An Interview Reveals Hard Family Truths When Rahsheed McKenstry, 10, and his mother Rhonetta McKenstry entered the StoryCorps booth in Memphis, Tenn., he quickly found his own interview style ... a style that uncovered hard truths.
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An Interview Reveals Hard Family Truths

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An Interview Reveals Hard Family Truths

An Interview Reveals Hard Family Truths

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Thousands of Americans have recorded their interviews as part of StoryCorps. The project gives family and friends the chance to ask one another about their lives. And each Friday we listen in on moments from some of these conversations.

MONTAGNE: Hi, my name is Rahsheed McKenstry and my age is 10 years old and my relationship with my interview partner is my mom.

MONTAGNE: My name is Rhonetta McKenstry and I'm being interviewed by my son.

MONTAGNE: The McKenstrys came to StoryCorps in Memphis, Tennessee, and Rahsheed quickly found his own, often penetrating, interview style.

MONTAGNE: Okay. Ms. Rhonetta McKenstry, what was some of the biggest lessons that you learned during your childhood?

MONTAGNE: I feel like I'm at a job interview. I had a very good mother, which is why I think I'm a very good mother. She used to fix me breakfast in the morning whenever she could. She gave me kisses, like I do you and your brother and she yelled at me.

MONTAGNE: That means she cares. Okay, so, why are you not still married?

MONTAGNE: Because my ex-husband was horrible.

MONTAGNE: Was he violent towards you?


MONTAGNE: Was he violent towards anybody else?

MONTAGNE: You and your brother, which is why I won't let him see you. How does that affect you?

MONTAGNE: It affects me because I'm inquisitive, I want to know everything and he's my father and I should know more. It kind of makes me feel depressed and mad - not depressed, but kind of mad that those things happened to my mother.

MONTAGNE: What kind of man do you think you're going to be?

MONTAGNE: A very great man, better than my father for sure.


MONTAGNE: How do you feel about Chris and I?

MONTAGNE: See, now you're trying to make me cry. You have to understand I'm proud of the two of you. You all have different personalities. Christopher's is happy-go-lucky, but you, I'm just in awe of you sometimes. You all keep me going. Everything I do is really for the two of you.

MONTAGNE: Why is your nose turning red?

MONTAGNE: 'Cause I'm about to cry. How many times have you ever seen my cry?

MONTAGNE: Three times. This is my third.

MONTAGNE: I love you, Rahsheed.

MONTAGNE: I love you too, Mom. Thank you for answering all my questions.


MONTAGNE: Rahsheed McKenstry with his mother Rhonetta in Memphis, Tennessee. Rhonetta McKenstry will be entering law school this fall. She plans to specialize in family law to help women who have suffered from domestic violence. This interview will be archived at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Library of Congress. You can subscribe to this project's Podcast at


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