StoryCorps Atlanta | WABE 90.1 FM

StoryCorps Atlanta

StoryCorps’ mission is to provide people of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share and preserve the stories of our lives. We do this to remind one another of our shared humanity, to strengthen and build the connections between people, to teach the value of listening, and to weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that everyone’s story matters.

Make your StoryCorps Reservation today!

StoryCorps is partnering with the Atlanta History Center and Public Broadcasting Atlanta to record, preserve, and share the stories of communities in Atlanta. Our mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives.

Since 2003, over 80,000 people have shared life stories with family and friends through StoryCorps. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to share, and is preserved at the Library of Congress. StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind, and millions listen to our broadcasts on public radio and the web.

I'd like to participate!

Great! Visit our Reservations page to learn how you can become a part of StoryCorps in Atlanta.

When can I hear StoryCorps on WABE? 

  • Tuesday during Morning Edition at 7:43 a.m. and 9:43 a.m.
  • Friday during Morning Edition at 6:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m.

Where can I find out more about StoryCorps Atlanta?

Listen to more stories from Atlanta, and get news and updates about local StoryCorps events and recordings here.

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StoryCorps Atlanta

Elsie Burt grew up with her grandparents on a farm in Douglasville, Georgia, just outside of town. Many of her favorite memories from childhood involve her family’s home cooking.

In the StoryCorps Atlanta booth, Elsie told her daughter, Venika Sims, about her grandparents and their love of food.  

This story was recorded in partnership with the Atlanta History Center, which hosts Atlanta’s StoryCorps booth. 

Rashid Brown grew up on the west side of Las Vegas, Nevada. He remembers it as a place where many people struggled, but he always had dreams of doing great things.

He overcame a learning disability to graduate college in the top 1 percent of his class, and eventually he moved to Atlanta to work as a training manager.

However, Brown faced unbelievable odds one night while on the job.

In the StoryCorps Atlanta booth, he told Andrew Craig about what happened.

This week on StoryCorps Atlanta, we're doing something just a little different for Black History Month. We're reaching back in our archives for a story from our 2007 StoryCorps Griot initiative.

Today, we’ll hear three sisters share their memories about a black-tie affair that one of them wanted to attend. Here, Gloria Ann Jackson recalls asking her sister, Hazel Jackson Smith, for a very big favor.

This story was recorded during our StoryCorps Griot campaign.

StoryCorps Atlanta

In 1962, Joan Vrooman was 33 and recently divorced. She had four children to take care of and needed a job.

Vrooman learned about an opening as a newspaper writer during a visit to the unemployment office. She applied and ended up working for the Cortland Standard in New York for nearly three decades.

In the StoryCorps Atlanta booth, Vrooman told her grandson Matthew Rehbein how an assignment on the 1964 New York World’s Fair inspired her to start a long-running humor column.

StoryCorps Atlanta

Nancy Boatwright grew up hearing stories of her grandparents, the Conlans. They lived in the small town of Clarksville, Texas, where their Catholic faith was sometimes seen as different.

In the StoryCorps Atlanta booth, Nancy told her daughter Juliana about how it eventually led to a confrontation with a group of men.

This story was recorded in partnership with the Atlanta History Center, which hosts Atlanta’s StoryCorps booth.

Brooks Andrews is a recently retired pastor at the same Japanese Baptist church in Seattle where his father once preached. His father was with the church when the government ordered the forced internment of more than 100,000 Japanese Americans during World War II.

Brooks was only a small child during the beginning of the war, but he remembers how the internment changed his family’s life, as he explained to his daughter, Jill Davis, in the StoryCorps Atlanta booth.

One program note: This story includes racially insensitive language.

StoryCorps Atlanta: 'I Just Started Dreaming'

Jan 13, 2015

Nearly 30 years ago, Martha Hawkins had four boys to feed and says that she was living on welfare with no plans and no dreams. She suffered from serious depression and became suicidal. And she says it was being admitted into a mental institute that helped her turn her life around. In the StoryCorps booth, Martha told Jada Harris about how it was at Greil Psychiatric Hospital in Montgomery that she realized what she wanted to do in life.

Kyle Michelsen and his mother Merridee have always been close. Kyle says he learned compassion from the way that his mother raised his brothers and him. In the StoryCorps booth, he asked his mother where she first gained her own sense of compassion.

This story was recorded in partnership with the Atlanta History Center, which hosts Atlanta’s StoryCorps booth. 

Growing up, Denise Tremmel recalls witnessing the close friendship between her mother and their neighbor, Civia Yellin. Later, Civia moved to Florida, but family tragedy would bring her and Denise back together. It started when Civia’s husband was diagnosed with cancer.

In the StoryCorps booth, she explained to Denise what happened when her son came to visit with his wife and newborn child. 

Civia adopted Denise and her children as her own. This story was recorded in partnership with the Atlanta History Center, which hosts Atlanta’s StoryCorps booth.

