MPW.68 / 2016 Shirley’s Journey in Small Town America by Christian K. Lee
Photographer
Christian K. Lee Chicago, Ill.
Team Cliff & Vi

Story Summary

In a city with a white population of 98 percent, Shirley Ryan feels that she has to overcompensate to fit in with the community as an African-American woman. Shirley works hard to help others in Cuba, Mo. by giving shoes to those in need, help those who are disabled and give food to community members who ask for it.

Shirley moved to Cuba from St. Louis seven years ago after discovering the quality of life in this small town. She spends most of her time in the community building relationships, caring for her patients and checking on friends. Despite the demographics, she enjoys living in Cuba but feels she has to put in the extra effort to be accepted.

Shirley rarely has free time to herself but when she does she spends it thinking about what she can do for others whether it is her friends, family or anyone in the community.