Featured Archives - StoryCorps

Stories to Celebrate Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month, we’re sharing StoryCorps stories that center Black voices in conversations about Black history, identity, struggles, and joy. This collection also includes behind-the-scenes information about some of the stories. Through these broadcasts and animations, you can discover new perspectives and reflections on our shared history as a nation.

Whose voice do you want to see included in the narrative of Black history? By sitting down with someone you love for a StoryCorps conversation, you’re showing them that their stories matter and preserving them for generations. You can record in person using the StoryCorps App, or remotely using StoryCorps Connect.

 

Historic Black Voices


 

story
"He didn't let intimidation turn him from exercising his right.”
0:00 / 0:00

Inspiring Dr. King

Warning, the following story includes a description of racial violence.

In 1945, World War II US Army veteran Maceo Snipes, returned home to Taylor County, Georgia. He voted in the county’s primary in July of 1946, and the next day, he was murdered by a white mob. Read the full transcript here.

 

Silvia’s Legacy

In the 1950s Ellaraino, then age 16, was sent to Louisiana to visit her great-grandmother Silvia, who had lived through the Civil War. That summer, Silvia shared the moment she got her freedom.
Read the full transcript here.


story
"I truly think everyone should do what they can to sustain their country."
0:00 / 0:00

Olivia J. Hooker on Making Military History

Dr. Olivia J. Hooker, 103, shares what it was like as one of the first Black women to join the United States Coast Guard Women’s Reserve in 1945, and what her time in the service has meant to her.
Read the full transcript here.

 

Dr. Olivia J. Hooker was thought to be the last surviving witness to the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921. You can hear more about her life and the lives of other groundbreaking women in our podcast episode, “The First, But Not The Last.”

Photo: Olivia Hooker (in front) and fellow SPAR Aileen Anita Cooks, pause on the ladder of the dry-land ship ‘U.S.S. Neversail’ during their ‘boot’ training at the U.S. Coast Guard Training Station, Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn, NY, 1945.
A black-and-white photo of two women, one in front of the other, smiling at the camera on the steps of the ship wearing the U.S. Coast Guard uniform.

A More Perfect Union

As a Black woman who came of voting age in the late 1940s, Theresa Burroughs was one of many Americans to fight against voter suppression. Every month for two years, she traveled to Alabama’s Hale County Courthouse in pursuit of her right to vote.
Read the full transcript here.


story
“A man of the ages is not someone who is called daddy.”
0:00 / 0:00

Remembering
Dr. Charles Drew, “The Father of Blood Banks”

In the 1940s, Dr. Charles Drew was a prominent surgeon whose medical breakthroughs helped preserve the lives of thousands of soldiers. His daughter, Dr. Charlene Drew Jarvis, talks with her son about her father’s life and legacy.
Read the full transcript here.


The Civil Rights Era


The Treasures of Mrs. Grady’s Library

Growing up in Arkansas in the 1950s, Judge Olly Neal was afraid to let his high school classmates see him reading. To keep this secret, he would steal books from the library. What he didn’t realize was that the librarian Mrs. Grady was supporting his love of reading from afar.
Read the full transcript here.


story
"I was 15 years of age when I first started having my own private sit-ins."
0:00 / 0:00

Dion Diamond: Reflections on 60 Years of Activism

This photo, taken in 1960, shows then-teenage civil rights activist Dion Diamond conducting a sit-in at a “white only” lunch counter in Arlington, VA. He shares his experience, as he puts it, “crashing segregated society.”
Read the full transcript here.


Driven

Throughout the ‘60s and ‘70s, race car driver Wendell Scott poured his heart, soul, and all of his earnings into racing across the South. In 2015, he became the first Black person to be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Read the full transcript here.

 

Wendell Scott competed in race cars that he put together from pieces he found in junkyards. You can hear more about his extraordinary life and race car driving career in our podcast episode, “The Ballad of Wendell Scott.”

Photo: A rough drawing of Wendell Scott created for the Storycorps animation “Driven.”
Black-and-white horizontal drawing of Wendell Scott wearing a helmet and race car uniform, driving a race car, glaring ahead as he grips the wheel.

