If you listen to StoryCorps on NPR’s Morning Edition each week, you may recognize the voice of Dr. William Lynn Weaver (who goes by Lynn). He’s shared lots of stories with us over the years — about growing up in the Civil Rights era-South, a memorable Christmas, the importance of family — but there was always one story that felt like it existed at the heart of the rest.


In the fall of 1964, Lynn, along with more than a dozen other black students, were among the first to integrate West High School — a previously all-white high school — in Knoxville, Tennessee. Although there were bright spots — former teachers who became mentors, classmates who became brothers — the racism Lynn encountered inside and outside the classroom left many scars. “I have PTSD from West High School,” said Lynn, who had never even driven past the high school since graduating in ‘67.

But in 2017, someone from West’s present reunited Lynn with his past. And on this episode, part one of Lynn’s journey back to a place he thought he’d never step foot inside again.


Top photo: Artwork by Eleanor Davis.
Middle photo: Dr. William Lynn Weaver in Fayetteville, NC. By Jud Esty-Kendall for StoryCorps.
Bottom photo: Dr. William Lynn Weaver as a member of the West High School Rebels during his senior year. From the 1967 West High School Yearbook.

Released on November 27, 2018.

Like the music in this episode? Support the artists:
“We’re from far and near” and “Hollow & Ghosts (feat. Francois Creutzer)” by Ending Satellites from the album And so sing the black birds
“Untitled #7” by Yusuke Tsutsumi from  the album Birds Flying in the Dark
“The Last Florida Panther” and “The Pediment” by Fabian Almazan and Linda Oh
“The Gold Lining” by Broke For Free from the album Gold Can Stay