I have no idea whether you’ve heard of StoryCorps before or not. They are a terrific non-profit organization that records and preserves personal oral histories of people like you and me. Maybe you’ve heard one of their stories on NPR’s Morning Edition, or on the PBS program POV.
This particular story is incredibly touching, and well worth the three minutes it takes to tell. In “A Good Man,” Bryan Wilmoth shares that he and his seven brothers and sisters were raised in a very strict and religious home. At StoryCorps, Bryan spoke with his brother Mike Wilmoth about what it was like to reconnect with each other, many years after their dad kicked Bryan out of the house for being gay. His story was animated by the Rauch brothers, and it’s really well done.
I think Bryan Wilmoth is a terrific brother, and a great gay man. In the face of anti-gay bigotry and isolation, because of his homosexuality, he persevered and rose above it. He set an example for others to follow.
Last year, David Isay, the founder of StoryCorps, announced a three year initiative to collect stories from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) community. In a New York Times profile, they reported that Isay’s dad was psychiatrist Dr. Richard Isay, “a closeted gay man for many years, but professionally was credited with helping persuade colleagues to stop viewing homosexuality as a mental illness.”
The Times also said:
Previous StoryCorps initiatives have focused on stories remembering people killed in the World Trade Center terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and Feb. 26, 1993; oral histories of African-Americans and Latinos; and stories of teachers, as well as recent military veterans and their families.
Like all StoryCorps recordings, the OutLoud stories will be archived at the Library of Congress, if participants agree. Some also will be included in the StoryCorps Friday morning feature on NPR’s “Morning Edition.” More will be broadcast elsewhere on NPR, Mr. Isay said, but it was not yet clear where.I wrote about a StoryCorps story last July, when I said that Clela Rorex is a superhero. You can find that blog post HERE.
StoryCorps’ mission is to provide people of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share and preserve the stories of our lives. We do this to remind one another of our shared humanity, to strengthen and build the connections between people, to teach the value of listening, and to weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that everyone’s story matters. At the same time, we are creating an invaluable archive for future generations.
Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 50,000 interviews with over 90,000 participants. Each conversation is recorded on a 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.
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