We Don’t Match: Experiences of a Transracial Adoptive Family

By Cindy Rivka Marshall Story Summary: A transracial, non-traditional family (two white women with one biological child and one adopted child who was born in China) have dealt with many rude questions and often have not been perceived as a…

Be Human – Find the George Within You!

By Sadika Kebbi Story Summary: Sadika witnessed the Lebanese civil war. The atrocities and the horrors can change a human being into a monster. Is there any hope for tolerance, love and forgiveness after such an experience? “Uncle George” made…

Cielito Lindo, Lovely Piece of Heaven: A Bully Tale

By Leeny Del (del Castillo) Seamonds Story Summary: After years of being bullied in school and teased, especially by her sister, Leeny’s Cuban grandmother teaches her a song and a Spanish phrase that changes Leeny’s perspective on beauty and, therefore,…

Hey, I’m Black Too! So, Where Do I Fit In?

By Mama Edie McLoud Armstrong Story Summary Because she had grown up in a predominately white community during the turbulent Civil Rights years, when Mama Edie’s new friend, Renee, went to college she learned the pain of being treated as…

My Chinese Grandfather

by Brenda Wong Aoki Story Summary As a child, Brenda visits her Grandfather who collects, dries and sells seaweed along the coast of California. When she is older, she helps him with his work. Brenda finds his ways strange and…

On the Train to the Japanese American Incarceration Camps

by Brenda Wong Aoki Story Summary Brenda recounts a story that was told to her by a woman who was a nurse and who, along with 120,000 of other Japanese Americans, was forced to leave her home and all she…

Racism on the Road and Into the Next Generation

by Brenda Wong Aoki Story Summary Brenda performs a children’s song in Japanese and is told to stop using “demonic language” and is called “a witch.” She is told by a producer that he is disappointed she isn’t a “real”…

First Generation Chicagoan – No Pigeon Holing

By Storyteller Kucha Brownlee Story Summary Kucha was born in the North, but her Southern family values and ties came North with her family. In this story, Kucha wonders why everyone feels the need to pigeon hole other people? She…

Tewas Go Home

By Eldrena Douma Story Summary A poster appeared and words were being spoken on the school yard. “Tewas Go Home”! After hearing these words from other students and seeing the poster at the Trading Post, she needed answers. In a…

Being Black Enough: Bullying and Race Discrimination

By Storyteller Linda Gorham Story Summary In kindergarten, Linda dressed in green for St. Patrick’s Day, was told by a teacher, “My, my, I’ve never seen an Irish N-word before!” In 7th grade, Linda was told by her classmates, “You…

My Japanese Parents’ Unromantic Marriage

by Karin Amano Story Summary Karin never dreamed about marriage growing up because of her Japanese parents’ unromantic arranged marriage. But when her father had a severe stroke and fell into a profound state of dementia, her mother, who had…

Arriving in Bulgaria: Overturning Assumptions in the Communist Era

By Storyteller Priscilla Howe Story Summary When Priscilla Howe traveled to Communist Bulgaria in the 1980s, she found herself in a difficult situation. She found help from a Bulgarian man who reminded her to look beyond appearances. 

Sagebrush Santa: Christmas, 1942 in the Minidoka Internment Camp

By Alton Takiyama-Chung Story Summary Five-year-old Kiyoshi, tries his best to make sense of his world which has been turned upside down since Japan attacked a place called Pearl Harbor. Since his father was taken away, he has had to…

December 7, 1941: An Eyewitness to the Attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

by Alton Takiyama-Chung Story Summary Charles Ishikawa grew up in Plantation camps in Waipahu, Hawaii in the 1930s and 1940s.  He was 14 years old and on his way to his high school basketball practice when Japanese planes attacked Pearl…

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…

Columbian Runaway: A Latina Pushes Back on the Role of Women

 by Jasmin Cardenas Story Summary: Jasmin takes you into the rabbit hole of panic that she faces when she gets engaged to be married. Questions about her identity and her role as a woman surface as she tries to weed…

