That’s What My People Do: Facing Prejudice in a 1960s High School

By Eunice Jarrett Story Summary High school students organizing a memorial service for a teacher trigger an emotional process for Eunice who is asked to step out of her comfort zone, again.  Family life and school life create race-related expectations.

The Colfax Louisiana Massacre: A Story about Reconstruction

By Zahra Glenda Baker Story Summary: This is Zahra’s personal story of reconnecting with her siblings and learning about how history is told through the voice of the “hunter”. On a journey back to their Louisiana birthplace, Zahra and her…

The Importance of Representation on Our Stages: Role Models for Young Audiences

By Rives Collins Story Summary: In this story, Rives Collins, Assistant Professor at Northwestern University,  recalls his work directing plays for children.  He shares the discoveries the young people helped him make regarding the importance of representation on our stages…

Standing on the Wall of Derry: An Irish American Confronts the Irish Conflict

By Margaret Burk Story Summary: Finding herself on a historical tour of the Wall of Derry in Northern Ireland, Margaret discovers within herself that she is holding on to an ancestral hostility, the kind of hostility that perpetuates hatred, violence…

A Brilliant Day: A Dutch Woman’s Courageous Travels in Nazi Occupied Holland

by Peter R. LeGrand Story Summary: This story weaves present day observations with the true accounts of Peter’s grandmother, a Dutch Jew, and the incredible journeys she went through during the time of Nazi occupied Holland during World War II.…

Surviving and Thriving: When Racism Destroyed 1920s Black Wall Street in Tulsa Oklahoma

By Shanta Nurullah Story Summary: This family story describes Shanta’s father and grandparents’ escape from the 1921 Tulsa Oklahoma Massacre. Shanta’s grandfather, a tailor, was forced to flee with his family to Chicago where he was able to re-establish his…

From Flint Michigan to Your Front Door: Tracing the Roots of Racism

by Storyteller LaRon Williams This lesson plan explores the true story FROM FLINT MICHIGAN TO YOUR FRONT DOOR by African American professional storyteller La’Ron Williams. With humor and honesty Williams will inspire conversation among students about the issues of institutional…

SEARCH ACROSS THE RACES: A Native American Looks at His Mixed Identities

I am Indopino brings together Tlingit, Cherokee, and Filipino storyteller Gene Tagaban’s personal story and the history of discrimination against American Indians in Alaska. He also weaves into this rich narrative the story of Elizabeth Peratrovich, who helped pass the 1945 Anti-Discrimination…

Bittersweet: A Chinese American Daughter’s Legacy

The stories offered here—Immigrant History and Mom’s Story—come from Chinese American storyteller, Nancy Wangs longer story Bittersweet: A Chinese American Daughter’s Legacy. In this story, Wang explores the history of her own family, beginning with the immigration of her great-great-grandparents…

Ripples: From a Field in Mississippi to General Motors in New York

By Diane Macklin   Story Summary:  April 4, 1968 may have been the end of one dream with the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. However, on that day, another began in a young woman who pushed past despair, journeying…

Just Hair: Finding Out the Importance of Your True Roots

By Diane Macklin Story Summary:  A chance encounter is an unexpected blessing for a teenager, who discovers that true strength is rooted within, extending down into the roots of the ancestors.

The Immigration Process vs. Pre-Wedding Bliss

By Arianna Ross   Story Summary: Listen and move as this spoken word piece takes your mind and body through an insider’s/outsider’s understanding of immigration, identity, and family. The story began when Arianna and her now husband wanted to get…

A Link in the Circle: Learning to Lean on My Indonesian Family

By Arianna Ross   Story Summary:  What is it like to be so immersed in a culture that a lady on the bus becomes your adopted “Aunt” and a bus driver your “Brother? While Arianna Ross travelled alone through Indonesia,…

Martin and Me – A Coming of Age Story

By Stephen Hobbs Story Summary:  Growing up, Steven was involved in Boy Scouts and his church and as a teen he advocated for community development in his New Jersey neighborhood. But could he get involved in the rising black militancy…

