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1918 Pandemic Influenza Survivors Share Their Stories

Ann Brantley, Hazard Vulnerability Analysis Nurse Coordinator of the Center for Emergency Preparedness, interviewed several pandemic influenza survivors for a historical perspective on this devastating event in world history.

Edna BooneMrs. Edna Register Boone - Mobile, Alabama

Mrs. Boone, a 100-year-old resident of Mobile, tells how her family was the only family in a small rural Alabama area that did not contract the flu during the 1918 outbreak. Mrs. Boone's family responded to the crisis in her community. Her parents become instant nurses, and she delivered soup to the homes of ill families.

Video | Transcript (11 minutes) 

Annie WilliamsMrs. Annie Laurie Williams - Selma, Alabama

The 1918 flu pandemic was one of the earliest, and perhaps the most traumatic experiences to date, in the life of Mrs. Williams, age 91, of Selma. That's because her father, a jeweler, contracted the disease and became very ill. Even though she was a very young child, her father's serious illness remains an indelible memory.

Video | Transcript (7 minutes)

Agnes GatlinMrs. Agnes Gatlin - Montgomery, Alabama

Mrs. Gatlin tells of many people that were sick in her community during the 1918 outbreak. Those infected were deathly ill and bed-ridden. Others were fearful that they would become infected with the flu during this time.

Video | Transcript (4 minutes)


Garfield JohnsonMr. Garfield Johnson - Antioch, Alabama

Mr. Johnson, a 93-year-old resident of Coffee County, reminds us of our inability to imagine the devastation that resulted from the pandemic of 1918.

Video | Transcript (15 minutes)


Gurtys RobinsonMrs. Gurtys Robinson - Clanton, Alabama

Mrs. Robinson, a 97-year-old resident of Chilton County, gives her account of people staying home during the terrible time of the 1918 pandemic. As she recalls, "It wasn't just one family that was affected; it was entire communities."

Video | Transcript (6 minutes)


Page last updated: March 14, 2023