Celebrate Black History Month by listening to stories of black identity, struggles, and excellence in America.

As a bonus, because February 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the 15th Amendment, we’ve put together a special collection featuring themes of representation, universal suffrage, and Civil Rights. The 15th Amendment, one of the cornerstones of civil rights, granted men of all races the right to vote in 1870.

Want even more stories? Sign up for our Story of the Week newsletter to discover a new voice every week.

The 150th Anniversary of the 15th Amendment

story
"I was 15 years of age when I first started having my own private sit-ins."
0:00 / 0:00

Dion Diamond: Reflections on 60 Years of Civil Rights Activism

Dion Diamond recalls his activism and resistance, that began at the young age of 15. He shares how he got started challenging a segregated society while growing up in the 1950’s and 1960’s, through sit ins and peaceful protests.

Originally aired January 12, 2019, on NPR’s Morning Edition. Read the full transcript here.

 

story
"I'm not so sure the Civil Rights Act would have been passed had there not been a St. Augustine"
0:00 / 0:00

A Civil-Rights Swim-In

JT Johnson and Al Lingo were two of the several protesters who jumped into a “whites only” pool at the Monson Motor Lodge in St. Augustine, Florida. The protest escalated quickly, and is often remembered as a tipping point that led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1968.

Originally aired January 18, 2019, on NPR’s Morning Edition. Read the full transcript here.

 

story
“I sat up in my bed and I was immediately engulfed in fear."
0:00 / 0:00

Remembering the Assassination of Civil Rights Leader Edwin Pratt

Miriam Pratt recalls the assassination of her father Edwin Pratt, the head of the Seattle Urban League, who dedicated his life to fighting against employment, housing, and education discrimination.

Originally aired March 22, 2019, on NPR’s Morning Edition. Read the full transcript here.

 

story
"They intended to get all of us January the 10th, 1966."
0:00 / 0:00

Remembering the KKK Killing of a Voting Rights Activist

During the 1960’s Vernon Dahmer dedicated his life to ensuring that African American persons had the right to vote, making him the target of many Ku Klux Klan hate crimes. Ellie and Bettie Dahmer reflect on the traumatic incident that resulted in the death of husband, father and Civil Rights Leader Vernon Dahmer.

Originally aired January 13, 2017, on NPR’s Morning Edition. Read the full transcript here.

 

A More Perfect Union

Theresa Borroughs reflects on her relentless efforts to become a registered voter, despite being of age, during the Jim Crow era in the rural South.

 

More Voices

story
"I truly think everyone should do what they can to sustain their country."
0:00 / 0:00

Olivia J. Hooker, Pioneer and First Black Woman in the Coast Guard

Amongst her other achievements, Dr. Olivia J. Hooker was the part of the first class of African American women in the Coast Guard in 1944 during WWII, as part of the SPARS program.

 Read the full transcript here.

story
"It was like driving an automobile at a hundred miles an hour and running into a stone wall."
0:00 / 0:00

Memories from an Air Force Test Volunteer

In the mid-1950s, before NASA existed, Alton Yates was part of a small group of Air Force volunteers who tested the effects of high speeds on the body. His contribution aided the process of sending Americans into space.

Originally aired August 29, 2014, on NPR’s Morning Edition. Read the full transcript here.

 

Driven

Wendell Scott, the first African American person to be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, began his career in 1952, during the end of Jim Crow era. Despite not having the recognition, fame, or resources of his competitors, he won countless races, serving as an embodiment of perseverance and passion.

 

story
“Being in a place like that, I didn’t feel like we was human.”
0:00 / 0:00

The Leesburg Stockade Girls

story
"When all the parents leave, it goes crazy..."
0:00 / 0:00

“When all the parents leave, it goes crazy…”

story
"All I wanted to do was get revenge."
0:00 / 0:00

“All I wanted to do was get revenge.”

story
"My grandmother used to take my brother and myself to the south every summer..."
0:00 / 0:00

“My grandmother used to take my brother and myself to the south every summer…”

Want even more stories? Sign up for our Story of the Week newsletter to discover a new voice every week.