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Playlist: 'Witness'

Compiled By: StoryCorps

Zenobbie Clark (L) and her sister, Diana Carter (R), remember their brother, Samuel "Bubba" Hammond Jr. <a href="http://www.prx.org/pieces/48177-storycorps-griot-zenobbie-clark-and-diana-carter">Listen Here</a>. Credit:
Zenobbie Clark (L) and her sister, Diana Carter (R), remember their brother, Samuel "Bubba" Hammond Jr. Listen Here.

Yes, they were there for that. They saw it, heard it, and in these pieces they tell you all about it.

StoryCorps Griot: James and Dwight Thompson

From StoryCorps | Part of the StoryCorps series | 03:47

James Hanover Thompson tells his brother Dwight about his involvement in the "Kissing Case" of 1958.

Thompson_small In 1958, two African-American children, James Hanover Thompson and David Simpson, were arrested for allegedly kissing a girl who was white.

Here, James Hanover Thompson and his siblings Dwight and Brenda remember their involvement in the now-infamous "Kissing Case."

StoryCorps: Bill Cosgrove

From StoryCorps | 02:01

Former NYPD lieutenant Bill Cosgrove remembers carrying Father Mychal Judge, the first official victim of September 11th, out of the World Trade Center.

Cosgrove_small Former NYPD lieutenant Bill Cosgrove remembers carrying Father Mychal Judge, the first official victim of September 11th, out of the World Trade Center.

StoryCorps: Harvey Sherman

From StoryCorps | 01:29

Harvey Sherman remembers October 3, 1951, when the Brooklyn Dodgers lost the pennant on a home run known as the "shot heard 'round the world."

Sherman2_small Harvey Sherman tells his friend Alex Reisner about the "shot heard 'round the world," when the Brooklyn Dodgers lost the pennant to the New York Giants on Oct. 3, 1951. Sherman was a teenager at the time and was rooting for the Dodgers. 

StoryCorps Griot: Mary Morris

From StoryCorps | 02:16

Mary Morris remembers her husband, Thomas, one of two Washington D.C. postal workers who died from exposure to anthrax in October, 2001.

Morris_small Thomas Morris was a U.S. Postal Service worker for 28 years. He was working in Washington D.C. when anthrax laced letters targeting senators and major media outlets appeared in the mail. He was one of two postal workers who died in October 2001 as a result of these biochemical attacks. His widow, Mary Morris, came to StoryCorps to remember their life together–starting with the day they met at a family funeral.

StoryCorps: Frank Curre

From StoryCorps | 02:23

88-year-old Frank Curre remembers serving on the U.S.S. Tennessee during the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.

Curre_small 88-year-old Frank Curre remembers serving on the U.S.S. Tennessee during the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.

StoryCorps: Gloria and Lou Del Bianco

From StoryCorps | 01:55

Gloria Del Bianco and her nephew, Lou, remember her father, Luigi Del Bianco, one of the chief stone carvers of Mt. Rushmore.

Delbianco_small Gloria Del Bianco and her nephew, Lou, remember her father, Luigi Del Bianco, one of the chief stone carvers of Mt. Rushmore.

StoryCorps: Kenneth and Gaye Honeycutt

From StoryCorps | Part of the StoryCorps series | 02:03

Kenneth Honeycutt tells his wife Gaye about witnessing the New London School Explosion of 1937.

Honeycutt_small

On March 18, 1937, a gas leak at The Consolidated School of New London, Texas, led to an explosion that claimed the lives of nearly 300 students and teachers.

It remains one of the worst school disasters in US history.

Kenneth Honeycutt was playing near the school when the explosion happened. At StoryCorps, he shared memories of the tragedy with his wife, Gaye.

StoryCorps Griot: Karen Slade, Eric "Rico" Reed and Arthur "Sonny" Williams

From StoryCorps | Part of the StoryCorps series | 02:28

Karen Slade, Eric "Rico" Reed, and Arthur "Sonny" Williams of radio station KJLH remember the 1992 Los Angeles Riots.

