"When I first bought the building, everybody thought that I was crazy."

Burnell Cotlon owns and operates the only grocery store in the Lower Ninth Ward. When it opened in 2014, it was the first grocery store to serve that neighborhood since Hurricane Katrina. Here, he speaks with his mother, Lillie.
Recorded in New Orleans, Louisiana
Image of Burnell Cotlon and Lillie Cotlon 150821
Burnell Cotlon owns and operates the only grocery store in the Lower Ninth Ward. When it opened in 2014, it was ...
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Recorded in New Orleans, Louisiana
Produced by
Liyna Anwar

Facilitated by
Erika Romero and Danielle Andersen

In Partnership with
WWNO - New Orleans Public Radio

Themes
Griot
Hurricane Katrina
Struggle
Work

"Nobody wanted to work with me."

Monica Harwell talks to her daughter, Andrea Cleveland, about being the first woman to climb electric utility poles for ConEd in New York.
Recorded in New York City, New York
Image of Monica Harwell and Andrea Cleveland 150814
Monica Harwell talks to her daughter, Andrea Cleveland, about being the first woman to climb electric utility poles for ConEd ...
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Recorded in New York City, New York
Produced by
Liyna Anwar

Facilitated by
Erika Romero

Themes
Family
Griot
Identity
Struggle
Work

"I just hugged the man who murdered my son."

This week, President Obama called for reform of the criminal justice system, and became the first sitting President to visit a federal prison. So, we're revisiting the story of former inmate Oshea Israel, who speaks to, Mary Johnson, the mother of the man he killed.
Recorded in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Image of Mary Johnson-Roy and Oshea Israel
This week, President Obama called for reform of the criminal justice system, and became the first sitting President to visit ...
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Recorded in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Produced by
Jasmyn Belcher Morris

Facilitated by
Gaspar Caro

Themes
Griot
Struggle

"That was the only thing we could do to legalize our relationship."

Walter Naegle tells his niece, Ericka, about the unconventional decision that he and his partner, Bayard Rustin, made to protect their union in the early 1980s.
Recorded in New York City, New York
Image of Walter Naegle and Ericka Naegle 150628
Walter Naegle tells his niece, Ericka, about the unconventional decision that he and his partner, Bayard Rustin, made to protect ...
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Recorded in New York City, New York
Produced by
Nadia Reiman and Matt Wolf. Matt Wolf is a filmmaker in New York City.

Facilitated by
Nadia Reiman

Themes
Family
Griot
Identity
LGBTQ

"Denise and I went everywhere together."

Gwen Moten remembers her childhood best friend, Denise McNair, who was killed in the 1963 16th Street Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama.
Recorded in Newark, New Jersey
Image of Gwen Moten 150626
Gwen Moten remembers her childhood best friend, Denise McNair, who was killed in the 1963 16th Street Church bombing in Birmingham, ...
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Recorded in Newark, New Jersey
Produced by
Liyna Anwar

Facilitated by
John White

Themes
Friendship
Griot
Growing Up
Struggle

"I will do four, five, ten, a hundred jobs for your education."

Mario Loiseau talks with his 9-year-old daughter, Mabou, about why he works so hard to provide for her education.
Recorded in New York City, New York
Image of Mario Loiseau and Mabou Loiseau 150619
Mario Loiseau talks with his 9-year-old daughter, Mabou, about why he works so hard to provide for her education.
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Recorded in New York City, New York
Produced by
Von Diaz and Emily Martinez

Facilitated by
Jud Esty-Kendall

Themes
Family
Griot
Work

"What a gun does, it talks to you."

Pastor David Ned tells his friend Darius Clark Monroe about carrying a gun for protection while living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in the 1970s.
Recorded in New York City, New York
Image of David Ned
Pastor David Ned tells his friend Darius Clark Monroe about carrying a gun for protection while living in Baton Rouge, ...
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Recorded in New York City, New York
Produced by
Jud Esty-Kendall

Facilitated by
John White

Themes
Family
Griot
Struggle
Wisdom

"After all these years, this is the first time we've sat down and actually talked about the bombing."

Willie Watson talks to his son, PJ Allen, one of only six children at the day care center in the Alfred P Murrah federal building to survive the Oklahoma City Bombing on April 19, 1995. This is one of two interviews we’re featuring from survivors for the 20th anniversary of the bombing.
Recorded in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Image of Willie Watson and PJ Allen 150417
Willie Watson talks to his son, PJ Allen, one of only six children at the day care center in the ...
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Recorded in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Produced by
Liyna Anwar

Facilitated by
Alex Lyon

Themes
Family
Griot
Growing Up
Struggle
Witness

"It kinda threw me for a whammy."

Deidra Robinson sits down with her father, William Watford the Third, to recall what happened when she came out to him.
Recorded in Homewood, Alabama
Image of William Watford III and Deidra Robinson
Deidra Robinson sits down with her father, William Watford the Third, to recall what happened when she came out to ...
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Recorded in Homewood, Alabama
Produced by
Allison Davis

Facilitated by
Susan Lee

Themes
Family
Griot
Identity
LGBTQ
Struggle

"What was going through your head when you first saw me?"

Nine-year-old Aidan Sykes interviews his father, Albert Sykes, about being a dad.
Recorded in Jackson, Mississippi
Image of Albert Sykes and Aidan Sykes
Nine-year-old Aidan Sykes interviews his father, Albert Sykes, about being a dad.
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Recorded in Jackson, Mississippi
Produced by
Von Diaz

Facilitated by
Vanessa Gonzalez-Block and Danielle Andersen

Themes
Angels & Mentors
Family
Griot
Growing Up
Identity
Wisdom

"It's the kind of thing most people don't have to learn to cope with."

