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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.

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.

story
“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.

story
"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.

story
“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.

story
"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.


story
"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.

story
"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.

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.

story
“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.
Read the full transcript here.

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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.

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

Voices to Honor for Indigenous Peoples’ Day

In recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, we’re highlighting the voices of Native American people through a few of their conversations at StoryCorps. Listen below to the stories and lives of indigenous people from all backgrounds across the country.

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.

My Father, the Giant

Thompson Williams remembers his father, a larger-than-life tribal leader of the Caddo Nation and a veteran of World War II.
Read the full transcript here.

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"I remember going through family albums looking for my face in old photographs..."
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Diane Tells His Name

Diane Tells His Name’s family is from the Oglala Sioux Tribe of South Dakota — something she didn’t know until she was an adult, after she discovered she had been adopted.
Read the full transcript here.

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“This year, I'm the age she was when she disappeared.”
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Remembering Leona Kinsey

Carolyn DeFord, a Puyallup tribal member, remembers her mom, Leona Kinsey, who disappeared twenty years ago. She is part of an epidemic of Native American women who have gone missing and never been found.
Read the full transcript here.

The Bookmobile

Storm Reyes was working full-time at a migrant work camp at age 8. She remembers the day a bookmobile arrived, and the world was suddenly at her fingertips.
Read the full transcript here.

Where I Come From

Barnie Botone looks back on the beauty and the tragedies that he and his family have experienced on the railroad.
Read the full transcript here.

story
"Farming...is about life over death rather than death over life."
0:00 / 0:00

How Sheep Farming Helped an Injured Army Vet Overcome PTSD

After returning from the army, Mickey Willenbring’s PTSD was so debilitating that she could no longer live in the city. This is her story of recovery.
Read the full transcript here.

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 Disability Awareness Month

Disability Awareness Month gives us the opportunity to lift up the voices of those living with disabilities and share their many unique lived experiences. In recognition of this month, we dedicate our newest collection to the stories of these individuals, and their loved ones who offer their support and admiration.

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.

Leading the Way

John Washington was born blind and developed a severe loss of hearing over time. In a conversation with his daughter, John shares the pride he took in raising his children.
Read the full transcript here.

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“If you had walked away and left me there, nobody would have looked askance.”
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We Have One Heart

Yomi Wrong expresses her admiration and thanks her mom, Sarah Churchill, for never giving up on her.
Recorded in partnership with the Disability Visibility Project.
Read the full transcript here.

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"Here comes this guy into my office. Drop dead gorgeous."
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Everything We Did, We Did Together

Meaghan Starkloff Breitenstein sits down with her daughter, Colleen Kelly Starkloff, to remember her husband Max, who was left quadriplegic following a fatal car accident in his twenties.
Recorded in partnership with the Disability Visibility Project.
Read the full transcript here.

Bonnie and Myra Brown

In an interview with her daughter, Bonnie Brown shares the hopes and fears she experienced as a single mom with an intellectual disability.
Read the full transcript here.

Q & A

Sarah Littman talks with her son Joshua about everything from her experience raising a child with Asperger syndrome, to what life would be like without animals.
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

When Ellen Hughes entered the emergency room with her son Walker, she recognized that she was in what looked like a scary situation. But thanks to Public Safety Sergeant Keith Miller, their group became a party people wanted to join.
Read the full transcript here.

story
"I don’t know what I’d do without you, because I cannot stand being alone."
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Brothers Living with Autism on Navigating Through Work and Life

Being born only a year apart meant that brothers Russell and Remmick could lean on each other while they navigated the working world as adults with autism.
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.

Stories to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

National Hispanic Heritage Month gives us a chance to recognize the stories, contributions, achievements, and lived experiences of Latinx people across the United States. This month, we are offering tools to help you celebrate:

Record Your Stories With StoryCorps Connect

Honor the story of a loved one in your life using StoryCorps Connect, our remote interview platform. StoryCorps Connect interviews allow you to have meaningful conversations and preserve them at the Library of Congress through video conference technology. You can learn more and get the conversation started today at StoryCorpsConnect.org.

Looking for more activities related to Hispanic Heritage Month? Check out a digital exhibition presented as part of our collaboration with the American Folklife Center and the Hispanic Division at the Library of Congress.

