When Kim Rudd brought Yvonne Orr-El to the StoryCorps booth in Chicago, she knew the big picture of her friend’s story. Yvonne grew up in Morgan Park, the daughter of Black nationalists. Her dad’s been in federal prison for decades. He is a member of the MOVE Organization (a far left, Black liberation group) who is currently considered by many to be a political prisoner serving time in federal prison. He and eight other members of the organization were sentenced to 30 to 100 years for the death of a police officer during a standoff at MOVE headquarters in Philadelphia in 1978.
Her mom was a member of the Chicago chapter of the Black Panthers, seen as a security threat by the FBI and local law enforcement. Yvonne was raised to assimilate because of her parents’ experiences, to work behind-the-scenes. At StoryCorps, Kim asked Yvonne to talk about her parents and the difficult conversations she had with them.
Bill Healy produces StoryCorps Chicago and teaches journalism at Northwestern University. Follow him @chicagoan.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify that Orr-El’s father is considered by many to be a political prisoner.