During the war in Vietnam, there was a notorious American military prison on the outskirts of Saigon, called Long Binh Jail. But LBJ wasn’t for captured enemy fighters, it was for American soldiers.
These were men who had broken military law. And there were a lot of them. As the unpopular war dragged on, discipline frayed and soldiers started to rebel.
By the summer of 1968, over half the men in Long Binh Jail were locked up on AWOL charges. Some were there for more serious crimes, others for small stuff, like refusing to get a haircut. The stockade had become extremely overcrowded. Originally built to house 400 inmates, it became crammed with over 700 men, more than half African American. On August 29th, 1968, the situation erupted. Fifty years later, we bring you the incredible story.
The Working Tapes of Studs Terkel
In 1974, oral historian Studs Terkel published a book with an unwieldy title: "Working: People talk about what they do all day and how they feel about what they do." This collective portrait of America was based on more than a hundred interviews Studs did around the country.
Studs recorded all of his interviews on a reel-to-reel tape recorder, but after the book came out the tapes were packed away in boxes and forgotten for decades. A couple years ago, Radio Diaries and the organization were given exclusive access to the tapes. On this episode of The Radio Diaries Podcast, we're bringing you eleven stories from Studs' Working tapes. There's the telephone switchboard operator, the Chicago police officer, the private eye, the hotel piano player and many more.
Stories from a Vanishing New York
Today on the podcast, we pay a visit to Walter the Seltzer Man, and also remember Selma Koch, the iconic bra fitter in the Upper West Side's Town Shop.
Shirley Chisholm: Unbought and Unbossed
Today…there’s “The Squad.” But 50 years ago, there was only one woman of color in the U.S. Congress, and she was the first. Shirley Chisholm, of New York City, was elected to Congress in a historic victory in 1968. And like the squad...Chisholm made her voice heard.
In 1972, Chisholm launched a spirited campaign for the Democratic nomination. She was the first woman and first African American to run. Declaring herself “unbought and unbossed,” she took on the political establishment, declaring herself “the candidate of the people.”
The Square Deal
100 years ago, George F. Johnson ran the biggest shoe factory in the world. The Endicott-Johnson Corporation in upstate New York produced 52 million pairs of shoes a year.
But Johnson wasn’t only known for his shoes. Johnson had an unusual theory at the time, about how workers should be treated. Some people called it “Welfare Capitalism.” He called it “The Square Deal.”