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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


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.


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"I truly think everyone should do what they can to sustain their country."
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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.


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.


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"I was 15 years of age when I first started having my own private sit-ins."
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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


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

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"You’re my favorite person to talk about space to."
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Dreams of Outer Space

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.

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.

Chicago StoryBooth to Sunset Recordings in 2021

After more than eight years in the region, StoryCorps will close its operations and recording booth in Chicago in September 2021.

StoryCorps has operated a booth and exhibition space at the Chicago Cultural Center since 2013. More than 7,500 people from the Chicago area have recorded more than 4,000 StoryCorps interviews or facilitated conversations. All StoryCorps conversations are archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

Since opening the booth, StoryCorps partnered with WBEZ to broadcast excerpts of interviews recorded in the region. Among the memorable stories shared with us include:

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“It is a very specific cloud hanging over us. It just feels like we’re at pause.”
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On the Pressure of Living Undocumented

Irakere Picon was just two years old when his parents brought him to the United States from Mexico on a tourist visa. They never left.
Read the full transcript here.

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“When I buy a new book, I don’t start reading the first page. I smell it.”
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Remembering the Start of a Lifelong Love of Books

Meet Alagappa Rammohan, who has amassed enough books over the course of his life to fill a small library (10,000, to be exact).
Read the full transcript here.

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“We looked like a very scary situation coming in there. And we turned into a party people wanted to join.”
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A Visit to the ER Takes an Unexpected Turn

Keith Miller and Ellen Hughes remember when Keith helped Ellen’s son — and her — get the care they needed.
Read the full transcript here.

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“I struggled with, maybe I should have stayed away.”
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Adopted Woman Finds Siblings, Family Secret

Lisa Bouler Daniels grew up knowing she was adopted; and as an adult, she began searching for her birth family. She located her biological brother: Benjamin Chambers.
Read the full transcript here.

Stories recorded in Chicago have also aired on Vocalo (Vocalo.org & WBEW-FM). Both WBEZ and Vocalo will continue to broadcast these stories through 2021.

Celebrating our time in Chicago

In the months ahead, StoryCorps will also host capstone listening events and present broadcasts honoring the people and stories of the region. Sign up to receive announcements for when these events will take place.

“Localized support is what makes our work possible, and we are tremendously grateful to the philanthropic community in Chicago, which has supported our work for the last eight years, as well as the community-based organizations who have partnered with us in making a meaningful and representative archive of stories from the region,” said StoryCorps CEO Robin Sparkman.

StoryCorps’ Chicago current philanthropic supporters include the Joyce Foundation, The Field Foundation of Illinois, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, and Illinois Humanities.

StoryCorps’ Chicago booth has focused on bringing in groups from under-represented communities to share and preserve their stories. Key community partners include The Sisterhood, ConTextos, READI Chicago, Affinity Community Services and the Chicago Housing Initiative.

Public appointments to record for the Chicago story collection will be available through June 30, 2021. Recordings will be conducted virtually by StoryCorps facilitators until local guidelines permit reopening of the StoryCorps booth in the Chicago Cultural Center. Reservations can be made at storycorps.org/chicago or by calling 1-800-850-4406.


More opportunities to record with StoryCorps
Founded in 2003, StoryCorps has given people of all backgrounds and beliefs, in thousands of towns and cities in all 50 states, the chance to record interviews about their lives. Recording opportunities in 2021 include:

To sign up to record for any of our initiatives or virtual recording days, visit storycorps.org/participate or call 1-800-850-4406.

I have the coolest job. Your support makes it possible.

I joined StoryCorps in May of this year as the site manager for our Mobile Tour, StoryCorps’ converted mobile recording studio that visits cities across the country each year. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mobile Tour hasn’t been hosting in-person recordings — but that  hasn’t stopped us from giving people an opportunity to share their stories.

Our team, which typically welcomes StoryCorps participants into our Mobile Booth, has shifted to a virtual recording format so we can honor appointments that have been made — and so we can continue to reach out into communities to invite people to share their stories. We partner with local radio stations, local cultural institutions, and service organizations to welcome community members to participate in a StoryCorps conversation. Thousands of those interviews, which my team facilitates, are then preserved in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. 

I love our team, and I have one of the coolest roles as someone who facilitates interviews twice a week. It’s a privilege and an honor to hold space for listening. I’ve learned that people just want to be heard. In the Mobile — and virtual — Booth, people find a safe space to open up, to tell a story that matters, and to be remembered.

