Oral History- 2020 to present

Oral histories are a way of collecting and preserving the past through interviews with people, communities, and participants in past events. Memories are shared, recorded, and placed in the archives.


We are working to transcribe the interviews- if the title appears in a different color, you may click on the title and read the transcription. Or, in many cases, the audio file is available for listening, from your computer. Use Ctrl + F (for “find) on your keyboard to search for key words.


Some of the following presentations contain language that may be considered offensive; but solely in the interest of historic preservation, the DeKalb History Center has transcribed each presentation as accurately as possible. Otherwise, the presentations and remarks therein are in no way a reflection of the mission and values of the DeKalb History Center, its employees, and its agents. DeKalb History Center holds no responsibility regarding the accuracy of the information presented, told from individual memories and experiences.


2020.6 Pinkie Tyson and Margaret Sterling; Pinkie Tyson & Margaret Sterling audioFebruary 2020; Scottdale, Eskimo Heights

2021.13 Porter Road community, May 2021; Decatur, GA., Mt Pleasant Baptist Church, Porter and Walker family members, neighbor Derik, talking about the history of the land and the neighborhood; descendants of slaves; new development, trying to get neighborhood historic status

2021.23 Pyng Ho Chinese restaurant, Pt 1; Pyng Ho, Pt 2Pyng Ho audio, Pt 1, Pyng Ho audio, Pt 2, Clairmont Rd, Decatur, September 2021-Chinese restaurant in Decatur that has been owned and operated by the Jou family since 1979 and specializes in traditional Chinese and jungguk yori dishes. Interview also discusses the history of popular Chinese and Korean dishes and building a restaurant in Decatur.

2021.24 Wyatt’s BBQ; Wyatt’s BBQ audio, Kirkwood, September 2021-Famous Atlanta restaurant that serves country BBQ off of Memorial Drive in Kirkwood. Family run business started by Oscar Wyatt Jr, serving soul food, country classics, and barbecue.

2021.28 Wats Crackin’ Garlic Crab; Wats Crackin’ audio, Candler Rd, Decatur,  September 2021– Seafood restaurant on Candler Road in Decatur that specializes in Seafood and Garlic Crab. Wats Crackin has gone viral on social media. Founded by Keisha Allen and her sister in 2015.

2021.38 Armando Selem audio, December 2021– born in Cuba, Miami as a child; attended Moreland Elementary, Briar Vista Elementary, and Briarcliff High School; baseball

2021.39 Edna Lowe Swift audio, December 2021– first Black graduate of Agnes Scott College, 1971; Spanish teacher and time in Spain; attended E.R. Carter Elementary and Booker T. Washington High School; Delta Sigma Theta; Dr. Wallace M., president of Alston of Agnes Scott

2022.05 Judge Gregory A. Adams audio, February 2022– grew up in Kirkwood; presently serving as Superior Court judge; Juvenile Court judge for 10 years, prosecutor for DeKalb County, first DeKalb County judge to have a building named in his honor; first African American Jurist to have portrait displayed in a DeKalb County building; served on a Georgia Supreme Court case by designation

2022.07Jayida Che Herbal Tea Spot, Jayida Che Audio March 2022– Tea shop, founded by Aleathia Shakir Saleem and Mariah Shakir Mitchell that is located in the Historic Decatur Muslim community. Interview discusses the origin of the tea shop, blending tea, and growing up in the Decatur Muslim community. Civil rights movement and tea houses.

2022.10 Springreens; Springreens audio- Founded by Muhammad Jihad in 2018 that serves healthy soul food. Specializing in halal, kosher, and vegetarian food. Grew up in the Decatur Muslim Community and attended Muhammad School of Atlanta. Discusses Ramadan during Covid with their “drive thru iftar”. Chef and mother, Jamilah Jihad grew up in the Kirkwood, influenced by her Grandmother who had a restaurant in Cabbagetown.

2022.12 Quran Shakir; Quran Shakir audio, April 2022– Employee and former Principal of the Muhammad School, discusses the history and philosophy of the school.