Digital Artifact Exploration (PDF): Celebrate Latinx heritage by experiencing it with a Digital Artifact Exploration for Hispanic Heritage Month

Share Stories

Listen to and share stories from StoryCorps Historias, our initiative to record the diverse stories and life experiences of Latinx people in the United States. You can also find our full collection of Historias stories here.

Facundo the Great

Ramón “Chunky” Sanchez remembers how teachers at his elementary school anglicized the Mexican American students’ names. But one name stumped them all.
Read the full transcript here.

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"When Papu would talk to us it was like a king holding his court."
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They Called Him Papu

Martha Escutia and her cousin Marina Jimenez share the legacy of their grandfather, nicknamed Papu, who came to the U.S. as a Bracero worker in the 1940s.
Read the full transcript here.

story
“There’s vultures circling all the time.”
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Providing Life-Saving Aid at the Border

Maria Ochoa, a 70-year-old grandmother, speaks about the many times she’s walked the Arizona desert, providing life-saving water and aid to migrants crossing the border from Mexico.
Read the full transcript here.

Yelitza Castro and Willie Davis

Yelitza Castro, an undocumented immigrant, has been cooking meals for homeless people in her community since 2010. Through this work she has gotten to know Willie Davis, who has been the recipient of many of those meals.
Read the full transcript here.

Gabe and Chris López

Gabe López, age 8, remembers when things really changed for him as a transgender kid. With his mother and friends by his side, he knew he wouldn’t have to face these changes alone.
Read the full transcript here.

Mi Abuela Panchita

Bishop Ricardo Ramierez remembers his grandmother Panchita Espitia as a formidable and wise woman. He shares her memory and the valuable spiritual lesson she taught him at the end of her days.
Read the full transcript here.

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

Remembering September 11

In recognition of the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, we have put together a few stories from our September 11th Initiative, created in partnership with The National September 11 Memorial & Museum. The stories below are told by survivors and those who lost loved ones on that day and in the events to follow. Their words illustrate the innumerable personal costs of this national tragedy. We hope that this collection offers a space for reflection and remembrance.

Listen to the full collection of September 11th Initiative stories, and learn more about the September 11th Initiative.

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.

She Was the One

When Richie Pecorella met Karen Juday, she captured his heart and changed his life. They were engaged when she was killed at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
Read the full transcript here.

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“I opened up the back door of that church to see these hundreds of eyes all staring back at me, knowing where I had been.”
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Joe Dittmar

Joe Dittmar recounts making his way back home on September 11, 2001 after surviving the attacks on the World Trade Center.
Read the full transcript here.

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"He gave me the joys of motherhood, and the pains of motherhood."
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Salman Hamdani

Talat Hamdani remembers her son, an EMT and NYPD cadet who died at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 as a first responder and was wrongfully accused of having terrorist links.
Read the full transcript here.

 

John and Joe

The late John Vigiano Sr., a retired FDNY captain, honors his sons — John Jr., also a firefighter, and Joe, a police detective — who were killed while saving others on September 11, 2001.
Read the full transcript here.

Sean Rooney

Beverly Eckert shares her final conversation with her husband, Sean Rooney, before he died in the south tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
Read the full transcript here.

 

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"There's a form we fill out and it's called 'On My Death.'"
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Father Mychal Judge

Father Michael Duffy delivered the homily at the funeral of his friend Father Mychal Judge, a victim of the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
Read the full transcript here.

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"People saw only a turban and a beard."
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Balbir Singh Sodhi

Rana and Harjit Sodhi remember their brother, Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh man who was killed in the first hate crime following the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Read the full transcript here.

Always a Family

Monique Ferrer remembers the last time she spoke with her ex-husband, Michael Trinidad, on September 11, 2001, when he called her from the 103rd floor of the World Trade Center’s north tower to say goodbye.
Read the full transcript here.

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

Civic Duty and Connection in the Days of COVID-19

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, communities around the world have faced great loss and isolation. In particular, essential workers have been thrust into dangerous situations where they must risk the health of themselves and their loved ones. In this collection, we honor their efforts by sharing their stories on the front lines of the pandemic.