Stand Up! Redlining During the Great Migration and Marching in Marquette Park with Dr. Martin Luther King

by Mama Edie McLoud Armstrong Story Summary: Take the journey with 14-year old Mama Edie as she relives her 1966 experience of marching through the violent streets of Marquette Park in Chicago, Illinois with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Ride…

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…

Fit In or Stand Out: An African-American’s Battle to Fit into White Culture

 by Storyteller E.B. Diggs Story Summary: As a teen E.B. liked being unique but his coaches wanted him to fit in. Then years later as an attorney he wants to hire someone who reminds him of himself. He decides to…

Zebra Children: A Guide to Interracial Dating from the Closet for Immigrants and their Children

by Storyteller Archy Jamjun Please Note : The following video is part of a comedy routine. The video includes some mild sexual content. Story Summary: When in high school, Archy and his Thai family get into a fight about him…

My Names: Gender Expectations for a Taiwanese Woman

By Ada Cheng Story Summary: In this story, Ada Cheng explains the meanings of her Chinese name: Shu-Ju. She explains the connection between her name, her parents’ expectations for her as a daughter, and the cultural expectations for her as…

Complexions of Love: Biracial Children and Folks Who Are Just “Too Dark”

by Storyteller Mama Edie McLoud Armstrong Story Summary: This story speaks to the cruelty of the imposed mental conditioning that inspires people to come to despise their own natural attributes. Mama Edie refers to her father who was considered “too…

Three Assassinations: Kennedy, King, Kennedy

by Megan Hicks   Story Summary:  Megan was confused when her 9th grade classmates reacted differently to the assassination of President Kennedy than her family did. She didn’t know who was right. And then she learned to listen to what…

Sparta, Georgia

by Gene Tagaban   Story Summary:  Gene travelled by van across the country to see the land of his people. Along his journey, he had the experience of meeting a southern white couple on a backcountry dirt road and an…

The Story of My Teacher

By Kiran Singh Sirah   Story Summary:  Kiran reveals the experiences of living between two worlds: on one hand, his experiences with racism being one of the few brown boys in his town contrasted with the kindness of strangers as…

The Complexity of Our Street – Burying the Unspoken

By Laura Simms   Story Summary: Issues within the same religious group or ethnicity are complex and rarely discussed. Laura grew up on a street in Brooklyn with many kinds of Jews – Orthodox, Conservative, Sephardic, cultural and so forth.…

Hasan’s Story: Escaping the Bosnian-Serbian War 1994

by Susan O’Halloran   Story Summary: When former Yugoslavia broke up in the early 1990s, war broke out across the region. Hasan, a Muslim, was a college student in 1992 when the siege against his city, Sarajevo, began. He joined…

The West Indies: Brer Rabbit Avoids Danger For A Black Family Traveling In America

by Storyteller Donna Washington   Story Summary:  Donna’s father is quite a trickster, and one afternoon in the 1980’s, while her large family was traveling through the south, they ran into a potentially dangerous situation. Donna’s trickster father literally saved…

Expectations and Surprise: School Segregation and Tracking in the 1960s

by Andy Offutt Irwin   Story Summary:  Andy experienced school desegregation in the 1960s but students were “tracked” which led to a more subtle form of segregation. However, racial tracking led Andy to unexpected friendships.  . Go to the Home…

Learning at the Dinner Table

by Bill Harley Story Summary:  Bill’s mother and father came from opposite ends of the political spectrum which meant that his mother and father’s family did as well. Bill’s father could not tolerate the biased language that was spoken at…

A Child’s Eye View

by Storyteller Cynthia Changaris   Story Summary: Growing up in Charleston, South Carolina during Jim Crow, Cynthia is baffled by why Black people get to ride in the “best part” of the bus, the back of the bus with the…

Seriously…What Did You Call Me?!

By Onawumi Jean Moss   Story Summary:  While getting a passport to prepare for a trip abroad, Onawumi Jean discovered that her name is not on her birth certificate. Her aunt is able to clear up the mystery by disclosing…

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…

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.

