Collect Family Stories on Thanksgiving for StoryCorps

Posted on November 22, 2016 at 7:27 am

The Great Thanksgiving Listen is a national education project that empowers high school students to create an oral history of the contemporary United States by recording an interview with an elder over Thanksgiving weekend using the StoryCorps App.

Interviews are entered into the StoryCorps archive at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress and on where they become an invaluable resource for future historians and provide families with a priceless piece of personal history.

In its pilot year of 2015, thousands of high schools from all 50 states participated and preserved over 50,500 individual recordings at the Library of Congress.

Not a teacher or a school? You can still participate & make history.

Download the StoryCorps App, select your questions, and take some time to listen and record a loved one this Thanksgiving. their stories will be preserved for future generations to discover. Check out more “Recipes for Success” and share your interviews with us by tagging #TheGreatListen and @StoryCorps.

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Features & Top 10s

Free Korean War Book for Veteran’s Day: Bloody Ground, Black Soldiers Tell Their Stories

Posted on November 11, 2016 at 9:00 am

Copyright 2015 Miniver Press
Copyright 2015 Miniver Press
To honor our veterans this weekend, John Holway’s oral history ebook, Bloody Ground: Black Rifles in Korea, is available at no cost all weekend.

Korea is “the forgotten war.” But to those who fought in it, it was the “unforgettable war.” If the names of all those killed were put on a wall, it would be larger than the Vietnam Wall. And Korea lasted only three years, Vietnam about ten. The agony of the winter of 1950-51 is an epic to compare with Valley Forge and the Bulge.

Korea was also our last segregated war. This is the story of the black 24th Infantry Regiment, told in the words of the men themselves. Like all black troops since the Civil War, they were reviled by whites and their own commander for “bugging out” – running before the enemy. The charge can still be read in the Army’s own official histories. Yet the 24th left more blood on the field than their white comrades – if they did bug out, they must have been running the wrong way.

It’s a good thing we weren’t with Custer,” one black GI muttered – “they’d have blamed the whole thing on us.”

The 24th won the first battle of the war, won its division’s first Medal of Honor, and guarded the shortest and most vulnerable road to Pusan. If the port had fallen, the war would have been lost, leaving a red dagger pointed at Japan. It did not fall.

That winter, after the Chinese attacked, the entire American army bugged out in perhaps the worst military disaster in American history. “That,” said another black veteran, “was when I learned that whites could run as fast as blacks.”

This is the story of those unsung heroes, who helped turn the Communist tide for the first time. The men bring that forgotten war and their own unsung bravery to life in their own sometimes funny, often heart-breaking, and always exciting words.

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Features & Top 10s

Star Trek: An Oral History

Posted on May 4, 2016 at 3:55 pm

The Smithsonian has paid tribute to Star Trek, one of the most beloved and influential television series of all time with an excerpt from a series a series of oral history interviews conducted over 30 years. The first volume of the oral history, will be published next month:
The Fifty-Year Mission: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Star Trek: The First 25 Years.

It was the most wildly successful failure in television history. First shown on NBC 50 years ago this September, the original “Star Trek” lasted just three seasons before it was canceled—only to be resuscitated in syndication and grow into a global entertainment mega-phenomenon. Four live-action TV sequels, with another digital-platform spinoff planned by CBS to launch next year. A dozen movies, beginning with 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture and resuming this July with the director Justin Lin’s “Star Trek Beyond.” It finds Capt. Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) in deep space, where they are attacked by aliens and stranded on a distant planet—a plot that may make some viewers glad that at least the special effects are new. Over the decades “Star Trek” merchandise alone (because who does not need a Dr. McCoy bobblehead?) has reportedly brought in some $5 billion.

Creator Gene Roddenberry described it as an outer space western, and he included allegories that directly addressed cultural and political issues. It featured not only the first television series character who was an African-American woman in a professional position but the first interracial romantic kiss on television as well.

The richness and persistence of the original vision are what make an extensive oral history of “Star Trek” so compelling.

And so are the stories behind the scenes.

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