Making History Today


story
“It opened up for me like a gift. And I’m like, ‘I’m in this lab killing cancer.’”
0:00 / 0:00

Untangling The Code

After being raised by her aunt and uncle, Hadiyah-Nicole Green lost both of them to cancer in her early 20s. Caring for them inspired Dr. Green to dedicate her life to fighting the disease.
Read the full transcript here.

 

Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green is the first person ever to kill cancer in mice using laser-activated nanoparticles, which is a big departure from predominant cancer treatments today. She founded the Ora Lee Smith Cancer Research Foundation in honor of her late aunt, and her work is in the process of moving forward into human trials. Her goal is to make cancer treatment accessible, effective, and affordable for all.

A sepia-colored photo of a Black woman and girl smiling for a portrait against a cloudy brown background. The woman has short, curly black hair and wears brown glasses and a collared shirt with a design of purple flowers. The girl in her lap has braided hair and wears pink shirt with a ruffly white collar and bow.
Photo: “Auntie” Ora Lee Smith and Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green.

Star Bound

Six-year-old Jerry Morrison’s favorite person to talk to is his uncle, NASA engineer Joey Jefferson. They celebrate their shared passion for space and exploration.
Read the full transcript here.

 

Joey Jefferson spoke about his love of space with his other love: his partner, Wilford Lenov. You can hear more from them in our podcast episode, “Love and a Life Complete.”

Drawing of two people in silhouette in front of a forest, looking out at the stars. Behind them in the forest is a pink bunny wearing headphones.

Live With Your Hands Unfolded

Aidan Sykes, age nine, interviews his father, Albert Sykes, about being a dad.
Read the full transcript here.

 


story
“It was really important to Dad to be proud of who you are.”
0:00 / 0:00

Juneteenth Traditions

Before Juneteenth was recognized in the U.S. as a federal holiday, Sidney Cooper had been celebrating this day for decades. At StoryCorps, two of Sidney’s daughters, Marla and Lana, came to remember the many lessons on family, community, and the importance of celebrating Juneteenth they learned from their father.
Read the full transcript here.

 

story
“I could stand in my backyard and listen to Ku Klux Klan meetings.”
0:00 / 0:00

A Mother on Growing Up in the 1960s in a Large Black Suburb

More than half a million Americans have recorded StoryCorps interviews across the country. Often, participants use the opportunity to pass vital wisdom and stories from one generation to the next. That was the case in this StoryCorps recording from Norfolk, Virginia.
Read the full transcript here.

 

 

From the StoryCorps Archive


Notes from StoryCorps Facilitator Franchesca Peña who compiled this selection of stories from our Archive: At one point in my Archive search I came across the keyword “leisure” which led me to the word “hobbies”. These keywords led me to stories of Black people relaxing and doing things that they love. I think it’s important to have these stories in conversation with the narrative of Black people needing to work extra hard and overcoming obstacles (which is also important but a narrative I’ve been exposed to more than that of leisure, rest, and joy).

Bruce Waight and Vanessa Morrison

Bruce Waight talks with his life and business partner, Vanessa Morrison, about the mobile barbershop they started together, En Root. They talk about what it means to be Black entrepreneurs, help their community, and provide haircuts to people experiencing vulnerability.

Mary Sims and Linda Jones

Mary E. Sims talks with her friend, Linda Jones, about attending “Nappy Hair Affair” gatherings at Linda’s house where women, and later men, of color were encouraged to wear their hair naturally and learn how to style it. The two unpack how trauma and healing are linked to how they choose to wear their hair.

Jaida Nelson and Joia Thornton

Sisters Jaida Elyse Nelson and Joia Erin Thornton reflect on their sisterhood, their experiences growing up and going to college, and why they started the Queen Esteem Foundation.

RaShauna Wright and John Wright

RaShauna Nicole Wright talks with her husband John Henry Wright IV about their “bucket lists,” what they’re most proud of, first meeting each other, and hopes for the future.

Doris Jackson, Lucy Jackson, and LaToya Jackson

Doris Jackson and her sister Lucy talk with Doris’ daughter, LaToya, about some of their favorite family memories. LaToya thanks her mother for the sacrifice she made to send LaToya to college.