You may know H. Johnson as the host of both Jazz Classics and Blues Classics right here on WABE.  But what you may not know is that H. is a musician himself. In the StoryCorps booth, he spoke with friend and fellow musician Audrey Shakir about their love of jazz throughout the years.

2014 was H. Johnson’s 35th year with WABE. This story was recorded in partnership with the Atlanta History Center, which hosts Atlanta’s StoryCorps booth.

StoryCorps Atlanta: Andrew Young And Tara Varzi

Dec 16, 2014

You may know Andrew Young as a former Georgia Congressman, a United States ambassador to the United Nations, or as the 55th mayor of Atlanta.

At 82, Young has been involved in politics, public policy, and civil rights, but his life could have gone in a very different direction. 

In the StoryCorps booth, Young told 13-year-old Tara Varzi about his father’s hopes for his career path.

This story was recorded in partnership with the Atlanta History Center, which hosts Atlanta’s StoryCorps booth.

StoryCorps Atlanta: Bert And Aaron Adams

Dec 9, 2014

Bert Adams is a hiker who has walked the entirety of the Appalachian Trail. The trail, which runs from Georgia to Maine, is more than 2,100 miles long. At the age of 67, Bert is passionate about hiking and introducing the activity to others.

Earlier this year, he and his 15-year-old grandson Aaron walked part of the Appalachian Trail: from Springer Mountain to Woody Gap, a 20 mile stretch in North Georgia. In the StoryCorps booth, Bert and Aaron reflected on their hike.

StoryCorps Atlanta: Orlah Rae and Ethan King

Dec 2, 2014

Many elementary school teachers have stories about students with whom they grew especially close, but Orlah Rae King’s story is a little different.

King met two brothers, whose mother suffered from a debilitating combination of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, when they were young students at her school. Years after her own children had grown up and gone to college, she made a decision that would change their lives forever.

In the StoryCorps booth, Orlah told her son Ethan about the very first time she met the boys. 

Cati Diamond Stone was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010.

Her family quickly rallied to support her, and she prepared herself for what turned out be successful mastectomy and chemotherapy treatments. One thing she was not fully prepared for, however, was losing her hair.
In the StoryCorps booth, Cati told her father, Dalton Diamond, about going to work - shortly after starting treatment.

StoryCorps Atlanta: Karen Helms Ward And Sarah Ward

Nov 18, 2014

Karen Helms Ward came of age in the early 1960’s… a turbulent time in America. 

She was working as an operator for the Bell Telephone Company, a kind of work that really has no modern equivalent.

In the StoryCorps booth, she told her daughter, Sarah, a couple of stories from that time.

This story was recorded in partnership with the Atlanta History Center, which hosts Atlanta’s StoryCorps booth. 

StoryCorps Atlanta: Angela and Hesham Starkey

Nov 4, 2014

Angela Starkey had given birth to four healthy children. But she wasn’t prepared for the premature arrival of her fifth son, Sam, due to a placental abruption—a rare, life-threatening occurrence in which the placenta breaks away from the uterine wall. In the StoryCorps booth, Angela talked with her husband, Hesham, about the unpredictable first few months of Sam’s life.  

This story was recorded in partnership with the Atlanta History Center, which hosts Atlanta's StoryCorps booth.

StoryCorps Atlanta: Jackson Chang and Cam Ashling

Oct 28, 2014

Jackson Chang considers himself to be an optimist, even as that’s been challenged with a diagnosis of stage four pancreatic cancer in 2013. When he received the diagnosis, he says his very first reaction was one of concern for his wife and his 6-year-old daughter, Jacqueline.

In the StoryCorps booth, Jackson told his friend, Cam Ashling, about how his cancer has affected his daughter.

This story was recorded in partnership with the Atlanta History Center… which hosts Atlanta’s StoryCorps booth. 

Marcia Meisel spent most of her childhood in Cleveland, Ohio. Many of the things she would see growing up would eventually lead her to become involved in social issues, including the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War protests. In the StoryCorps booth, Marcia told her daughter, Denise Spiegel, about the first time she became aware of injustice in the late 1940’s.  

This story was recorded in partnership with the Atlanta History Center, which hosts Atlanta’s StoryCorps booth. 

StoryCorps Atlanta: Ian and Carlos Moreno

Oct 14, 2014

Ian Moreno recently graduated from high school and is about to enter college at Georgia Tech. In the StoryCorps booth, Ian spoke with his father Carlos about what this transition means as both a son and a student. Carlos began by asking him about his planned field of study.

This story was recorded in partnership with the Atlanta History Center, which hosts Atlanta's StoryCorps booth.

StoryCorps Atlanta: Dan Holley and Debra Shoaf

Oct 7, 2014

Dan Holley was in middle school in the 1940's when his father was bitten by a black widow. Dan had to drop out of school to take over the farm work. He would never return. However, he has always had a way with words. In his early twenties, he and a friend took a trip to Texas. On the way, he met the woman who would become his future wife. In the StoryCorps booth, Dan told his daughter Debra Shoaf about what happened.

This story was recorded in partnership with the Atlanta History Center, which hosts Atlanta’s StoryCorps booth.