Taming the Fire: A Black Heritage Search

By Sheila Arnold   Story Summary: One day an angry black teenage girl – Sheila – stormed into her History Class and demanded to know why she had never heard about black inventors. Her favorite teacher, who happened to be white,…

A Black American Son’s Survival Lessons

By Sheila Arnold   Story Summary A frantic call from Sheila Arnold’s son during his freshmen year in college turns into a moment to remember all that she had to teach him about growing up black, and, in turn, all…

The Bus: Traveling from England to India, with the Hells Angels

By Geraldine Buckley   Story Summary:  As the new Protestant Chaplain at the largest men’s prison in Maryland, Geraldine quickly realizes that the midweek Bible service has been overrun by the Crips – a violent, largely African-American gang – and…

1966 Caracas, Venezuela: Day One of Junior High For An American Girl

by Angela Lloyd   Story Summary:  Moving to Junior High school opens Angela’s eyes to a society and culture that she had been living in (Caracas, Venezuela), and yet one from which she was separate. Angela’s story tells a universal…

Not By the Sword: How a Cantor and His Family Transformed a Klansman

By Pippa White   Story Summary:  In 1991 in Lincoln, Nebraska, a Jewish Cantor and his family were threatened and harassed by the Grand Dragon of the state Ku Klux Klan. Here is the remarkable story of how they dealt…

Loving Someone Tall: A Conversation With My Father About Race

By Laura Packer   Story Summary: When Laura fell in love with Kevin, she was certain her liberal family would love him, too. After all, he was smart, handsome, educated and kind; that his skin was a different color didn’t…

No Aguantara

By Carrie Sue Ayvar Story Summary: The differences were easy to see, Catholic/Jewish, Brown/White, Spanish-Speaking/English-Speaking, Mexican/American, rural/urban. When Carrie Sue and her fiancé decided to marry there were many who thought their relationship would not last long – including the representative…

Soul Food in a Southern Swamp: Bumming Fish and Crossing Boundaries

By Doug Elliott   Story Summary: After fishermen in the Okefenokee Swamp give Elliott two fierce looking mudfish, he finds himself on a hilarious cross cultural journey learning how to cook the fish, and later meets a number of challenges…

My Brother’s Keeper: A Teenager Works to Free Manuel Salazar from Death Row

By Jasmin Cardenas   Story Summary:  Can a teenager make an impact in a world full of injustice? Jasmin looks back at the roots of her involvement in social justice issues when she joined the cause to free the young…

To Live or Not to Live in La Villita, Chicago: A Latina Struggles with Civic Responsibility

By Jasmin Cardenas   Story Summary:  Jasmin struggles with the decision of where to live: a culturally vibrant Mexican-American community that struggles with safety or a picturesque middle class neighborhood where her son might be the only brown boy on…

A Voting Booth Built for Two: Election Enthusiasm from a Cuban-American Mom

by Carmen Agra Deedy Story Summary: The small Southern town where Carmen’s parents live is a-buzz with political acrimony. Carmen’s mother, Esther, a spunky octogenarian–– and Cuban refugee–– regards her right to vote a hard-won, American privilege. As she finishes…

My Father the Whiz: A Cuban Refugee’s Response to Jim Crow

By Carmen Agra Deedy   Story Summary:  In 1964, Carmen’s father, a Cuban refugee, went to work at a steel manufacturing plant near Atlanta, Georgia. When, on the first day of work, he asked to take a bathroom break, he was…

My Father’s Race Against Discrimination: Anti-Semitism in the 1930s Track and Field

By Carol Kaufman-Kerman   Story Summary:  Carol’s father is told he is not permitted to run on his college track team at the University of Pennsylvania. Two Jewish runners in the 1936 Berlin Olympics are not permitted to participate in…

Worn Out Blinders: A Soldiers Story After D-day in Normandy, France

By Carol Kaufman-Kerman   Story Summary: Talking about World War ll was hard for Carol’s father.  As a recipient of three Purple Hearts, he shares his story of anti-Semitism at boot camp, his sense of Jewish identity with a stranger…

A Window of Beauty: A Story of Courage from the Holocaust

By Nancy Shapiro-Pikelny   Story Summary:  Nancy tells an excerpt from “A Window of Beauty,” a story inspired by the experiences of a young girl, her remarkable teacher and their secret art classes in the Terezin Concentration Camp in Czechoslovakia…