StoryCorps allows people to experience compassionate listening. When you donate to StoryCorps, you help seek, cultivate, and foster stories from diverse populations across America — stories we’re all lucky to hear.

Our stories make up our history. Help us continue to create a place for history to be heard. Please support StoryCorps today.

With gratitude,

Eunice Cho
StoryCorps Mobile Tour Site Manager

An oral history emergency?

If you could press a button and listen to your grandmother when she was ten years old, would you press that button? Every time I’ve posed that question, the response is a unanimous yes. 

When we collect our stories, we realize how vital they are — especially now when so many are feeling isolated or unheard. 

I’m the regional manager for StoryCorps Atlanta, one of the StoryCorps locations across the country where people go to record, preserve, and share their life stories. My job is to make sure the booth stays open to people who want to participate in sharing their stories, that the equipment is running well, and that it’s being used as much as possible.

I also do a lot of outreach. A number of people come to StoryCorps on their own, but many others come to us because we invite them through outreach to local, community-based organizations and cultural institutions. This is how we’re able to record the previously untold stories in our collection that make the biggest impact — such as stories of undocumented immigrants, homeless communities, and frontline workers fighting public health emergencies.

America is made of many different stories and experiences. Everyone has a story to tell, and a need to be heard. And having access to our stories  — yours, mine, people we don’t know — gives us a chance to understand who we are and to listen to each other more fully. When you support StoryCorps today, you give us the power to ask people to share their stories.

Whatever you can give — $5, $10, $25 — makes this possible. Please, donate today.

Thank you,

Daniel Horowitz Garcia
StoryCorps Regional Manager

The 2021 StoryCorps Mobile Tour: Recording Conversations Remotely Across the U.S.

In 2021, we’re partnering with local radio stations in cities throughout the U.S. to remotely record the conversations of local residents and preserve them in the Library of Congress.

Since 2005, the StoryCorps Mobile Tour has facilitated thousands of meaningful conversations between people who know and care about one another. This year, for the safety of participants during the pandemic, our tour will begin remotely, with appointments in our “virtual recording booth.” Participants can record remotely from their homes using an internet-connected device.

Reservations, which are free and available to the public, become available approximately two weeks before the tour’s arrival in each location and can be booked here. The initial tour itinerary is below; additional dates and locations will be announced in spring 2021.

Location Partner Dates
Boston, MA WBUR January 5 – February 13, 2020
Mississippi Mississippi Public Broadcasting February 12 – March 30, 2020
Little Rock, AR KUAR March 24 – April 24
Baltimore, MD WYPR April 28 – May 29

In a StoryCorps interview, two people record a meaningful conversation with one another about who they are, what they’ve learned in life, and how they want to be remembered. A trained StoryCorps facilitator guides them through the interview process step-by-step. After each 40-minute recording session, participants receive a link to download their interview. With participant permission, their conversation is archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

The interview process and experience for announced stops will be conducted via StoryCorps Virtual, a new, browser-based platform that allows both participants to see and hear one another during their conversation, and to be joined and guided by a StoryCorps facilitator remotely.

“StoryCorps tells an authentic American story — that we are a people defined by small acts of courage, kindness and heroism. Each interview reminds people that their lives matter and will not be forgotten. During this pandemic, the value of preserving these stories, and of strengthening connections between people who may feel physically isolated, is more important than ever.”

— Dave Isay, Founder and President of StoryCorps

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) is the Founding Partner of the StoryCorps Mobile Tour. CPB’s support has enabled the StoryCorps Mobile Tour to visit 180 towns and cities nationwide since 2005, recording tens of thousands of stories.

2020: A Year in Stories

During this year of hardship, the value of preserving stories, and of strengthening connections between people who may feel isolated, became more important than ever. Thanks to our participants and listeners for fostering compassion through virtual conversations, and for listening to the voices of Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs. Below, look back with us at just a few of the stories that we had the privilege to share in 2020.

Frontline and Essential Workers

In response to COVID-19, we launched StoryCorps Connect, a new platform that enables anyone to record an interview with a loved one remotely. Through StoryCorps Connect, we were able to preserve the stories of frontline and essential workers as they dealt with the impossible.

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“Eventually you started sleeping in the basement.”
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Together At A Distance

Due to the risk of exposure to COVID-19, Dr. Roberto Vargas has had to keep himself separated from the rest of his family. Together, they share how they’ve stay connected, despite the distance.
Read the full transcript here.

