StoryCorps Griot Archives - Page 7 of 13 - StoryCorps
Renew today to double your impact Renew by 4/30

For The First Time In Nearly A Century, A Family Reunion Interrupted By A Pandemic

In 1801, Nancy Carter, who had been enslaved by George and Martha Washington, was one of 124 people to be freed. Afterwards, Nancy married her husband, Charles Quander, and together they raised a family.

In 1926, children and grand-children gathered for the first Quander family reunion — as a way to connect older generations with younger ones, honor their lineage, and preserve their family history. 

Every year since then, for nearly a century, the Quander family has been coming together, but in the midst of a global pandemic, as their 95th reunion was approaching, they were faced with a difficult decision. 

Speaking remotely through StoryCorps Connect, Rohulamin Quander and his cousin, Alicia Argrett, talked about reunions past, and how this year was different from the rest.

Top Photo: Rohulamin Quander at his home in Washington, D.C. in 2016 and Alicia Argrett in Madison, MS in 2010. Photos courtesy of Rohulamin Quander and Alicia Argrett.
Middle Photo: Members of the Quander family gather at Mount Vernon in 2010, in front of a slave cabin replica, at the 85th Family Reunion. Courtesy of Rohulamin Quander.
Bottom Photo: Georgie Quander, Tom Quander, Susannah Quander, and Sadie Quander Harris, 1926 Founders of the Quander Family Reunion.  Courtesy of Rohulamin Quander.

Originally aired August 7, 2020, on NPR’s Morning Edition. 

After 15 Years of Incarceration, Mother is Reunited with Daughter Due to COVID-19

When Nia Cosby was 4 years old, her mom, Chalana McFarland, was convicted of multiple counts of mortgage fraud, and sentenced to 30 years in prison. It was the largest sentence ever handed down for this offense at the time, and the judge went on record to say he was giving her a harsh sentence as a deterrent for those wishing to commit similar crimes. 

Nia was raised by her grandparents, but spoke to her mom weekly and visited her as often as she could. Chalana did everything she could to remain an active part of her daughter’s life, often making her custom school supplies and monogrammed socks for her basketball tournaments. 

Chalana McFarland (L) with five year old Nia Cosby (R) at Coleman Camp in 2006. Courtesy of Chalana McFarland.

After Nia went to college, it became harder for them to see each other in person due to visitation restrictions at the Florida prison where Chalana was incarcerated. But in April, the U.S. Attorney General sent a memorandum recommending that facilities release nonviolent inmates who were vulnerable to COVID-19. Chalana was among those selected to be transferred to home confinement, and was released on June 9. 

In their first weekend together in 15 years, Chalana and Nia came together for StoryCorps to reflect on the challenges they’ve faced and look towards the future. 

Today, Chalana remains in home confinement in Marietta, Georgia. Nia continues to live in Florida, where she is pursuing a business degree at a local university.

Top Photo: Nia Cosby and Chalana McFarland in Marietta, GA on June 28, 2020. By Michael Reese for StoryCorps.

Originally aired July 24, 2020 on NPR’s Morning Edition.

‘Why Do You Take Me To Protests So Much?’: A Black Father Answers Tough Questions From His Son

When 9-year-old Aidan Sykes sat down to interview his dad, Albert Sykes, he had some serious questions. Albert, who runs an education nonprofit and mentors kids who are struggling in school, talked to Aidan about Black fatherhood, and his hopes for his son’s future.

Aidan interviewed Albert at StoryCorps in Jackson, Mississippi.

Top Photo: Albert and Aidan Sykes at their StoryCorps interview in Jackson, Mississippi in 2015. By Vanessa Gonzalez-Block for StoryCorps.
Middle Photo: Albert and Aidan Sykes in Jackson, Mississippi, 2020. Photo courtesy of Albert Sykes.

Originally aired March 20, 2015, on NPR’s Morning Edition. Rebroadcast on June 5, 2020, on the same program.

‘We’re Like A Lifeline’: Postal Workers Fight Fear To Work In A Pandemic

When Evette Jourdain was struggling to get back on her feet, landing a job as a postal worker in Palm Beach, Florida seemed like a blessing. Now the job carries with it risks she never imagined.

