StoryCorps Griot Archives - Page 13 of 13 - StoryCorps
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Darlene Lewis and James Taylor

When Darlene Lewis’ son was released from prison 20 years ago, he couldn’t find work. So, Darlene decided to do something about it.

She founded an organization dedicated to helping former inmates find jobs. Darlene prepares them for interviews, places them with local businesses, and advocates for them in court.

She’s helped thousands of men and women—including James Taylor, who served seven years for weapons possession and drug charges. Today, James works as a videographer, youth mentor, and also volunteers for Darlene’s organization.

Darlene and James came to StoryCorps to talk about their relationship.

Originally aired January 8, 2015, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Megiddëh Goldston, Raphael Hameed and Heidi Hameed

In July 2014, Raphael Hameed was walking with his 5-year-old son, Ish, when they were hit by a speeding car. Raphael lost his leg. Ish, his only son, was killed.

While the driver is awaiting trial for vehicular homicide, her sister, Megiddëh Goldston (above left), is trying to do right by the Hameed family.

They connected after the accident. Now she visits Raphael and his wife, Heidi (above right), to help with their day-to day-life. They sat down for StoryCorps in Colorado Springs.

Originally aired January 2, 2015, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Sonia Vasquez and Tina Vasquez

Tina Vasquez grew up just outside of New York City in the 1980s. Her mother, Sonia, raised her with little help, and money was often tight for their family.

At StoryCorps, Sonia told Tina about how she’d take on several jobs to pay the bills.

Originally aired October 3, 2014, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Alton Yates and Toni Yates

As a teenager, Alton Yates (pictured above) did a job that helped send people into space.

yatestaIn the mid-1950s, before NASA existed, Yates was part of a small group of Air Force volunteers who tested the effects of high speeds on the body. They were strapped to rocket-propelled sleds that hurtled down a track at more 600 miles per hour and stopped in a matter of seconds. These experiments helped prove that space travel was safe for humans.

At StoryCorps, Yates told his daughter, Toni (pictured together at left), that—for him—the story starts in high school, shortly after his mother died.

Originally aired August 29, 2014, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

After leaving the Air Force in 1959, Alton Yates became involved with the Civil Rights Movement in his hometown of Jacksonville, Florida. On August 27, 1960, he attended a sit-in that turned violent. It became known as Ax Handle Day.


Alex Landau and Patsy Hathaway

WARNING: The audio of this story contains graphic descriptions of violence and this web post contains a graphic photograph.

In 2009, Alex Landau was a student at Community College of Denver. After a traffic stop one night, he was severely beaten by Denver Police officers.

Alex is African American. He was adopted by a white couple and he grew up in largely white, middle-class suburbs of Denver.

landau_extra1Alex and his mother, Patsy Hathaway, came to StoryCorps to talk about how Alex’s race has influenced his life and what happened that night when police pulled him over.

In 2011, Alex was awarded a $795,000 settlement from the City of Denver.

Two of the officers involved have since been fired from the Denver Police Department for other incidents.

Click here to watch “Traffic Stop,” Alex’s story told as a StoryCorps animated short.

Originally aired August 15, 2014, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Above photo of Alex Landau taken the night of January 15, 2009, courtesy of Alex Landau.

Thomas Fair and Mytokia Fair

In 1987, Baltimore police officer Mytokia Fair shot and killed her abusive husband.

At the time, Maryland did not allow the use of battered spouse syndrome as part of a criminal defense.

But three years later, the state’s parole board ruled that Mytokia’s actions were the result of her husband’s “repeated physical and psychological abuse” and the governor commuted her sentence.

At StoryCorps, Mytokia sat down with her current husband, Thomas Fair, to talk about the events that led to her arrest.

Originally aired August 8, 2014, on NPR’s Morning Edition. 

Aja David, Kai Leigh Harriott and Tonya David

Fourteen-year-old Kai Leigh Harriott is paralyzed from the chest down, the result of a stray bullet that hit her when she was three.

She was sitting outside on her porch in Dorchester, Massachusetts, with her older sister, Aja David, who was babysitting at the time.

The family is still dealing with the aftermath of the shooting a decade later.

Two years after Kai was shot, the family appeared at the shooter’s court hearing. In the below audio, Kai (center), Aja (left), and their mother, Tonya David (right), remember what was said on the stand.

Originally aired July 11, 2014, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Omar Leech

Omar Leech remembers his first exposure to gang life as a young man in Toledo, Ohio. Leech passed away in 2007 in a car accident in Atlanta. He recorded this interview there just three weeks earlier.

Originally aired May 29, 2007 on NPR’s News & Notes.