StoryCorps Boston: Conversations About Race

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(Images courtesy of StoryCorps; graphic by Jesse Costa/WBUR)
(Images courtesy of StoryCorps; graphic by Jesse Costa/WBUR)

StoryCorps, public radio’s oral history project, came to Boston's Museum of Science for a special exhibition, "Race: Are We So Different?" The interactive show presents a historical and scientific look at the concept of race, exposing both its wide-ranging effects on society and its limits as a purely cultural construct.

At the exhibition opening, visitors were invited to record conversations with loved ones about how the concept of race has affected their lives. Over the next several Mondays on WBUR’s Morning Edition, we’re presenting a series of excerpts from these conversations.

  • In the comments, you're invited to share your story on the meaning of race in your life.

Conversation No. 8: The Persistent Problem of Race
Angela Paige Cook (Courtesy StoryCorps)

To close our series, we hear the next chapter of Angela Paige Cook's story, when, as a young college graduate, she left race-torn Nashville, only to find a less overt form of racism in the North.

Conversation No. 7: A Dawning Awareness Of Race

As a young girl, Angela Paige Cook grew up insulated from racial prejudice, until it became obvious to her as a college student during the civil rights years. She’s interviewed by her husband, Joe Cook.

Conversation No. 6: Race: All In The Family

Half a century ago, multiracial families were unusual in this country. Pearl Torresyap talks with her daughter, Fay, about the challenges this Filipino-American family faced from within and without.

Conversation No. 5: What’s So Funny About Race?

Even when faced with racial discrimination, some people are able to take delight in cultural differences — and defuse prejudice with humor — like Anna Choi, a Korean-American, and her son, Sam.

Conversation No. 4: A Scientist Talks About The Meaning Of Race

John Quackenbush is a professor and researcher in genomics and computational biology. He discusses how his work shows both the biological limits of racial differences and a reason for their existence. He is interviewed by his wife, Mary Kalamaras.

Conversation No. 3: What Race Am I?

Children are often curious about racial differences between themselves and their schoolmates. But what’s it like for children in biracial families, who may differ in appearance from their own parents and siblings? That’s a question Rebecca Thomas Geary has for her daughter Sabine.

Conversation No. 2: Sisters Defy Categorization By Race

The children of Dominican parents, Orpha Rivera and older sister Kathleen Rivera Cruz grew up in Texas, where schoolmates were unable to identify the sisters’ race.

Conversation No. 1: An Educator’s Own Schooling In Race
Marilynne Smith Quarcoo, left, with her daughter, Esanam Quarcoo (Courtesy StoryCorps)

Marilynne Smith Quarcoo, who grew up in Roxbury attending public and parochial schools, is interviewed by her daughter, Esanam Quarcoo.

StoryCorps Boston is produced by WBUR’s George Hicks.

"Race: Are We So Different?" continues at the Museum of Science, Boston, through May 15.

StoryCorps is an independent nonprofit organization. Its mobile recording booth travels the country recording conversations among loved ones. The recordings are archived at The American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress, and excerpts can be heard weekly on WBUR’s Morning Edition.

This program aired on March 14, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.