Radio Diaries Radio Diaries is a nonprofit project that works with people to document their own lives — in their own words — for public radio: teens, seniors, prison inmates and others whose voices are rarely heard. Produced by Joe Richman, the audio documentaries air on All Things Considered.
Special Series

Radio Diaries

Extraordinary Stories of Ordinary Life

Rahima Banu, pictured with her mother in Bangladesh in 1975, is recorded as having the last known naturally-occurring case of the deadly form of smallpox. Daniel Tarantola/WHO hide caption

toggle caption
Daniel Tarantola/WHO

How Rahima came to hold a special place in smallpox history — and help ensure its end

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.janepoynter.com/player/embed/1099830501/1100283577" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Vita Linnik (left) and Sofia Bretl smile and pose in a photo booth during happier times. Sofia Bretl hide caption

toggle caption
Sofia Bretl

When deciding to flee Ukraine means leaving a family member behind

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.janepoynter.com/player/embed/1089698151/1089774618" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Martha Lillard needed a large respirator called an iron lung to recover from polio, which she caught in 1953. She still uses a form of the device at nights. Courtesy of Martha Lillard hide caption

toggle caption
Courtesy of Martha Lillard

Decades after polio, Martha is among the last to still rely on an iron lung to breathe

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.janepoynter.com/player/embed/1047691984/1049092973" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Fred Harris, pictured in 2016, is the last surviving member of the Kerner commission. Their report openly discussed racism in the U.S. in a way that sent shockwaves through the country. Morgan Lee/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Morgan Lee/AP

The Kerner Commission's Last Living Member Says We Still Need To Talk About Racism

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.janepoynter.com/player/embed/1040791834/1040791835" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Harry Pace started the first major Black-owned record label in the U.S., but his achievements went mostly unnoticed until recently, when his descendants uncovered his secret history." Courtesy of Peter Pace hide caption

toggle caption
Courtesy of Peter Pace

Radio Diaries: Harry Pace And The Rise And Fall Of Black Swan Records

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.janepoynter.com/player/embed/1011901555/1011901556" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Thembi Ngubane was willing to speak out at a time when few South Africans were willing to say, "I have AIDS." She carried a tape recorder from 2004 to 2005 to document her life. She died in 2009. Sue Jaye Johnson hide caption

toggle caption
Sue Jaye Johnson

Radio Diaries: 25 Years Of Telling Complex Stories Through Everyday Moments

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.janepoynter.com/player/embed/992006275/992588379" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

On March 1, 1954, Puerto Rican nationalists from New York carried out a shooting attack on Capitol Hill, in Washington, D.C. Front row, from left to right: Irving Flores Rodriguez, Rafael Cancel Miranda, Lolita Lebron and Andres Figueroa Cordero, stand in a police lineup following their arrests. AP hide caption

toggle caption
AP

Listen: Eyewitnesses Recount The 1954 Shooting Attack On The U.S. Capitol

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.janepoynter.com/player/embed/957722906/957779185" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Deloris Melton Gresham in her home in Drew, Miss., holding photographs of her parents Clinton and Beulah Melton. Courtesy of Radio Diaries hide caption

toggle caption
Courtesy of Radio Diaries

Clinton Melton: A Man Who Was Killed In Mississippi Just 3 Months After Emmett Till

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.janepoynter.com/player/embed/906791647/906855364" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Fourth-generation funeral home director Patrick Kearns (left) and his business partner and brother-in-law Paul Kearns-Stanley stand in front of their funeral home in North Richmond Hill, Queens. Fiona Kearns hide caption

toggle caption
Fiona Kearns

New York Funeral Director: Pandemic Has Been A Wave That 'Knocks You Over'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.janepoynter.com/player/embed/888280295/890558137" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Paul and Francesca Montanaro at Katonah Pizza & Pasta in the Bronx borough of New York City. Paul and Francesca Montanaro hide caption

toggle caption
Paul and Francesca Montanaro

When Your Dad Owns A Pizzeria, The Pandemic Means Learning To Make The Perfect Pie

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.janepoynter.com/player/embed/886033575/887128943" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

"What makes this pandemic so scary is all the unknown factors," writes 40-year-old Mohammed Monsuri. Lisa R. Cohen hide caption

toggle caption
Lisa R. Cohen

Lockdown In Lockup: A Prisoner At Sing Sing On Life During The COVID-19 Crisis

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.janepoynter.com/player/embed/883392409/884039432" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Lavon (here before the pandemic) considers herself fortunate compared with other people without housing. Laura Jones hide caption

toggle caption
Laura Jones

For Portland, Ore., Woman, Home These Days Is Where She Parks Her Minivan

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.janepoynter.com/player/embed/882080701/882481391" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Joshua Boliver and Gali Beeri decided to quarantine together in New York City — after one date. Gali Beeri hide caption

toggle caption
Gali Beeri

Love At First Quarantine: After A Single Date, Couple Hunkers Down Together

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.janepoynter.com/player/embed/863964558/864410912" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Wendy and Robert Jackson have been married for 15 years and now are social distancing at home. Brian Hong hide caption

toggle caption
Brian Hong

He's Immunocompromised. She's An ER Doctor. They Are Living Together, Apart

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.janepoynter.com/player/embed/846495546/847983094" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Joe Newman, 107, hugs his fiancée, Anita Sampson, who recently celebrated her 100th birthday with a party over Zoom. ABC Action News hide caption

toggle caption
ABC Action News

For Centenarian Survivor Of 1918 Flu Pandemic, Coronavirus Is Just Another 'Problem'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.janepoynter.com/player/embed/835131873/835308226" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Prisoners on work duty, filling sandbags in the "Big Red" work area. Paul Grossheim/Courtesy of Forsyth Library, Fort Hays State University hide caption

toggle caption
Paul Grossheim/Courtesy of Forsyth Library, Fort Hays State University

The Forgotten History Of A Prison Uprising In Vietnam

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.janepoynter.com/player/embed/642617106/643062162" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Ninety-seven years after the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 took place, Oliva Hooker, 103, is thought to be the last surviving witness. Nellie Gilles/Radio Diaries hide caption

toggle caption
Nellie Gilles/Radio Diaries

Meet The Last Surviving Witness To The Tulsa Race Riot Of 1921

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.janepoynter.com/player/embed/615546965/615911101" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

In the 1930s and '40s many people sent love letters to each other by sending their voices on records. Thomas Y. Levin/Phono-Post Archive at Princeton University. hide caption

toggle caption
Thomas Y. Levin/Phono-Post Archive at Princeton University.

Voice In The Mail: Audio Love Letters Were Hot In The 1930s And '40s

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.janepoynter.com/player/embed/585776715/585841276" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript