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.
StoryCorps San Francisco kicked off National Teachers Initiative interviews this fall with a unique and innovative Bay Area high school, Downtown College Preparatory. DCP is a public charter school in San Jose, California whose educators work closely with students and their families to promote academic excellence and to develop the self-confidence and community support they’ll need to succeed in college and beyond. The school prepares students – most of whom are first-generation Americans and will be first-generation college students – to thrive at four-year universities. They do this through a singular goal set for each student: DCP students must gain admittance to a four-year academic institution before graduating from high school.
StoryCorps Atlanta set up recording equipment at the Michael A. Grant Boys and Girls Club in Austell, Georgia to record conversations between young men, their families, and mentors through 100 Black Men of North Metro, Inc.
Today, the dropout rate for African-American boys in urban environments can be as high as seventy percent, and more African-American men are incarcerated or in the criminal justice system than were enslaved in 1850. With this in mind, 100 Black Men of America’s national chapters serve a vital role in the African-American community, helping families navigate the challenges posed by neighborhoods burdened with drugs, crime, and scarce resources.