CNHI News Service

News

December 6, 2012

Project captures complexities of Ryan White controversy

KOKOMO, Ind. —  

Ryan White was diagnosed with AIDS in 1984. The next year, the 14-year-old was barred from attending school because of the disease.



What followed brought a firestorm of media attention to this north central Indiana community,  and thrust White and Kokomo into international headlines.

Dave Broman, executive director of the Howard County Historical Society, said it is history, and it needs to be documented .

That’s why he said the historical society recently completed an extensive oral history project documenting the first-hand experiences of 22 people who were intimately involved with White and his place in Kokomo’s history.

“We knew there were things happening in our recent past that we needed to preserve for future generations,” Broman said. “We realized that on this story, we needed to collect information while people were still among us to do future generations a service . . . .”

The project got underway in 2010, when Allen Safianow, chair of the society’s oral history committee,  began compiling names of those who could offer real insight into the emotional atmosphere at the school and within the city.  

The list of interviewees included students, teachers, school board members and administrators, city leaders, clergy, family friends, parents, the press and a legal consultant.

In November, the undertaking caught the attention of the Indiana Historical Society, who ended up naming the Howard County Historical Society as the winner of the 2012 Indiana History Outstanding Project Award.



“The Ryan White story constitutes an important, unique part of Howard County’s history,” a pamphlet on the project states.

Amy Lamb, media relations manager for the Indiana Historical Society, said that understanding  the inevitable complexities and nuances was necessary.

“The goal was not to decide if the community was right or wrong, but to show the complexity of the story, the division of the community, the negative and positive outcomes, and the fact that it happened in Howard County,” she said.

Text Only
News
  • ORANGE.png Piracy dipping into Netflix profits

    "Orange Is the New Black" is now the second-most pirated TV show in the world.

    August 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police chief resigns over racial slur repost to Facebook

    A repost on his personal Facebook page of a racially-charged comment by the original poster of a comedy video has forced the police chief of an Oklahoma city to resign his office.

    August 21, 2014

  • sleepchart.jpg America’s sleep-deprived cities

    Americans might run on sleep, but those living in the country's largest cities don't appear to run on much.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Africa goes medieval in its fight against Ebola

    As the Ebola epidemic claims new victims at an ever-increasing rate, African governments in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia have instituted a "cordon sanitaire," deploying troops to forcibly isolate the inhabitants in an area containing most of the cases.

    August 18, 2014

  • Five myths about presidential vacations

    In the nuclear age, presidents may have only minutes to make a decision that could affect the entire world. They don't so much leave the White House as they take a miniature version of it with them wherever they go.

    August 15, 2014

  • Can 6 seconds launch a career? A generation of Vine stars sure hopes so.

    A year ago, Shawn Mendes filmed himself singing a tentative acoustic cover of the Justin Bieber song "As Long as You Love Me" and put the results on Vine. He wasn't expecting much response. "I didn't really want anything to happen; I just kind of wanted to see what people would think," says Mendes, 16. "I posted that first Vine and woke up the next morning with 10,000 followers. That was pretty cool."

    August 14, 2014

  • A night in Ferguson

    For the past week in Ferguson, reporters have been using the McDonald's a few blocks from the scene of Michael Brown's shooting as a staging area. Demonstrations have blown up each night nearby.

    August 14, 2014

  • Robin_Williams.jpg Williams among many who cracked jokes while fighting depression

    Robin Williams isn't the only comedian who has struggled with a disease suffered by an estimated 350 million people worldwide. Williams, a comedian known for his manic energy, committed suicide Aug. 11 at age 63.

    August 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • unrest.jpg Why the Ferguson police-shooting riots had little to do with Ferguson

    Riots and vandalism broke out in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. An 18-year-old black man named Michael Brown was fatally shot by police there. Brown was unarmed. It's still unclear why tensions boiled over.

    August 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • congressionaldemographics.jpg Most Republican House districts are majority-white

    Significant numbers of conservatives, and white Americans in general, admit to feeling discomfort at the prospect of a non-majority white America. These views are even stronger among Tea Party-aligned conservatives.

    August 12, 2014 1 Photo

Sports

Features

Opinion