Alia Haddad, Senior Associate of our Custom Services & guest blogger of the week, recaps our most recent Door-to-Door visit to Danville, VA.
From October 10-12, 2014, StoryCorps partnered with the Danville Regional Foundation to bring our MobileBooth to record 21 captivating and wide-ranging conversations between 42 people, representing the diverse community of the Dan River Region. Our visit is just the beginning in what will be a long line of capturing local oral histories in this region, however. In addition to the annual Dan River Region Festival, the weekend also marked the launch of the foundation’s History United initiative, which aims to develop a multi-faceted approach of telling a diverse and inclusive history of the region. We’re so excited that History United will continue on in this effort, capturing and archiving stories of this historically and culturally rich community.
The stories we captured in Danville exemplified, not just the diversity of this specific community, but of our whole StoryCorps archive as well. We heard stories from William Franklin Scott, son of the first African American NASCAR driver Wendell Scott, as he reminisced with his own son, Warrick, about the legacy of his father and the effect he had on Danville and the whole of the United States. Former Senator Charles Hawkins & Professor Jack Hayes peppered their conversation on politics with tidbits about the history of the tobacco industry in Danville. On a more somber note, we heard from John Guzlowski, who spoke to his wife about how his parents met in a Nazi concentration camp in World War II. These and all of the 21 stories we captured represented the remarkable history and spirit of this region–reminding us again that amazing stories are everywhere you look!
While the StoryCorps MobileBooth could only be in town for a short three days, it was enough time for our StoryCorps facilitators, Luis and Mayra, to experience true Danville life (aka 90-minute hot yoga sessions and $1.50 beers). With friendly-people like these and beautiful restored red-brick buildings galore, we’d stay all year if I could. Luckily, Ina Dixon, who is leading the History United Initiative, does live in town and is ready to capture all your Dan River Region stories. For more information, check out the website here: http://www.historyunited.org/.