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Personal Journeys


Knockout: The fast rise and slow fade of boxer O’Neil ‘Supernova’ Bell

Somewhere in the rustic foothills of Jamaica, Norma Bell longed to leave her parents’ sugarcane farm near the rural village of Catadupa. And eventually she did.Norma found her way to Montego Bay around age 17. She got a job at a jewelry store. There she met a man named Charles, a Holiday Inn security guard, who asked her on a date. Nine months later, on Dec. 29, 1974, their first son came into...

Walking across America

Devastated by his sister’s death, Brett Bramble set out on an odyssey to draw attention to the heroin epidemic.
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‘The Blood of Emmett Till’

Murdered teen’s legacy endures from the civil rights movement to Black Lives Matter. A book excerpt. By Timothy B. Tyson.
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Outside looking in

AJC reporter Ellen Eldridge struggles with the helplessness of watching a tragedy unfold on Facebook.
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Hard-earned scars

The Rev. James Brewer-Calvert, senior pastor at Decatur First Christian Church, discovered he had colon cancer 10 years after his father, also a pastor, died from the same disease.
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The man with the red, red beard

Kyle Brooks' whimsical street art has made him a darling of corporate Atlanta.
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Healing touch

A mysterious illness changes the course of a hospital chaplain's life.
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Life of Brian

As Manuel's Tavern prepares to reopen, owner Brian Maloof looks for ways to bring his love of farming to the table.
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Reclaimed lives

Troubled siblings find success in lessons rooted in grandfather’s teachings, using reclaimed wood to build furniture.
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Personal Journeys past

Personal Journeys is now in its fourth year and any trepidation that we might run out of compelling stories to tell has been proven unfounded so far. Here are four very different stories about extraordinary people who are charting new territory in their lives and giving it their all.
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Remembering Frank

A friend memorializes Frank Barham’s life by finishing the journey cut tragically short last year.
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Grandmother of the year

Like 100,000 grandparents in Georgia, Loretta Jenkins is raising grandchildren, and every day is a challenge.
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Usher for the ages

Walter Banks looks back over his 50 years with the Atlanta Braves.
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Keeper of the island

Centenarian Sandy West wants to live out her days on Ossabaw Island, but time may be running out.
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The fixer

Jane Warring helped move Leon Sims out of his bug-infested apartment and into her heart.
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Journeys revisited

An update on four extraordinary people who follow the beat of their own drums.
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Delta retiree and veteran lacrosse ref gets top honor for mechanics

Delta retiree and veteran lacrosse ref gets top honor for mechanics

Luis Diaz, a veteran lacrosse official and a Delta Air Lines retiree who was featured in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Personal Journeys series in January, received a prestigious lifetime achievement award for mechanics from the Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday. Called the Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award, the honor recognizes the accomplishments of senior mechanics. Taylor...

Vanished

How the mysterious disappearance of Sherron Lankester’s son nearly destroyed her. The Acworth woman and her daughter are haunted by the belief that people in their community know what happened to him but won’t say.
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Fixing to die

Battle with deadly superbug upends writer’s life. He’s one of the lucky ones.
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Legacy of loss

Leslie Mackinnon's grief over relinquishing her sons for adoption inspires her passion to change the process.
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Silver linings playbook

Rare genetic disorder teaches Milton couple about loss, grief and recovery.
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Uno the therapy dog

Chaplain's four-legged colleague is on the job, helping children heal.
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Rock bottom

Ulysses Elijah’s road to redemption began with a tragic fall.
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'Emma Is a boy'

An Alpharetta mom adapts to life with a transgender child. Winner of the second annual Personal Journeys Writing Contest.
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The bombardier's legacy

A cache of old letters inspires Ross Greene to retrace a war hero’s fatal path.
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The thrill-seeker

Marietta resident Mike Grigsby has conquered the seven summits of the world and now eyes another adventure.
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Off the beaten path

Couple abandons the 9-5 for Costa Rica and discovers a sweet spot for chocolate.
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Faith in Atlanta

As Atlanta diversifies, Sunday isn’t the only day of worship anymore.
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Aimee’s odyssey

Part I: Infected by a flesh-eating bacteria, Aimee Copeland fights for her life.
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Aimee's odyssey

Part II: Aimee Copeland adapts to a new way of life and gets her joy back.
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Band of daughters

Two strangers unite to retrace their enigmatic fathers’ march across Europe as POWs in WWII.
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The warrior puppy

Starved and abandoned as a puppy, Xena cheats death to change lives.
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The bandit's daughter

Writer Molly Brodak comes to terms with growing up in the shadow of her bank-robber dad.
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Shooting stars

Robb Cohen has spent more than a decade of capturing a wide variety of musical artists for the AJC.

The fixer

Jane Warring helped move Leon Sims out of his bug-infested apartment and into her heart.

'Sing to Me'

Excerpt from the new memoir by music industry legend Antonio 'LA' Reid.

Reclaimed lives

Troubled siblings find success in lessons rooted in their grandfather’s teachings.

Fixing to die

Battle with deadly superbug upends writer’s life. He’s one of the lucky ones.

Hope and faith

A photo of in utero surgery made Samuel Armas famous before he was even born. He continues to astonish today.

Grandmother of the year

Like 100,000 grandparents in Georgia, Loretta Jenkins is raising grandchildren, and every day is a challenge.

Going once, going twice

After 50 years of collecting vintage vehicles, music boxes, jukeboxes, Houdini memorabilia and more, auctioneer Preston Evans is set to pound his gavel one last time.

Superman and the mysterious injury

Clark Jacobs can’t recall the moment his life changed, but his long recovery has been a constant reminder.

'Alligator Candy'

The death of his brother prompts a man to go back and investigate his memory of the events. An excerpt from journalist David Kushner's memoir about the 1973 murder of his big brother in Tampa, Fla.

Curses and blessings

A devastating motorcycle accident saves Tim Keel’s life by revealing a deadly secret.

'The Underdogs'

Tethered to a service dog, twins with autism find freedom. An exclusive book excerpt by Melissa Fay Greene.

Some gumshoes die hard

Despite a knack for sniffing out the truth, the answer private eye Bob Poulnot wants most still eludes him.

Becoming Jericho Brown

How the poet endured a violent childhood, got a new name and received a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Making amends

Georgia-born war veteran returns to Vietnam to help clean up the mess left behind.
More Personal Journeys Stories