From his retirement community in Hyde Park, Paul Bruce has almost a century of memories to look back on. The 94-year-old recalls hearing stories about his grandfather, who served in an all-black regiment in the Civil War. He remembers listening to the radio on the day Prohibition ended and attending high school in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood when the neighborhood was mostly white. Mary Fus is a family friend who has known Paul Bruce since she was a child. She recently came with him to the StoryCorps booth in the Chicago Cultural Center where he talked about the complexities of growing up with a white mother and a black father.
Bill Healy produces StoryCorps Chicago for WBEZ and teaches journalism at Northwestern University. Follow him @chicagoan.