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…

Name Calling at Masonville Elementary: Hurtful Words Forgiven

By Sheila Arnold   Story Summary: As a 4th grader, Sheila was given a new nickname – the “N” word – and that nickname led to an unlikely friendship, and down the road, led to forgiveness and reconciliation.

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…

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…

Undocumented Journey: An Educational Dream Realized for Illegal Immigrants

By Marsha Wong   Story Summary: In 1972, Marsha worked for the Peace Corp in Jamaica. She became friendly with a neighbor woman named Yvonne. By casually mentioning the town she lived near – Montclair, New Jersey – Marsha set…

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…

Hamlet Goes to Jail: Life Changing Experiences that Occurred in 1959

By Gwen Hillary   Story Summary:  The Chicago Public Schools were almost totally segregated in the 1950’s when Gwen’s participated in an accelerated English program and first integrated a South Side High School. She succeeded in getting an “A” in…

When Summer Came: Summer Vacations in the Segregated South

By Gwen Hilary   Story Summary:  During the 1950s, Gwen’s mother, like many African American parents, ritually sent their children down south for the summer. Gwen remembers the rich experiences with her grandparents on the farm but also many painful…

An African Native American Story

By Edith McLoud Armstrong   Story Summary:  Many Africans and First Nations People bonded together during and after slavery in the Americas and in the Caribbean for protection, acceptance, friendship and love. As a result, many African descendants in these…

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…

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…

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…

Angels Watching Over Me: Transforming Years at St. Sabina School

By Patricia Redd   Story Summary:  During the Civil Rights Movement, Patricia’s family moved to the Auburn Gresham community on the south side of Chicago. Hers was one of the first African- American families to integrate the parish school. Over…

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…

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…

A Crack in the Wall: Moving Beyond Racial Conditioning

By Storyteller Gene Unterschuetz Story Summary:  In A Crack in the Wall a white man has an experience at a copy shop that causes him to examine the negative impact racial conditioning has had on him. He is disturbed when…

Images: How Stereotypes Impact Racial Conditioning

By Gene Unterschuetz   Story Summary: Images is a white man’s reflection about the powerful and debilitating impact of the disparaging imagery that has been historically used to shape the perception of African Americans as dangerous. While he realizes that…

The Promise: A Lesson in White Privilege

By Phyllis Unterschuetz   Story Summary:  What happens when the warm connection between a black woman and a white woman is broken by insensitivity and unconscious white privilege? Are courage, honesty, forgiveness and hope enough to heal the separation? This…

Learning Long Division and White Superiority from My “Sweet” Third Grade Teacher

By La’Ron Williams Story Summary:  In the early 1960s, at a time when the hierarchy of race was evident in much of the country, a Black student feels relief to encounter a White teacher who operates without apparent bias. However,…

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. 

Memorial: Youth Violence Then and Now

By Susan O’Halloran PART ONE:   PART TWO:   Story Summary: Susan O’Halloran attends a Chicago Memorial service in November of 2011 for children who have died through violence. Being at the Memorial sparks a high school memory for Susan…

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,…

FROM MOON COOKIES TO MARTIN AND ME

By Lyn Ford   Story Summary: Empathy grows from sharing stories; this story was shared to encourage others to know, to understand, and to remember. This is a personal journey tale from Lyn’s childhood living next door to a Holocaust…

I Deserve to Be Here

By Emily Hooper Lansana Story Summary: From voluntary busing to being called an “Oreo”, Emily navigated the color lines of her elementary and high schools until she finally landed with the “theatre kids” who moved more easily between different groups.  …

Next Town

By Storyteller Diane Ferlatte   Story Summary:  As a child, each summer Diane’s family drove from California to Louisiana to visit family. Diane remembers her father responding with increasing frustration whenever her brother asked if they could stop to get…

Looking for Papito

By Storyteller Antonio Sacre   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 of his…

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…