What if we could record life stories of people from all backgrounds in the United States?
How can stories remind us of our shared humanity and help increase connections between people while teaching the value of listening? StoryCorps, an organization founded in 2003, started with these questions in mind. To date, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 50,000 interviews with over 90,000 participants. Their innovative approach is to provide spaces for people and organizations to partake in candid conversations that are then recorded on a CD, shared and preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. This approach has made StoryCorps one of the largest oral history projects of its kind, and millions listen to their weekly broadcasts on NPR's Morning Edition. Since its inception, StoryCorps includes a MobileBooth that travels thousands of miles every year to partner with radio stations across the United States to share stories. In addition to these stories, StoryCorps has also developed multiple specific initiatives:
- The Military Voices Initiative records, shares and preserves the stories of post-9/11 veterans, active-duty service members, and their families. It amplifies their important stories and lets them know that we–as a nation–are listening.
- StoryCorps Legacy provides people of all ages with serious illness and their families the opportunity to record, preserve and share their life stories.
- StoryCorps Historias is an initiative to record, preserve and share the stories of Latinos across the US. In partnership with the Latino Public Radio Consortium, Latino USA, the U.S. Latino and Latina World War II Oral History Project, StoryCorps Historias has become one of the largest collections of Latino voices ever gathered.
- The Griot Initiative is an initiative to ensure that the voices, experiences, and life stories of African Americans will be preserved and presented with dignity. All interviews recorded as part of the Griot Initiative will be archived at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History & Culture in addition to the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.
- In 2005, StoryCorps created the September 11th Initiative to honor and remember the stories and people affected by the events of September 11, 2001.
- In 2006, StoryCorps launched the Memory Loss Initiative to support and encourage people with memory loss to share their stories.
- From October 15, 2008, through April 30, 2009, StoryCorps Alaska traveled to Fairbanks, Nome, Barrow, Dillingham, Unalaska, Juneau, and other communities to record and preserve the diverse stories of Alaskans.
- The National Teachers Initiative was an 18-month program celebrating the work of public school teachers across the country. By recording, sharing and preserving stories of teachers from rural and urban school districts, StoryCorps called public attention to the invaluable contribution teachers have made to this nation.
To learn more about StoryCorps, their specific initiatives and how you can record your own story, please visit their website here.