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9:49 am
Tue December 9, 2014

Just Who Is That 'Mean Old Daddy'?

Joni Mitchell, pictured here in 1970, wrote the song "Carey" while living in Matala, Crete.
Michael Ochs Archives Getty Images

This song may take you back a ways — say, about 43 years.

That's Joni Mitchell, back when her voice was high and light. It's "a helium voice," as she describes it in an interview with NPR's Morning Edition.

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Author Interviews
4:24 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Perry Wallace, Who Broke Basketball Barriers, Didn't Set Out To Be A Pioneer

Perry Wallace, playing for Vanderbilt University, blocks the shot of 'Pistol' Pete Maravich, circa 1970.
Frank Empson The Tennessean

Originally published on Tue December 9, 2014 9:49 am

Language advisory: Quotes in this story contain language some find offensive.


Many people are familiar with the big stories of racial integration in sports — Jackie Robinson with the Dodgers, Althea Gibson at Wimbledon. But after the 1964 Civil Rights Act, many lesser-known African American athletes became "firsts" — whether they liked that distinction or not.

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Books
3:58 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

How Washington's Odd Couple Transformed Welfare

Richard Nixon and Daniel Patrick Moynihan at the U.S. Capitol Building in 1970.
AP

Originally published on Tue December 9, 2014 9:49 am

Most books about President Richard Nixon focus either on his foreign policies or on the crimes and misdemeanors that forced his resignation under threat of impeachment.

Not Stephen Hess's new book, The Professor and the President.

Hess, who has been writing about government for decades out of Washington's Brookings Institution, witnessed a rare partnership inside the White House.

The president — Nixon — was a Republican who felt obliged to do something about welfare.

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Author Interviews
5:35 pm
Sun December 7, 2014

Author Of 'Bridge To Terabithia': Messages Are Poison To Fiction

Stories of My Life book cover

Originally published on Mon December 8, 2014 9:07 am

Katherine Paterson is the winner of two Newbery Medals and two National Book Awards. Her best-sellers include The Great Gilly Hopkins, Jacob Have I Loved, and her most famous book, Bridge to Terabithia.

Paterson was born in China to missionary parents. She tells NPR's Arun Rath that she had an idyllic childhood until about the age of 5, when Japan invaded China. "Those years were very scary years," she says.

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Asia
3:57 pm
Sun December 7, 2014

'A Universe Beneath Our Feet': Life In Beijing's Underground

Zhuang Qiuli and her boyfriend Feng Tao sit on the bed in their basement apartment two floors below a posh condominium. Since this photo was taken, the couple has moved above ground.
Sim Chi Yin VII

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 12:26 pm

In Beijing, even the tiniest apartment can cost a fortune — after all, with more than 21 million residents, space is limited and demand is high.

But it is possible to find more affordable housing. You'll just have to join an estimated 1 million of the city's residents and look underground.

Below the city's bustling streets, bomb shelters and storage basements are turned into illegal — but affordable — apartments.

Claustrophobic Living Quarters

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Author Interviews
6:48 am
Sat December 6, 2014

First-Generation 'Boston Girl' Becomes Career Woman In Diamant's Latest

cover crop
Scribner

Originally published on Sat December 6, 2014 10:51 am

Anita Diamant's new novel Boston Girl begins with a question: a granddaughter asks her grandmother, "How did you get to be the woman you are today?"

Addie Baum was "the other one"-- an afterthought — the youngest of three sisters, born in 1900 in Boston's North End to Jewish immigrant parents. It was a time when most women didn't finish school, couldn't vote, and worked at low-level jobs just until they were married, to men they likely didn't choose for themselves.

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Code Switch
2:33 am
Fri December 5, 2014

Civil Rights Attorney On How She Built Trust With Police

Civil rights attorney Constance Rice worked with the Los Angeles Police Department to build trust with minority communities.
Valerie Macon Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 7, 2014 6:50 am

As a civil rights attorney, Constance Rice became known in the 1990s for, as she puts it, going to war with the Los Angeles Police Department.

Rice filed lawsuits against the department, mainly over their treatment of minorities in underprivileged communities.

Following the recent decisions not to indict white cops in the deaths of two black men — President Obama has said one of his top priorities is building trust between minority communities and local police.

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StoryCorps
2:29 am
Fri December 5, 2014

Caring For AIDS Patients, 'When No One Else Would'

Ruth Coker Burks with her friend Paul Wineland. Wineland's partner was one of many AIDS patients Coker Burks has cared for over the past three decades.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri December 5, 2014 12:07 pm

Ruth Coker Burks was a young mother in her 20s when the AIDS epidemic hit her home state of Arkansas in the early 1980s. She took it upon herself to care for AIDS patients who were abandoned by their families, and even by medical professionals, who feared the disease.

Coker Burks, now 55, has no medical training, but she estimates that she has cared for nearly 1,000 people over the past three decades, including her friend Paul Wineland's partner.

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Music Interviews
5:16 pm
Sun November 30, 2014

At 86, A 'Jazz Child' Looks Back On A Life Of Sunshine, Sorrow

Jazz vocalist Sheila Jordan doesn't mind that, despite her critical acclaim, she's not a household name. "The people that respect what I do and hire me, that's all I need, you know?" she says. "I just need to keep doing this music as long as I live. "
Richard Laird Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun November 30, 2014 5:43 pm

Many fans first encountered one of the great voices in jazz as a whisper: Sheila Jordan made a quiet but lasting impression as a guest singer on pianist George Russell's 1962 arrangement of "You Are My Sunshine."

Since then, Jordan's career has taken her all over the world, and in 2012, she received one of the highest honors in jazz: she became an National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master. Her music has soared, but her story starts with pain.

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Around the Nation
9:33 am
Sun November 30, 2014

After Wrongful Conviction, Three Lifetimes Spent With Hope In Check

Kwame Ajamu grabs his brother Wiley Bridgeman's beard after his release in a gesture that dates from their boyhood.
John Kuntz The Plain Dealer/Landov

Originally published on Mon December 1, 2014 3:31 pm

The year was 1975. Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese as American troops and civilians were forced to evacuate the country. Ronald Reagan entered the presidential race against Gerald Ford. A show called Saturday Night Live debuted on NBC.

And Ricky Jackson, Wiley Bridgeman and Bridgeman's younger brother, Ronnie, were charged with the murder of an Ohio salesman. Jackson was 18, Ronnie Bridgeman was 17 and Wiley Bridgeman was 20.

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