Extraordinary Stories of Ordinary Life
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A Guitar, A Cello and the Day that Changed Music

November 23, 1936 was a good day for recorded music. Two men – an ocean apart – sat before a …

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Banging on the Door: The Election of 1872

The 1872 election echoed the current American political climate in several ways. For one, the Republican Party was in danger …

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The Square Deal

In the early 20th century, George F. Johnson ran the biggest shoe factory in the world: The Endicott-Johnson Corporation in …

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The Massacre at Tlatelolco

In October 1968, Mexico was preparing to host the Olympics. It was a big moment for the country, as this …

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Rumble Strip: Finn and the Bell

This is a story from the Rumble Strip podcast. It’s about a boy named Finn Rooney who loved to fish and play baseball, and about what happens to a small Vermont community as it staggers forward after an unspeakable tragedy.

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The Almost Astronaut Transcript

Joe Richman: From PRX’s Radiotopia, this is Radio Diaries. I’m Joe Richman.  President Kennedy: Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, my …

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The Almost Astronaut

In an attempt to beat the Soviet Union in the space race, the Kennedy administration enlisted Air Force captain Ed Dwight to enter the astronaut training program as its first Black trainee.

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The Story of Jane Transcript

Joe Richman: From PRX’s Radiotopia, this is Radio Diaries. I’m Joe Richmond.    Walter Cronkite: Good evening. Tonight, the subject …

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The End of Smallpox Transcript

*Translation support from Bengali to English provided by Dil Afrose Jahan   Joe Richman: From PRX’s Radiotopia, this is Radio …

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The General Slocum Transcript

Joe Richman: From PRX’s Radiotopia, this is Radio Diaries. I’m Joe Richman.    Robin London: Guys, if you ever need …

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A Voicemail Valentine Transcript

Joe Richman: From PRX’s Radiotopia, this is Radio Diaries. I’m Joe Richman.   Archival: Now by virtue of the authority …

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The General Slocum

On June 15, 1904, a steamship called the General Slocum left the pier on East Third Street in New York …

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The End of Smallpox

Rahima Banu holds a remarkable place in history, as the last known person in the world to be infected with smallpox. This week on the RadioDiaries podcast, the story behind a global effort to eradicate the deadly virus.

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The Greatest Songwriter You’ve Never Heard Of

You probably don’t know her name, but you definitely know her songs. Rose Marie McCoy was the woman behind smash hits by Tina Turner, Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin and more – but most people have never heard of her.

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Identical Strangers

Paula Bernstein and Elyse Schein met for the first time when they were 35 years old and found they were “identical strangers.”

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Sofia’s Choice Transcript

Joe Richman: From PRX’s Radiotopia. This is Radio Diaries, I’m Joe Richman In times of war, one of the most …

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Sofia’s Choice: A Ukrainian Diary

Sofia’s mother Vita was living in Kharkiv, Ukraine when Russian forces invaded. The family is now faced with an difficult choice.

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The Forgotten Story of ClintonMelton [Transcript]

Joe Richman: From PRX’s Radiotopia, this Radio Diaries. I’m Joe Richman. This week, the Senate unanimously passed legislation that would …

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The Forgotten Story of Clinton Melton

Earlier this month, the Senate unanimously passed legislation that would make lynching a federal hate crime. The new Emmett Till …

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Claudette Colvin: Making Trouble Then and Now [Transcript]

Joe Richman: From PRX is Radiotopia. This is Radio Diaries. I’m Joe Richman. We’re proud to be part of a …

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Claudette Colvin: Making Trouble Then and Now

Claudette Colvin grew up in Montgomery, Alabama. On March 2, 1955, she refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a crowded bus, violating the city’s segregation laws. The bus driver called the police, but Colvin refused to move.

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A Voicemail Valentine

Nowadays, we’re very accustomed to recording and hearing the sound of our own voices. But in the 1930s, many people …

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Diary of a Saudi Girl: Then & Now

We’re bringing you a new conversation from one of our favorite diarists, Majd Abdulghani. When we first met Majd, she …

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A Museum of Sound

Thanks to the Music Modernization Act, tens of thousands of recordings made before 1923 will enter the public domain for the very first time on January 1, 2022.

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A Museum of Sound Transcript

Archival Audio: Radiotopia Joe: From PRX’s Radiotopia, this is Radio Diaries. I’m Joe Richman. This year as a pandemic project, …

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A Real Life West Side Story

A new movie version of West Side Story is hitting theaters this week. The musical, which tells a story of …

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A Real Life West Side Story Transcript

A Real Life West Side Story Joe Richman, host: From PRX’s Radiotopia. This is Radio Diaries. I’m Joe Richman. A …

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A Guitar, A Cello, and The Day That Changed Music

85 years ago, Pablo Casals and Robert Johnson both made recordings that would change music history.

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A Wrench in the Works

On September 18, 1980, a technician dropped a wrench in a missile silo in Damascus, Arkansas. This is the story of an accident that nearly wiped out a giant portion of the midwest.

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My Iron Lung

On June 8, 1953, five-year-old Martha Lillard contracted polio. She spent six months in the hospital, where she was put …

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My Iron Lung Transcript

Joe Richman, Host: In the first half of the 20th century, the disease known as polio myelitis (my-eh-LIGHT-is) panicked Americans. …

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When Borders Move

The Rio Grande has long marked the boundary between the U.S. and Mexico. But rivers can move. What happens when — instead of the people crossing the border — the border crosses the people.

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The Two Lives of Asa Carter Transcript

This episode contains disturbing language.   Joe Richman from PRX’s Radiotopia, this is Radio Diaries. I’m Joe Richmond. Today on …

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The Two Lives of Asa Carter

Former Klansman Asa Carter was a segregationist speechwriter for Alabama Governor George Wallace. He most infamously penned the words ”segregation …

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When Ground Zero was Radio Row

When City Radio opened on New York City’s Cortlandt Street in 1921, radio was a novelty. Over the next few decades, hundreds of stores popped up in the neighborhood: Leotone Radio, Cantor the Cabinet King, and Blan the Radio Man.

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Last Witness: The Kerner Commission

Former Senator Oklahoma Fred Harris is the last surviving member of the Kerner Commission, a group appointed by President Lyndon Johnson to investigate the root causes of the violence and civil unrest that swept the nation in the late ’60s.

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Prisoners of War

During the war in Vietnam, there was a notorious American military prison on the outskirts of Saigon called Long Binh …

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The Gospel Ranger

The Unlikely Musical Legacy of Brother Claude Ely.

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From the Archive: Josh’s Diary

Twenty-five years ago, Josh Cutler was a 16-year old living with Tourette’s Syndrome, a neurological condition that often causes physical and verbal tics.

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