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Voices to Celebrate Women’s History Month

Click the stories below to hear the voices of many women who have challenged gender norms, advanced their fields, and left a lasting legacy.

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No More Questions!

Strong-willed Kay Wang allows her son and granddaughter to ask her a few brief questions about her adventures in life.

Silvia’s Legacy

Ellaraino honors a priceless piece of her family’s history: the stories of her great-grandmother Silvia, who had lived through the Civil War.

 

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“The parents initially booed when I went out to play. They could see that I was a better player than some of their sons.”
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The Tubby Rule

In the 1950s, Kay Johnston signed up to play in her local Little League under the name “Tubby” Johnston. At the time it was unthinkable for a girl to play on an official team.
Read the full transcript here.

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“Because she was Asian, they wouldn’t accept her. Mom said she didn’t care; she enlisted anyway.”
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Remembering One Tough Veteran: Lieutenant Susan Ahn Cuddy

Susan Ahn Cuddy was a loving mother, the first Asian American woman in the Navy, and the first woman gunnery officer teaching air combat tactics.
Read the full transcript here.

Mi Abuela Panchita

Panchita Espitia was a formidable woman, not afraid of rattlesnakes underfoot on the Texas ranches of her youth or of death itself.

The Door She Opened

Dee Westenhauser remembers how her Aunt Yaya gave her a safe, loving space to be herself.

 

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"I applied to NASA four times."
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Turning to the Clouds

Wally Funk grew up wanting to fly, hoping to reach the ultimate destination – outer space. In 1961 she nearly got the chance.
Read the full transcript here.

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“The dream is free, but the hustle is sold separately.”
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An Artist’s Heart

Amy Sherald, known for her portrait of Michelle Obama, warns that being an artist is not for the faint-hearted.
Read the full transcript here.

 

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"I don’t consider myself a weak person, but I’m puny next to Mama."
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Mama the Tax Collector

Despite the odds being against her, Marie Sayenega ran for tax collector in the borough of Bethel, won the election, and went on to hold the position for 24 years. Her son Bill Sayenega shares memories of his mother.
Read the full transcript here.

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“My earliest memory is when you came to the first-grade classroom to dissect cow hearts.”
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A Multigenerational Passion for Medicine

Jenna Lester comes from a long line of women who have dedicated their lives to medicine: her grandmother was one of the first African American women to become a nurse practitioner in New York.
Read the full transcript here.

 

The Icing on the Cake

Blanca Alvarez took a huge risk when she crossed the border from Mexico to the United States. She ended up inspiring her daughter to follow her dreams.

 

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Celebrating Love

Love comes in many forms — great loves, unexpected loves, old loves. In the following collection of stories, people discuss the love they have known in their lives — and the many surprising shapes and places in which it comes.

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Listening to Love

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"If you live to be 100, I’d like to be 100 less one day."
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For Better Or For Worse

Nearly 45 years after marriage, Claudia and Bill Dewane reflect on their marriage, their love, and what “for better, or for worse” means to them.

Originally broadcast February 10, 2017, on NPR’s Morning Edition. Read the full transcript here.

 

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"That was the only thing we could do to legalize our relationship."
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To Protect Our Love

Despite the legal restrictions on same-sex marriage in the 1970s, civil rights leader Bayard Rustin and his partner Walter Naegle found an unconventional way to legalize their relationship. Walter Naegle remembers their love nearly 33 years after Rustin’s passing.

Originally aired June 28, 2015, on NPR’s Weekend Edition., on NPR’s Morning Edition. Read the full transcript here.

 

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"I was the preacher's wife..."
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Loving, Despite Judgement

Sandra Sowder and Marcia Sutton discuss the judgement and social estrangement they face in pursuing their love for each other.

Originally aired September 21, 2014, on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday. Read the full transcript here.

 

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"I think I might want to be straight with a nice husband, but, of course, I don't have any idea what it's like to have kids, 'cause I am a kid myself."
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Really, Truly?

At 10 years old, Kaitlyn imagines her future family, while speaking to her mother Lynne Lande about love and parenthood.

Originally broadcast May 7, 2004 on NPR’s Morning Edition. Read the full transcript here.