Slade_small In 1992, Los Angeles police officers were charged — then acquitted — of assaulting Rodney King.

The news sparked riots in the city, and no neighborhood was hit harder than South Central LA.

KJLH was an urban R&B station located on Crenshaw Boulevard, at the heart of the riots.

Karen Slade, the general manager, Eric “Rico” Reed, a DJ, and Arthur “Sonny” Williams, KJLH’s driver, remember what happened during those days.

StoryCorps: Harrison Wright and Sean Guess

From StoryCorps | Part of the StoryCorps series | 01:56

Harrison Wright tells his grandson, Sean Guess, about serving in the Army at the end of World War II.

Wrighth_small

When Sean Guess brought his grandfather, Harrison Wright, to a mobile booth in Austin, he asked about Harrison’s service during World War II.

Harrison was drafted in early 1943 and soon after shipped out to Europe. He played the bugle in his unit, and, at the end of the war, he was called upon for a special assignment.

StoryCorps: Paul and James Bizzaro

From StoryCorps | Part of the StoryCorps series | 01:40

Paul Bizzaro and his brother James remember growing up on Liberty Island--home of the Statue of Liberty.

Bizzaro_small

During the summer of 1938, Paul and James Bizzaro moved with their family to Liberty Island, in the middle of New York Harbor. Their family’s new home was right behind the Statue of Liberty.

At StoryCorps, the brothers sat down to talk about how they ended up spending their childhood in the shadow of Lady Liberty.

StoryCorps: Lawrence and Simeon Cumberbatch

From StoryCorps | Part of the StoryCorps series | 02:38

Lawrence Cumberbatch (R) tells his son, Simeon (L), how he traveled from New York City to Washington DC with Brooklyn CORE for the March on Washington in 1963.

Cumberbatch_small

In late August, 1963, the March on Washington led hundreds of thousands of Americans to the Lincoln Memorial, where Martin Luther King gave his famous, “I have a Dream” address, calling for racial equality.

Lawrence Cumberbatch walked from New York City to Washington DC in order to participate.

The 16-year-old made the trek with Brooklyn’s chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality, known as CORE.

His parents thought two weeks on the open road was too dangerous for a teenager, and, as Lawrence told his son, Simeon, at StoryCorps, they tried to dissuade him.

StoryCorps: Constance Labetti

From StoryCorps | Part of the StoryCorps series | 02:16

Constance Labetti remembers her boss, Ron Fazio, who died in the World Trade Center attacks on September 11, 2001.

Labetti_small

Connie Labetti was working for Aon Corporation in 2001. Her office was on the 99th floor of the World Trade Center’s South Tower--the second to be hit on September 11th.

As the attacks began, she fled the South Tower and made it out alive--with help from her boss, Ron Fazio.

StoryCorps: J.T. Johnson and Al Lingo

From StoryCorps | Part of the StoryCorps series | 02:04

J.T. Johnson and Al Lingo remember having acid thrown on them after jumping into a whites-only swimming pool in St. Augustine, Florida in June of 1964.

Johnsonjt_small

On June 18th, 1964, J.T. Johnson and Al Lingo were two of several black and white protesters who jumped into the whites-only pool at the Monson Motor Lodge in St. Augustine, Florida.

At StoryCorps, they talked about how the owner of the hotel tried to force them out by pouring acid into the pool.

StoryCorps: Clela Rorex and Sue Larson

From StoryCorps | Part of the StoryCorps series | 02:47

Clela Rorex (R), a former County Clerk in Boulder, Colorado, tells her friend Sue Larson...

Rorex_small

In late June 2014, county clerks in Colorado challenged a ban on same-sex marriage by issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. The state attorney general has ordered them to stop, and the case has reached the Colorado Supreme Court.

But few know that this is history repeating itself.