In addition to the voices of essential workers, this collection also highlights loved ones who have found new ways to connect with each other. Despite being miles apart, our new platform, StoryCorps Connect, allows friends and family to interview through the safety and comfort of their own homes. Read on to hear difficult and uplifting moments shared by the people around you.

Your story deserves to be heard. 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.

‘We’re Like A Lifeline’: Postal Workers
Fight Fear To Work In A Pandemic

When Evette Jourdain was struggling to get back on her feet, landing a job as a postal worker in Palm Beach, Florida seemed like a blessing. Now the job carries with it risks she never imagined.
Read the full transcript here.

story
"The bravest of us right now is absolutely terrified."
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For Old Friends, Hospital Work Brings New Challenges In COVID-19

With almost 400 miles between them, nurse Josh Belser and health-technician Sam Dow talk about their decades-long friendship and how they continue to support each other.
Read the full transcript here.

story
“The most difficult part of this is losing my best friend.”
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After Surviving COVID-19, A Mom And Daughter Mourn Loved Ones

At Jackie Stockton’s 90th birthday party in early March, COVID-19 broke out in her community. Two loved ones did not survive. She speaks on how she keeps faith during this painful time.
Read the full transcript here.

They Don’t See The Innocence In You

Albert Sykes talks to his 15-year-old son, Aidan, about raising three Black sons in Mississippi, why they go to protests together, and what Albert’s hopes are for his son’s future.
Read the full transcript here.

Together
At A Distance

Due to his risk of COVID-19 exposure at the hospital, Dr. Roberto Vargas has been isolating himself from his wife, Susan, and their four young kids for two months.
Read the full transcript here.

 

story
"It's like pieces of a puzzle that we're just now putting together."
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After 15 Years of Incarceration, Mother is Reunited with Daughter Due to COVID-19

In their first weekend together since Nia Cosby was incarcerated for mortgage fraud, Nia and her daughter, Chalana, reflect on their love for each other.
Read the full transcript here.

story
“I visited him March 8th. I just got this feeling that I needed to go see him.”
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After Losing Her Father to COVID-19, A Daughter Reflects On His WWII Service

Hannah reflects on the life of her father, Army Staff Sergeant Emilio “Leo” DiPalma, who served as a guard during the first Nuremberg Trials.
Read the full transcript here.

We Have A
Driver’s Heart

Tyrone Hampton and Frank de Jesus are New York City bus operators and close colleagues. They’ve lost dozens of fellow bus operators to COVID-19.
Read the full transcript here.

You’re Stronger
Than You Feel

Dan Flynn travels across the country to serve on the national mortuary response team in the epicenter of the pandemic — New York City.
Read the full transcript here.

From the Archive

From doctors to college students to community members and leaders, discover the voices of participants from all walks of life as they share their stories in these full-length StoryCorps conversations.

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Teresa Wenum and Marisa Wenum

Mother-daughter duo Teresa and Marisa Wenum talk about graduating college during a pandemic, Teresa’s continuing breast cancer treatment, and how the family put together a virtual celebration.

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Rachel Pearson and Benjamin Laussade

Not only was Rachel Pearson working as a hospital pediatrician during the COVID-19 pandemic, but she also gave birth to her baby, Sam. She talks with her husband, Ben Laussade, about her experiences working, their son’s birth, and their hopes for Sam’s future.

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Air Gallegos and Omar Carrera

Colleagues Air Gallegos and Omar Carrera discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on the Latinx community, and how historical inequities have been worsened because of the pandemic. Air talks about Canal Alliances and their work to end poverty, and reflects on an Indigenous creation story.

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Terri Hubbard and Sylvia Hardin

Parishioner Sylvia Hardin and Rev. Terri Hubbard reflect on how church services have changed during the pandemic, including their adaptation to online services.

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Santana Lee and David Easterly

David Easterly and his mentor, Santana Lee, discuss the challenges they’ve faced in both their personal lives and the community due to COVID-19. They reflect on their work with All 4 Kidz, as well as what it meant to participate in the Black Lives Matter protests.

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Soo Lon Moy and Ben Lau

In response to COVID-19, Soo Lon Moy and Ben Lau have had to adapt the Chinese American Museum of Chicago to a virtual landscape. Since the pandemic, they’ve had to rethink how they hold events, in addition to starting a fight against discrimination.