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“When everybody is running away from the danger, we run towards it”
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Stronger Than You Feel

In the spring of 2020, funeral director Dan Flynn travelled to New York City to become a part of the national mortuary response team. He talks with his daughter, Shannon, about his duty to serve.
Read the full transcript here.

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“Everyday that we step foot on that bus, we come home with the possibility of not infecting ourselves only, but our loved ones.”
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We Have A Driver’s Heart

Bus operators Tyrone Hampton and Frank de Jesus reflect on why they love their jobs, and how this passion has been tested during the pandemic.
Read the full transcript here.

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"Every day I wake up and just wonder, 'Is this the day that COVID-19 is gonna come home with me?'"
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Postal Workers Fight Fear to Work in a Pandemic

On their route, postal workers Evette Jourdain and Craig Boddie act as a lifeline to their customers as they deliver medicine and supplies. With one another’s support, neither feels like they are alone.
Read the full transcript here.

Our Year Of Animations

In 2020, StoryCorps was proud to present two new animation seasons: “Father Figures,” in which father figures and their children share the strength and wisdom that they draw from each other, and “This Land,” which features stories to transport you across America. Catch up up on some of our most memorable releases below.

My Aunties

As Stefan Lynch grew up with gay parents, he was also cared for by his “aunties”, a group of adult gay men that were part of the family. When the AIDS epidemic began to impact his family, his aunties taught him lessons on how to love and care for one another.
Read the full transcript here.

Double Major

At 27 years old, Wil Smith enrolled in Bowdoin college with his infant daughter in tow. Although the next few years were difficult, by graduation the two of them were walking across the stage to a standing ovation.
Read the full transcript here.

Leading the Way

John Washington was born blind and with a severe loss of hearing. He reflects with his daughter, Melva, on some of his memories of fatherhood.
Read the full transcript here.

Where I Come From

When Barnie Botone was 22 years old, he got his first job on the American railroad. While working as an operator, he required strength to face some of the role’s darker sides.
Read the full transcript here.

The View From Here

As a bridgetender in Jacksonville, Florida, Barb Abelhauser prides herself in having the most gorgeous view in the city. From her small booth, she is able to view tiny snapshots of people’s lives, and the nature that surrounds her.
Read the full transcript here.

Learning to Fly

When Drew Lanham left home, he felt like he had lost his connection to the land. After finding his way back, he now carries his father’s legacy forward in his career.
Read the full transcript here.

Redefining History

2020 proved to be a historic year for the United States. From working to come to terms with our history as a nation, to an election with one of the highest voter turnout rates in history, this year was all about redefining not only our future, but our past as well.

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"They're not going to be here...but we've got an enormous amount to be thankful for."
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This Thanksgiving, the Faucis on Family and Gratitude

Dr. Anthony Fauci and his wife Dr. Christine Grady sat down to talk about the similarities between their work and parenting, as well as the sacrifices that they are making this holiday season.
Read the full transcript here.

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“I felt a lot of pressure… I wanted every vote to count.”
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Philadelphia Poll Worker Supports Her Community and Inspires Her Daughter

After voting every year for 30 years, Cherie DeBrest began to volunteer as a poll worker. Last year, she inspired her daughter Naima to do the same.
Read the full transcript here.

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"Being alone drug up all these memories from the past."
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A Love Kept Secret, Revealed During Quarantine

For over 60 years, Ken Felts kept the memory of the love of his life a secret. When quarantine began, these memories returned, and Ken opened up to his daughter about his past relationship.
Read the full transcript here.

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“I decided to adopt that magpie, which I called Maggie.”
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The ‘Heart’ of Heart Mountain

When he was 10 years old, Shig Yabu and his family were evacuated from their home and relocated to an internment camp. He tells a story about the time he adopted and cared for a bird named Maggie.
Read the full transcript here.

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

This Holiday Season, Find Connection With The Great Thanksgiving Listen

This year the holidays are arriving at a time when many across the country are experiencing unique challenges and isolation. Now more than ever before, it is vital to encourage listening and connection between young people and their elders. You can be a part of this year’s national movement to create an oral history of the United States by recording your own stories virtually through StoryCorps Connect or in person through the StoryCorps App with an elder, mentor, friend, or someone you admire. Here are a few ways you can participate in #TheGreatListen.

 

Record a Loved One’s Stories

“If there’s something you believe in and you think is right, you just have to keep pursuing it.” This Thanksgiving, take a moment to record words of wisdom like these from the people around you for The Great Thanksgiving Listen. 

