The StoryCorps archive is the largest collection of human voices ever gathered, preserving United States history as told through the voices of everyday people in this country. The recordings run the gamut of human emotion, from joy to despair and everything in between.

Winfred Rembert, 73, added his rare perspective to the archive in 2017, when he sat down for a conversation with his wife, Patsy, to talk about his experience as one of the only people ever known to have survived a lynching.

When he was a teenager in the mid-1960s, Winfred participated in a Civil Rights protest in the town of Americus, Georgia. In the aftermath, he was arrested and served time in jail.

One day, after Winfred made a commotion in his cell, the deputy sheriff walked in and pulled a gun on him. Winfred then managed to take the gun away and lock the deputy sheriff in the cell before escaping.

More than five decades later, Winfred sat down for StoryCorps with his wife, Patsy, to remember what happened next.

Warning: This story includes racial slurs and a graphic description of racial violence.

Top photo: Patsy and Winfred Rembert at their StoryCorps interview in Hamden, CT in April of 2017. By Jud Esty-Kendall for StoryCorps.
Middle photo: Patsy and Winfred Rembert in April of 2017 at their StoryCorps interview in Hamden, CT. By Jacqueline Van Meter for StoryCorps.

Originally aired November 15, 2019 on NPR’s Morning Edition.