Jason Pryor and Svetlana Binshtok

Jason Pryor talks to his girlfriend Svetlana Binshtok about how he started fencing at age 11 on a whim, got hooked on the sport, and became a competitive athlete. He describes the bittersweetness of competing in the 2016 Olympic Games and the challenges of being a professional fencer.

Regina Mitchell and E. Mitchell

Spouses Regina Mitchell and E. Stanley “Stan” Mitchell reflect on their marriage and share how it all started with a chance meeting and a piece of gum.

Nothando Zulu, Mariama Gillespie, and Makeda Zulu-Gillespie

Nothando Zulu talks with her granddaughter, Mariama Gillespie, and daughter, Makeda Zulu-Gillespie, about being a storyteller, “whoopins,” and love.

Mary Mills and April Banks

April Banks talks to new acquaintance Mary Mills, an African American woman who surfs in the LA county area.

Javal Blades and Kenny Halbert

Javal Blades speaks to their friend Kenny Halbert about family, their trans identity, and remembering the evolution of their individual identities since they met in high school.


Want even more stories? Sign up for our Story of the Week newsletter to discover a new voice every week.

New Beginnings in Love: StoryCorps Animated Shorts

Love is in the air, and in theme with the season, we’re releasing stories that celebrate love through different journeys in our brand-new animated season: New Beginnings in Love. Every Thursday through February 9, 2023, we will release a new episode. Stay tuned and explore stories that display love in different forms.


Still the One

In 1997, Les and Scott’s marriage was on the rocks. They had been together for ten years and were raising two children, but Les was hiding something that caused him to fall into a deep depression and withdraw from the rest of the family. Finally, Scott confronted Les, and their family changed forever. At StoryCorps, their family talked about how they supported Les throughout his gender transition and how love served as the foundation of their relationships.


Going Up

Paul Wilson, 93, discusses the first time he set eyes on his wife, Wilma. She was an elevator operator in the building where he was working, and he had just been drafted and was about to spend the next three years in the service. They married three days after he returned, and remained together and in love for the next 63 years before her death.


Walnut Street (Coming 2/2)

When Sharon Adams moved back to her hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the late 1990s, she needed an electrician. She found a husband, Larry Adams, and together they embarked on a new undertaking: revitalizing their neighborhood one lot at a time. At StoryCorps, they remember how as their relationship grew, so did their involvement in the community. 


What’s for Dinner? (Coming 2/9)

George Ju was born in China then later immigrated to Miami, where he ran a Chinese restaurant. One day while working at a party, he met Angela Rivas and immediately knew she was the one. A few days later, Angela agreed. After nearly 50 years of marriage, the two continue to share their lives, laughter, and love.


Want to listen to more StoryCorps stories? Sign up for our Story of the Week newsletter to discover a new voice every week.

Stories for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

This Martin Luther King Jr. Day, deepen your understanding of the history of civil rights in America by listening to the voices of people who lived it. Below is a collection of StoryCorps conversations between civil rights activists, trailblazers, and loved ones about Martin Luther King Jr. and the enduring legacy of the civil rights movement.

Help us honor the many voices of the civil rights movement by recording the stories of someone you know. By sitting down with someone you love for a StoryCorps conversation, you’re showing them that their stories matter and preserving them for generations. You can record in person using the StoryCorps App, or remotely using StoryCorps Connect.

 


Historic Black Voices


podcast
We Go Up Together Or We Go Down Together
0:00 / 0:00

We Go Up Together Or We Go Down Together

On this episode of the StoryCorps podcast, we revisit the final hours of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life through the experiences of some people who were there with him.
Read the full transcript here.


story
“Kneeling over his body, all I could hear was, ‘I may not get there with you.'”
0:00 / 0:00

Dr. King Did His Own Eulogy

Clara Jean Ester, 72, remembers bearing witness to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s final speech in 1968, and rushing to his side the next day when he was assassinated.
Read the full transcript here.


story
“I said, ‘Dr. King, I am John Robert Lewis.’”
0:00 / 0:00

How Dr. King Inspired a Young John Lewis

Congressman John Lewis remembers how Dr. King’s words inspired him to join the Civil Rights Movement.