Special Blends: A Youthful Perspective on Multi-Cultural, Multi-Ethnic Heritage

By Amber, Misty and Autumn Joy Saskill   Story Summary:  Amber, Misty, and Autumn – three multi-ethnic sisters – offer a sneak peek into their thoughts about self-identification. These storytellers also share a medley of emotional experiences about how they…

Unsung Hero: How My Uncle Was Saved from the KKK

By Sadarri Saskill   Story Summary:  Sadarri retells a story of heroism that her mother, Rose, remembered as a child. The story takes place in Holly Springs, Mississippi in the late 1920’s when Sadarri’s Uncle Carl was set to be…

Diwali – From Darkness to Light, Hindus in America – Happy New Year!

By Archana Lal-Tabak   Story Summary:  A Goddess inspired story of the adversities faced and overcome by Archana’s family as they move form India to America. This is a story of identity, assimilation and race relations that ultimately honors different…

How Do You Say Blueberry in Spanish?

By Antonio Sacre   Story Summary:  Antonio explores the challenges and joys of trying to raise a bilingual child. As anxious new parents, Antonio and his wife ask, “Are two languages better than one?” and find humor along the way. 

The Restaurant Story: A French American Becomes More Visible

By Michael Parent   Story Summary: As Franco-Americans from Quebec assimilated into the larger Anglo culture in the United States, they became, as a result of that effort, more “invisible.” The story that Michael tells, as Jean-Paul Boisvert, shows a…

Vietnamese Refugees: An American Immigration Story

By Susan O’Halloran   Story Summary:  The true story of a Vietnamese teenager who makes it to America after a harrowing boat journey and refugee camp. At a commemorative storytelling event honoring Vietnamese Americans, Sue witnesses the transformative power of…

I Wanted To Be an Indian

By Jo Radner   Story Summary:  Stories about our ancestors help us understand who we are. Encountering troubling revelations about her forebears and their Indian neighbors in colonial New England, Jo asks what it means to tell – and live…

The Spirit Survives

By Dovie Thomason Part One: Gertrude Bonnin   Part Two: Grandpa   Story Summary:  The “Indian Experiment” in education, the government boarding schools, is unknown to many Americans, yet affects us all. Following forty years of study of these stories,…

Who is a Friend? German-Jewish Reconciliation After the Holocaust

By Gail Rosen   Story Summary:  Who is my friend and who is my enemy? Gail Rosen, a Jewish storyteller, goes to Germany and makes a surprising connection to a German man who lived through WWII. 

Penny for Your Thoughts

By Diane Ferlatte   Story Summary: While sitting alone in a restaurant having lunch, Ferlatte notices an older white man also eating alone and looking sad and worried. When she tries to be friendly, the man responds with a grunt.…

Looking for Papito

By Storyteller Antonio Sacre [youtuber youtube=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xL_sr6eF30′]   Story Summary:  As a Cuban and Irish American child, Antonio deals with being “too ethnic” or “not ethnic enough”. By trial and error and with the support of his family, Antonio reclaims all…

Faster Than Sooner

by Storyteller Antonio Sacre   Story Summary:  While studying to become an actor, Sacre happened into storytelling through a class at Northwestern University. Because he found that he was often excluded from acting jobs because he was seen as either…

Remembering Lisa Derman

By Jim May Story Summary Lisa Derman, the late president of the Illinois Holocaust Memorial Foundation and Holocaust Survivor, died at the Illinois Storytelling Festival (July 2002) while telling her story of survival of the Nazi atrocities in Poland when…

Changing Neighborhoods

by Storyteller Susan O’Halloran   Story Summary:  Sue grew up hearing about “them” – the people who would come and take her and her neighbors’ homes in their all-white neighborhood. When her family watched the Friday night fights, it was…

Looking at My Yearbooks

by Shanta Nurullah Story Summary: Looking at high school yearbooks, Shanta reflects on the “change” in her neighborhood from mostly white to all black. As a child, Shanta could not understand when the adults told her “the white people are…