StoryCorps launches initiative to collect LGBT oral history

The oral-history project StoryCorps is expanding its vast archive of Americans’ personal stories with OutLoud, a special initiative focusing on the LGBTQ community. In particular, OutLoud is seeking stories of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people who were born before the Stonewall riots, the watershed moment that sparked the modern gay-rights movement. OutLoud launched June 28, the 45th anniversary of the riots in which the patrons of the Stonewall Inn, one of New York’s most popular gay clubs at the time, retaliated against the police department vice squads that frequently raided gay bars. StoryCorps is collecting OutLoud stories at its venues in Atlanta, San Francisco and Chicago, and elsewhere with its mobile recording booth. It is also partnering with public radio stations and local LGBT organizations.

StoryCorps launches newest project – Military Voices Initiative

For the next year StoryCorps, the public radio group collecting and presenting life stories told between family members and friends, will undertake a new initiative to record oral histories of veterans and active-duty members of the armed forces serving in  Iraq and Afghanistan. The Military Voices Initiative, or MVI, plans interviews of more than 2,000 people, enough to produce more than 700 stories. Funded by CPB and the Boeing Company, MVI is StoryCorps’ eighth initiative focused on a specific ethnic community or news event.  The Griot initiative, for example, collected stories of African-American family life. Some of interviews conducted for MVI will be broadcast on NPR’s Weekend Edition while the entire collection will be housed at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. CPB and StoryCorps, a nonprofit founded by indie radio producer David Isay, officially launched the initiative Dec.

StoryCorps puts flesh on bones of history

Danny and Annie Perasa enjoyed the sort of dream marriage promised in diamond ads and sappy romantic comedies, only it all actually happened. All the laughs, the finished sentences, the little love letters — “glorified weather reports,” Annie called them — that Danny would leave for “my princess” each morning on the kitchen table at home in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. All the funny stories. Like the one about Danny, with his monumentally bad eyesight, mistaking a herd of goats in St. Martin for a pack of “really incredible leaping dogs.” Or about the time he befriended a crew of Hells Angels on Long Island, who put him on the back of a chopper and gave him a lift to the train station.

Isay’s people: survivors holding on with dignity

In the long ago 1950s, a friend of mine, the gifted writer Marya Mannes, composed short features for a lively magazine called The Reporter. Each was a fictional profile of some recognizable personality, a “type” that most of us encounter in life’s daily round: a nervous business executive, the owner-manager of a small restaurant, a bag lady picking her way daintily through the damp contents of a public trash basket. The column was called “Any Resemblance?” and it persuaded most readers that they, along with Ms. Mannes, were splendidly perceptive. I often think of these descriptions when listening to David Isay’s radio documentaries, most of them concerning mildly eccentric persons from, as he says, “the margins of society.”