Detroit, Michigan: AKA Motown, Motor City, Hockeytown, Detroit Rock City. It’s industrious. It’s got grit. And it’s got soul. It’s got the Tigers, Lions, Red Wings, and…teachers.
Facilitator Gaspar Caro and I recently got the call to conduct interviews with educators for the National Teacher Initiative with Town Hall partner Detroit Public Television, where witnessed how these select teachers seem to embody the city’s reputation. These educators not only participated in StoryCorps; they connected with others in their field by trading stories and showing support and love, as well.
Micanopy, Florida is a small town in Alachua County, just outside Gainesville, and is known for being the home of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, author of the young adult novel, The Yearling. It is also the current home of Ginny Beam, another woman devoted to her love of storytelling. Ginny was interviewed by her friend, Sally Stein, during StoryCorps Door-to-Door’s visit to the Alachua County Library District in Gainesville.
This trip was a result of the Alachua library’s being awarded the National Medal by the Institute of Museum and Library Services as one of ten outstanding institutions in the country that excel in community service and outreach. Dedicated librarians like as Ginny are the reason libraries like this thrive and remain a hub for all members of the community.
To wrap up Black History Month, Monica Foderingham, Outreach Services Librarian for Atlanta-Fulton Public Library, created the Letters To My Grandchildren Project. In partnership with Senior Citizen Services of Merto Atlanta and StoryCorps Atlanta, conversations of African Americans who grew up during segregation and the Civil Rights Movement were recorded for posterity.
On February 28, 100 seniors from Auburn Senior Center, Dogwood Senior Center, Northside Shepherd Senior Center, Southeast Center, and New Horizon Senior Center gathered at the central library to hear twelve storytellers share their experiences.
StoryCorps Door-to-Door gathered interviews for the National Teachers Initiative in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Between encounters with green chili for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Facilitator Mitra Bonshahi and I recorded stories about New Mexicans’ experiences with education in preparation for Albuquerque’s Teacher Town Hall event. For two days, KNME, Albuquerque’s public TV station, played host to a rotating cast of teachers and students. After their StoryCorps interviews, participants also had the opportunity to record video reflections on their interviews with youth radio station Generation Justice. (more…)
Storycorps Door-to-Door had the pleasure of visiting the Erie Art Museum, one of the 2011 Institute of Museum and Library Service (IMLS) National Medal Award winners. In our three days of recording, participant after participant shared stories of how the museum has become a major community hub, and we quickly came to understand why the museum was honored nationally for its “significant and exceptional contributions to their communities.” The museum has a lot more than an award to be proud of, with programming that allows its patrons to truly “be moved.”
StoryCorps Door-to-Door recently visited North Lawndale College Preparatory Charter High School on Chicago’s West Side, where, unlike at other local schools, students are not greeted with metal detectors or police. Instead, they’re chased in a playful game of tag, called “running bases.”
“We’re somewhat crazy at our place,” says Administration President and tag instigator John Horan.
Before there was the written word, there were oral storytellers, and StoryCorps Atlanta had the pleasure of recording conversations at the National Black Storytelling Conference and Festival held in Atlanta, Georgia.
This recording day was phenomenal. It was an honor to hear amazing stories by professional storytellers and to hear these professionals share the ordinary stories of their lives, the raw human material that StoryCorps knows all too well that has inspired them to make storytelling a way of life. Below are a few highlights.
Barbara Eady and Jacqueline Boyd, both from Ohio, discussed how they began storytelling. Barbara shared a poignant story about an elder mother in her church, who knew her as a child and remembered her many years later when Barbara brought her own children to Sunday service. The elder’s detailed memories of Barbara as a child touched her and has encouraged her work. Today, Barbara is a living vessel of memory and history.
Facilitator John White and I visited North Lawndale College Preparatory Charter High School‘s Collins campus in Chicago, Illinois, to collect stories for StoryCorps’ National Teachers Initiative. The school’s president, John Horan, and alum Tierra S. Jackson joined us for a conversation.
Tierra has an easy smile, and if you struggle with pronouncing her name, she’ll simply say, “Think of a tiara.” If that word has you thinking of royalty and princesses, such a life couldn’t be further from Tierra’s while she was in high school.
A Thursday morn did Everet Martin
and his wife come in,
to have their story, now recorded
in the Library-
of Congress, that is.We met Everet and Barbara last month in Weippe, Idaho, when they participated in StoryCorps and shared their touching love story.