Back in 1975, Clela Rorex was the newly-elected County Clerk in Boulder when she began issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples.

At StoryCorps, Clela (R) told her friend, Sue Larson (L), that it started one day when two men came to her office door.

On the day this story was broadcast, the Colorado Supreme Court ordered County Clerks in the state to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. 

StoryCorps: Lori and Erich Baker

From StoryCorps | Part of the StoryCorps series | 02:28

Dr. Lori Baker, a forensic scientist, tells her husband, Dr. Erich Baker, about identifying bodies...

Baker_small

Thousands of people have died trying to cross from Mexico into the United States.

The unidentified remains of those who are found often end up in small, border town cemeteries, buried in unmarked graves.

Dr. Lori Baker, a forensic scientist at Baylor University in Texas, is trying to identify these remains and match them with families who are looking for lost relatives.

She sat down for StoryCorps with her husband, Erich Baker, to talk about how she got started.

StoryCorps: Adam Graff and Jackie Graff

From StoryCorps | Part of the StoryCorps series | 01:53

Adam Graff, a member of New Orleans' all-volunteer, mental health crisis unit, speaks with his wife, Jacqueline, about the surge in patients after Hurricane Katrina.

Graff_small

Adam Graff is a member of New Orleans’ all-volunteer, mental health crisis unit.

The group works with the New Orleans Police Department and is often described as a SWAT team for mental illness and suicide crisis situations.

After Hurricane Katrina, Adam and his colleagues helped residents cope.

At StoryCorps, he sat down with his wife, Jacqueline, to talk about his work.

StoryCorps 9/11: Isaac Feliciano

From StoryCorps | Part of the StoryCorps series | 02:39

Isaac Feliciano, a longtime worker at Brooklyn's historic Green-Wood Cemetery, remembers being at his job on September 11, 2001, when his wife, Rosa Maria Feliciano, was killed while working in the World Trade Center.

Felicianonpr_small

Isaac Feliciano has been working at Brooklyn’s historic Green-Wood cemetery for 21 years. He has done many jobs there and is currently a field foreman, supervising landscape and maintenance workers on the grounds.

On September 11, 2001 he dropped his wife off at the subway so she could get to her job at Marsh & McLennan in the South Tower of the World Trade Center. He then headed to work at Green-Wood.

StoryCorps: Tom Houck and Angelo Fuster

From StoryCorps | Part of the StoryCorps series | 02:27

Tom Houck shares memories of dropping out of high school in 1965 to fight for civil rights, and becoming Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s personal driver.

Houcknpr_small

In 1965, Tom Houck was a high school senior when he decided to drop out of school and join the fight for civil rights.

Leaving Jacksonville, Florida, and heading to Selma, Alabama, Tom, 19, eventually met Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and quickly volunteered to work for Dr. King’s Atlanta-based Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).

Soon after his arrival in Atlanta, Tom was invited to the King home for lunch and Dr. King’s wife—Coretta—asked him to become the family’s driver.

Tom, who has continued to spend his life fighting for civil rights, came to StoryCorps with his friend, Angelo Fuster (pictured below left), to share memories of his time with the King family.   

StoryCorps: Mary Reed and Emma McMahon

From StoryCorps | Part of the StoryCorps series | 03:02

Mary Reed talks to her daughter, Emma McMahon, about the day she was shot while at a Gabrielle Giffords event in suburban Tucson, AZ.

Mcmahonnpr_small

In the summer of 2010, following her junior year of high school, Emma McMahon left her home in Tucson, Arizona, and traveled to Washington, D.C., to work as a page for her local Congresswoman, U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords.

Following her internship, she returned home to her family, but without one important memento from her summer—a photo of herself with the congresswoman.

Looking to rectify the situation, her mother, Mary Reed, learned months later that Rep. Giffords would be holding a constituent meet-and-greet in the parking lot of an area shopping center and made plans for her family to attend and finally get that coveted photo.

