StoryCorps Griot Archives - StoryCorps

A Father And Daughter Reflect On Shared Wisdom And ‘Cool Genes’

Yusuf Ali has spent his adult life working hard to be a father and a provider. Long before family life he was known as “Joe Cool,” respected by friends and colleagues for his boundless style.

Yusuf Ali, his son Noble and Attyah Milton in the late 1980s. Photo courtesy of Attayah Milton.

Yusuf and his family moved from town to town as he followed work selling office furniture. No matter where they lived, he was always imparting life lessons and wisdom to everyone he mentored, including his two children, Attayah and Noble.

Noble Ali, Yusuf Ali, Attayah Milton and her children, November 2019. Photo courtesy of Attayah Milton.

Yusuf came to StoryCorps with his daughter Attayah to record some of their memories and share a few laughs in celebration of Yusuf’s 70th birthday.

Top Photo: Attayah Milton and Yusuf Ali at their StoryCorps interview in Philadelphia, PA on June 3, 2019. By Ava Ahmadbeigi for StoryCorps.

This broadcast is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Originally aired May 24, 2024, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

A Blues Legend Reflects on 70 Years Of Ripping Up The Stage

Growing up in the Fillmore district of San Francisco, Peylia Balinton only remembers her mother playing classical piano at home. It wasn’t until she visited a friend’s house that she was exposed to Blues music. That was the start of a lifelong career on stage.

Concert posters featuring Sugar Pie DeSanto. Courtesy of Lorraine Balinton.

Peylia’s first performance was at an open mic at the historic Ellis Theater in San Francisco, where she soon became a regular. It was after one of these performances that she was approached by Johnny Otis, who immediately recognized her talent and asked her to record an album. Otis also gave her the stage name Sugar Pie DeSanto. 

Jim Moore and Sugar Pie DeSanto at their StoryCorps recording, on August 11, 2022, in Oakland, CA .
By Jo Corona for StoryCorps.

Sugar Pie came to StoryCorps in 2022 with Jim Moore—her manager of over 50 years—to remember how she got her start.

Top Photo: Sugar Pie DeSanto performs at the Apollo Theater in New York City, 1964. Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images.

This broadcast is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Originally aired May 3, 2024, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

How A Baseball Coach Became ‘Like Family’

Ed Holley and Kanard Lewis first met on a baseball field in 2010. Ed was coaching youth baseball in New York City, and Kanard was a 14 year old third baseman.

After working with Ed, Kanard started to gain confidence, even hitting his first home run. Then, one day, Kanard’s single mom had a health scare, and asked Ed to become her son’s legal guardian should something happen to her.

Kanard Lewis and Ed Holley at Kanard’s graduation from Alfred University in Queens, New York on June 14, 2023. Courtesy of Danette Torres.

More than a decade later, Ed and Kanard sat down for StoryCorps to talk about their relationship.

Top Photo: Kanard Lewis and Ed Holley at their StoryCorps interview in New York City on May 7, 2023. By Isabella Gonzalez for StoryCorps.

 This broadcast is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Originally aired March 22, 2024 on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Flower Farmers Find A Love To Outlast Anything, Including Marriage

In 2010 Mimo Davis and Miranda Dushack met at an office job. Both had the dream of owning a flower farm. They fell in love and began that quest together.

They founded Urban Buds, a flower farm in the heart of St. Louis. 

Miranda Duschack and Mimo Davis and at their flower farm in St. Louis, MO. Courtesy of Miranda Duschack.

Mimo Davis, Miranda Duschack, and their son August at their flower farm in St. Louis, MO. Courtesy of Miranda Duschack. 

Mimo and Miranda came to StoryCorps to talk about the many twists and turns in their relationship, and the love they have for farming and each other.

Top Photo: Mimo Davis and Miranda Duschack at their StoryCorps interview in St. Louis, Missouri on October 9, 2023. By Delilah Righter for StoryCorps.

This broadcast is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Originally aired February 9, 2024, on NPR’s Morning Edition. 

“I Have To Go, Girl”: A Mother And Daughter Get Real About Death

StoryCorps recording booths are places for people to look back on their lives, and sometimes to look ahead to a time when they’re no longer here.

That’s what Nidera Brown chose to discuss with her 66-year-old mother, Conchetta Brown. Conchetta has Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD, and uses oxygen.

They came to StoryCorps to discuss their close relationship in life, and in death.

Top Photo: Nidera and Conchetta Brown at their StoryCorps interview in San Antonio, TX on November 17, 2022. By Manuela Velasquez for StoryCorps.

 

This broadcast is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Originally aired January 19, 2024, on NPR’s Morning Edition. 

Uncovering A Family Connection To The Origin Of Kansas City Barbecue

Growing up in Kansas City, Bernetta McKindra was always surrounded by barbecue. But it wasn’t until later in life that she learned more about her grandfather Henry Perry, the man who is credited with creating Kansas City’s iconic barbecue style. 

An advertisement that appeared in the Kansas City Sun in 1917

Bernetta came to StoryCorps with her friend, Raymond Mabion II to talk about her grandfather, and the food legacy he’s passed down.

This broadcast is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Originally aired December 29, 2023, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Caring For People With HIV, With Kindness And Hope

Joseph Rogers Britton began caring for people living with HIV in the 1980s. He nurtured friends and children, always looking out for those around him. After his own diagnosis, he continued to care for people through illness. 