Read the full transcript here.

story
"We walked every day from sunup to sunset."
0:00 / 0:00

We Walked From Sunup to Sunset

Lawrence Cumberbatch tells his son Simeon about what it was like to be present on the podium behind Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when he gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

Read the full transcript here.

story
"All of a sudden Dr. King drove down the street..."
0:00 / 0:00

When Dr. King Drove Down the Street

Tom Houck shares memories of dropping out of high school in 1965 to fight for civil rights, and becoming Dr. King’s personal driver.

Read the full transcript here.

story
“Being in a place like that, I didn’t feel like we was human.”
0:00 / 0:00

The Leesburg Stockade Girls

In 1963, more than a dozen African American girls, including Carol Barner-Seay, Shirley Reese, Diane Bowens, and Verna Hollis, were arrested for protesting segregation in Americus, Georgia. At StoryCorps, they remember being held in a small makeshift jail for nearly two months.

Read the full transcript here.

A More Perfect Union

When Theresa Burroughs came of voting age, she was ready to cast her ballot — but she had a long fight ahead of her. During the Jim Crow era, the board of registrars at Alabama’s Hale County Courthouse prevented African American people from registering to vote. Undeterred, Theresa remembers venturing to the courthouse on the first and third Monday of each month, in pursuit of her right to vote.

Driven

Wendell Scott was the first African American person inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. His son, Frank, remembers what it took for his father to cross the finish line at tracks throughout the South.

Eyes on the Stars

On January 28, 1986, NASA Challenger mission STS-51-L ended in tragedy when the shuttle exploded after takeoff. On board was physicist Ronald E. McNair, the second African American person to enter space. But first, he was a kid with big dreams in Lake City, South Carolina.


More Voices

story
"I was not excited about being Officer Clemmons at all."
0:00 / 0:00

Officer Clemmons

 

story
"The next day, the police car pulled up and they said, 'We're taking y'all to jail.'"
0:00 / 0:00

The Kissing Case

 

story
“I sat up in my bed and I was immediately engulfed in fear."
0:00 / 0:00

Remembering the Assassination of Civil Rights Leader Edwin Pratt

 

story
"I don’t want his legacy to go to waste."
0:00 / 0:00

Remembering Civil Rights Activist Herbert Lee, Sr.

 

story
"I was 15 years of age when I first started having my own private sit-ins."
0:00 / 0:00

Dion Diamond: Reflections on 60 Years of Civil Rights Activism

 

Top photo: Artwork by Lyne Lucien

Want even more stories? Sign up for our Story of the Week newsletter to discover a new voice every week.

Creating Deeper Connections: Five One Small Step New Year’s Resolution Ideas

January is the perfect time to set new year’s resolutions. And while there is nothing wrong with trying to exercise more or eat healthier, we here at StoryCorps are in the human connection business, so naturally, our resolution suggestions are all about personal connection. 

In our modern world, you may already feel hyper-connected through the 24/7 nature of traditional and social media. But some of these channels can amplify divisive opinions, especially political ones, making us feel more isolated and divided. What we’re often missing is more meaningful person-to-person connections, which can expand our sense of community, while reminding us that we have more in common than divides us.

StoryCorps’ One Small Step initiative brings strangers with different political beliefs together for a conversation—not about politics—but to get to know each other as people. We’ve seen first-hand how simply talking face to face to someone with whom you might disagree has the power to bring people and communities together, one conversation at a time. 

So in the spirit of feeling more connected to one another, here are our top five resolution ideas for 2023:


Spotlight on the One Small Step Radio Station Hubs Program

StoryCorps’ One Small Step (OSS) brings strangers with different political beliefs together for a conversationnot to debate politicsbut to get to know each other as people and in the process, rediscover their shared humanity. The work of OSS is focused nationwide in three Anchor Communities, as well as six Radio Station Hub locations. Critically, the Radio Station Hubs Program, a year-long partnership with six public radio stations who offer their own One Small Step program, drives local community participation and awareness. 

 Will Davis and and an attendee at a local One Small Step listening event © UTC.