That was the day, January 8, 2011, that Jared Lee Loughner opened fire on a crowd outside of the Safeway critically wounding Gabby Giffords and shooting 18 others—six of whom were killed.

Mary, one of those who were shot that day, came to StoryCorps with Emma to remember the day she shielded her daughter from a gunman.

StoryCorps: Gary Koivu and Kim Koivu

From StoryCorps | 02:06

Vincent Chin was a 27-year-old draftsman living near Detroit. On a June night in 1982, he and a group of friends went out to celebrate his wedding, which was just few days away.

At a bar he crossed paths with Ronald Ebens and Michael Nitz, two auto workers angry about recent layoffs which were widely blamed on Japanese imports. That encounter lead to Vincent’s death.

Gary Koivu was with Vincent that night, and he recently came to StoryCorps with his wife, Kim, to remember his childhood friend.

The federal case against Vincent Chin’s killers, Ronald Ebens and Michael Nitz, marked the first time the Civil Rights Act was used to prosecute a crime against an Asian American person. It sparked a rallying cry for stronger federal hate crime legislation.

Koivusquare-2_small Vincent Chin was a 27-year-old draftsman living near Detroit. On a June night in 1982, he and a group of friends went out to celebrate his wedding, which was just few days away. At a bar he crossed paths with Ronald Ebens and Michael Nitz, two auto workers angry about recent layoffs which were widely blamed on Japanese imports. That encounter lead to Vincent’s death. Gary Koivu was with Vincent that night, and he recently came to StoryCorps with his wife, Kim, to remember his childhood friend. The federal case against Vincent Chin’s killers, Ronald Ebens and Michael Nitz, marked the first time the Civil Rights Act was used to prosecute a crime against an Asian American person. It sparked a rallying cry for stronger federal hate crime legislation.

StoryCorps: Emily Addison

From StoryCorps | 03:54

On June 12, 2016 a lone gunman killed 49 people at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida.Among those killed was Deonka Drayton. She was 32.

Deonka left behind a young son and her co-parent, Emily Addison. At StoryCorps, Emily sat down to remember her.

There were hundreds of people at Pulse the night of the shooting, and some were able to escape in time.

Addison3_small On June 12, 2016 a lone gunman killed 49 people at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida.Among those killed was Deonka Drayton. She was 32. Deonka left behind a young son and her co-parent, Emily Addison. At StoryCorps, Emily sat down to remember her. There were hundreds of people at Pulse the night of the shooting, and some were able to escape in time.

StoryCorps: Tom Sullivan and Terry Sullivan

From StoryCorps | 03:10

On July 20, 2012, a gunman shot and killed 12 people in a packed movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. One of the victims was Alex Sullivan. He was celebrating his birthday at the movies that night — something he had done since he was a small child. Alex and a group of friends planned to see a midnight showing of the latest Batman film, just as he turned 27.

Five years later, his parents, Tom and Terry Sullivan, sat down at StoryCorps to remember him.

Sullivansquare_small On July 20, 2012, a gunman shot and killed 12 people in a packed movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. One of the victims was Alex Sullivan. He was celebrating his birthday at the movies that night — something he had done since he was a small child. Alex and a group of friends planned to see a midnight showing of the latest Batman film, just as he turned 27. Five years later, his parents, Tom and Terry Sullivan, sat down at StoryCorps to remember him.

StoryCorps: Dawn Sahr and Asma Jama

From StoryCorps | 03:24

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. She was rushed to the hospital and required 17 stitches in her face, hands and chest.

Bruchard-Risch pleaded guilty to felony assault charges and served time in jail for the crime. After the trial, her sister, Dawn Sahr, contacted Asma online and they struck up a correspondence.

At StoryCorps, Dawn and Asma met in person for the first time.

