Earlier this year, StoryCorps Atlanta headed to the Mainstreet Community Services Association, Inc. to record the conversations of residents who have staked out their piece of the Mainstreet Community legacy. Community Association Manager Nadine Rivers-Johnson organized a successful on-site recording day in the community’s clubhouse, rolling out the red carpet for the StoryCorps team.
Located less than five miles from the historic Stone Mountain Park, Dekalb County’s Mainstreet Community is a residential community that was developed based on the tenets of the Greenpeace Movement of the early 1970′s. Today, the Mainstreet Community vigorously guards its proud heritage even as it charts a new path into the twenty-first century.
One of the first pairs of residents to record a conversation that day was Kristina and Jamaal Gilchrist. Kristina shared many of the personal and family challenges she overcame to become the successful business woman, mother, and wife she is today.
At the beginning of their conversation, Jamaal asked his wife why she wanted to record a StoryCorps conversation. She said, “Taking advantage of the StoryCorps opportunity was important because, specifically for African Americans, I kind of feel like our stories are inconsistent or sometimes even incomplete. I just thought it was really important for us to take ownership of our story and for me to document my story, particularly for the generations to come.”
This was the sentiment of nearly everyone who recorded that day. In fact, in an e-mail sent to the Atlanta StoryCorps staff after the recording day, Ms. Rivers-Johnson said, “Mainstreet Community is in love with StoryCorps! The StoryCorps experience gave homeowners and residents an opportunity to share their stories of family, influences, and memories as only those who lived it could tell it. I encourage any person who has ever had a memorable experience to take the time to share it with the world and with future generations.”
An excerpt of Kristina and Jamaal’s story was edited by WABE and aired during Morning Edition and City Cafe on October 24, 2011. Listen to the broadcast here.