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Rubber City, U.S.A.

Posted on Sunday, September 13th, 2009.

Akron, Ohio. Birthplace of the rubber tire as we know it. Goodyear. Goodrich. Firestone. The American Trucking Industry. Hometown of Alcoholics Anonymous, Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech, Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders, the new wave band Devo, and basketball player LeBron James.

We cut the StoryBooth ribbon in this historic city on a cold day in front of the Akron-Summit County Public Library. WKSU, our public broadcasting host, warmed up the crowd with coffee and pastries while former Deputy Mayor Dorothy Jackson and Reverend Dr. Ronald Fowler christened the booth with the first conversation of the day.

Reverend Ronald Fowler served as Senior Pastor of the Arlington Church of God, in Akron for over 40 years. He has also served as a bridge-builder and adviser to countless Akronites, including Deputy Mayor Jackson herself. A tireless social activist, Dorothy Jackson was the first African-American woman to serve in an Akron mayor’s cabinet. Her lifelong work on behalf of fair housing, disabled workers’ rights, and as an interpreter for the deaf has earned her many humanitarian awards as well as a place in the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame.

Don and Patrick Primm kicked off Akron’s second interview with a conversation about car-racing, car-selling, and the changing industry. His father, brothers, and uncles all worked at Goodyear, but Don Primm took a different route into working with cars. At a time when “Porsche” was still a mostly unknown word in the U.S., Don founded one of first American Porsche & Audi dealerships. Now 78, Don recently retired, leaving the dealership in the hands of his children, including Patrick.

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One Response to “Rubber City, U.S.A.”

To preserve the StoryCorps mission and experience for our readers and participants, comments are subject to the StoryCorps Terms of Service. Comments may be held for moderation or removed if deemed offensive or off-topic. Please do not resubmit your comment if you don't see it right away, it will be approved as soon as possible. Thank you.

  • It was a pleasure to work with all of you and I’m so pleased that you enjoyed our town. I was really inspired by the work that you do and the enthusiastic approach and careful attention that you all gave to everyone. You represent the future of public radio and it gives me great satisfaction to know that we’ll have all of you as a part of our future.

    Comment from Al Bartholet on October 20, 2009 at 9:26 am - Reply to this Comment

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