While looking after one friend, he met his future long-term partner, Steven Lee Leuthold. That act of kindness became a foundation in their own connection. 

Joseph Rogers Britton and Steven Lee Luethold in the late 90s in St Louis, MO. Photo Courtesy of Joseph Rogers Britton.

Joseph came to StoryCorps with his friend Jeff Moore to reflect on a life full of generosity.

 

Top Photo: Joseph Rogers Britton and Jeff Moore at their StoryCorps interview in St. Louis, Missouri on September 22, 2023. By Manuela Velasquez for StoryCorps.

This broadcast is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

This recording was made in partnership with the organization Doorways.

Originally aired December 1, 2023, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Nearing The End Of Her Life, They Sat Down For One Last StoryCorps Conversation

In the early 1970s Jackie Miller and her husband adopted their son, Scott.

Thirty-seven years later — in 2008 — Scott came to StoryCorps with Jackie to talk about their relationship and to find out more about the history behind his adoption. 

Scott Miller with his parents, Jackie and Percy Miller, in Barbados, in the mid 1970s. Photo courtesy of Scott Miller.

 

A cut of that recording aired June 11, 2010, on NPR’s Morning Edition. You can listen to it here.

Fifteen years after that initial conversation, Jackie’s health started to decline. Realizing his mom was nearing the end of life, Scott wanted to do one more interview, and share an update on their relationship.

Scott Miller and Jackie Miller at their StoryCorps interview in New York City, NY, on May 30, 2008. By Mike Rauch for StoryCorps.

Click here to watch “Me & You,” an animation of Scott and Jackie’s first story.

 

Top Photo: Jackie Miller and Scott Miller at their StoryCorps interview in Tarrytown, NY, on October 27, 2023. By Julia Kirschenbaum for StoryCorps.

 

This broadcast is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Originally aired Nov. 17, 2023, on NPR’s Morning Edition. 

As Her Memory Dims, One Remarkable Mother Remains A “Beacon of Light”

To mark StoryCorps’ 20th Anniversary we are revisiting classic conversations from the past two decades with updates from the participants.

We end this special series by catching up with one remarkable mother in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Mary Johnson-Roy and her son, Laramiun Byrd. Courtesy of Mary Johnson-Roy.

Mary Johnson-Roy lost her only child, Laramiun Byrd, to gun violence in 1993.

One night while at a party, Laramiun got into a fight with another teenager named Oshea Israel. The fight ended when Oshea shot and killed Laramiun.

A dozen years later, Mary went to the penitentiary to visit the man who murdered her son.

Oshea Israel and Mary Johnson-Roy in 2011 and in 2023. By Gaspar Caro and Brian Mogren for StoryCorps.

Soon after Oshea finished serving a prison sentence for murder, Mary brought him to StoryCorps to talk about their relationship. We’ll also hear from them 12 years later.

Mary founded From Death to Life, an organization to help families who have lost children to gun violence, and has spent decades running support groups. But she’s had to step back a bit from her life’s work, after being diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia, a disease with symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Mary Johnson-Roy and her husband, Ed Roy, in Minneapolis, Minnesota  in 2023. By Brian Mogren for StoryCorps.

Since her diagnosis in 2021, Mary’s husband, Ed Roy, has been her main caretaker. Ed also had a son who was murdered, in fact that’s how he and Mary met. Here, they share more about Mary’s illness.

Mary’s community is rallying to help cover her medical expenses through a GoFundMe, which can be found here.

Top Photo: Oshea Israel, Mary Johnson-Roy and Ed Roy in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 2023. By Brian Mogren for StoryCorps.

This broadcast is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Originally aired September 29, 2023, on NPR’s Morning Edition. 

First story aired on May 20, 2011 on NPR’s Morning Edition.

 

“On August 19, 1958, I Was Seven.” An Oklahoma City Woman Remembers Being a Child Activist

The sit-in movement was a cornerstone of the Civil Rights era, and perhaps best known for the Greensboro Four—a group of college students who sat in at a Woolworth’s lunch counter in North Carolina in 1960. Rooted in nonviolence, sit-ins became a far-reaching advocacy strategy that spanned lunch counters, department stores, courtrooms, and the White House. 


Linda Benson, Ayanna Najuma, and Carolyn House (seated on the floor, left to right), staging a sit-in at Bishop’s Restaurant in Oklahoma City on May 31, 1963. Also pictured: Maurice Coffey, and Dwayne Cosby. Courtesy of the Oklahoma Historical Society, John Melton Collection.

But while the Greensboro protest sparked the movement, one of the first sit-ins happened two years earlier at Katz Drug Store in Oklahoma City.


Church leaders and activists gathered in front of the Municipal Building in Oklahoma City in December 1960, with a sign reading, ‘I’m Doing My Christmas Shopping at Katz This Year.’  Courtesy of the Oklahoma Historical Society, John Melton Collection

It was staged by children, and among them was 7-year-old Ayanna Najuma.  At StoryCorps, she remembered how it started with a NAACP Youth Council trip.

Top Photo: Ayanna Najuma (center) and other NAACP Youth Council staging a sit-in at Katz Drug Store in Oklahoma City on August 19, 1958. Courtesy of the Oklahoma Historical Society, John Melton Collection.

This broadcast is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Originally aired August 18, 2023, on NPR’s Morning Edition.