Georgia Archives - StoryCorps
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Joy And Wisdom In A Life With Animals

Christy Stewart always loved animals – but she was only allowed one outdoor cat as a kid. Her mother told her that when she grew up, she could have all the pets she wanted. From the time Glenn Turner met Christy more than 20 years ago it was “animals from the get-go,” he said. 

Ben and Natalie Turner with Billy the goat at their home in Atlanta in 2006. Courtesy of Glenn Turner.

Their three children also turned out to be animal lovers, and the family rescued or adopted countless critters over the years. From a wharf rat to a ball python, each brought a unique personality and set of challenges to their home life. 

Glenn, Christy, their three children and dog Nemo in 2010. Courtesy of Glenn Turner.

Glenn said Christy’s calm approach to animals taught him the power of treating all creatures with respect.

Top Photo: Glenn Turner and Christy Stewart at their StoryCorps interview in Atlanta, Georgia on April 5, 2016. By Hillery Rink 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 August 11, 2023 on NPR’s Morning Edition.

“Motherhood Is Not A Solo Journey:” A Daughter Reflects On Her Childhood

Luz Kenyon grew up in Mexico City, Mexico and in the mid 1980s she took a trip to New York City to celebrate her friend’s college graduation. She had no idea she would fall in love with a Jamaican traffic agent on the corner of 42nd street, and never go home.

She came to StoryCorps with her daughter, Anna Paloma Williams, to talk about this unexpected start to their family, and how she navigated raising mixed kids in America.

Top Photo: Anna Paloma Williams and Luz Kenyon at their StoryCorps interview in Columbus, GA on October 30, 2021. By Sarah Padgett for StoryCorps.
Middle Photo: Abuela Lucha, Luz Kenyon and Anna Paloma Williams in Stone Mountain, GA, in the early 1990s. Photo courtesy of the Kenyon family.
Bottom Photo: Luz Kenyon with Anna Paloma Williams and family celebrating abuela Lucha’s 90th birthday in Mexico City in April 2022. She passed away in December 2022. Photo courtesy of the Kenyon family.

 

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 Aug. 4, 2023, on NPR’s Morning Edition. 

A Mile in Her Shoes: How A Polio Survivor Forged Her Own Path

Shirley Duhart and her three younger brothers were raised by a single mom in Vine City, Georgia: a segregated, poverty-stricken area at the time. She contracted polio when she was 2 years old, just five years before the vaccine was released. Undaunted, she went on to have a successful career in the tech industry, and to mentor youth on how to navigate college and the corporate world.

Shirley Duhart on the Emory University campus in Atlanta, Georgia in the 1990s.

And Shirley has always defined herself in her own terms, evident in the way she dresses. While her doctors recommended she wear flat, well-balanced shoes, Shirley has been wearing pumps since she was thirteen. She came to StoryCorps with her longtime friend and doctor, Dale Strasser, to talk about why her shoes mean so much to her.

Shirley Duhart and Dale Strasser at their StoryCorps in Atlanta, Georgia on January 17, 2023.

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 21, 2023, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Mother and Daughter Reflect On the Bill of Rights That Helped Shaped Their Bond

Growing up in a small rural town, Margaret Powell developed a toughness and learned how to stand up for herself. Her daughter, Folashade Alao, remembers admiring her boldness as a child, and she saw how hard her mother worked as a single mother to give her as many opportunities as possible.

Folashade never wanted to disappoint her mother, but this didn’t mean she never asserted her own views. In elementary school, Folashade wrote and presented her own Bill of Rights with amendments stating what she thought was fair and unfair. 

Margaret Powell and Folashade Alao at Sea World around the time she drafted her Bill of Rights.

“What came out of it was you telling me you’re not my friend, you’re my mama and that we each have an important role in supporting our household,” Folashade remembers.

Folashade and Margaret came to StoryCorps to reflect on how they shaped their relationship and what it takes to raise a child.

Top Photo: Margaret Powell and Folashade Alao at their StoryCorps interview in Decatur, GA  on January 31, 2023. By Kevin Alarcon 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 April 14, 2023 on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Pulled Into A Historic Flash Flood, One Man Saves A Stranger’s Life

In September 2009, after several days of heavy rain, the Atlanta metropolitan area suffered intense flash flooding. The catastrophic event killed 10 people and caused millions of dollars in damage. Sweetwater Creek, in Douglasville, was the site of some of the most devastating damage. 

Zack Stephney was 37 years old at the time, and working as a shop foreman at a large trucking company near Douglasville, which was located next to the floodplain. That morning, he rushed to work to help his fellow mechanics move the company’s semi trucks away from the rising waters and out of harm’s way.

A couple of months after the flash flood, he came to StoryCorps with his friend Melissa Brooks to remember the unique circumstances of how they met that day.


Zack Stephney’s coworkers assisting him as he swam out to rescue Melissa Brooks. Photo courtesy of Zack Stephney.

 

Top Photo: Melissa Brooks and Zack Stephney at the site of her rescue in December of 2009. Photo courtesy of Zack Stephney.

