District of Columbia – StoryCorps
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50 Years After Watergate, The White House Staffer Who “Kept His Integrity Intact”

On June 17, 1972, five men were arrested for breaking into the Democratic National Committee headquarters at  the Watergate building in Washington, D.C. One was a former employee of the CIA.

As the senate select committee began looking into President Richard Nixon’s involvement, a Republican staffer blew the lid off that investigation by revealing a treasure trove of evidence. 

A few years earlier, at Nixon’s request, Alexander Butterfield — a deputy assistant to the president and former Air Force Colonel — had overseen the installation of a voice activated taping system that secretly recorded all of Nixon’s conversations in the Oval Office and other key locations. Butterfield was told the elaborate recording system was for the purpose of gathering archival material for the Nixon Library, but no one who met with the president was made aware of the devices. Those recordings would eventually provide evidence of Nixon’s involvement in the attempted cover-up of the Watergate break in. The president resigned shortly after.  

Butterfield spoke with his friend Tom Johnson about what led to his testimony.

Top Photo: Alexander Butterfield testifying before the Senate Watergate Committee on July 16, 1973. By the Associated Press. 
Middle Photo: Alexander Butterfield and Tom Johnson at their StoryCorps interview in Austin, TX on April 27, 2016. By Jhaleh Akhavan for StoryCorps. 

The original interview took place through a partnership with the 2016 Vietnam War Summit, hosted by the LBJ Presidential Library and The University of Texas at Austin. 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 30, 2022 on NPR’s Morning Edition. 

“The Rug Was Swept Out From Under Me”: A 9/11 Survivor From The Pentagon Shares Her Story

Tesia Williams was one of the first in her family to go to college.

Shortly after graduating, she got a job at the Pentagon, and was working as a public affairs specialist when on September 11, 2001, one of four hijacked planes crashed into the building, claiming the lives of 184 victims.

At StoryCorps, her teenage daughter, Mikayla Stephens, learned some new things about what Tesia went through and how the events of that day would eventually shape both of their lives.

Left image: Tesia Williams with daughters Mikayla, Harper and Arissa Stephens, and husband Jamel Stephens, in Washington D.C., in 2018. Right image: The family in 2008, shortly after Mikayla and Arissa arrived in Tesia’s care.

 

 

Top Photo: Mikayla Stephens and Tesia Williams at their StoryCorps interview in Washington, D.C. on August 27, 2021. By Clean Cuts Studios 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 Sept. 9, 2022, on NPR’s Morning Edition. 

Love and Skating: One Family That’s Rolled Through Six Generations

When Temica Hunt was growing up in Washington D.C. she was introduced to the jumping, whirling, bopping world of roller skating. She’s the fifth generation in her family to take up the pastime. Her mother, Necothia Bowens-Robinson, would bring Temica with her to the rink every chance they got, not for your typical sweet roll around the rink but more like a dance party on wheels. This brand of skating includes impressive tricks, spectacular moves and plenty of style.

Necothia Bowens-Robinson and Temica Hunt at the Crystals Skate Palace in 2009. Courtesy of Necothia Bowens-Robinson.

Necothia has her own memories of learning to skate from her father, David A. Bowens. A loving, hard-working man who “knew how to roll.”

Temica Hunt, about 8 years old, with her grandfather, David A. Bowens. Courtesy of Necothia Bowens-Robinson. 

Necothia came to StoryCorps with her daughter to reflect on the family’s skating legacy, with Temica now raising the sixth generation of skaters. . .

Temica Hunt with her daughter Kennedi, at Anacostia Skate Pavillion. Courtesy of Necothia Bowens-Robinson. 
Top Photo: Temica Hunt and Necothia Bowens-Robinson at their StoryCorps interview in Washington D.C. on December 14th, 2021. By Selcuk Selcuk Karaoglan for StoryCorps.

Originally aired December 31st, 2021 on NPR’s Morning Edition

Dr. Charles Drew: Remembering “The Father of Blood Banks” And His Fatherhood

In the 1940s, Dr. Charles Drew was a prominent surgeon, living with his wife and four children in Washington, D.C. He was a multifaceted man who trained surgeons and physicians, and who also studied and tested the storage of blood and plasma.

Dr. Charles Drew working with his residents at Freedmen’s Hospital in Washington, D.C. Courtesy of Dr. Charlene Drew Jarvis.

During World War II, Dr. Drew was recruited to head the Blood for Britain Project. His goal was to discover the safe storage and transport of blood needed on the battlefield. His efforts were successful, and his breakthrough helped preserve the lives of thousands of soldiers.

After the war, Dr. Drew continued his life-saving research, even while the Red Cross maintained a segregation of blood based on race. Dr. Drew fervently argued against the segregation of blood, but he would not live to see the reversal of this policy. He died in a car accident on April 1, 1950, but later that year the Red Cross ended the discriminatory practice.

Ernest Jarvis and Charlene Drew Jarvis in recent years. Courtesy of Ernest Jarvis.

Dr. Drew’s daughter, Dr. Charlene Drew Jarvis, came to StoryCorps with her son, Ernest Jarvis, to remember the man who paved the way for today’s blood banks.

Top Photo: Dr. Charles Drew in his lab. Courtesy of Dr. Charlene Drew Jarvis.

Originally aired August 6, 2021, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Walter Reed Physical Therapists on the Profound Effects of Their Work

During the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, over 1600 men and women lost hands, arms, legs, and feet in battle.

