Women’s History Month Playlist
For your listening pleasure we went into our archive and collected stories about and from powerful leading, inspiring women.
Barbara Moore spent more than 40 years working as a bricklayer in Baltimore. She was only 21 years old when she became the first woman to join her local bricklayers union. At StoryCorps she tells her daughter, Olivia, how she first got into the trade.
“Hello my name is Yusor Abu-Salha.”
One of the young victims of the tragic Chapel Hill shooting recorded a StoryCorps interview with her third grade teacher, Mussarut Jabeen. All three of the Chapel Hill victims attended Jabeen’s school. Mussarut Jabeen returned recently to talk about Yusor’s life.
“I wasn’t very nice..”
Eighty-seven year old Kay Wang talks with her son Cheng, and granddaughter Chen, about her childhood and a life with no regrets.
“If you need me to hold your hand I’m there.”
Paquita Williams, an MTA train conductor, helped comfort her passengers during a time of crisis. Her passenger and now friend, Laura Lane, remembers that day with her.
“You told me you were so tired that you had fallen asleep at a red light.”
Tina Vasquez talks with her mother Sonia about witnessing how hard she worked, in many different jobs. Together they reminisce over their Friday nights at Denny’s.
“I got married the day of my 22nd birthday.”
Mala Fernando tells her daughter Ashanthi Gajaweera about the early days of her marriage in Sri Lanka and finding herself as she grew older.
“It was the first time I met openly gay people.”
During Clea Rorex’s first term as Boulder County Clerk in 1975, she began issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples.
“Do you remember when we were 19, totally in love, and couldn’t tell anyone?”
Bobbi Cote-Whiteacre and her wife, Sandi, talk about their relationship.
“He said to me ‘I will make sure every day is a living hell for you.'”
Tia Smallwood tells her daughter, Christine, about becoming a business woman in the 1970s. During her first job interview she was asked to get up and turn around, after refusing to do so she was hired.
“We go to cemeteries along the border…”
Dr. Lori Baker is a forensic scientist at Baylor University in Texas. She tries to identify remains and match them with families looking for lost relatives. Thousands of people have died trying to cross the border from Mexico into the United States. Their unidentified remains often end up in unmarked graves in small border town cemeteries. She sat down for StoryCorps with her husband, Erich Baker, to talk about how she got started.
“Do you remember the first dinner together?”
Yelitza Castro has been cooking meals for homeless men and women in Charlotte, North Carolina since 2010. Through this work she met Willie Davis, who sits down with her for a StoryCorps interview and talks about how it all began.
“I went as macho as I could be to mask what I was underneath.”
Earlier this month, Dave shared four classic StoryCorps interviews with the audience at TED. Those eight voices helped everyone attending see why we believe preserving your story is so important. The following conversation is between Alexis and her daughter Lesley. Born Arthur Martinez, she joined a Chicago gang while growing up, later transitioning to the woman she was always meant to be.
Preserving Pieces of History at Howard University
This month, we are highlighting some wonderful stories we have collected from Howard University, one of our great partners in Washington, D.C.
StoryCorps has partnered with the university’s Legacy Initiative three times to record conversations between some of Howard’s influential retirees and their colleagues and loved ones. The Howard University Legacy Initiative celebrates and preserves the legacy of the college’s retiring faculty and staff – people who have helped shape Howard University into what it is today.
Each time we’ve been able to hear stories about a wide range of experiences, but back in August we were lucky to hear two stories of personal encounters with major leaders in the Civil Rights and Black Power movements.
Dr. Loretta Easton (left) and Darline Dugger (right)
Dr. Loretta Easton spoke with Darline Dugger of the Legacy Initiative about going to college at Howard University and becoming a physician. In 1959, after graduating from Howard, Dr. Easton moved to Hawaii to continue her education. Shortly after arriving, she met a man who introduced himself and invited her to dinner. Dr. Easton had forgotten his name shortly after meeting and was struggling to remember. She shared the pivotal moment of realization, which occurred when they were sitting down at dinner.
“Still I could not figure out who this man was. I looked at the tie-clasp that he had on, and there were the initials ‘MLK’ and I had just had dinner with Martin Luther King.”
Martin Luther King Jr. is pictured above marching from Selma, wearing leis provided by the Hawaiian delegates to the march.
In another conversation, Dr. Delores H. Carpenter talked to her former student and Rev. Sindile Dlamini about her work as a student in the Divinity School at Howard, becoming a professor, and working in the community. Dr. Carpenter shared her memories of the emerging Black Power movement and how she perceived its message at the time.
Dr. Delores H. Carpenter (right) and Sindile Diamani (left)
“I was in the graduate theological school at Howard, and I remember the very famous Stokely Carmichael and Rap Brown being on campus when the words ‘Black Power’ were brand new to the country…there was this new Black consciousness awakening, which was wonderful because the theme was ‘Black is Beautiful.’ That had a profound impact on me and on the nation.”
These personal reflections are so essential in understanding the impact the Civil Rights movement had on our country, and how it continues to inform the national dialogue today. We look forward to recording and preserving more stories like these from across the country.