D.C. Archives - StoryCorps
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A Navy Yeoman Reflects on Joining the Military During Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

In 1993, the US government passed the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. It forced LGBTQ military service members to hide their sexual orientation or risk expulsion.

Navy Yeoman Jacob Tate, who’s gay, joined the military in 2010 when the policy was still in effect. Ultimately, DADT, as it’s commonly known, ended in September 2011. 

As part of the Military Voices Initiative, Jacob came to StoryCorps with his husband, Carson Pursifull, to talk about what that experience was like, and answer Carson’s burning questions about what he actually does for the Navy.

Carson Pursifull and Jacob Tate at The Liriodendron Mansion in Bel Air, MD in April 2021. Photo by Sarandon Smith (Courtesy of the participants).

 

Top Photo: Jacob Tate and Carson Pursifull at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC in December 2021. Photo by Sarandon Smith (Courtesy of the participants).

 

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 April 29, 2023, on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday. 

Remembering The Mother of the Disability Rights Movement

Judy Heumann was known as the “Mother of the Disability Rights Movement.” Over the course of decades, she worked to have the government recognize the rights of disabled people— first as a protestor, and later as part of the Clinton and Obama administrations.

In 1970, the New York City Board of Education denied her a teaching license because of her quadriplegia— claiming her wheelchair made her a fire hazard. Her subsequent lawsuit was the first ever disability civil rights case brought to federal court, and the springboard to her activism.

Another pivotal moment in her career came in 1977, during the 504 Sit-ins. People with disabilities and their allies occupied federal buildings across the United States to push for a long-delayed anti-discrimination policy. Judy organized the San Francisco contingent, which lasted 25 days, becoming the longest sit-in protest at a federal building in history. 

Legislation and programs she helped craft later in her career expanded accessibility to millions of people in the US.

Judy passed away at age 75 on March 4, 2023. To mark her passing, StoryCorps is releasing a conversation she recorded with her friend April Coughlin, about the landmark legal case that would define her career.

 

 

Top Photo: April Coughlin and Judy Huemann, in 2018. Courtesy of April Coughlin.

 

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“We Didn’t Have Time To Be Afraid”: Two Army Nurses Reflect On Serving At The Front Lines

Army veterans Diane Evans and Edie Meeks arrived in Plaiku, Vietnam on the same day in February of 1969. Both were from Minnesota, and they built an almost instant friendship. And they were “hooch” neighbors, so bunked right next to each other.

Diane Evans in Long Binh, Vietnam in 1968. Courtesy of Diane Evans.

In 1969, Plaiku was one of the hot spots of the war, and Diane and Edie worked as nurses on the front lines. They saw casualties of war firsthand, but they never shied away from their job of protecting their patients.

They came to StoryCorps to share their story of service.

Diane Evans treating wounded soldiers at the 36th Evacuation Hospital in Vung Tau, Vietnam in 1968. Courtesy of Diane Evans.
Top Photo: Diane Evans and Edie Meeks at the Vietnam Women’s Memorial in Washington, D.C. Courtesy of Diane Evans.

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 November 5, 2022, on NPR’s Weekend Edition.

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