History

In 1971, Winnette Willis was a 23-year-old single mom in Chicago when she became pregnant again. "I was terrified of having another child," she tells Radio Diaries.

Before the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade 45 years ago, abortion was illegal in most of the United States, including in Illinois.

Women like Willis who wanted to terminate their pregnancies had limited and often frightening options. She wasn't sure what to do. And then one day, while she was waiting on an L train platform, she saw a sign.

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DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

With the death of biologist Mathilde Krim on Monday, at the age of 91 at her home in New York, the world lost a pioneering scientist, activist and fundraiser in AIDS research. She is being widely praised this week for her clarity, compassion and leadership.

Amid the panic, confusion and discrimination of the HIV epidemic's earliest days, Krim stood out — using science and straight talk, in the 1980s and beyond, to dispel fear, stigma, and misinformation among politicians and the public.

It's tricky to nail down exactly what makes someone feel like a "racial impostor." For one Code Switch follower, it's the feeling she gets from whipping out "broken but strangely colloquial Arabic" in front of other Middle Easterners.

For another — a white-passing, Native American woman — it's being treated like "just another tourist" when she shows up at powwows. And one woman described watching her white, black and Korean-American toddler bump along to the new Kendrick and wondering, "Is this allowed?"

To protest, or not to protest? This week on Ask Code Switch, we're digging into a question from Shawn, an African-American high school student in South Florida, who wonders how best to take a stand against injustice:

Hello Code Switch Crew,

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Hey fam —

Code Switch is planning a full year of stories about the complex ways that race, identity and culture play out in peoples' lives, across the country and around the globe. And to make sure our coverage is the best it can be, we want some feedback from you.

So tell us what you loved and hated in our past year of coverage. Tell us which stories left you satisfied, and which left you wanting more. And tell us what you're dying to hear about in 2018.

To share your thoughts, email us at CodeSwitch@npr.org, or fill out this form.

Appalachia. It’s been called Trump Country, coal country and backcountry. But it’s our country.

This region — defined both by proximity to its namesake mountain range as well as the culture that developed there — is usually presented to the nation through the work of translators: visiting journalists on assignment or locals who have escaped and can reflect on their hometowns from a safe distance.

In 1968, 1,300 black men from the Memphis Department of Public Works went on strike after a malfunctioning truck crushed two garbage collectors to death.

The strike led to marches with demonstrators carrying signs declaring "I Am A Man." Their organizing efforts drew support from the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. before his assassination.

Eric Motley grew up in Montgomery, Alabama, raised by adoptive grandparents in an area called Madison Park. It’s a place where he no longer lives, but he returns twice a year — to see his hometown, friends and relatives … and to say thanks.

Motley’s story is all about what a good community can do, even when things are bad.

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