Atlanta Archives - StoryCorps
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Tom Houck and Angelo Fuster

In 1965, Tom Houck was a high school senior when he decided to drop out of school and join the fight for civil rights.

Leaving Jacksonville, Florida, and heading to Selma, Alabama, Tom, 19, eventually met Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and quickly volunteered to work for Dr. King’s Atlanta-based Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).

Soon after his arrival in Atlanta, Tom was invited to the King home for lunch and Dr. King’s wife—Coretta—asked him to become the family’s driver.

Tom, who has continued to spend his life fighting for civil rights, came to StoryCorps with his friend, Angelo Fuster (pictured below left), to share memories of his time with the King family.   HouckNPR1-636x470

Originally aired January 15, 2016, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Top Photo: Tom Houck in front of a mural at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta. (Credit: Todd Burandt)

Octavius Smiley-Humphries, Carole Smiley and Seth Smiley-Humphries

Hoping to meet someone special, in 2010 Seth Smiley decided to give online dating a try. Soon after posting his profile, Octavius Humphries reached out to him and they began an email correspondence.


Despite their age difference—Seth is 19 years older than Octavius—they immediately hit it off, bonding over their shared search for “commitment, consistency, and (a) connection.”

Eventually they met in person, going on their first date on Christmas Eve. Unsure of Octavius’ plans for the holiday, Seth invited him to dinner the next night at his family’s Atlanta home. Octavius, who was still grieving the deaths of his parents, had, unbeknownst to Seth, planned on spending the holiday alone. Instead, he reluctantly accepted Seth’s invitation.

At StoryCorps, Octavius (above left) and Seth (above right), along with Seth’s mother, Carole Smiley, sat down to remember their first Christmas together, as well as a more recent memorable holiday event.

Originally aired December 25, 2015, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Above photo: Seth, Octavius, and their son Julian (photo courtesy of the Smiley-Humphries family).

Anne Purfield and Michelle Dynes

Anne Purfield (left) and Michelle Dynes (right) are epidemiologists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

They both volunteered to spend several weeks in Sierra Leone, responding to the Ebola outbreak there.

When they returned to the U.S., they came to StoryCorps to talk about what they had seen.

Originally aired October 10, 2014, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

J.T. Johnson and Al Lingo

On June 18, 1964, J.T. Johnson (L) and Al Lingo (R) were two of several protesters who jumped into the whites only pool at the Monson Motor Lodge in St. Augustine, Florida.

At StoryCorps, they talk about how the owner of the hotel tried to force them out by pouring acid into the pool.

In June 1964, James Brock dumped acid into the water at the Monson Motor Lodge in St. Augustine, Fla. He was trying to disrupt swimmers who were protesting the hotel's whites-only policy.

Originally aired June 13, 2014, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Photo credit: Protesters demonstrating in the swimming pool of the Monson Motor Lodge scream as motel manager James Brock dumps muriatic acid into the water. Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

Clayton Sherrod

Image As a teenager, Clayton Sherrod worked at an all-white country club in Birmingham, Alabama.

In 1964, when he was just 19, Sherrod became the club’s first African-American executive chef and remained in the position at the country club for the next 13 years.

At StoryCorps, he remembered how he came to run his first kitchen.

Originally aired January 17, 2014, on NPR’s Morning Edition

Photo courtesy of Clayton Sherrod.

Rebecca Greenberg, Carl Greenberg, and Laura Greenberg



When we first heard from Laura Greenberg and her daughter Rebecca in January 2011, Laura spoke about growing up in her parents’ home in Queens, New York, in the 1950s, and not knowing what normal behavior was. She also spent time telling stories about meeting and marrying her husband, Carl.

Laura and Rebecca returned to StoryCorps, this time with Carl along as well, to give him an opportunity to weigh in on some of the things said about him the first time his wife and daughter recorded their interview.

Originally aired October 24, 2013, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Jack Bruschetti and Lynne Bruschetti

bruschetti_extra1Leonard Carpenter worked for BFGoodrich in Akron, Ohio, where he also raised his family. According to his daughter Lynne, he always kept a comb, handkerchief, and penknife in his pockets and used clippers to cut his grass “because he wanted every blade of grass to be exactly the same height.”

His grandson Jack Bruschetti was born in 1999, the same year Leonard died from Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 86.

At StoryCorps, Jack, 13, asked his mother, Lynne, to share with him more about his grandfather.

Originally aired July 19, 2013, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Above: Leonard Carpenter in Kentucky, where he grew up, in the early 1940s. Photo courtesy of Lynne Bruschetti.

Robert Stokely

stokely_webextra2Army Sergeant Michael Stokely enlisted in the Georgia Army National Guard straight out of high school. He deployed to Iraq in 2005, where he was killed by a roadside bomb.

At StoryCorps, his father, Robert Stokely talks about traveling to Iraq to pay tribute to his fallen son.

Originally aired June 15, 2013, on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday.

Top: Robert and Michael, who died on deployment in Iraq in 2005. Photos courtesy of Robert Stokeley

Adrian Hawkins and Horace Atwater Jr.

Horace Atwater Jr. (right) took in Adrian Hawkins (left) as a foster child when he was about 14 years old. Until then, Adrian, who had lived in several group and foster homes, remembers, “times being hungry, seeing drugs and all kinds of stuff.”

At StoryCorps, Horace tells Adrian about the very personal experience he had with his own family that led him to care so deeply for a stranger.

Originally aired June 14, 2013, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Charles Barlow and Bernard Holyfield

When Bernard Holyfield (right) was 5 years old he owned a dog named Lassie—a collie that looked just like the fictional dog on television.

At StoryCorps, he tells his friend Charles Barlow (left) how he learned skin color mattered after Bernard and his younger brother, Evander (who would go on to one day become the heavyweight boxing champion of the world), were playing in the yard and a drunk started harassing Lassie.

Originally aired January 18, 2013, on NPR’s Morning Edition.