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What I Saw Around the Confederate Flag Pole

Columbia, SC -- For the last few weeks since the massacre at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston on June 17th, the fierce debate here and around the nation revolved around whether or not the Confederate flag should be removed from SC's Capitol grounds.  From the day after the shooting, the Confederate flag drew attention and scorn for flying at full mast when the state and US flag above the dome were lowered by the Governor's order to half-mast in an expression of mourning. Petitions began circulating as early as June 18th through MoveOn and other networks with hundreds of thousands people demanding the removal of the Confederate flag from all government property in South Carolina.  Continue reading

Perspectives on South Carolina's Confederate Flag

Bill Starr has a South Carolina lineage that predates the Revolution, and ancestors who fought in the Civil War for the Confederate States of America. But he wants the Confederate flag flying on the state capitol grounds in Columbia, SC to come down. Annabel Park of Story of America interviewed him on June 24, 2015 moments after he had waited in line for an hour to pay respects to the murdered Civil Rights leader, Senator, and Reverend Clementa Pinckney where he lay in state in the capitol rotunda.  Continue reading

Someone had to teach him

Editor's Note: Author of Blood Done Sign My Name, historian, and one of the leaders of the Moral Monday movement, Timothy B. Tyson, posted this on his facebook page. We are printing it here with his permission. A young man wears Rhodesian and apartheid-era flags on his jacket. Both countries never existed during his lifetime. Both flags are commonly worn as in-group insignia among politically organized white supremacists. "You have to be carefully taught," as the old song from "South Pacific" puts it. He slaughtered nine African Americans in a church. Continue reading

I'm a born-again citizen

Editor's note: Annabel is one of the producers of Story of America. This is an auto-biographical story about how she became committed to being an active citizen.  This  is the oath that I took when I became an American citizen in June, 1991, in Boston: I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United  Continue reading

Black Boxes

Editor’s Note: This is an update to a powerful essay published on April 24, 2014 on storyofamerica.org, Not a Monster’s Daughter. It included this breathtaking line: "My name is Megan A. Collins, I am rape conceived and I should be afforded the right to my own history. This is my story." The update is in two sections: “Black Boxes" and "“Reflecting on the experience of publishing my story.” Black Boxes Though most adoptees could not imagine a time when record access would be open, on March 20, 2015, the state of Ohio opened all sealed adoptions finalized between 1964-1996. The option was given to birth parents to have their name redacted from the original birth certificate if they filed the correct forms by the March 19th deadline. A basic medical information packet was required to be completed for this to be an option. Of 400,000 records, one hundred and fourteen redactions were said to have been completed by the deadline. Continue reading