We’re thrilled to share that we’ve partnered with StoryCorps to connect teenagers with community leaders and other adults in Greater Grand Crossing to interview them about their lives. The audio files were shared with participants as keepsakes and cataloged in the Library of Congress, National Museum of African American History and Culture, and other local institutions.

The project is part of a series we’re facilitating in Greater Grand Crossing, including the mural we wrote about recently. This oral history project, the mural and more were all ideas that bubbled up when we held a series of community meetings, where we asked residents and leaders: “What do you want to see happen in your community?” Our goal is to partner with residents in traditionally overlooked neighborhoods and have them guide us in developing volunteer projects that are meaningful to them.

StoryCorps is a nonprofit dedicated to providing people of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share and preserve the stories of their lives. Their motto? “Everyone’s story matters.” We couldn’t agree more; talk about a perfect partnership!
Here are a few quotes from the night the interview pairs were introduced and started connecting and preparing for their recording sessions:

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“I don’t have any reason to complain. I try to take advantage of opportunities. They’re out there, and if you don’t avail yourselves of them, it’s your fault.” – Thelma Lloyd, 99

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“Look at it as a series of stories,” – James Harris’ advice to Nya Wade on how to get more engaged in her least favorite subject, social sciences.

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“This community gave me a lot. They set my feet on a path to education…. My reason [for participating] is because I’m a community activist, I’m a community leader and I feel it’s important to give of yourself if you’re part of the community.” – CeCe Edwards, right

“I like listening to people and learning their stories. I relate to people who were born in the 60s and 70s more than people my own age. And the more you get to hear about history the more you can stop the cycle. If you don’t know about it, the same things will keep happening over and over.” – Larry Boswell, left