This week, as people all over the country are coming together for Thanksgiving, we’re taking a break from this season’s theme — difficult conversations (knowing you might already have enough of those on your holiday plate) — to bring you something a little different.

In 2015, StoryCorps launched The Great Thanksgiving Listen, a national initiative that encourages young people — and people of all ages — to create an oral history of the United States by recording an interview with an elder, mentor, friend, or someone they admire.

In this episode of the StoryCorps Podcast, an excerpt from our new Thanksgiving special with NPR. Hosted by Audie Cornish, with commentary from Dave Isay, it’s full of stories from and about the people who inspire us most.

We’ll hear from Blanca Alvarez, who immigrated to the United States from Mexico in 1972. More than 30 years later, she came to StoryCorps with her daughter Connie to talk about that time in her life.

Later, Dr. Carla Hayden uses the StoryCorps App to record the voices of the Baltimore community after the death of Freddie Gray in 2015. 

Another conversation comes from Aidan Sykes, who visited the StoryCorps MobileBooth in Jackson, Mississippi, when he was just 9 years old, to interview his father, Albert. He had a lot of questions.

Tune in to hear several other stories that speak to the power and importance of listening, especially during the holidays.

Top photo: Artwork by Lindsay Mound
Participant photo 1: Dr. Carla Hayden at her StoryCorps interview on October 03, 2018 in Washington, D.C.
Participant photo 2: Albert Sykes and Aidan Sykes at their StoryCorps interview on February 20, 2015 in Jackson, Mississippi. By Vanessa Gonzalez-Block and Danielle Andersen. 

Released on November 26th, 2019.

Like the music in this episode? Support the artists:
“Heat and Memory” by Jarrett Floyd, 2019
“City Limits” by Blue Dot Sessions from the album Albany, NY
“Cast in Wicker” by Blue Dot Sessions from the album Aeronaut
“Foreign Ghosts” by Matt Stevens, StoryCorps Commission, 2019
“Lahaina” by Blue Dot Sessions from the album Cloud Harbor
“Feathersoft” by Blue Dot Sessions from the album Barstool
“Filing Away” by Blue Dot Sessions from the album Crab Shack