A Simple Story about History…and Courage

By Dovie Thomason Story Summary: Dovie weaves history within her narratives to engage listeners in the context of her life experiences as Native American. What happens when a narrative is described both as “massacre” and “victory”? Are we responsible for…

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…

A Change of Heart: Muslims & Whites Crossing Cultures in a Memphis Neighborhood

By Storyteller Kate Dudding Story Summary In 2010 when the members of the Memphis Islamic Center bought property on the street nicknamed Church Road, they thought they’d have a hard time proving to their Christian neighbors that they were a…

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…

Grow to Give: An Interfaith Food Equity Project

By Storyteller Heather Forest Story Summary The true tale of how storytelling inspired a group of diverse religious leaders in the town of Huntington, NY, to dig up their congregational lawns, grow vegetables tended by congregants, and then donate the…

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…

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 White Boys: Korean-Puerto Rican Girl Seeks Anybody

by Storyteller Elizabeth Gomez Story Summary: In The White Boys, Elizabeth tells of her struggle to be comfortable with her own identity outside the boundaries of the racial norm. She tells of the normal awkward struggles of adolescent love with…

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…

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…

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…

Navajo Code Talker

by Storyteller Gene Tagaban   Story Summary:  During WWII the Navajo Code Talkers created a code that was never broken. The Navaho were forced off their reservations into boarding schools where they were told not to speak their language or…

Afternoon with Rachel, Holocaust Survivor

by Storyteller Gene Tagaban   Story Summary:  Gene tells of an afternoon he spent with Rachel, a Holocaust survivor, in Omaha, Nebraska. Rachel, an elderly woman, asks Gene, “Tell me about your people?” Gene tells her of the 1835 Indian…

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…

Election Night:  How President Barack Obama’s Elections Changed My Life

by Donna Washington   Story Summary: The night Obama was elected to the presidency, Donna was a lone black woman in a very conservative part of the country. She discovered that it is possible be in a foreign land in…

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…

I’m Gonna Let It Shine – It’s In All of Us

by Storyteller Bill Harley   Story Summary:  Bill gathers a group of musicians together to record an album of Civil Rights freedom songs. However, they learn that they can’t assume they are all on the same page or that underlying…

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…

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.

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…

Chinese New Year’s Frogs: A Collision of Culture and Nature

By Linda Yemoto   Story Summary: “Ranger Linda” describes her encounter with a group of well-intentioned Chinese Americans bearing bullfrogs. This surprising incident illustrates how cultural differences can have unintended consequences and how cultural awareness can lead to greater understanding…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Will You Please NOT Marry Me? – Adventures In Cross-Cultural Dating

By Csenge Zalka   Story Summary:  When a single girl from Eastern Europe goes to the USA to study, she has to face certain assumptions made about green cards, marriages of convenience, and other things no one prepared her for.…

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…

Small City, Big City: Opportunities Grow with More Diversity

By Shannon Cason   Story Summary:  A new workplace is sometimes like the first day at a new school. Differences aren’t accepted quickly, and sometimes differences can make a person feel completely isolated if they aren’t welcomed.

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…

Listening to My Neighborhood: A White Woman, Gentrification, and Belonging

By Julie Ganey Story Summary:  A white woman moves into a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood with, initially, very little curiosity about the community that resides there. Her assumptions about what it means to belong are challenged. 

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

A Gift from Refugee Children

By Charlotte Blake Alston   Story Summary: Charlotte Blake Alston and colleague, Steve Tunick, chaperone 12 African and Jewish American teenagers who seek common ground through a cultural immersion abroad in Senegal in Africa. An unanticipated diversion led the group…

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…

Mr. D’s Class

By Antonio Sacre Story Summary:  Thirty teenagers from twenty countries, one Jewish teacher, and one Cuban-Irish-American storyteller (story artist, Antonio Sacre) set out to publish a book of writing in one of the poorest and most challenging high schools in…

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…

Brush the Dirt from My Heart

By Connie Regan-Blake   Story Summary:  Storyteller, Connie Regan-Blake, was invited to come to Uganda by “Bead For Life”(www.beadforlife.org), an NGO helping women lift themselves out of extreme poverty. Many of them are displaced people from the horrors and atrocities…

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. 

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…