The Manhattan Project

Life in the Secret Cities

Valeria Steele Roberson's Interview

Cindy Kelly: Tell us about your work and what you’ve learned about the African Americans who worked here in Oak Ridge during the Manhattan Project.

Valeria Steele Roberson: I became interested in this project when I was a little girl. My grandmother used to tell us stories about the ‘40s, how they came here and left their children back in Alabama with their grandmother. She would always talk about giving one day to the bomb, and about the rats, and the plank sidewalks, and all those kinds of things.

Ruth Huddleston's Interview

Nathaniel Weisenberg: My name is Nate Weisenberg, and I am here recording this oral history interview for the Atomic Heritage Foundation. It is April 25, 2018. I am here with Ruth Huddleston. If you could start by saying your full name and spelling it, please.

Ruth Huddleston: Ruth Huddleston, H-U-D-D-L-E-S-T-O-N.

Weisenberg: Let’s begin at the beginning. Can you tell me about when and where you were born?

Virginia Coleman's Interview

[Note: This interview contains graphic descriptions of a car accident and a discussion of sexual abuse.]

Nathaniel Weisenberg: My name is Nate Weisenberg. I am here with the Atomic Heritage Foundation. We’re in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. It is Wednesday, April 25, 2018, and I am here with Virginia Coleman. My first question for you is if you could please say your name and spell it. 

Samuel Beall Jr.'s Interview

Cindy Kelly: I’m Cindy Kelly. It is Thursday, April 26, 2018, and I’m in Knoxville, Tennessee with Sam Beall. First question for you is to say your full name and spell it.

Sam Beall: My full name is Samuel Erasmus Beall, B-e-a-l-l. Some people call “Beale,” we call “Bell.”

Kelly: Okay, great. So, Sam, tell me about yourself. When were you born and where?

Beall: It was in 1919, and I will be 99 in just about three weeks.

Kelly: Wow. Congratulations.

Gordon Garrett's Interview

Nathaniel Weisenberg: My name is Nate Weisenberg with the Atomic Heritage Foundation. It is Friday, December 22, 2017, and we’re here in Washington, D.C. with Mr. Gordon Garrett. And my first question for you is if you could please tell me your name and spell it.

Gordon Garrett: My name is Gordon Garrett. That’s G-o-r-d-o-n G-a-r-r-e-t-t.

Weisenberg: Let’s begin at the beginning. Can you tell me when and where you were born?

Garrett: I was born in Johnson City, Tennessee. March 13, 1937.

Harris Mayer's Interview

Nathaniel Weisenberg: My name is Nate Weisenberg. I’m here with Harris Mayer in Los Alamos, New Mexico. It’s October 11, 2017. My first question: if you could just say your name for the camera and spell it, please.

Harris Mayer: My name is Harris Mayer, H-a-r-r-i-s M-a-y-e-r.

Weisenberg: Thank you. I know you had a story that you wanted to begin with, so I will let you go ahead.

Victor Kumin

Victor Kumin was a young scientist when he was drafted to the U.S. Army in 1944. In September of that year, he was transferred to Los Alamos. Here he was part of the Special Engineer Detachment (SED). 

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