For nearly a decade, Adele Levine and Etaine Raphael worked side by side to ensure those soldiers would be able to navigate life after their injuries. The two women were civilian physical therapists at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in the Washington, D.C. area.

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Both Etaine and Adele left Walter Reed in 2014. Today, Adele continues work as a physical therapist at a Maryland hospital, while Etaine has found new work as a preschool teacher.

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Top photo: Etaine Raphael and Adele Levine at their StoryCorps interview in Washington, D.C. on September 19, 2016. 
Middle photo: Adele Levine at work with a patient at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Courtesy of Kyla Dunleavy.
Bottom photo: Adele Levine and Etaine Raphael pose with a physical therapy patient, Rob Jones, who they helped rehabilitate. Jones lost both legs in Afghanistan but went on to compete in the Paralympics for rowing. Courtesy of Etaine Raphael.

Originally aired May 25, 2018, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Dion Diamond: Reflections on 60 Years of Civil Rights Activism

In the photo above, taken in the summer of 1960, a young black man sits at a lunch counter in Arlington, Virginia. Two of his fellow protesters sit behind him, and a group of white men surrounds them. A white child sticks a finger in the man’s face. He smirks.

This man is a civil rights activist you probably haven’t heard of. His name is Dion Diamond.

Growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, Dion was a bit of a prankster, and spent much of his youth trying to, as he put it, “crash segregated society.”

In another 1960 photo, white protesters picket the integration of a Maryland amusement park. At the end of the line, you can see Dion smiling in defiance as he holds a sign of his own.

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Later, as a student activist at Howard University, he appears unbothered while sitting at a lunch counter in the face of members of the American Nazi Party.

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At the age of 76, Dion came to StoryCorps to talk about how he got started.

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Top photo: Dion Diamond at a sit-in at a “white only” lunch counter in Arlington, VA where a young boy points a finger in his face.
Second photo: Dion Diamond smiles as he marches past a group of white protesters at Glen Echo Park in Glen Echo, MD in 1960.
Third photo: George Lincoln Rockwell, the founder of the American Nazi Party, confronts Dion Diamond at a “whites-only” lunch counter in Arlington, VA in 1960.
Bottom photo: Dion Diamond at his StoryCorps interview in Washington, D.C.

Originally aired January 12, 2018, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Sylvia Bullock and Marcus Bullock

In the mid-1990s, Reverend Sylvia Bullock was raising two kids on her own near Washington, D.C. while working and going to college full-time.

Her teenage son, Marcus, saw how hard his mother was working — and how little they had — and decided to take matters into his own hands. He and a friend committed a carjacking, and although he was 15 years old, Marcus was tried as an adult. He served eight years for the crime.

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Marcus was released in 2004. Since then he has created an app, called Flikshop, that makes it easier for inmates and their families to stay in touch. His mom works for his tech company as Fulfillment Manager and Mom-In-Chief. She received her Doctor of Ministry in 2008.

Originally aired August 11, 2017, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Top photo: Marcus and Sylvia in 2017.
Bottom photo: A Polaroid from one of Sylvia’s visits to Marcus while he was in prison. Courtesy of Sylvia Bullock.

Duery Felton and Rick Weidman

Every day since it officially opened in November 1982, visitors to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. have left tributes to those whose names are engraved on The Wall: medals, dog tags, clothing, and other objects they associate with friends, loved ones, and fellow service members.

The Memorial Wall is under the supervision of the National Park Service, feltonand when Duery Felton learned that park rangers were collecting and storing this huge collection of items, he became a volunteer in order to see them for himself. Eventually he was offered a full-time position as the first curator of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Collection, a job he held for 28 years before retiring in 2014.

Duery, who served in Vietnam, came to StoryCorps with his friend and fellow war veteran, Rick Weidman (pictured together above), to discuss what drew him to the wall, and to talk about his service during the Vietnam War.

Click here to view a gallery of some of the more than 400,000 items left by visitors to The Wall.

Originally aired November 12, 2016, on NPR’s Weekend Edition.

Valerie Jarrett and Edith Childs: “Fired up! Ready to go!”

“These eight years have been a joy for me to have known you as the president of these United States of America.”

Edith Childs was an honored guest in the first lady’s box during President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address in 2016. As soon as Child’s image flashed on TV screens across the country, she became an instant star. The Washington Post declared that the 67-year-old South Carolina councilwoman “stole the show by showing up in her Sunday Best.” And while her name and face may not have previously been known to most viewers, anyone who followed the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections is familiar with the Obama campaign’s rallying cry—“Fired up! Ready to go!” A chant Edith is credited with originating.

569672a22a00002d00030606On Wednesday, Edith sat down for a StoryCorps interview in the White House with Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett. Together they looked back on the June 2007 morning when Barack Obama, then the junior senator from Illinois, first met Edith at a sparsely attended Greenwood campaign stop.

In the excerpt from their conversation below, Edith also shares with Jarrett stories about growing up “country poor” at a time when black children were not allowed to ride on the same buses as white children, and recounts what the Obama presidency has meant to her, and what it would have meant to the grandmother who raised her.

Voices from StoryCorpsU: Gloria and Joseline

“I remember that night when you called me and said…I need help.”

Gloria and Joseline, StoryCorpsU (SCU) students at Chavez Prep Middle School in Washington, D.C., recorded an interview during the 2011-2012 school year.

Listen to Gloria and Joseline’s story below:



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