2022.13 Imam Emeritus Plemon El-Amin; Imam Emeritus Plemon El-Amin audio, April 2022 – Emeritus of the Atlanta Masjid of Al-Islam. Interview discusses history of the Muslim Community of Atlanta, the history of the Masjid of Al-Islam , growing up in Atlanta, attending Booker T Washington High School and the African American Experience at Harvard University.

2022.17 Adilah Muhammad; Adilah Muhammad audio, April 2022 Emory nurse and advocate for breastfeeding.

2022.18 Safiyyah Shahid; Safiyyah Shahid audio, April 2022– Longtime Muhammad School teacher and former principal, longtime Atlanta resident.  Attended Spelman College, was the babysitter for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and Coretta Scott King.  Ebenezer Baptist Church, Grady Hospital, Grady Homes.

2022.27 Frank Maddox; Frank Maddox audio, June 2022- growing up in Madison, GA on a dairy farm; Venable family; Augusta; Oxford College at Emory University, Economics professor, retired; the “chapel incident” at Emory at Oxford; Clarkston; Oakhurst, Oakhurst Baptist; LGBTQ advocacy, Gay Pride, coming out story, Backstreet, Cabana Hotel; Matthew Shepard

2022.29 Karen Chance; Karen Chance audio, June 2022- growing up in Delaware, attended Atlanta College of Art (now Savannah College of Art and Design, SCAD), studied photography; Orly field plane crash; worked at Feminist Women’s Health Center, abortion and healthcare for women; exhibits designer Center for Puppetry Arts, The Carlos Museum at Emory, DeKalb History Center; LGBTQ advocacy and protests; Michael Hardwick, Atlanta, March on Washington; ACT UP; arrests; retirement in Delaware

2022.37 Frank Hamilton audio, August 2022- folk musician; Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Decatur in the 1980s; founder of the Frank Hamilton School (of Music) in Decatur in 2014. Frank Hamilton teaching class on protest songs audio, September 1, 2022

2023.02- Rosemary Cox audio, part 2, February 2023- her father, Harold Cox was the horticulturist at Stone Mountain Park from 1961-1983; originally from London, he trained at Kew Gardens and moved to the states in 1949; lived in a cottage at the park with his family; he established nature trails to protect plants and flowers from the encroaching development of the park; The Plantation House had an organic vegetable garden and Butterfly McQueen (from “Gone With The Wind”) used vegetables from the garden; The Nature Garden, currently at Stone Mountain Park, is dedicated to Mr. Cox.

2023.03, 2023.04- Miyosha “Mimi” Hill audio, Patricia Jett Hood and Sarah Wallace audio- February and March 2023; Carver Hills neighborhood in Doraville/Chamblee; Mt. Carmel AME church; General Motors; neighborhood changes over the years including businesses in Chamblee Plaza, Pine Tree Plaza, Northwoods Motel; school changes

2023.12- Dr. Loretta Sandy, July 2023– originally from Florida; played musical instruments and ran track and played other sports;  moved to metro Atlanta area in 1997 for chiropractic school, felt at home in the gay community in DeKalb County, Clarkston, Decatur; chiropractor for 20+years, also practiced in Australia, office in Decatur since 2006; love of travel

2023.14- Pamela Pryor, July 2023– longtime Atlanta/Decatur resident; attended Emory University for undergraduate and graduate degrees; high school teacher for 3 years (schools were segregated), then engineer for BellSouth/AT& T, later Consumer Affairs/Community Relations; worked on The Atlanta Project, part of the Carter Center; event with Michael Jackson; trips to Washington D.C. with Congressman John Lewis; Decatur Mayor Elizabeth Wilson; Decatur First United Methodist church; running the Peachtree Road Race for 41 years

2023.17- Mayor Joseph Geierman, Doraville, July 2023– originally from California, moved to Georgia in 1999, Doraville in 2001; early member of Northlake Alliance of Gays and Straights (NAGS) organization; proclamation declaring June as Pride Month in Doraville; was on Doraville Planning Commission and was on City Council before running for Mayor in 2019; working to revive  downtown Doraville with walking and bicycling paths, new housing, etc.

2023.26 – Paul Sharian, October 2023-