Evette and friend and fellow mail carrier Craig Boddie had a remote conversation using StoryCorps Connect, to talk about what it means for them, personally and professionally, to do their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Originally aired May 15, 2020, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Top photo: Craig Boddie and Evette Jourdain in Palm Beach, FL. Courtesy of Craig Boddie and Evette Jourdain for StoryCorps.

When You Finally Told Me

On this season of the podcast, we’ve been listening to difficult conversations between loved ones, friends, and sometimes, even strangers. Whether people are sitting down together for the first time or reconnecting, each conversation has run the gamut of human emotion — from joy to despair and everything in between. In this episode, a couple grapples with a horrific memory from the past.Winfred Rembert grew up in the south during the height of the civil rights movement. In the late-60s, he participated in a protest in the town of Americus, Georgia — where racial tensions were especially high — and was arrested as a result.

One day, while Winfred was serving time in the county jail, the deputy sheriff walked into his cell and pulled a gun on him. Fearing for his life, Winfred wrestled the gun out of his hands and managed to escape, but was eventually caught by the police and thrown into the trunk of their car.What happened next is something Winfred kept quiet for a long time. But years later, still suffering from nightmares, he finally told his wife Patsy the truth: that he was one of few people to have ever survived a lynching.

Nearly 50 years later, Winfred and Patsy sat down for StoryCorps to talk about what happened to him. Warning: This story includes racial slurs and a graphic description of violence.

Top photo: Artwork by Lindsay Mound.
Middle photo 1: Winfred and Patsy Rembert in Sycamore, Georgia in 1974, two days before their wedding. Courtesy of the Rembert family.
Middle photo 2: Patsy and Winfred Rembert at their StoryCorps interview in Hamden, Connecticut in April of 2017. By Jacqueline Van Meter for StoryCorps.   
Bottom Photo: Patsy and Winfred Rembert in April of 2017 at their StoryCorps interview in Hamden, Connecticut. By Jud Esty-Kendall for StoryCorps.

Released on February 4, 2020.

Like the music in this episode? Support the artists:
“Heat and Memory” by Jarrett Floyd
“Hollow & ghosts” by Ending Satellites (feat. Francois Creutzer) from the album And So Sing the Black Birds

‘Why do you like space so much?’: A NASA Engineer Talks With His Space-Obsessed Nephew

At StoryCorps, interviews with children can be challenging, but six-year-old Jerry Morrison isn’t your average kid.

Jerry is obsessed with outer space, so of course his favorite person to talk to is his uncle Joey Jefferson, a Mission Operations Engineer at NASA. 

When they get together, their conversations always revolve around one thing…

Top photo: Jerry Morrison and Joey Jefferson at their StoryCorps interview in Culver City, CA on November 14, 2019. Courtesy of the Morrison family.
Bottom photo: Joey Jefferson and Jerry Morrison on Jerry’s first visit to the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where Joey works, in 2015. Courtesy of the Morrison family.

Originally aired January 24, 2020 on NPR’s Morning Edition.  


‘Sometimes Humanity Is What We Need’: Two Women Reflect On Their Unlikely Friendship

One night, in October 2015, Asma Jama went out for dinner with her family at an Applebee’s restaurant in Coon Rapids, Minnesota. Asma, who is Somali American and Muslim, was wearing a hijab, as she always does.

While Asma was talking with her cousin in Swahili, a woman named Jodie Bruchard-Risch, who was seated nearby, told her to speak English or go back to her country. When Asma responded to say that she was a U.S. citizen, the woman smashed a beer mug across Asma’s face. Asma was then rushed to the hospital and required 17 stitches in her face, hands and chest.

Jodie Bruchard-Risch pleaded guilty to felony assault charges and served time in jail for the crime. Jodie’s sister, Dawn Sahr, spoke out publicly against the attack and reached out to Asma.

In 2016, Asma and Dawn met for the first time at their StoryCorps interview. Since then, they’ve remained friends and recently came back for a second recording to tell us how they’re doing now.

They were also featured on the StoryCorps podcast, where you can hear more. 

Top photo: Dawn Sahr with Asma Jama in 2016, when they met for the first time at their StoryCorps interview in Minneapolis, MN. By Roselyn Almonte for StoryCorps.