StoryCorps recently sat down with two of our recent Hubs partners to find out more about their experience over the past year. They include Will Davis, a professor and Podlab manager at Tennessee’s University of Chattanooga (UTC), which partnered with local radio station WUTC on the project. We also spoke to Adam Burke, an independent producer who spearheaded the Hubs program at KSUT in Ignacio, Colorado, as well as that station’s Executive Director Tami Graham.

Why were you interested in participating in the Hubs Program?

Will: I like big, ambitious projects and I’m crazy about StoryCorps, so selfishly, I was very excited for the opportunity to be trained as a facilitator. It’s also an interesting time to be on a university campus and capture the voices of a younger generation, as they figure out their values and beliefs in real time. While many college campuses are liberal, we’re located in a more conservative part of the country, so I knew we could attract the diversity of voices needed to make this project happen.

Adam: It was an exciting opportunity to work with an organization like StoryCorps that is the gold standard for this type of work. I was excited to bring together people who wouldn’t normally have a chance to talk to each other.

Tami: As an independent producer, Adam was so committed to the project: he insisted on doing all of the interviews in person at the station, even though he lives four hours away, across two mountain passes. For the station, we were especially excited to widen our circle and have more people of all different political stripes pass through our doors. 

How did the local community receive the program?

Will: The students, community, and partner organizations were very enthusiastic. At our listening event, we got lots of press coverage and a great turnout, including a lot of the local podcast community, which is big in Chattanooga. 

Adam: We had a tremendous response and lots of interest. It was especially great to find so many community leaders across the political spectrum who were interested in civil dialogue and willing to connect me to their networks. At a panel discussion at our listening event, people were eager to talk about ways we could keep this work going. It’s had an incredibly positive effect on participants and they are grateful and moved by the experience.

Participants at KSUT’s One Small Step listening party © Crystal Ashike

What are your personal takeaways having managed the Radio Station Hubs Program?

Will: I’ve learned a lot—I feel more connected to people. I feel calmer and less angry about people who have different political beliefs than me. One of the interviews we did was with a young guy in his twenties who was very conservative, a youth minister. I thought I had him pegged. The minister was paired with someone who identifies as queer and as they talked, he mentioned that his sister was transgender and living with him because the rest of her family had shunned her. He was worried that his ministry would kick him out for this and his story was just so unexpected—it really challenged my own biases in the best way. 

Adam: Working on this project has forced me not to be so goal oriented as a producer. I’m always listening for good sound bites, so it was refreshing to let that go and just be open to the interview process and ensure participants have a good encounter with each other. In general, I think it’s changed the way I think about the architecture of creating and facilitating an experience between people.

What would you tell the next cohort of radio stations who will become OSS Radio Station Hubs this year?

Will: To me, it’s a badge of honor and very special to be chosen. It’s definitely a lot of work and trying to schedule two people in person can be tricky. But doing interviews in person is best for audio and the more interviews you facilitate, the more comfortable you become with the process. I would also encourage stations to have agency around the conversations–it can have a whole new life once the project is over. For example, in my honors class, I am having my students listen to all the interviews recorded and then create original podcasts using the tape. 

Adam: Stations need to have the capacity to take the Hubs Program on and be totally bought in, but it’s well worth it and you get an incredible rippling effect of goodwill and positive feedback from the community in return. 

Tami: The project was very well organized by StoryCorps and the whole experience has been incredibly empowering.

Stories About Resolutions for the New Year

The beginning of the new year is about reflecting on the end of some stories and looking forward to the beginning of others. The StoryCorps New Years collection highlights fresh starts, goals set and goals achieved, and the bittersweet feelings of change. As you enter 2023, we hope this collection of stories can inspire and excite the beginning of new ones.


The Icing on the Cake

Blanca Alvarez worked tirelessly to make ends meet after immigrating to the U.S. She and her daughter, Connie, share how watching her mother struggle inspired her to pursue her goals. Read the full transcript.


The Road Home

Eddie Lanier struggled with alcoholism for over 40 years, until his 28th stint in rehab finally led to sobriety. Homeless and hungry, Eddie found a friend in David Wright, a passerby whose frequent donations stood out. Read the full transcript.


