StoryCorps Griot Archives - Page 3 of 12 - StoryCorps

“The Black Vote Matters:” How An Army Veteran Inspired A Teenage Martin Luther King, Jr.

Warning, the following story includes a description of racial violence.

In 1945, World War II US Army veteran Maceo Snipes, returned home to Taylor County, Georgia. He voted in the county’s primary in July of 1946, and the next day, he was murdered by a white mob.

The news of Snipes’ lynching — and the killing of four other African Americans — reached a teenage Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., then studying at Morehouse College. These murders inspired King to write a letter to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

A teenage Dr. King’s letter to the editor of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. MLK was a Morehouse College student inspired to speak out following Maceo Snipes’ lynching. Courtesy of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Raynita Snipes Johnson, Maceo Snipes’ great niece, only recently learned of her uncle’s story when she campaigned for Black voting rights in the 2016 presidential election.

Raynita Snipes Johnson at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. The church was a destination for Martin Luther King, Jr. following a KKK bombing that killed four Black children in 1963. Photo courtesy of Raynita Snipes Johnson.

She sat down with her friend, Gene Robinson, to talk about her uncle’s contribution to the Civil Rights Movement.

Gene Robinson and Raynita Snipes Johnson at their StoryCorps Virtual recording on August 29, 2020.


Find out more about the effort to honor Maceo Snipes’ life at The Maceo Snipes 1946 Project.

Top Photo: United States Army veteran Maceo Snipes. He served in World War II, and was murdered shortly after returning home from service. Photo courtesy of Raynita Snipes Johnson.

This story was recorded in collaboration with the PBS series FRONTLINE as part of Un(re)solved— a major initiative documenting the federal effort to investigate more than 150 cold case murders dating back to the civil rights era. More such stories can be explored in an interactive documentary at Un(re)solved.

Originally aired January 14th, 2022 on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Love and Skating: One Family That’s Rolled Through Six Generations

When Temica Hunt was growing up in Washington D.C. she was introduced to the jumping, whirling, bopping world of roller skating. She’s the fifth generation in her family to take up the pastime. Her mother, Necothia Bowens-Robinson, would bring Temica with her to the rink every chance they got, not for your typical sweet roll around the rink but more like a dance party on wheels. This brand of skating includes impressive tricks, spectacular moves and plenty of style.

Necothia Bowens-Robinson and Temica Hunt at the Crystals Skate Palace in 2009. Courtesy of Necothia Bowens-Robinson.

Necothia has her own memories of learning to skate from her father, David A. Bowens. A loving, hard-working man who “knew how to roll.”

Temica Hunt, about 8 years old, with her grandfather, David A. Bowens. Courtesy of Necothia Bowens-Robinson. 

Necothia came to StoryCorps with her daughter to reflect on the family’s skating legacy, with Temica now raising the sixth generation of skaters. . .

Temica Hunt with her daughter Kennedi, at Anacostia Skate Pavillion. Courtesy of Necothia Bowens-Robinson. 
Top Photo: Temica Hunt and Necothia Bowens-Robinson at their StoryCorps interview in Washington D.C. on December 14th, 2021. By Selcuk Selcuk Karaoglan for StoryCorps.

Originally aired December 31st, 2021 on NPR’s Morning Edition

The Brooklyn EMT Who Saved A Life and Inspired A Nursing Career

In the summer of 1991, 7-year-old Bryan Lindsay was riding his bike in Brooklyn, New York when he was struck by a van and almost killed.

Rowan Allen was the paramedic who arrived on the scene. Almost 20 years later, he and Bryan came to StoryCorps to remember that day and the impact it had on both of their lives.

But Rowan and Bryan weren’t the only ones transformed by the accident. In 2021, Bryan’s mom, Dorothy Lindsay, sat down for a StoryCorps interview with Rowan to thank him for saving her son’s life, and to tell him how his actions inspired her to pursue a new line of work.

Top Photo: Bryan Lindsay, Dorothy Salmon-Lindsay and Rowan Allen at their StoryCorps interview on June 26th, 2013. By Eve Claxton for StoryCorps. 

Originally aired December 24th, 2021 on NPR’s Morning Edition.

After Facing A Difficult Coming Out, One Couple Changed A Mother’s Heart

Leslye Huff (left) and her partner, Mary Ostendorf (right), met in 1983. Leslye was open about her feelings for Mary and wasn’t shy about publicly showing her affection—even on their first date. Mary felt less comfortable with public displays of affection and had not told many people in her life about her sexuality, including her family.

When Mary introduced Leslye to her mother, Agnes, they did not immediately reveal to her the nature of their relationship, but during that meeting Leslye felt a connection with Agnes. “I liked her. She was short like me, and pretty vivacious. She and I sat and talked and I thought the makings of a pretty good friendship was beginning.”

Later that year, days before they gathered for Thanksgiving, Leslye picked up the phone and told Agnes the truth about her relationship with Mary.

At StoryCorps, Mary and Leslye discuss what happened after the phone call and how their relationship with Agnes changed in the years that followed.

Since then, Leslye and Mary moved across the country to Berkeley, California so Leslye could pursue a seminary degree. She recently graduated.

Top Photo: Leslye Huff and Mary Ostendorf.

