MB: I came to Grady in the September 1956 class. At that time, Grady was a segregated hospital and a segregated school of nursing. We shared a common instructor and a common classroom at different times. In 1958 they built the new Grady. It still was somewhat segregated. I had a rotation through the operating room and was in the recovery room and this white patient woke up and she looked and she saw a black nurse and she said, ”Well I’ll be! If it ain’t a little darky.”
And then one day this white man woke up and he was in traction and he looked around and all three of his roommates were black. Well, somewhere along the way he had kept his pocket knife, and he managed to cut all the ropes of traction on him. He crawled out of the bed and crawled up to the desk and told them he wasn’t staying in the room with them niggers. So even though they might have been sick they didn’t hesitate to call you out of your night. Then one day I got good and disgusted and I says ” I’m quitting! I don’t want to be no nurse no more.” Every weekend I’d pack my clothes and say,”I’m going home.”
And I had a classmate who was older so she would unpack them. Fast as I packed my clothes on Friday, Leila unpacked them. And this went on for quite some time. So finally I stopped packing them and I decided I’m gonna stay.
Francine Anderson remembers a night during the 1950s when her family ran out of gas on a rural road in the Jim Crow south.
Marcus Bullock was sentenced to eight years in prison when he was 15 years old. He came to StoryCorps with his mom, Sylvia, to reflect on how the letters she wrote him changed both of their lives.
Pilot and flight instructor Wally Funk tells her student, Mary Holsenbeck, about training to be an astronaut in 1961 as part of the Mercury 13.