My StoryBooth, My City.
A travel guide from our team down South–StoryCorps in Atlanta.
When you are in the business of professional story-collecting, you grow to appreciate the fact that some of the most amazing tales can happen in the most “everyday” places.
In our animated short,“Eyes on the Stars,” a local library in South Carolina became the setting of a one kid sit-in. From our book Ties That Bind, Marvin Goldstein’s standard childhood apartment became the place of a legendary fall and a life-saving catch. In a subway train, you might make a connection with someone you’ll remember for the rest of your life. A New Mexico ranch might teach you life lessons you never thought possible.
The point is, everywhere you look, there is a story worth remembering. This is why we are dedicated to hearing voices from far and wide, in communities all across the nation–including our three StoryBooth locations in Atlanta, Chicago, and San Francisco.
After years of listening to our participants, the StoryBooth staff knows that their city is not just a city, but the backdrop to a million amazing stories. We decided to ask our remote staff to share some of that local wisdom with us in a series we’re calling, “My StoryBooth, My City.”
We begin with a little Southern hospitality. This week, We Are StoryCorps gets the 4-1-1 on the ATL from Amanda Plumb, Regional Manager at the StoryBooth in Atlanta, GA. She filled in the blanks on a few great things unique to her StoryBooth city.
So grab yourself some sweet tea, put your feet up, and enjoy this quick and easy travel guide from Amanda.
Welcome to Atlanta, ya’ll!
Amanda’s pick is Oakland Cemetery.
“My favorite spot in the city is Oakland Cemetery – an old Victorian cemetery with mausoleums, brick paths, beautiful plants and majestic trees with a view of downtown Atlanta. It’s a great place for a walk, picnic, or to sit and read a book.”
Neighborhoods to Check Out:
Amanda recommends East Atlanta and Little 5 Points.
“The eats are good in East Atlanta. Try bahn mi at We Suki Suki, sandwiches at Urban Cannibals, the lasagna at Grant Central Pizza, bun from Soba and anything from Delia’s Chicken Sausage. If it’s nice out, you’ll find me on the Holy Taco porch with a margarita, bacon taco, and fish taco. We also have a coffee shop (Joe’s) and a number of bars and music venues.
Meanwhile, Little 5 Points is a funky neighborhood with vintage shops, record stores, and great food. I’m partial to the grilled Caesar salad at the Porter (though everyone else seems to go there for the beer), a chevre, roasted garlic, and red pepper sauce pizza from Savage, or any burrito at Elmyr.”
You might not know this but…
Atlanta has pretty solid literary crowd.
“Atlanta has a booming literary scene and each month is packed with various literary events. For example, Write Club: a fight club inspired event where authors go head-to-head performing pieces they wrote based on their assigned topic. The crowd votes for a winner and money goes to the charity of the winner’s choosing. There’s also True Story, Carapase, and Scene Missing Magazine.”
The city also has super secret food markets.
“Each month, I look forward to Atlanta Underground Market–a pop-up food court of sorts featuring home cooks from all around the city. The location is a secret, so you have to sign up for the listserve to get the details.”
The Skinny on StoryCorps in Atlanta:
Our StoryBooth in Atlanta has been open since October 2009. Amanda walked us through a few of the basics.
“We record at the Atlanta History Center, a museum with a historic form and mansion. Even though we know the names of participants, part of the fun is not knowing what they’re going to talk about. Over the years, we’ve been quite surprised by some of the stories–including a man interviewing his psychic advisor and another guy proposing to his girlfriend in the studio.
Half of our interviews come through community partnerships. Local organizations will either send pairs to the booth or borrow our StoryKit (portable recording equipment) to record their own stories, or we may spend a day recording at their offices. Recently, we’ve worked with Friendship Baptist Church, Paradise Missionary Baptist Church, Side by Side Brain Injury Clubhouse, the American Red Cross, Southern Order of Storytellers–to name a few.”
Attention class! We Are StoryCorps has an exciting announcement to make. (You might want to take notes on this one–it may be on the test later). Introducing StoryCorpsU.org–the brand new website for our youth development program, StoryCorpsU!
On StoryCorpsU.org, you will find student produced content that gives a bird’s eye view into the classrooms and lives of students across the country. At the same time, the site acts as a great resource for the students to view their own hard work, as well as that of their peers. Also featured on the site are unique lesson plans about identity, history, and culture, featuring select broadcasts and animations produced by StoryCorps.
StoryCorpsU (SCU) is an interactive, year-long youth development program for high-need schools. The program uses StoryCorps interview techniques, radio broadcasts and animated shorts, to support the development of identity and social intelligence in students. Through the course of the year, the kids get to record and share their own stories about where they’re from, who they are, and where they are going. StoryCorpsU is currently working with schools in 4 major cities: New York, NY, St. Louis, MO, Chicago, IL, and Washington, D.C.
We’ve found that SCU is also an especially powerful tool for strengthening school relationships–a key factor in academic achievement. The program enables students to see their teachers as interested in not only their learning, but who they are as individuals as well.
As our students share stories among their teachers, families, and fellow students, real human connections are established and this plays an important role in high school completion.
SCU benefits educators as well. In a third-party evaluation conducted by the Harvard Graduate School of Education for the 2012-2013 school year, teachers reported that they, themselves, knew their students better, were more effective teaching diverse students, and were more interested in their students.