If you are unsure of how to start a good conversation, check out our list of Great Questions. You can ask a loved one any of the questions from the list or create your own, using the StoryCorps App or our new program for long-distance interviews, StoryCorps Connect.



Celebrate Voices Across Generations

As a part of The Great Thanksgiving Listen 2020, we are sharing some of our favorite conversations from people of all ages.

No More Questions!

Over the course of her life, Kay Wang was a nurse, a Bloomingdales detective, and a grandmother. In a conversation with her son and granddaughter, she reluctantly shares stories from her life.
Read the full transcript here.

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“I think it's important to capture those opportunities while you still have them in your grasp.”
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A Century-Old Family Reunion Interrupted By A Pandemic

For nearly a century, the Quanders has been gathering for a family reunion each year. In the face of COVID-19, they must reconsider how to keep their history alive.
Read the full transcript here.

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"I applied to NASA four times."
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When You Have Problems, Go To The Clouds

When Wally Funk was twenty, she got the chance to prove that females could be astronauts. While the program got shut down, she didn’t let this stop her from continuing to be a trailblazer.
Read the full transcript here.

The Icing on the Cake

Growing up, Connie Alvarez saw her parents make sacrifices to get her to where she is today. Years later, she draws inspiration from their struggles and shares this with her mother, Bianca Alvarez.
Read the full transcript here.

Double Major

As a student at Bowdoin College, Wil Smith had an unique roommate, his infant daughter Olivia. By graduation, his entire school was cheering them both across the stage.
Read the full transcript here.


Bring StoryCorps to Your Classroom

The Great Thanksgiving Listen is the perfect opportunity for students to practice their listening and storytelling skills by honoring someone in their life with an interview. We invite educators to use our toolkit to bring StoryCorps into the classroom this November.


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"You’re my favorite person to talk about space to."
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‘Why do you like space so much?’: A NASA Engineer Talks With His Space-Obsessed Nephew

If he could live on any planet, Jerry Morrison would live on Kepler 452b. He shares his love of space with his uncle Joey Jefferson, a Mission Operations Engineer at NASA.
Read the full transcript here.

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"Do you remember your first day being a teacher?"
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How One Veteran Made the Journey to the Kindergarten Classroom

When Ron Cushman came back from his deployment, he was unsure of what to do with the rest of his life. Once he became a teacher, he took off on a nearly thirty year career, in which he made a lasting impact on his students.
Read the full transcript here.

Me & You

At StoryCorps, a conversation between Jackie Miller and her son Scott leads to unexpected revelations and reflections on their relationship as mother and son.
Read the full transcript here.

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"Why are you asking these questions?"
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The Questions They’ve Always Wanted To Ask

In an interview with their father, Isaiah and Josiah Fredericks ask him about the hardest thing about being a dad, as well as why they can’t have their own rollercoaster.
Read the full transcript here.

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“...everything was dead. Like if I had landed on the moon.”
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In the US 50 Years, a Man Reflects on His Arrival from Honduras

Over 50 years ago, Roy Daley arrived in America, although it wasn’t quite what he was expecting. At StoryCorps he remembers his first Thanksgiving in the United States.
Read the full transcript here.

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

The Great Thanksgiving Listen Aims to Bring Families — and the Country — Together Through Listening

In a year when the holidays will look markedly different than usual, we invite students nationwide to use the new remote recording platform StoryCorps Connect to record conversations with a grandparent, teacher, mentor, or another elder.

People everywhere are being advised to reconsider their plans for the holidays as America endures a spike in COVID-19 cases. The Great Thanksgiving Listen gives families and communities a safe opportunity to come together, across generations, to listen to the stories of their loved ones. This year, we are offering StoryCorps Connect, a tool for recording and preserving conversations between loved ones, so people can connect while remaining socially distant.

With permission, each interview becomes part of American history in the StoryCorps archive at the Library of Congress and online at archive.storycorps.org. We’re excited to share that in 2020, we are adding transcripts of participants’ interviews powered by Google Cloud’s state-of-the-art AI technology and advanced machine-learning capabilities. With this innovation, StoryCorps’ collection of stories of our time in America is now accessible to more people via search and in written word.

Each StoryCorps conversation provides an opportunity to ask an elder about who they are, what they’ve learned in life, and how they want to be remembered. This year, it feels more important than ever to make time for these conversations.