Jama2_small 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. She was rushed to the hospital and required 17 stitches in her face, hands and chest. Bruchard-Risch pleaded guilty to felony assault charges and served time in jail for the crime. After the trial, her sister, Dawn Sahr, contacted Asma online and they struck up a correspondence. At StoryCorps, Dawn and Asma met in person for the first time.

StoryCorps: Francine Anderson

From StoryCorps | 02:46

Francine Anderson grew up in rural Virginia during the 1950s. It was the Jim Crow South and “Whites Only” signs punctuated the windows of many businesses. Francine came to StoryCorps to talk about one night when she became aware of what those signs meant for her family.

Editor’s note: This story contains a quote where a racial slur is used.

Andersonsquare_small Francine Anderson grew up in rural Virginia during the 1950s. It was the Jim Crow South and “Whites Only” signs punctuated the windows of many businesses. Francine came to StoryCorps to talk about one night when she became aware of what those signs meant for her family. Editor’s note: This story contains a quote where a racial slur is used.

StoryCorps: William Lynn Weaver

From StoryCorps | 03:04

You may recall the voice of Dr. William “Lynn” Weaver from a StoryCorps interview he did back in 2007, where he talked about his father, Ted Weaver — the most important man in his life.

He later came back to StoryCorps to remember someone else who had a huge influence on him: his 7th grade science teacher, Mr. Edward O. Hill.
In the fall of 1964, Weaver was 14 years old and about to start his sophomore year of high school in Knoxville, Tennessee, when, along with 13 other black students, he integrated previously all-white West High School.

At StoryCorps, he talks about what happened on his first day at West High.

Weaversquare_small You may recall the voice of Dr. William “Lynn” Weaver from a StoryCorps interview he did back in 2007, where he talked about his father, Ted Weaver — the most important man in his life. He later came back to StoryCorps to remember someone else who had a huge influence on him: his 7th grade science teacher, Mr. Edward O. Hill. In the fall of 1964, Weaver was 14 years old and about to start his sophomore year of high school in Knoxville, Tennessee, when, along with 13 other black students, he integrated previously all-white West High School. At StoryCorps, he talks about what happened on his first day at West High.

StoryCorps: Jessi Silva and Maggie Marquez

From StoryCorps | 02:40

Maggie Marquez and Jessi Silva grew up in the desert town of Marfa, Texas in the 1950s. At the time, segregation of Latino and white students was not legal. However, Marfa’s school system — like many others in the Southwest — practiced de facto segregation, in which Latino and white children attended different schools.

In Marfa, Latino children attended the Blackwell School. Many of the students spoke Spanish as their first language.

Both Maggie and Jessi were students at Blackwell. They came to StoryCorps to remember the day their school banned students from speaking Spanish in a ceremony called the “burial of Mr. Spanish.”

In 2007, a group of Blackwell alumni, including Maggie and Jessi, returned to the school grounds, where they buried a Spanish dictionary and dug it up in a symbolic ceremony to “unearth Mr. Spanish.”

In recent years, a local organization, the Blackwell School Alliance — in partnership with Marfa Public Radio — is collecting oral histories featuring the voices of former students.

Marquezsquare_small Maggie Marquez and Jessi Silva grew up in the desert town of Marfa, Texas in the 1950s. At the time, segregation of Latino and white students was not legal. However, Marfa’s school system — like many others in the Southwest — practiced de facto segregation, in which Latino and white children attended different schools. In Marfa, Latino children attended the Blackwell School. Many of the students spoke Spanish as their first language. Both Maggie and Jessi were students at Blackwell. They came to StoryCorps to remember the day their school banned students from speaking Spanish in a ceremony called the “burial of Mr. Spanish.” In 2007, a group of Blackwell alumni, including Maggie and Jessi, returned to the school grounds, where they buried a Spanish dictionary and dug it up in a symbolic ceremony to “unearth Mr. Spanish.” In recent years, a local organization, the Blackwell School Alliance — in partnership with Marfa Public Radio — is collecting oral histories featuring the voices of former students.