If you are a regular listener to WSKG you’re probably familiar with StoryCorps from their weekly broadcasts on NPR’s Morning Edition. The organization started collecting stories back in 2003 and every interview is archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. The conversations shared by StoryCorps on NPR are often thought provoking and emotionally powerful. On more than one occasion I’ve been brought to tears during my morning commute. But beyond their emotional resonance, the interviews represent one of the largest oral history projects of its kind and offer people a unique look at many fascinating and important aspects of American life.
StoryCorps recently announced an ambitious oral history project called “The Great Thanksgiving Listen.” The goal is to capture the stories and voices of an entire generation by having students from across the country interview a grandparent or elder over the Thanksgiving holiday. Educators interested in participating can learn more and register for the official toolkit here.
Personally, I think that “The Great Thanksgiving Listen” represents a wonderful opportunity to introduce young people to history and foster deeper personal connections to the past. My love of history began at a young age when I started listening to and collecting the stories told by my grandparents. Through these conversations I gained a greater appreciation for my family’s history and heritage and a greater understanding about who I was and where I came from. So even if for some reason you can’t take advantage of the Storycorps, I still encourage you to speak with your elders and learn their stories – if only to help preserve part of your own family history.
A StoryCrops animation from their YouTube channel: