WHQR Archives - StoryCorps

Howell Graham and his mother, Nan

As a child, Howell Graham was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that often affects the lungs. By the time he reached his late twenties, Howell would lose his breath doing something as simple as brushing his teeth.

So, in 1990, he had a double-lung transplant — a risky, experimental operation at the time. Today, Howell is one of the longest-surviving recipients of that surgery.

At StoryCorps, Howell and his mom, Nan, remembered a few times when it seemed like he might not make it.

Julian Walker and his daughter Julia Walker Jewell

75-year-old Julian Walker tells his daughter, Julia Walker Jewell, about an accident his father had as a young boy.

James Thompson, Dwight Thompson and Brenda Graham

In 1958, a kiss made civil rights history. It happened in Monroe, North Carolina. Two African American children, James Hanover Thompson and David Simpson, were said to have kissed a girl who was white. They were arrested and accused of rape.

thompson-5The incident became known around the world as “The Kissing Case.” But over time, it was largely forgotten.

Even the Thompson family rarely talked about it–until they came to StoryCorps, where James (L) sat down with his younger brother, Dwight (R), and told him what happened.

Under political pressure, the governor of North Carolina released the two friends. James then spent most of his adult life in and out of prison for robbery.

His sister, Brenda Lee Graham (pictured left), also came to StoryCorps. She remembered what life was like for the family after James had been arrested.

Originally aired April 29, 2011, on NPR’s Morning Edition.