Rick Abath tells his wife, Diana, about being the night security guard at Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum during the biggest art heist in U.S. history.
Recorded in Windham County, Vermont
Image of Rick Abath and Diana Abath 150313
Rick Abath tells his wife, Diana, about being the night security guard at Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum during the ...
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Recorded in Windham County, Vermont
Produced by
Jasmyn Belcher Morris

Facilitated by
Morgan Feigal-Stickles

Themes
Griot
Struggle
Witness
Work

"I just got on that rail and turned around..."

Kevin Berthia talks with retired California Highway Patrol Officer Kevin Briggs. They met the day Berthia tried to end his life by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge.
Image of Kevin Briggs and Kevin Berthia 150306
Kevin Berthia talks with retired California Highway Patrol Officer Kevin Briggs. They met the day Berthia tried to end his ...
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Produced by
Jud Esty-Kendall

Facilitated by
Yosmay del Mazo

Themes
Angels & Mentors
Family
Friendship
Griot
Struggle
Work

"At the age of 18, I didn't know what I was going to be doing with my life."

President Barack Obama speaks with 18-year-old Noah McQueen, a mentee in the White House Mentorship Program. Just a couple of years ago, Noah was in trouble with the law, but today he is part of My Brother's Keeper, a White House initiative for young men of color. Noah recently visited the White House where he was interviewed by the President.

Image of Noah McQueen and Barack Obama 150225
President Barack Obama speaks with 18-year-old Noah McQueen, a mentee in the White House Mentorship Program. Just a couple of ...
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Produced by

Michael Garofalo and John White

Facilitated by

John White

Themes
Angels & Mentors
Friendship
Griot
Growing Up
Identity
Struggle
Wisdom

"My basketball teammates were my first babysitters."

Today, StoryCorps remembers Wil Smith, who recorded a conversation with his daughter, Olivia, about being a single dad in college. At the time of this interview in 2012, Wil had just been diagnosed with colon cancer. He died on February 22, 2015 at 46 years old.
Recorded in Sheffield, Massachusetts
Image of Wil Smith and his daughter, Olivia
Today, StoryCorps remembers Wil Smith, who recorded a conversation with his daughter, Olivia, about being a single dad in college. ...
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Produced by
Jasmyn Belcher

Facilitated by
Jud Esty-Kendall

Themes
Griot
Growing Up
Struggle

"It was like Picasso, a great artist doing his work. When he was in that car, he was doing his work."

Frank Scott remembers his father, Wendell Scott, who will become the first African American driver in the NASCAR Hall of Fame when he is inducted today.
Recorded in Danville, Virginia
Image of Frank Scott and Warrick Scott
Frank Scott remembers his father, Wendell Scott, who will become the first African American driver in the NASCAR Hall of ...
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Recorded in Danville, Virginia
Produced by
Jud Esty-Kendall and John White

Facilitated by
John White

In Partnership with
The Danville Regional Foundation

Themes
Family
Griot
Growing Up
Struggle
Work

"How hard was it for you to find a job?"

Darlene Lewis, who helps former inmates find employment, interviews James Taylor about his life after prison.
Recorded in Little Rock, Arkansas
Image of James Taylor and Darlene Lewis
Darlene Lewis, who helps former inmates find employment, interviews James Taylor about his life after prison.
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Recorded in Little Rock, Arkansas
Produced by
Liyna Anwar

Facilitated by
John White

Themes
Angels & Mentors
Griot
Struggle
Work

"We love—that's how we roll."

Raphael and Heidi Hameed (R) lost their son when he was struck by a speeding car. They spoke with Megiddëh Goldston (L), the driver's sister, about the relationship they've formed since the accident.
Image of Raphael Hameed, Heidi Hameed, and Megiddëh Goldston
Raphael and Heidi Hameed (R) lost their son when he was struck by a speeding car. They spoke with Megiddë...
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Produced by
Jasmyn Belcher Morris

Facilitated by
Mayra Sierra

Themes
Family
Friendship
Griot
Struggle

"You can hear the shopping cart coming down the sidewalk."

Herman Travis speaks with his neighbor Robert Cochran about delivering food to elderly and disabled residents of his housing complex.
Image of Herman Travis and Robert Cochran
Herman Travis speaks with his neighbor Robert Cochran about delivering food to elderly and disabled residents of his housing complex.
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Produced by
Jasmyn Belcher Morris

Facilitated by
Yosmay del Mazo

Themes
Angels & Mentors
Friendship
Griot
Work

"In high school when I first started wearing make-up, my family didn't notice."

Kiyan Williams (R) talks with friend Darnell Moore (L) about growing up queer in Newark, New Jersey during the 1990s.
Recorded in New York City, New York
Image of Kiyan Williams and Darnell Moore
Kiyan Williams (R) talks with friend Darnell Moore (L) about growing up queer in Newark, New Jersey during the 1990s.
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Recorded in New York City, New York
Produced by
Von Diaz

Facilitated by
Von Diaz

Themes
Discovery
Friendship
Griot
Growing Up
Identity
LGBTQ
Struggle

"I remember going to REI and looking at tents that will hold a family of five."

Franklin Gilliard and his wife, Sherry, reflect upon their time in a homeless shelter after the economic crash of 2008. 
Recorded in Tacoma, Washington
Image of Sherry and Franklin Gilliard
Franklin Gilliard and his wife, Sherry, reflect upon their time in a homeless shelter after the economic crash of 2008. 
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Recorded in Tacoma, Washington
Produced by
Allison Davis and Eve Claxon

Facilitated by
Sophia Simon-Ortiz

In Partnership with
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Themes
Family
Griot
Struggle