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 Autism Spectrum Disorder, [in some cases] formerly referred to as 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.