Have you ever heard of Weippe? Located on the Gold Rush Historic Byway, it’s the place where the Lewis and Clark expedition first met the Nez Percé in September 1806.
Happy Lunar New Year, from StoryCorps San Francisco!
The team had a table at the Oakland Museum’s annual Celebration of the Lunar New Year and Other Asian Traditions. The family event welcomed 2012, the year of the dragon, with a plethora of fun activities and special performances throughout the day. The colorful, lively party included an opening ceremony with a dragon parade, a mochi pounding demonstration, face-painting and calligraphy, and many tasty treats to sample.
At our table, attendees learned more about StoryCorps in the Bay Area by answering two questions on post-its: What is your earliest memory? and What are you most proud of We got many wonderful responses from party-goers of all ages! Check out our pictures from the day’s happenings below.
Happy Year of the Dragon!
Please note: The mochi pounding demonstation video was shot by our own San Francisco staff.
Okay, I must admit that when I think of libraries, the image conjured (as stereotypical and dated as it may be) features cold, fluorescent lighting. Aisles upon aisles of books. The Dewey Decimal System. People hunched over dusty periodicals in an almost religious repose. The Quiet Police, also known as librarians. You get the picture.
So, when StoryCorps Door-to-Door visited our first 2012 Institute of Museum and Library Service (IMLS) National Medal Award winner, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. branch of the San Jose Public Library, I was both curious and excited to discover just how much the daunting public institution of my youth has evolved.
Located in the heart of downtown San Jose, the library’s facade resembles the other sleek glass and concrete office towers, but once inside it reveals it’s true identity: a community hub, campus hangout and epicenter for learning. One look out of an east wing window reveals sweeping mountain vistas, an old bell tower, and San Jose State University academic buildings, a landscape dotted with palm trees. Immediately impressed, I looked forward to meeting some of the folks who made this place special.
Fortunately, library administrators Jane Light and Ned Himmel set the record straight. The first sign that this wasn’t the library of my past came when Jane quoted Keith Richards: “The public library is the great equalizer.” Very cool.
If there’s one thing I’ve witnessed time and time again while working at StoryCorps, it’s the power of storytelling and sharing to bring families, friends, and communities together. Stories also create the histories of the spaces we inhabit together, especially the neighborhoods and cities in which we live. I was reminded of this when StoryCorps San Francisco returned to Oakland’s Peralta Hacienda Historical Park to record interviews at this unique museum and community cultural center located in the city’s Fruitvale District.
Originally a prominent, Spanish colonial hacienda of 1800′s California, Peralta House is now a fully restored and preserved historical site. The center is, in a sense, a “living museum.” Through interactive multimedia exhibits and an array of community programs, the center brings to life the site’s past and celebrates the stories of the Fruitvale District today. In a city already known for its diversity, residents of the neighborhood trace their roots to all corners of the country and the globe, including recent immigrants from Latin America and Southeast Asia, as well as African-American, Latino, and Caucasian families that go back several generations. Their stories are the center of the museum’s exhibits and certainly celebrated in their motto, “Every human being makes history at Peralta Hacienda Historical Park.”
Have you ever heard of the mahasi? What about the clip grip or the rotary creel? These and other unique inventions sprang from the mind of Hans Simon Singer, a weaver who moved from Wattwil, Switzerland to the United States in the early 1960′s. Â He rapidly established himself in the textile industry around Spartanburg, South Carolina, but his most important legacy is the love and family that is still strong today.
Aside from textiles, Hans leaves his legacy in three daughters, all now in their 50′s: Lynmarie Singer Storey is the oldest; Monica Singer Franklin is the middle child; and Susan Singer is the youngest of the family. The sisters met at the Atlanta StoryBooth in November 2011 to mark the 20th anniversary of their father’s death and share their favorite memories of him.
StoryCorps Door-to-Door traveled to the Windy City to record stories of teachers, staff members, and students at EPIC Academy Charter High School. The school’s student body consists of teens living in South Chicago. EPIC prepares their students for college and beyond through a rigorous and diverse curriculum. The school can be challenging, especially for students dealing with difficult issues in their personal lives.
Despite this, teachers and staff still expect the best of their students because some of them know well what their students deal with at home. During our three days with EPIC, Dean of Students Danny Rivera sat down with his coworker, Andre Golston, to talk about the obstacles he faced growing up in Chicago.