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Fred Roe and Nicole Molumby

Partners Fred Roe and Nicole Molumby reflect on how an initial introduction during group therapy sessions led to the two of them moving in together once stay-at-home orders were put in place. They share what they’ve learned about each other throughout their relationship.

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Cairo Dye and Henry Godinez

As schools moved online, Henry Godinez had to adjust to teaching theatre remotely. In an interview with his former student Cairo Dye, he speaks about teaching hybrid classes and how to bring theatre into communities around the Chicago area.

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Cassandra Gentry and Karen Gray

Grandparents Karen Gray and Cassandra Gentry discuss how they have worked to support their grandchildren during the pandemic. They talk about distance learning, the activities available to children during COVID-19, and family unity.

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Hashim Hesham and Hosai Hesham

Hosai Hesham asks her father, Hashim Hesham, about what it was like to perform surgery and treat patients with COVID-19. Hasim also reflects on his childhood in Kabul, and the differences he’s noticed between treatment in Pakistan and his practice in Baltimore.

 

To hear more about the lives of people during the pandemic, visit archive.storycorps.org and search for the keyword “COVID-19.”

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

Celebrating Ten Years of Museum and Library Stories with IMLS

Since 2009, StoryCorps has partnered annually with the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to celebrate and amplify the voices of their National Medal recipients. Throughout the years, we have visited countless communities, recording more than 1,700 stories, meeting innovative museum and library staff members and their communities, and learning about the exceptional community service programs these institutions have implemented.

This year, our recordings with 2019 Medal recipients brought us to nine new communities across the country. Listen to some of the voices and stories we recorded below:

 

Archie Willis III and Constance Dyson at the National Civil Rights Museum (Memphis, TN)

Archie Willis III tells his friend, Constance Dyson, about his family’s community activism and involvement in the civil rights movement. Archie’s father helped found the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, site of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Jessica Mandujano and Rachel Harrington at the Meridian Public Library (Meridian, ID)

Friends Jessica Mandujano and Rachel Harrington talk about Jessica’s three-year-old son, Joaquin, who has a rare chromosomal disorder called Emanuel Syndrome. Rachel is a therapist assistant and photographer who works with children with autism and other developmental challenges. We hear first from Rachel.

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Nancy Nagle and Pat Curo at the Barona Cultural Center and Museum (Lakeside, CA)

Cousins Nancy Nagle and Pat Curo talk about growing up on the Barona Indian Reservation near San Diego and their efforts now to preserve their ‘Iipay Aa language.

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Marilyn Glover and Pearl Vanderhorst Ascue at the South Carolina Aquarium (Charleston, SC)

Friends and neighbors Pearl Vanderhorst Ascue and Marilyn Glover discuss the impacts that development and climate change have had on their neighborhood of Ten Mile, South Carolina. The two also talk about the positive changes they have made in the area as part of the Ten Mile Neighborhood Association and the role the South Carolina Aquarium has played in their conservation efforts.

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Lani Bautista Cabanilla and Ed Gillison at the San Diego New Children’s Museum (San Diego, CA)

Lani Bautista Cabanilla, Senior Manager of Programs at The New Children’s Museum, speaks to board member Ed Gillison about the museum and the impact it has had on themselves, their families, and the greater San Diego community.

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Jessica Lopez and Gina Bingham at the New Haven Free Public Library (New Haven, CT)

Jessica Lopez tells her friend Gina Bingham about her journey from homelessness to turning her life around and becoming a fixture at the New Haven Free Public Library.

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Phyllis Rosenblum and Phyllis Plotnick at the Gulfport Public Library (Gulfport, FL)

Friends Phyllis Rosenblum and Phyllis Plotnick reflect on the start of The Circle of Friends group and the improvements it has brought to the Gulfport Public Library. We hear first from Phyllis Plotnick.

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Joy Dickinson and Rick Kilby at the Orange County Regional History Center & Museum (Orlando, FL)

Friends and colleagues Rick Kilby and Joy Dickinson discuss their early and current connection with history and museums including the Orange County Regional History Center in Orlando, Florida, where they both work.

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Mary Vardigan and Peter Granda at the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (Ann Arbor, MI)

Retired colleagues Mary Vardigan and Peter Granda look back at their time working at the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) at the University of Michigan, doing data research and helping transition from analog to digital data.

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