Anyone with an interest in storytelling can participate. We actively encourage people of all ages to create your own unique oral history with an elder or loved one in your life, and to transform the holidays into a time of intergenerational sharing.
 
Bring The Great Listen Into Your Home

Download a PDF

PRESS RELEASE: As Americans are encouraged to stay home for the holidays, StoryCorps issues a nationwide call to digitally connect students with elders by recording their stories for American history

Do you have the courage to listen? Take One Small Step

Every day brings new evidence of how frustrated, angry, and disconnected from each other Americans feel. We are awaiting the outcome of the presidential election with a mix of anticipation and anxiety, but also hope for what comes on the other side of November 3. We can see that there is a way forward for our country if we have the courage to listen.

That’s why I’m proud to announce that we’re scaling up One Small Step, our multi-year national effort to begin to mend the fabric of a country at the breaking point.

Listen to a special broadcast we produced in partnership with NPR about the effort.

By bringing together strangers across political divides to have courageous and meaningful conversations about their lives, One Small Step helps to decrease feelings of contempt, allowing people in America to see one another as human beings.

Conversations recorded for One Small Step are not about politics, but rather about who we are as people: what we care about, and our dreams for the future. And just as with every StoryCorps conversation we’ve recorded since 2003, the interview becomes part of American history at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress (with participant permission).

Map of One Small Step Cities in 2020-2021
In 2020, we’re anchoring the effort in Birmingham, Alabama; Richmond, Virginia; Shreveport, Lousiana; and Wichita, Kansas. If you’re in one of these cities, please sign up to learn more about how you can help spread the word.

Our hope is that One Small Step, in these cities and across the country, will remind people in this country of the humanity in all of us, that it’s hard to hate up close.

Dave Isay
StoryCorps Founder and President

Stories for Veterans Day

In recognition of Veterans Day, we are honoring those in the military community by amplifying their voices. Listen to stories from our Military Voices Initiative, our national project to record and preserve the stories of veterans, service members, and military families.

Share your story. StoryCorps Connect makes it possible to interview a loved one remotely and then upload it to the StoryCorps archive at the Library of Congress. Learn more at StoryCorpsConnect.org.

Germans in the Woods

As a World War II veteran, Joseph Robertson recalls his time as an infantryman and what he refers to as the saddest memory of his life.
Read the full transcript here.

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"Farming...is about life over death rather than death over life."
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How Sheep Farming Helped an Injured Army Vet Overcome PTSD

Through farming, veteran Mickey Willenbring was able to heal after returning home, and discover new life.
Read the full transcript here.

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“Because she was Asian, they wouldn’t accept her. Mom said she didn’t care; she enlisted anyway.”
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Remembering One Tough Veteran: Lieutenant Susan Ahn Cuddy

Flip and Christine Cuddy sit down to remember their mother, Lieutenant Susan Ahn Cuddy, a trailblazer and the first Asian American woman in the Navy.
Read the full transcript here.

Love Lost, And Found

After meeting in a transgender veteran’s support group, Sue McConnell and Kristyn Weed became as close as sisters. The two women share a story of courage — on and off the battlefield.
Read the full transcript here.

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“We are what we are because of our insistence on being with one another.”
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Love In The Time Of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

After marrying in 2018, couple Mike Rudulph and Neil Rafferty share the story of their relationship, and what it meant to love during the era of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
Read the full transcript here.

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“You have to go back. And you’re going back to train for the Olympics.”
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Olympic Gold Medalist Melvin Pender on the 1968 Mexico Games

Veteran Melvin Pender expresses the pride he felt when seeing John Carlos’ Black Power salute at the 1968 Olympics during his temporary leave from the military to compete in the Olympic relay.
Read the full transcript here.

Tom’s War

For Tom Geerdes, his road to recovery following the Vietnam War took time. He shares the experience of this journey with his daughter Hannah.
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"Here in the States, I don't even know how to talk to people."
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The Transition Home

After returning home from Afghanistan, Drew Pham has had a hard time adjusting to normal life again. With his wife Molly Pearl at his side, he is able to get through.
Read the full transcript here.

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"We would turn the sound on so that it sounded like tanks moving on the roads."
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104-Year-Old WWII Veteran Remembers Top-Secret ‘Ghost Army’

When Gilbert Seltzer joined the army during World War Two, he was given a top secret mission; to draw fire away from troops through coordinating misinformation, phony convoys, and even inflatable tanks to trick the enemy.
Read the full transcript here.

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