StoryCorps is marking the anniversary of a pivotal moment for gay rights, the 1969 Stonewall riots. Forty-five years ago, on June 28, gay protesters clashed with police in New York. Now, StoryCorps is launching an initiative to preserve the stories of LGBT people called "OutLoud."
In the 1950s in rural Washington, a teenage boy learned an important lesson about self-acceptance. Patrick Haggerty, now 70, didn't know he was gay at the time, but says his father knew what direction he was headed.
On June 18, 1964, black and white protesters jumped into the whites-only pool at the Monson Motor Lodge in St. Augustine, Fla. In an attempt to force them out, the owner of the hotel poured acid into the pool.
Martin Luther King Jr. had planned the sit-in during the St. Augustine Movement, a part of the larger civil rights movement. The protest — and the owner's acidic response — is largely forgotten today, but it played a role in the passing of the Civil Rights Act, now celebrating its 50th anniversary.
Melford Williams, a World War II veteran and tribal leader with the Caddo Nation, raised eight kids during the 1950s and '60s. He died in 1978, and his grandson, Kiamichi-tet Williams, never got a chance to meet him.
On a visit to StoryCorps in Denver, Kiamichi-tet asked his dad, Thompson Williams, about his grandfather.
"He wasn't the biggest guy, but people reacted to him like he was [a] giant," Thompson says. His father was a kindhearted man who wasn't afraid to cry, Thompson says.
In the late 1950s, when she was just 8 years old, Storm Reyes began picking fruit as a full-time farm laborer for less than $1 per hour. Storm and her family moved often, living in Native American migrant worker camps without electricity or running water.
With all that moving around, she wasn't allowed to have books growing up, Storm tells her son, Jeremy Hagquist, on a visit to StoryCorps in Tacoma, Wash.
"Books are heavy, and when you're moving a lot you have to keep things just as minimal as possible," she says.