First-person diaries, sound portraits, and hidden chapters of history from Peabody Award-winning producer Joe Richman and the Radio Diaries team. From teenagers to octogenarians, prisoners to prison guards, bra saleswomen to lighthouse keepers. The extraordinary stories of ordinary life. Radio Diaries is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Learn more at radiotopia.fm.
The End of Smallpox
Only one human disease has ever been completely eradicated: Smallpox. Smallpox was around for more than 3,000 years and killed at least 300 million people in the 20th century. Then, by 1980, it was gone.
Rahima Banu was the last person in the world to have the deadliest form of smallpox. In 1975, Banu was a toddler growing up in a remote village in Bangladesh when she developed the telltale bumpy rash. Soon, public health workers from around the world showed up at her home to try to keep the virus from spreading. This is her story.
This episode of Radio Diaries has support from GreenChef. Go to GreenChef.com/diaries130 and use code diaries130 to get $130 off, plus free shipping.
The Story of Jane
Before the U.S. Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade, abortion was illegal throughout most of the country. But that doesn't mean women didn't get them.
In 1965, an underground network formed in Chicago to help pregnant women get abortions. At first, they connected women with doctors willing to break the law to perform the procedure. Eventually, they were trained and began performing abortions themselves. The group called itself “Jane.” Over the years, Jane performed more than 11,000 first and second trimester abortions.
This story first aired in 2018.
The Greatest Songwriter You've Never Heard Of
You probably don’t know her name, but you definitely know her songs. Rose Marie McCoy would’ve turned 100 years old today. On this episode of the Radio Diaries Podcast, we’re remembering Rose and her music. In the 1950's and early 1960's, American pop music saw the melding of different genres - rhythm & blues, country, and rock & roll - bringing together black and white, northern and southern musical styles. Rose was one of the most prolific songwriters of that era. She wrote more than 800 songs recorded by singers like Nat King Cole, Elvis Presley, Dizzy Gillespie, Ike & Tina Turner, Big Maybelle, Ruth Brown, James Brown, Sarah Vaughan, Johnny Mathis and Aretha Franklin.
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.”
This story originally aired on NPR in 2007.
Today’s episode is supported by Green Chef. Visit GreenChef.com/diaries130 and use code diaries130 to get $130 off, plus free shipping.
Sofia's Choice: A Ukrainian Diary
Sofia Bretl has lived in New York City for the last decade. But she was born and raised in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, about 25 miles from the Russian border. The city has received some of the worst shelling so far in the war. That’s where her mother lives. As conditions in Kharkiv worsened, they faced a difficult choice.
If you’d like to show your support during this crisis, one organization that is helping settle refugees is HIAS. Find them at hias.org.
The Forgotten Story of Clinton Melton
This week, the Senate unanimously passed legislation that would make lynching a federal hate crime. It was a historic moment. Congress has tried and failed to pass antilynching legislation more than 200 times over the course of more than a century.
The Emmett Till Antilynching Act is named for a 14-year-old boy whose murder 67 years ago shocked the nation. Till had traveled from Chicago to the Mississippi Delta to visit family when he was kidnapped, horribly beaten, and killed by white men after allegedly flirting with a white woman. His body was later found in the Tallahatchie river. Today, Emmett Till’s death is considered the spark that ignited the burgeoning Civil Rights Movement.
But few people know about another brazen murder of a Black man that happened just three months later, in a neighboring town in the Delta. Today on the Radio Diaries Podcast, we tell the forgotten story of Clinton Melton.
This episode first aired on NPR in 2020.
Laugh, Cry, Repeat
I love Radio Diaries but one episode really struck me. I just listened to the episode from April 30, 2021 ‘25 Years of Radio Diaries’ (with Amanda from Teenage Diaries) and I just want to say: I want to be the kind of parent that Amanda’s parents are. I cried all the tears; happy, sad, relief, joy. It was a beautiful episode with two “all loving all the time”parents and their brave beautiful daughter. ❤️ Thank you Radio Diaries.
I always learn something from this podcast. I especially like the way Joe Richmond gets out of the way and lets the people he’s interviewing do the talking, yet the interviews are poignant and Concise
One of my favorites
So we’ll researched and always so good
I highly recommend!!!!!