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 7, 2023, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

“That Moment Was Love Embodied To Me.” A Father And Daughter Remember a Dramatic Rescue

Driving can be hard … and perhaps some people are just not meant to drive.  In Danny Bell’s family, that’s his wife, Maritza. He came to StoryCorps in 2022 with their daughter, Sydia, to recount a particularly memorable driving lesson.
Sydia and Danny Bell at their StoryCorps interview in Atlanta, GA on July 9, 2022. By Alison Hopkins for StoryCorps.
Top Photo: Sydia, Danny, and Maritza Bell with their dog (not Roxanna) in 2016. Courtesy of the Bell family.
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 17, 2023 on NPR’s Morning Edition. 

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“It Feels Like a Gift”: How Taking a Name Kept One Man’s Legacy Alive

In 1981, the death of 21-year-old Cameroonian man Acha Mbiwan devastated his family. Losing Acha — known for his mischievous sense of humor and prodigious intelligence — sent shockwaves through the family’s tight-knit community.  

For more than 40 years, they found it difficult to even speak about Acha. But little did they know that Acha had befriended an American man in college named Atiba, who was so moved by Acha’s death that he took his friend’s last name, Mbiwan, as a tribute.

In 2012, Acha’s sisters Didi Ndando and Egbe Monjimbo learned of Atiba’s existence after stumbling across him on the internet. All three sat down for StoryCorps to talk about what happened next.

This story was adapted from the StoryCorps Podcast. To hear the full story, listen to the episode: “One Who Is Understanding

Top Photo: Didi Ndando, Atiba Mbiwan, and Egbe Monjimbo at a reunion for Atiba’s family in Atlanta in 2014. Courtesy of Egbe Monjimbo.
Middle Photo: Acha Mbiwan posing in a photo booth in 1980 in Paris, France. Courtesy of Egbe Monjimbo.

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 2, 2022, on NPR’s Morning Edition

Your support makes it possible for StoryCorps, an independently funded nonprofit, to collect, archive, and share the stories of people from all backgrounds because everyone’s stories deserve to be heard.

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One Who Is Understanding

Family names bind one generation to the next. But what if that name is lost? In this episode, a grieving family learns their legacy is being kept alive by a stranger from far away.
Artwork by Lyne Lucien.
Released on November 22nd, 2022.

Your support makes it possible for StoryCorps, an independently funded nonprofit, to collect, archive, and share the stories of people from all backgrounds because everyone’s stories deserve to be heard.

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How An Unexpected Deportation Cut A Young Musician’s Career Short

Decio Rubano still remembers the day he learned to play the drums. He was 12- years-old and playing stickball outside his home in Bridgeport, Connecticut, when his uncle Jimmy pulled up in his car. It was the start of WWll and Jimmy, a working musician, had just lost his drummer to the Army. Rubano remembers his uncle saying, “Hey kid, I need a drummer tonight, so you’re going to play.” Jimmy took out two spoons and showed Rubano how different beats were played.

From that first performance, Rubano says he got “the bug” and couldn’t stop making music. After high school, his career as a drummer was taking off until one night, when he was visiting his grandparents, a pair of immigration officers knocked on the door—Rubano was quickly deported to Montreal, Canada.

Middle Photo: At 17 years-old, Decio Rubano began his professional drumming career when he was scouted to play on the Arthur Godfrey radio show in Miami. Courtesy of Gina Livingston.

Rubano had been born in Montreal because his opera singer mother had taken a job for the season at the Montreal Civic Opera while pregnant with Rubano. As a young man, Rubano was shocked to learn he was not a U.S. citizen.

Rubano signed up for the U.S. Air Force and served in the Korean War. While he continued playing the drums for many years, he never returned to the music business. At StoryCorps, Rubano tells his daughter, Gina Livingston, “I did one thing right in my life. I raised you. You’ve been a joy as a daughter. Everybody should be as lucky as I am.”

Bottom Photo: While stationed on Johnston Island with the US Air Force, Decio Rubano hosted a jazz radio station in his spare time.  Courtesy of Gina Livingston. 

Top Photo: Decio Rubano and Gina Livingston at their StoryCorps interview in Decatur, Georgia on October 31, 2022. By John St. Denis 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 November 11, 2022, on NPR’s Morning Edition. 

Your support makes it possible for StoryCorps, an independently funded nonprofit, to collect, archive, and share the stories of people from all backgrounds because everyone’s stories deserve to be heard.

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In A House Full Of Rules, Cousins Remember A Rare Glimpse Of Freedom

In the early 1980s, Monica Jordan and her family moved in with her great aunt in Atlanta. That’s where she and her cousin, LaTonya Walker, developed a bond that made them more like sisters.

With two moms raising them under one roof, there were plenty of rules. Church was required every Sunday and no one got to play unless all of their chores were done.

At seven and nine years old, Monica and LaTonya dreamed of the day where they could spend a day doing whatever they wanted. And one particular afternoon, that’s exactly what they did.

Monica and LaTonya came to StoryCorps to remember their rare glimpse of freedom.

Top Photo: Monica Jordan and LaTonya Walker at their StoryCorps interview in Atlanta, Georgia on May 30th, 2021 for StoryCorps.

Originally aired Friday, April 1, 2022, on NPR’s Morning Edition.