Montgomery Archives - StoryCorps

A Pastor Who Was Once A Mischievous Child, Pays Tribute To “The People That Nurtured Me”

Growing up in the 1950s in Montgomery, AL., Rev. Farrell Duncombe or “Little Farrell,” as he was known by his family and friends, had a mischievous side. But he had many role models who kept him in line. One such person was his own father, Rev. Henry A. Duncombe Sr., who was the pastor of their church, St. Paul A.M.E. Church of Montgomery. 

It was at that church, where Farrell also drew inspiration from his Sunday school teacher, Miss Rosalie — eventually known to the rest of the world as Rosa Parks.

Later on, Farrell took all the lessons he’d learned growing up and went on to become a public school band teacher, and then a principal. He also stepped into his father’s shoes and became a pastor at his childhood church.

In 2010, Farrell came to StoryCorps with his friend and fraternity brother, Howard Robinson, to reflect on the people who nurtured him, and the humility he feels standing at his father’s pulpit. 

Rev Farrell Duncombe died on June 2, 2021 in Montgomery, Alabama.

Top Photo: Rev. Farrell Duncombe and Howard Robinson at their StoryCorps interview in Montgomery, AL on November 24, 2010. By Elizabeth Straight for StoryCorps.

Originally aired June 11, 2021, on NPR’s Morning Edition. 

Listen to Rev. Dumcombe’s story on the StoryCorps Podcast.

Almost 65 Years After Father’s Lynching, Two Daughters Are Still Looking for Justice

Warning, the following story includes a description of racial violence.

On January 23, 1957, Willie Edwards Jr. was eating dinner with his family in Montgomery, Alabama when he got a call from his boss at the Winn-Dixie asking if he could cover a shift for another driver. He left his two small daughters and pregnant wife at home that evening and never made it back…

Years later a former Klansman said that he and other Ku Klux Klan members pulled Edwards out of his truck at gunpoint, beat him and brought him to a high bridge over the Alabama River. They told Edwards to jump… or they’d shoot him. He jumped. 

Willie Edwards Jr. Courtesy of the participants

His daughter, Malinda Edwards was just three years old at the time. With StoryCorps, she told her sister Mildred Betts about the moment she learned what happened to their father. 

Top Photo: Malinda Edwards and Mildred Betts. Courtesy of the participants.

This story was produced in collaboration with the PBS series FRONTLINE as part of Un(re)solved — a major initiative documenting the federal effort to investigate more than 150 cold case murders dating back to the civil rights era. More such stories can be explored in an interactive documentary at Un(re)solved.

Originally aired June 4th, 2021 on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Diane Kenney and her sister Linda Kenney Miller

Linda Kenney (R) Miller and her sister Diane Kenney (L) remember their grandfather, Dr. John A. Kenney, who founded the first hospital for African Americans in Newark, NJ.

Mary Ellen Noone

Mary Ellen Noone’s great-grandmother, Pinky Powell, grew up on a plantation in Lowndes County, Alabama, in the early 1900’s.

In a chilling story told to her years earlier by her Mama Pinky, Mary recounts the severe consequences her great-grandmother endured simply for wearing nail polish into a local general store.

Originally aired March 21, 2008, on NPR’s Morning Edition.