“Our Father Taught Us To Love Ourself”: Remembering The Man Who Brought Juneteenth To San Diego
Long before Juneteenth was recognized as a federal holiday in the U.S., Sidney Cooper had been celebrating the hallowed day for decades.
Sidney grew up in a predominantly Black town just outside of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Juneteenth celebrations were a common part of his upbringing.
In the early 1950s, Sidney settled down in Southern California, and he became an early Black business owner in a predominantly white area.
Sidney Cooper (center) with his daughter, Lana (left), and his wife, Thelma (right), in front of the Cooper family barbershop and produce stand on Imperial Avenue. Courtesy of Lana Cooper-Jones.
Sidney taught his children many lessons on family and community, but he also taught them the importance of celebrating Juneteenth — even when no one else in his community was acknowledging the holiday.
Marla Cooper celebrating at the family’s annual Juneteenth celebration in San Diego. Courtesy of Lana Cooper-Jones.
A banner honoring the memory of Sidney Cooper at the family’s annual Juneteenth celebration.
Courtesy of Lana Cooper-Jones.
His daughters, Marla and Lana, came to StoryCorps to remember their dad and the legacy he left in his community.
Top Photo: Lana Cooper-Jones and Marla Cooper at their StoryCorps interview in San Diego, CA on May 11, 2022 for StoryCorps.
Originally aired Friday, June 17, on NPR’s Morning Edition.
Stories to Reflect on for Father’s Day
Father’s Day offers us a chance to recognize the role that dads and fatherhood have played in our lives. Enjoy our collection of stories celebrating father figures and the many ways they support and shape us.
From Our Animation Series, Father Figures
When Wil Smith enrolled as a freshman in college, he brought an unusual roommate with him — his infant daughter. Wil and Olivia look back together on their days as college roommates.
John Washington, 95, was born blind and with a severe loss of hearing. He sat down with his eldest child for a conversation about the pride he takes in his kids and to laugh over some of their childhood hijinks.
The memories may be hazy, but the feelings are clear. Ken Morganstern, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s five years before this conversation with his daughters Priya and Bhavani, discusses his most important legacy — his loving family.
Stefan Lynch remembers the community of gay men – lovingly nicknamed his “aunties” – who helped raise him, the dark days of the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, and the lessons that he learned from this powerful family.
More Stories for Father’s Day
Ed Cage has been beatboxing to his daughter Nicole Paris since before she was born. They talk about their shared love for the art, and each other.
Sisters Estela and Candi Reyes remember their father, Juan Reyes, and the love they shared through food while caring for him in his final days.
Muhammad Faridi talks to his father about what it was like to grow up as the son of a NYC cab driver. Though he was once embarrassed, Muhammad now takes pride in his father’s work.
When he was a teenager in a rural town in the 1950s, Patrick Haggerty began to understand he was gay. After performing at a school assembly, he received some life-changing advice from his dad.
Anderson and Karen Lawson remember their father, engineer Gerald Lawson, and how his pioneering spirit influenced their childhood in 1970s Silicon Valley.
Libby Stroik talks about finding a kindred spirit in her grandfather, Harry Golomski, and about her treasured memories of their quiet mornings in rural Wisconsin.
Arguster and Lebronze Davis grew up on their family’s farm in Wetumpka, Alabama in the ‘50s. They remember life on the farm and the many lessons of their dad, Ben Davis.
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A Wonderful Life
“It’s a wonderful life! I get up in the morning, go to sleep at night, and in between eat three meals.”
Ken Morganstern, Priya Morganstern, and Bhavani Jaroff
Five years after Ken Morganstern was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, he sat down with his daughters, Priya Morganstern and Bhavani Jaroff, to talk about the memories he had left.
Ken needed some prompting from time to time, but family stayed strong in his memory. He still found pleasure in the simple things in his life, and took comfort in knowing that he leaves behind a legacy of love with his children.
This all-new animated short is presented as part of the new StoryCorps animation season, Father Figures, where father figures and their children share the strength and wisdom that they draw from each other.
Listen to Ken, Priya, and Bhavani’s original StoryCorps interview.
Para subtítulos en español, haga click en el ícono de YouTube en la esquina derecha, y escoja “Spanish” bajo la opción de “settings” y “subtitles/CC.
A Father-Daughter Beatboxing Duo on Making Music
Ed Cage and Nicole Paris are a father-daughter beatboxing duo.
Back during the 1980s, Ed immersed himself in the St. Louis hip hop scene and fell in love with beatboxing. Fast-forward a couple decades and that love is now firmly planted in 26-year-old Nicole as well.
At StoryCorps, they talk about how it all began.
Top photo: Ed Cage and Nicole Paris at StoryCorps. Today, the beatboxing duo travels the world performing on stage together.
Originally aired July 13, 2018, on NPR’s Morning Edition.
The Saint of Dry Creek
Patrick Haggerty grew up in the 1950s as the son of a dairy farmer in rural Dry Creek, Washington. As a teenager, he began to realize he was gay—something he thought he was doing a good job of hiding from others. One day after performing at a high school assembly, his father Charles offered his son some advice that showed Patrick he knew his son better than he ever realized.
“The Saint of Dry Creek” online release is presented in partnership with the It Gets Better Project.
To listen to Patrick Haggerty’s StoryCorps interview click here.
Para subtítulos en español, haga click en el ícono de YouTube en la esquina derecha, y escoja “Spanish” bajo la opción de “settings” y “subtitles/CC.”