Originally aired November 27, 2016, on NPR’s Weekend Edition. It was rebroadcast on November 26, 2021 on NPR’s Morning Edition. 

“I don’t break”: How Two People Found Strength in One Another After Police Violence

In 2009, Alexander Landau was brutally beaten during a routine traffic stop by police in Denver, Colorado. His charges were dropped, and he later won a settlement from that city.

Years later, Nina Askew — another Colorado resident — had her arm broken in three places during an arrest. Her charges later resulted in a conviction of resisting arrest, and a hung jury on second degree assault of a police officer. 

Nina knew of Alexander from the media coverage of his case, and while their cases had very different outcomes, Nina was looking for moral and logistical support as she went through her trial.

Although Nina first reached out to Alexander for legal advice, she found something deeper in their connection. 

Top Photo: Alexander Landau and Nina Askew at their StoryCorps interview in Denver, Colorado on July 17, 2021. By Nick Sullivan for StoryCorps.

Originally aired November 12, 2021, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

First Muslim Chaplain In U.S. Armed Forces Recalls His Decades-Long Career Of Supporting Soldiers

Lieutenant Colonel Abdul-Rasheed Muhammad joined the United States Army in 1982. Before enlisting, he was a civilian imam in San Diego, CA, and he joined because was attracted to the discipline and values of the military culture there.

In the early 90s, Lt. Col. Muhammad became the first Muslim chaplain in the Armed Forces. In his duties, he consoled the families of fallen soldiers, and offered mental and emotional support to service members dealing with grief.

He came to StoryCorps with his wife, Saleemah Muhammad, to talk about what that was like.

Top Photo: Lieutenant Colonel Abdul-Rasheed Muhammad and his wife, Saleemah Muhammad. Photo courtesy of the participants.

This interview is part of the Anwar Collection of Muslim Voices through StoryCorps’ American Pathways initiative. This initiative is made possible by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art and an Anonymous Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Stuart Family Foundation. It will be archived at the Library of Congress.

Originally aired November 6, 2021 on NPR’s Weekend Edition.

A Family Remembers A Civil Rights Activist On The 60th Anniversary Of His Killing

Herbert Lee, Sr. was a businessman, farmer and activist for racial equality in 1950s Mississippi.

On September 25, 1961, he was murdered in Liberty, MS. His white killer, Mississippi state legislator, E.H. Hurst, was acquitted the very next day.

On the 60th anniversary of his death, Shirley Lee Riley — Lee’s youngest child — and her son, Clifton Franklin, sat down for StoryCorps to remember Herbert Lee’s civil rights legacy.

Herbert Lee’s daughter, Shirley Lee Riley, and her son, Clifton Franklin. Courtesy of Clifton Franklin.
Top Photo: Herbert Lee, Sr. and Prince Estella Lee. Courtesy of Clifton Franklin.

30 Years After Carrying Her Out Of A Burning Building, A Firefighter Tells The Woman He Saved: “You’ve Carried Me Through Tough Times.”

Los Angeles County firefighter Derek Bart first came to StoryCorps in 2020, just hours after receiving a terminal cancer diagnosis.

He stepped into the MobileBooth to reflect on his 33 years of public service and how he wanted to be remembered. But there, he thought of someone else, an 8-year-old girl he’d met early in his career, when he responded to a house fire.

Los Angeles County fire captain Derek Bart at his firehouse. Courtesy of Derek Bart.

Shortly after his first recording, Derek found out he’d been misdiagnosed, and that he was going to live. So he came back to sit down for another StoryCorps conversation, this time with Myeshia Oates, the woman who he saved nearly three decades ago.

Top Photo: Myeshia Oates and Derek Bart at their StoryCorps interview in Santa Clarita, CA on August 23, 2021.

Originally aired September 24, 2021, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

“He Created His Own Destiny”: Siblings Remember Their Video Game Pioneer Dad

Engineer Gerald Lawson was always fascinated with how things worked. 

He went from tinkering with TV parts as a young teen to helping lead the team that created the first ever home video game system that used interchangeable game cartridges. 

His invention allowed people to collect and play different games on the same system. It was one of the greatest technological innovations in the field — paving the way for a multi-billion dollar industry.

Lawson’s pioneering spirit also influenced the way he raised his two children, Anderson and Karen Lawson in 1970s Silicon Valley.

The Lawson Family: Catherine, Gerald, Anderson and Karen. Circa 1975. Courtesy of the participants.

Growing up, they remember a home filled with state-of-the-art technology — like an early digital clock and some of the first home computers. They came to StoryCorps to reflect on their unforgettable childhood and their father’s colossal personality.

Anderson, Gerald and Karen Lawson. 1973. Courtesy of the participants.
Top Photo: Anderson and Karen Lawson at their StoryCorps recording in Atlanta, GA in 2015. By Diana Guyton for StoryCorps.

Originally aired September 17, 2021, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

A Life of Honor

A gay veteran recalls serving in silence.

Joseph Patton

When Joseph Patton joined the Navy in 1955, he had to serve in silence. At the time, the LGBTQ community could not be open while in the military. Despite being the “perfect sailor,” Joseph was kicked out of the Navy under the assumption that he was homosexual. At StoryCorps, Joseph remembers the pride he took in his service and the beauty and joy that love has brought to his life.

Listen to Joseph’s original StoryCorps interview.

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