Marking the Distance

Gweneviere Mann lost her short-term memory following surgery to remove a brain tumor. But she wasn’t alone. With the support of her boyfriend, Yasir Salem, Gweneviere found she could tackle the challenges her condition threw her way — and a few more. Read the full transcript.


A Second Chance

A high school honors student in 1997, Darius Clark Monroe wanted to help his family get out of financial trouble. So he robbed a bank in Stafford, Texas at gunpoint with two of his friends. Read the full transcript.


New Tracks

Lyle Link felt like a disappointment when he told his father he couldn’t follow him into farming. But he found his purpose as a lifelong partner to his wife Marion. Read the full transcript.


Lessons From Lourdes

Lourdes Villanueva grew up a daughter of migrant workers. Her family was constantly on the move, which prevented Lourdes from receiving her high school diploma. Despite the odds stacked against her, Lourdes was determined to complete her education all while balancing working in the fields and parenting her children. Read the full transcript.


Hand in Hand

Growing up in Wyoming in the 1950s, Sissy Goodwin started wearing his sister’s dresses. At first, he hid his clothing preferences, but when he shared that part of himself with his soon-to-be wife, Vickie, she supported him. Read the full transcript.


The Treasure’s of Mrs. Grady’s library

Judge Olly Neal grew up in Arkansas during the ’50s and didn’t care much for high school. One day he wandered into the library, where he came across a book by Black author Frank Yerby. The cover piqued his interest, but Olly didn’t want to risk his reputation by letting his classmates see him voluntarily reading. So rather than check out the book, he stole it. He recounts how this book — and a little nudge from two helpful librarians — turned him around academically. Read the full transcript.


Both Ends of the Gun

story
“It took me five years to develop enough courage to come and meet you.”
0:00 / 0:00

On January 21st, 1995, 20-year-old Tariq Khamisa, a student at San Diego State University, was out delivering a pizza, when a gang tried to rob him. Things escalated, and at the urging of an older gang member, 14-year-old Tony Hicks shot and killed Tariq. Read the full transcript.


The Tallapoosa Possum Drop

story
“There was this big possum on the side of the road. He wasn’t hurt at all, except he was dead.”
0:00 / 0:00

Bud and Jackie Jones, career taxidermists from Tallapoosa, Georgia, helped establish a completely different kind of New Year’s Eve tradition in their small town — the possum drop. Read the full transcript.

Have a memory to reflect on, a New Year’s resolution on the way, or a story to share? Gather your loved ones and record a StoryCorps conversation!

By sitting down with someone you love for a StoryCorps conversation, you’re showing them that their stories matter and preserving them for generations to come. Just download the StoryCorps App to record your conversation and upload it directly to the Archive, housed at the Library of Congress. Or, if an in-person interview isn’t possible, use StoryCorps Connect to conduct it remotely.

Staff Spotlight: Daniel Horowitz Garcia, Regional Manager of the Atlanta StoryBooth

About Me:

Before joining the organization, Daniel earned a Master’s in History from Georgia State University. He has 20 years of experience in nonprofits in Atlanta, and in the South, organizing around issues such as labor, the environment, criminal justice, and anti-poverty issues. He has authored three popular education manuals, edited three others, as well as journal articles and numerous presentations.

What is your role at StoryCorps and how long have you been with the organization?

I am the regional manager for StoryCorps in Atlanta and have been working with the organization for more than eight years.

What does your job entail? 

I oversee the Atlanta StoryBooth which is the only StoryCorps booth in operation currently. I help with scheduling, budgeting, and general administration and make sure the equipment works. We have someone who works with participants directly—I’m more behind-the-scenes operations. We also conduct a lot of outreach to organizations. 

But more importantly, we are always trying to encourage a diverse group of people to participate in our StoryBooth. After all, Atlanta has unique demographics and is an African-American strong-hold, so it’s very important that Black voices are represented here, as well as people of all races, sexual identities, religions, and socio-economic levels, etc. Everyone’s story is important to us.

What are some challenges of your job?

Capacity. We used to do more field recordings in the Southeast. For example, we happened to conduct a lot of recordings with undocumented people in North Carolina, but we are now mostly focused on working locally.

