Da Grey Ghost: A Popumentary

In 2009 I did a series of interviews with Joseph Joyner. His family calls him Pop. Some people know him as their old doctor, a life saver for premature or sick babies and San Diego’s first African American pediatrician.

In Zimbabwe he’s known as a missionary. In India he may be known as a researcher of pandemics and viruses. To friends of the family and members of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity he may be known as that trash talking old man. To me he’s grandpa, and the only person I’ve ever met who threatened to haunt me when he dies by tickling my feet when I sleep.

As part of the celebration of his 90th birthday those interviews were drawn together for what I call a Popumentary.

I wanted to safely capture part of my family’s history. Yes so that I don’t forget but also for my daughter and future ancestors so that they understand who Joseph Joyner is and are able to   part for retention of my family’s stop

I interviewed pop because he has an amazing story to tell, because despite short stature he is a giant; a man who met his father once but raised five children and ensured the health of tens of thousands of kids as a neonatologist and pediatrician.

A man who lied about his age to enter World War II, argued philosophy with Martin Luther King Jr., has a history of volunteerism and has played a violin for the better part of the last century.

I want people to have easy access to the Popumentary so the video is intentionally broken into 30 bite-size pieces and organized into a playlist on YouTube, so viewers have the choice to see one part or continuously watch the edited interview in its entirety.

Embedded below is the Popumentary playlist and a link to each question that comes together to make the Popumentary.

1. My Zoot Suit and Pastor Burdine and His 15 Hip Deacons

2. When and how did you start to play the violin?

3. What do you love?

4. From Florida to the Army to Morehouse

5. Arguing with MLK, Morehouse and Philosophy

6. 13 Quick Questions

7. As a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?

8. The one and only time I met my father

9. I never wanted to practice medicine: Virology, India and Coming to San Diego

10. What are your hopes for future generations?

11. Are there any objects that have been handed down in your family?

12. My Daughters

13. Why did you join the Army?

14. Where were you when the atomic bomb dropped?

15. Rest leave in Rome and meeting the Pope

16. Becoming Catholic

17. Meeting my wife Charlie Williams

18. What were the qualities that attracted you to your wife?

19. What struggles have you overcome in life?

20. What do you want to pass on?

21. What truths do you hope your ancestors understand about life?

22. Did you run into a lot of racism in your work professionally?

23. What did you enjoy most about having children?

24. Christmas memories

25. What qualities did grandma try to instil in your children?

26. What qualities did you try to instill in your children?

27. Did you go to segregated schools? What were your experiences with Jim Crow?

28. Neonatologist Before Neonatologist

29. What was it like work with your brother in law Matthew Williams or being San Diego’s first black pediatrician?

30. How are things different now than when you were growing up?

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