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…

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…

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…

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.

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…

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…

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…

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.…

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…

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…

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…

Hot Chili and Crackers: A Racial Stew with Danger

By Edith McLeod Armstrong   Story Summary: Mama Edie’s Black Theater Ensemble is invited to perform her original composition called “Metamorphosis” at a university in Iowa in 1970. After what had been a peaceful and joyful journey along the way,…

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…

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…

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…

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,…

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…