Ryan White Oral History Project

Ryan White. Photo credit: Politico

Ryan White. Photo credit: Politico

Stew Lauterbach or the Howard County Historical Society has completed an oral history project with residents of Kokomo, Indiana, the hometown of Ryan White. After doctors diagnosed White with AIDS in 1984, Kokomo schools barred him from attending out of fear of his illness. White became a national celebrity during his legal battle to attend school in Kokomo, and the town became a symbol of intolerance for people with AIDS and ignorance about the ways that HIV was spread. As Gretchen Frazee’s piece for All Thing Considered (link below) makes clear, feelings among Kokomo residents about the town’s reputation–and the oral history project itself–vary widely. Hopefully confronting those uncomfortable memories, and the historical legacies of both White and Kokomo, can bring some healing and offer lessons for the present and future on tolerance, equality, and justice.

NPR: In Teen Activist’s Hometown, Old Tensions Remain

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One thought on “Ryan White Oral History Project

  1. Pingback: Kansas Quarantine Bill | African American AIDS Activism Oral History Project

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