Racism Archives - StoryCorps

“This is Ours Too”: A Father Instills a Sense of Belonging in His Daughter

When Erin Haggerty was just a teen, her father George Barlow moved the family from Union City, California to the stark, white landscapes of Iowa. At the time, Erin was excited by the prospect of moving to a new place. But she soon realized that, as one of the only Black teens in her community, life would not always be so picturesque.

Photo: (L) George embracing (R) Erin at her high school graduation in 1991. Courtesy of Erin Haggerty.

Erin spent years trying to find her sense of belonging in this new town. But overtime, she began to withdraw into herself. Her father George had always assumed Erin was just a shy teen; someone who kept to herself, was well behaved, and had no interest in high school parties. 

But in August of 2020, Erin opened up to George for the first time about what it was like being a young Black woman in Iowa, and how it was his words and kindness that saw her through those difficult times.

Top Photo: (L) Erin Haggerty and her father (R) George Barlow in 2010. Courtesy of Erin Haggerty.
Bottom Photo: Three year old (L) Erin with her father (R) George in 1975. Courtesy of Erin Haggerty.

Originally aired September 18, 2020, on NPR’s Morning Edition. 

From The School Bus To The Hospital, A Doctor’s Experiences With Racism

As nationwide protests in the United States continue, conversations about racial inequity have come into the forefront. And many are reminded of experiences from our not-so-distant past — like Dr. Ayim Darkeh and his mother, Shirley, who moved to Westbury on Long Island, New York in the 1970s. 

When Ayim started attending elementary school, he was one of a handful of Black students in a predominantly white school. 

Ayim and his mother had a conversation over StoryCorps Connect to talk about the discrimination Ayim faced as a child, and how that’s shaped his approach to parenting.

Content Warning: this story contains some offensive language.

Top Photo: Shirly Darkeh and Ayim Darkeh at Shirly’s 85th birthday celebration at a church on Long Island, NY in 2019. Courtesy of Ayim Darkeh.
Bottom Photo: Ayim Darkeh and his children at their Brooklyn home in 2019. Courtesy of Ayim Darkeh.

Originally aired August 28, 2020, on NPR’s Morning Edition. 

“They Don’t See The Innocence In You”: A Black Father Continues To Answer Tough Questions From His Son

When 9-year-old Aidan Sykes first sat down for StoryCorps to interview his dad, Albert, he had some serious questions. Their conversation touched on Albert’s experience raising three Black sons in Mississippi, why they go to protests together, and what Albert’s hopes are for his son’s future.

Five years later, with Aidan a month away from turning 15, they decided to have another conversation using StoryCorps Connect. This comes at a time when protests are being held worldwide after a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota killed a Black man named George Floyd. 

Top Photo: Albert and Aidan Sykes in Jackson, Mississippi, 2020. Photo courtesy of Albert Sykes.
Middle Photo: Albert and Aidan Sykes at their original StoryCorps interview back in 2015. By Vanessa Gonzalez-Block for StoryCorps. 

Originally aired June 12, 2020, on NPR’s Morning Edition.