What are some of the rewards of your job?

It’s easy to take for granted all the incredible people who come to us and want to do a StoryCorps interview. For example, a friend of mine brought in a famous science-fiction writer recently and I was just thrilled.

Atlanta is also an incredible cultural hub and we are known for everything from Reconstruction and being the “cradle of the civil rights movement,” to RuPaul. As a historian, it’s important to me that we document this region’s history through a unique blend of voices and I’m proud that we’re able to.

What is your favorite StoryCorps story?

I have so many! I think of StoryCorps as the Adele of oral history projects—every story is emotional. One of my favorites is Q&A, which is a conversation between a boy with Asperger’s Syndrome and his mom. He asks her if he met her expectations for what a son would be like and she assures him he does; it’s very touching. I also love Miss Devine—it’s so funny and such a celebration of an incredible person. I also remember two sisters who came to the Atlanta booth and one of them really didn’t want to do an interview. We finally got her to participate and she wound up getting very emotional at the idea of her interview being preserved for future generations in the Library of Congress.

“I believe in StoryCorps” – A letter from Jason Reynolds

One of my first “real” jobs out of college was facilitating StoryCorps conversations, and over the years I helped shepherd more than 300 stories into the StoryCorps archives. More than a decade later, I’m still moved by the stories that I witnessed—including one that ended with an emotional marriage proposal.

What I learned in my time working at StoryCorps was that we always have another chance: another chance to grow, to learn, to change, to connect. I believe that everyone has a story, and that our stories help us understand and connect to one another. The passion for storytelling I discovered while working at StoryCorps is why I started writing novels for young adults. 

I believe in the power of stories to bring us together and I believe in StoryCorps. 

The way StoryCorps has expanded its model of collecting, archiving, and sharing stories from across the country is groundbreaking. And it’s critical to show kids especially that they have a place in the world. I was lucky to learn that from an early age—and, today, I support StoryCorps so kids like I once was can feel seen, represented, and empowered through stories.

If you too believe in the power of stories, please make a tax-deductible to StoryCorps.

Warmly,

Jason Reynolds
Bestselling Author
Board Member and Former StoryCorps Facilitator

Photo Credit: Adedayo “Dayo” Kosoko

The StoryCorps Podcast: The Things We Carry

We seldom talk about the things we’re ashamed of. Our differences, mistakes, or burdens can make us feel like we’re not good — or “normal” — enough for the outside world. But talking about it with someone we trust can lift some of the weight. 

So on this season of the StoryCorps Podcast from NPR, we’ll hear people put themselves — and their stigma — out there. From a couple struggling with substance abuse to a community of forgotten people imprisoned on a Hawaiian island, they’ll tell us about the weight they carry, and how it feels to set it down.


Ripples of Hate

podcast
Ripples of Hate
0:00 / 0:00

In 2012, StoryCorps shared a broadcast a with a young woman involved in the murder of Mulugeta Seraw, a Black man in Portland, Oregon. A decade later, we revisit it to look at the ripples of racist violence, and a few people who fought to stop it. Read the full transcript here.


Everything In Between

podcast
Everything In Between
0:00 / 0:00

In this episode, we share one couple’s story of love and loss under the weight of substance abuse — told through different recordings, twelve years apart. Read the full transcript here.


You’re My Memory

podcast
You’re My Memory
0:00 / 0:00

Capt. Helen Perry talks with her husband, Sgt. Matthew Perry, about the impacts of Matthew’s memory loss — and their enduring love. Read the full transcript here.


Seeing the Future In You

podcast
Seeing the Future In You
0:00 / 0:00

We usually lean on our elders for wisdom and support…but sometimes it’s the other way around. In this episode, we hear from queer men who found acceptance in one another. Read the full transcript here.


One Who Is Understanding

podcast
One Who Is Understanding
0:00 / 0:00

Family names bind one generation to the next, but what if that name is lost? In this episode, a grieving family learns their legacy is being kept alive — by a stranger from far away. Read the full transcript here.