 

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“I remember never being so afraid and so excited in my entire life.”
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A Teenage Romance, Rekindled After Three Decades

As teenagers, Lori Daigle and Liz Barnes shared a kiss that left them with a feeling of “crazy, chaotic excitement.” After 30 years apart, they found their way back to each other.

Originally aired March 8, 2019, on NPR’s Morning Edition. Read the full transcript here.

 

Love in Motion

 


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Stories to Celebrate Black History Month

Celebrate Black History Month by listening to stories of black identity, struggles, and excellence in America.

As a bonus, because February 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the 15th Amendment, we’ve put together a special collection featuring themes of representation, universal suffrage, and Civil Rights. The 15th Amendment, one of the cornerstones of civil rights, granted men of all races the right to vote in 1870.

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The 150th Anniversary of the 15th Amendment

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"I was 15 years of age when I first started having my own private sit-ins."
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Dion Diamond: Reflections on 60 Years of Civil Rights Activism

Dion Diamond recalls his activism and resistance, that began at the young age of 15. He shares how he got started challenging a segregated society while growing up in the 1950’s and 1960’s, through sit ins and peaceful protests.

Originally aired January 12, 2019, on NPR’s Morning Edition. Read the full transcript here.

 

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"I'm not so sure the Civil Rights Act would have been passed had there not been a St. Augustine"
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A Civil-Rights Swim-In

JT Johnson and Al Lingo were two of the several protesters who jumped into a “whites only” pool at the Monson Motor Lodge in St. Augustine, Florida. The protest escalated quickly, and is often remembered as a tipping point that led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1968.

Originally aired January 18, 2019, on NPR’s Morning Edition. Read the full transcript here.

 

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“I sat up in my bed and I was immediately engulfed in fear."
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Remembering the Assassination of Civil Rights Leader Edwin Pratt

Miriam Pratt recalls the assassination of her father Edwin Pratt, the head of the Seattle Urban League, who dedicated his life to fighting against employment, housing, and education discrimination.

Originally aired March 22, 2019, on NPR’s Morning Edition. Read the full transcript here.

 

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"They intended to get all of us January the 10th, 1966."
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Remembering the KKK Killing of a Voting Rights Activist

During the 1960’s Vernon Dahmer dedicated his life to ensuring that African American persons had the right to vote, making him the target of many Ku Klux Klan hate crimes. Ellie and Bettie Dahmer reflect on the traumatic incident that resulted in the death of husband, father and Civil Rights Leader Vernon Dahmer.

Originally aired January 13, 2017, on NPR’s Morning Edition. Read the full transcript here.

 

A More Perfect Union

Theresa Borroughs reflects on her relentless efforts to become a registered voter, despite being of age, during the Jim Crow era in the rural South.

 

More Voices

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"I truly think everyone should do what they can to sustain their country."
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Olivia J. Hooker, Pioneer and First Black Woman in the Coast Guard

Amongst her other achievements, Dr. Olivia J. Hooker was part of the first class of African American women in the Coast Guard in 1944 during WWII, as part of the SPARS program.

 Read the full transcript here.

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"It was like driving an automobile at a hundred miles an hour and running into a stone wall."
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Memories from an Air Force Test Volunteer

In the mid-1950s, before NASA existed, Alton Yates was part of a small group of Air Force volunteers who tested the effects of high speeds on the body. His contribution aided the process of sending Americans into space.

Originally aired August 29, 2014, on NPR’s Morning Edition. Read the full transcript here.

 

Driven

Wendell Scott, the first African American person to be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, began his career in 1952, during the end of Jim Crow era. Despite not having the recognition, fame, or resources of his competitors, he won countless races, serving as an embodiment of perseverance and passion.

 

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“Being in a place like that, I didn’t feel like we was human.”
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The Leesburg Stockade Girls

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"When all the parents leave, it goes crazy..."
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“When all the parents leave, it goes crazy…”

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"All I wanted to do was get revenge."
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“All I wanted to do was get revenge.”

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"My grandmother used to take my brother and myself to the south every summer..."
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“My grandmother used to take my brother and myself to the south every summer…”

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