StoryCorps Atlanta: Ben Thomas and Courtney Slater

Sep 30, 2014

Ben Thomas and Courtney Slater met in college in 2002, and while they were both interested in dating each other, the timing was never right. After school, Ben and Courtney took divergent paths, got married to other people, and then divorced. They reconnected in 2012. In the StoryCorps booth, Courtney recounted how they found each other again.

This story was recorded in partnership with the Atlanta History Center, which hosts Atlanta’s StoryCorps booth. 

StoryCorps Atlanta: Jorge, Sophie & Elise Polo

Sep 16, 2014

Jorge Polo is an immigrant, but for the past 32 years, his family has called Georgia home. At StoryCorps, Jorge’s granddaughters—15-year-old Sophie and 12-year-old Elise–wanted to know what his own childhood in Colombia was like, and what it was like to come to the U.S. for the first time. 

Jorge worked as a chemical engineer until his retirement at age 65 in 2007. StoryCorps Atlanta stories are recorded in partnership with the Atlanta History Center, which hosts Atlanta’s StoryCorps booth. 

StoryCorps Atlanta: Andrew Katz

Sep 9, 2014

Andrew Katz was 11 years old in 1964 when he and his mother took a summer vacation on the west coast. They started in Hollywood hoping to meet celebrities, but it wasn’t until they arrived at their hotel in San Francisco that they had an unexpected brush with fame.

In the StoryCorps booth, Andrew told Daniel Horowitz Garcia all about it.   

This story was recorded in partnership with the Atlanta History Center, which hosts Atlanta’s StoryCorps booth. 

Cecilia Sáenz Becerra and Taryn Jordan first met while doing political activist work in Tucson, Arizona in 2007. The two eventually began dating, and have supported each other through the coming out process. In the StoryCorps booth, Cecilia asked Taryn what it felt like the first time she told her she loved her. 

This story was recorded in partnership with the Atlanta History Center, which hosts Atlanta’s StoryCorps booth.

StoryCorps: Bobbi Patterson and Vichon Wilborn

Aug 19, 2014

Bobbi Patterson has been researching her family history for years, and she has been able to trace her ancestry back many generations. She now shares this information with her relatives, including her grandchildren. In the StoryCorps booth, Bobbi told her granddaughter, Vichon Wilborn, about the person who inspired her research, her father Alf Crenshaw. 

This story was recorded in partnership with the Atlanta History Center, which hosts Atlanta's StoryCorps booth.

StoryCorps: Varinder Punia and Erika Rees

Aug 12, 2014

Varinder Punia and Erika Rees came to StoryCorps to talk about their relationship as an interracial couple. Varinder was born in India, and comes from a traditional Sikh family, while Erika comes from a Swedish-Polish family in the American Midwest. In the StoryCorps booth, the couple recalled the beginnings of their relationship. 

This story was recorded in partnership with the Atlanta History Center, which hosts Atlanta’s StoryCorps booth.

StoryCorps: Juan and Kari Sans

Aug 5, 2014

Juan and Kari Sans first met in the military in the late 1980’s. At first, Kari had little interest in Juan, but he was very interested in getting to know her better. In the StoryCorps booth, Juan told his niece, Diana Guyton, about a time before they started dating, when he saw Kari in a pizza parlor.

This story was recorded in partnership with the Atlanta History Center, which hosts Atlanta’s StoryCorps booth.

StoryCorps: Elizabeth Clark and Lowanda Higgins

Jul 29, 2014

Elizabeth Clark was a college student in the late 1950’s when she attended Blayton School of Accounting here in Atlanta. During this time, the city was becoming an important place for the Civil Rights Movement, home to leaders such as Lonnie King, Ralph David Abernathy and Martin Luther King, Jr. In the StoryCorps booth, Elizabeth told her daughter, Lowanda Higgins about a professor she had, social activist John Calhoun. 

This story was recorded in partnership with the Atlanta History Center, which hosts Atlanta’s StoryCorps booth.  

StoryCorps: Peggy and Bill Comin

Jul 22, 2014

From a very young age, Peggy Comin has lived with a disability that’s affected her daily life. However, she’s always kept her sense of independence, and at the age of 61, she has many stories to tell. In the StoryCorps booth, Peggy started by telling her husband, Bill Comin, about the incident that caused her disability.

Peggy is currently writing a memoir about her life's experiences. This story was recorded in partnership with the Atlanta History Center, which hosts Atlanta's StoryCorps booth.

StoryCorps: Kathi Martin & Shana Hunt

Jul 15, 2014

Kathi Martin grew up with a pastor father, and she also chose a life as a pastor in the African Methodist Episcopal church.  However, things were complicated by the fact that she is a lesbian. During her time in seminary, she remained in the closet. But in the StoryCorps booth, Kathi told her partner Shana Hunt about an event that made it hard to keep the secret once she became a pastor.   

This story was recorded in partnership with the Clarkson Branch of the DeKalb County Public Library, as well as the Atlanta History Center, which hosts Atlanta’s StoryCorps booth. 

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