Originally aired December 27, 2019, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Holiday Gifts That Can’t Be Bought

Dr. William Lynn Weaver has given us the gift of wisdom over the years through his many StoryCorps interviews, including his experience integrating into his high school’s all-white football team, and memories of the most important man in his life.

But in this episode of the podcast, you’ll hear about a lesson he learned on the day before Christmas when he was 18 years old. It happened in Mechanicsville, a black working-class neighborhood in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Weaver died in May 2019.

Next, we’ll hear from from Thompson Williams and his son Kiamichi-tet. They came to StoryCorps in 2014 to talk about Thompson’s father — and Kiamichi-tet’s grandfather — Melford Williams, a tribal leader with the Caddo Nation in Oklahoma and a World War II veteran.  

During that conversation, they also remembered a family Christmas in 2001.

They were living in Edmond, Oklahoma at the time. Kiamichi-tet was 11 years old and his sister, AuNane, was 14. Thompson was a teacher’s assistant for students with special needs — work he loved but that didn’t pay well. His wife was an artist, selling paintings and handmade Christmas ornaments.

As the holidays approached, Thompson realized they wouldn’t have money for gifts, and he was faced with a difficult decision. But, as he remembers here, it was his children who would help him make the right choice.


Top photo: Artwork by Lindsay Mound.
Middle photo: William Lynn Weaver in Fayetteville, North Carolina in 2017. 
Bottom photo: Thompson Williams with his son Kiamichi-tet in 2014 at their StoryCorps recording in Denver, Colorado. 

Released on December 24, 2019.

Like the music in this episode? Support the artists:
“Heat and Memory” by Jarrett Floyd
“NirvanaVEVO” by Chris Zabriskie from the album Undercover Vampire Policeman
“Elegiac” by Bryan Copeland

“We Missed Knowing Each Other:” 50 Years After Desegregation, Two Classmates Remember

On October 29, 1969, the Supreme Court ordered schools across the country to desegregate, in the little-known but milestone case Alexander v. Holmes. It was 15 years after schools had resisted Brown v. Board of Education, and most black students in the South still attended all-black schools. 

Eli Brown and Natalie Guice Adams met in third grade, when their school in Winnsboro, Louisiana first integrated. Brown is black, and Adams is white. As two of the top students, their lives were academically intertwined through elementary and high school, yet deeply separate.

Adams and Brown would go on to become co-valedictorians of the Winnsboro High School class of 1980. Today, Brown is an OBGYN in Birmingham, Alabama, and Adams is a professor at the University of Alabama. At StoryCorps, they sat down to remember life after integration for the first time.

Top photo: Natalie Guice Adams and Eli Brown at their at their StoryCorps interview in Birmingham, AL on October 2, 2019. By Emilyn Sosa for StoryCorps.
Middle photo: Natalie Guice Adams and Eli Brown pose as two of Winnsboro High School’s “Most Likely To Succeed” students. Black and white recipients of the distinction were photographed separately. Photo from the Winnsboro High School 1980 yearbook.

Originally aired October 25, 2019 on NPR’s Morning Edition. 

Remembering the Assassination of Civil Rights Leader Edwin Pratt

This is a story about an assassination of a Civil Rights leader you might not know about.

Throughout the 1960s, a man named Edwin Pratt was the head of the Seattle Urban League, where he rallied against discrimination in hiring, education, and housing.



On a snowy night in 1969, three men carried out a hit on Pratt in his home, while his wife and five-year-old daughter Miriam were inside.

Miriam recently came to StoryCorps with her godmother Jean Soliz, who was her babysitter and neighbor at the time, to remember the aftermath.


After 50 years, the investigation of Edwin Pratt’s murder remains unsolved.

Top photo: A family photo of Bettye, Miriam, and Edwin Pratt together in 1966. Courtesy Jean Soliz.
Middle photo: Miriam Pratt and Jean Soliz pose at their StoryCorps interview in Renton, WA on January 22, 2019. Photo by Dupe Oyebolu for StoryCorps.
Bottom photo: Jean Soliz and Miriam Pratt make the black power pose together, a few months after Edwin Pratt’s assassination in 1969. Courtesy Jean Soliz.

Originally aired March 22, 2019, on NPR’s Morning Edition.