivist and the (nearly) complete audio of George Wallace’s ‘Segregation’ Speech

When searching for the audio of George Wallace’s ‘Segregation Now, Segregation Tomorrow, Segregation Forever,’ speech, we repeatedly found ourselves at …

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On World AIDS Day, Remembering Thembi Ngubane

World AIDS Day is a day to support people living with HIV and to celebrate the lives of those who have died from the virus. For me, it’s a day to remember Thembi Ngubane.

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Thembi’s AIDS Diary

Thembi Ngubane was willing to stand up and speak out at a time when few South Africans were willing to say, “I have AIDS.”

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A Teenage Diary, Lost and Found

14 years ago, Melissa Rodriguez disappeared. She walked out of her apartment in New Haven, left most of her belongings, changed her cell phone number, and didn’t tell her friends where she was going. All she took was her two-year old son, Issaiah, and a few photographs. A year ago, we received an email from her that inspired us to revisit our Teenage Diaries series.

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Radio Diaries Wins Gold at the Third Coast Festival

Teen boxer Claressa Shields says she’s never gotten anything other than gold, and at the Third Coast International Audio Festival she kept her record. Radio Diaries is incredibly proud to tell you that our story about Claressa, Teen Contender, won the prize for Best Documentary.

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Share Your Teenage Diary on Cowbird

To commemorate the “sweet 16” of the acclaimed Teenage Diaries project—where young people around the country are given tape recorders to report on their own lives for public radio—Radio Diaries and NPR are now teaming up with the storytelling platform Cowbird to gather new stories written, recorded and photographed by teens.

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The Cowbird Teenage Diaries Step-by-Step Guide

A collection of Cowbird Teenage Diaries will be featured on npr.org. Plus, two teens will be selected to work with Radio Diaries to produce audio Teenage Diaries that will air on NPR in 2013! Learn how to participate in this project.

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Claressa Shields wins Gold!

Wow! 17 year old Claressa Shields – our Teen Contender – just won the gold medal! It’s a historic moment: …

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Q: Who are you rooting for in the Olympics?

A: Claressa Shields!
At Radio Diaries we are throwing away all pretense of journalistic objectivity. After a long journey, Claressa’s going for the gold.

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Lost and Found Tape: Mandela’s Voice in Prison

While working on the documentary, Mandela: An Audio History, we stumbled across the only known recording of Nelson Mandela during his 27 years in prison. This is the story behind it.

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My Lunch With Nelson Mandela

Joe Richman spent more than a year trying to get an interview with Nelson Mandela for the radio series Mandela: An Audio History. When the day finally came, it was a total surprise.

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Celebrating Nelson Mandela

Radio Diaries will be celebrating Nelson Mandela’s life and legacy all week next week.
Stray tuned…

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Claressa “Teen Contender” Among the First Women to Box in the Olympics

Last month, we followed teen boxer Claressa Shields while she was preparing for the Summer Olympic Games 2012 in London.

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The Making of “Teen Contender” and Other Stories

Radio Diaries is profiled in the current “Why’s This So Good” feature from the Nieman Storyboard. Go ‘behind-the-scenes’ to find …

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Can Claressa Shields Remake Women’s Boxing?: The New Yorker

In this week’s New Yorker, Ariel Levy profiles Claressa Shields, the subject of our story from earlier this year, Teen …

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The Two Lives of Asa Carter: Trailer

Radio Diaries’ next story, “The Two lives of Asa Carter”, will be broadcast on NPR on Friday April 20 at …

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Radio Diaries songs from The Ghost of Joseph Buck

Over the past year, Americana band The Ghost of Joseph Buck has been writing and recording songs based on our …

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Teen Contender Audio Slideshow

“Teen Contender” airs today (Monday) on NPR’s All Things Considered at 4:30 PM (ET). At 16, Claressa Shields is the …

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Women Box Live Event with Rosie Perez

Get your tickets quick before they’re gone….Friday 2/10, photographer Sue Johnson and teen boxer Claressa Shields will join Rosie Perez …

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Women Box

In 2012, for the first time, women boxers will compete in the Olympics. We’re collaborating with the New York Times, …

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Lots of New Podcasts Up!

If you subscribe to our podcast, you’ll notice we’ve thrown a lot of podcasts up in the past month. If …

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A Lovely Animation for World AIDS Day

A couple of years ago, an animation student at CalArts named Jisoo Kim came to us with an idea. She …

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Robert Johnson, Pablo Casals….and ZZ Top

Our latest documentary airs today on NPR…..and it’s kind of a strange one. Strange and beautiful. And it may be …

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New story on NPR today!

Happy veterans day, all. We’ve been thinking about vets….and Occupy Wall Street….and how timely our latest documentary is. We’re looking …

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The Gospel Ranger

Outside the Appalachian mountains, his name was barely known. But Claude Ely influenced some of the pioneers of rock & roll.

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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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The Square Deal

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.”

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Strange Fruit: Voices of a Lynching

“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

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Becoming Nelson Mandela

Mandela was a lawyer, freedom fighter, leader of the African National Congress, and finally, president.

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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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New Website!

Hello! Welcome to Radio Diaries’ new and improved website. We’re still in beta, and the site may still have some …

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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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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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Identical Strangers

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.”

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Victoria Woodhull: The First Woman to Run for President

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.

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A Man and His Cello

Bernard Greenhouse was a founding member of the acclaimed Beaux Arts Trio. At 92, he continues to perform and teach. And his cello, a 300-year-old Stradivarius, has been his constant companion.

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William Jennings Bryan: The Speech That Changed Politics

William Jenning Bryan’s “Cross of Gold” speech is known today as one of the most important oratorical performances in American history.

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Adlai Stevenson: A Candidate in the Age of Television

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.

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Margaret Chase Smith: Cold War Warrior in Pearls

In 1964, Margaret Chase Smith became the first woman from a major party to run for President.

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Shirley Chisholm: The Politics of Principle

In 1972, Shirley Chisholm launched a spirited campaign for the Democratic nomination. She was the first woman and first African American to run.

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Pasquale Spensieri, Grinder

Pasquale Spensieri spends his days driving around Brooklyn looking for dull blades.

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