A Dangerous Word

podcast
A Dangerous Word
0:00 / 0:00

In this two-part special, we hear from a community of people cast out to a remote Hawaiian island after contracting leprosy — the most stigmatized disease in human history — and how it’s affected families through generations. Read the full transcript here.


The Last Patients

podcast
The Last Patients
0:00 / 0:00

In the second part of our Kalaupapa story, we hear how people exiled from society reconnected with family — and found a new community. Read the full transcript here.


The Voice For My Song

podcast
The Voice For My Song
0:00 / 0:00

What happens when paralyzing fear stops you from following your dream? In our final episode of the season…Jim Von Steinhas written 8000 songs, but almost nobody has heard a single one of them. Read the full transcript here.

Stories that Celebrate the Holiday Season

The holidays are a special time of year for many. At StoryCorps, we love hearing about your festive foods, family quirks, and traditions, and we hope you enjoy hearing about others as well! Here’s a collection highlighting some of our favorite broadcasts and animations that set the mood for the holiday spirit.


The Road Home

Eddie Lanier struggled with alcoholism for over 40 years, until his 28th stint in rehab finally led to sobriety. Homeless and hungry, Eddie found a friend in David Wright, a passerby whose frequent donations stood out. Four years after they shared Eddie’s remarkable story with StoryCorps, David persuaded Eddie to move into his home. They still live together to this day. Read the full transcript.


The Little things

Herman Travis and Robert Cochran are neighbors and community leaders in Holly Courts, a low-income housing complex in San Francisco. For fourteen years, Herman and Robert worked together distributing over 1,300 pounds of food from a local food bank to elderly and disabled neighbors. At StoryCorps, Robert thanks Herman for the many ways he helps his community. Read the full transcript.


Meet the Greenbergs

Growing up in her parents’ home in Queens, New York during the 1950s, Laura Greenberg says she didn’t know what normal behavior was. She remembers her family expressing love through hugging, cursing, and oversharing. At StoryCorps, Laura sits down with her daughter Rebecca to reflect on their unconventional love language. Read the full transcript.


Yelitza Castro and Willie Davis

Growing up in her parents’ home in Queens, New York during the 1950s, Laura Greenberg says she didn’t know what normal behavior was. She remembers her family expressing love through hugging, cursing, and oversharing. At StoryCorps, Laura sits down with her daughter Rebecca to reflect on their unconventional love language. Read the full transcript.


story
"I thought that this was going to be a recipe for disaster."
0:00 / 0:00

“I thought that was going to be a recipe for disaster.”

Hoping to meet someone special, in 2010 Seth Smiley decided to give online dating a try. Eventually he met someone and the two sit down to reflect on their first Christmas together. Read the full transcript.


story
“It’s like everybody is looking for something, and they found it after they seen my tree.”
0:00 / 0:00

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Suzanne Jaber grew up in Lebanon, and while her family is Muslim, they were surrounded by many Christian neighbors and their holiday traditions. After moving to the United States and raising a family of her own, she wanted to create her own traditions that melded the celebrations of both cultures. With the help of her husband, Ali Jaber, Suzanne ended up creating something new entirely: a moon tree. Read the full transcript.


podcast
Santa Rick
11:30
Santa Rick
0:00 / 0:00

Santa Rick

Meet Rick Rosenthal, a modern Orthodox Jew who also happens to be a modern-day Santa Claus. Listen to how one man’s religious faith actually helped him find his spiritual calling. Subscribe to the podcast.


podcast
StoryCorps 451: Holiday Highlights
0:00 / 0:00

Holiday Gifts That Can’t Be Bought

In this episode of the StoryCorps Podcast, hear stories about a father who helped start the annual tradition of keeping track of Santa Claus as he flies across the globe making his Christmas Eve rounds, a struggling mother reveals how she was able to throw big, memorable holiday celebrations for her children, and a teacher who helped a young boy deal with sadness and loss during most children’s happiest time of the year. Subscribe to the podcast.


podcast
StoryCorps 519: In the Spirit
0:00 / 0:00

In the Spirit

Listen in on a StoryCorps podcast special that celebrate the meaning of the holiday, from stories about piano tuners to cynical Santas. Subscribe to the podcast.