In a Democracy Now! special, we look back at a decade of stories from the oral history project StoryCorps. The first StoryCorps recording booth opened in 2003 in New York City’s Grand Central Terminal. Some 100,000 people have since recorded interviews with their loved ones in StoryCorps booths across the country. Their voices are recorded onto a CD for the storytellers and preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. We spend the hour with StoryCorps founder Dave Isay and play some of his favorite stories from the past decade, including many we’ve never aired before. We hear about Yelitza Castro, a housekeeper who cooks dinner for homeless people, and Ronald McNair, an African-American astronaut who died in the 1986 Challenger explosion. When he was nine years old, McNair refused to leave a racially segregated library, even after the librarian threatened to call the police. "It’s such a privilege to be able to tell these stories," Dave Isay says. "What I hope happens is ... that it kind of shakes you on the shoulder and just reminds you, through all the nonsense, this is what’s important, this is what’s really important." We also feature a special guest appearance from the children of P.S. 128 in New York City.
StoryCorps is an independent nonprofit whose mission is to provide people of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives.
Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 45,000 interviews with nearly 90,000 participants. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to share, and is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind, and millions listen to our weekly broadcasts on NPR’s Morning Edition and on our Listen pages.
We do this to remind one another of our shared humanity, strengthen and build the connections between people, teach the value of listening, and weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that every life matters. At the same time, we will create an invaluable archive of American voices and wisdom for future generations.
In the coming years we will build StoryCorps into an enduring institution that will touch the lives of every American family.
Listening Is an Act of Love
The first-ever animated feature from StoryCorps, Listening Is an Act of Love, presents six stories from 10 years of StoryCorps, where everyday people sit down together to ask life's important questions and share stories from their lives. Framing these intimate conversations is an interview between StoryCorps founder Dave Isay and his nine-year-old nephew, Benji.
Listening Is an Act of Love will be broadcast by public television stations nationwide throughout the holiday season. Click here for local broadcasts in the next two weeks. Stations will be airing the special on varying dates through February 2014. Can't wait until the animated special airs on your local station? Watch on PBS Roku and Apple TV channels—available on DVD, too!