StoryCorps stops by Gay Community Center of Richmond to collect RVA’s history
Part of the project’s new OutLoud initiative, StoryCorps stop in RVA dealt specifically with Richmond’s LGBTQ population, and how this newer fight for civil rights has evolved.
“All of us at StoryCorps feel privileged to embark on this historic journey with OutLoud,” said StoryCorps founder and president Dave Isay. “Now is the time to record the stories of the great civil rights struggle of our time before they are lost to history. Launching this initiative has been a dream of mine for many years now—OutLoud is one of the highest uses of StoryCorps that I can imagine.”
StoryCorps members spent a few days at the GCCR collecting stories. People came in pairs, representing different walks of LGBTQ life in RVA, and told their stories to whoever they brought with them.
Recording sessions last about 45 minutes.
“This is something that’s important to me,” said Don Dale, 72, a long time radio host and current host of “Whats your story?” on Virginia Voice. “There are a lot of us getting older here. I think it’s time to get down to business with gay advocacy and awareness. I want to leave my footprint on the discussion.”
Dale was there to interview Jerry Williams, another Richmond media staple as the former movie critic for WTVR (and current move critic for GayRVA!).
“I had heard of StoryCorps just through public radio over the years. A couple friends that are active in town reached out to me and said I should do this,” said Williams about how he got involved with recording.
“It’s important to share everybody’s stories and know your history,” said Williams. “Like any group; whether your black, Asian, or Muslim… it’s always important to know your history. And therefore people should be aware of the stories in the South that were also happening in the 70′s and 80′s.””
Two StoryCorps facilitators came down to Richmond to do the recording. Armed with high quality recording equipment and patience, they took turns overseeing recordings and uploading data.
“Ideally, our ultimate dream goal would be to record everyone in the US,” said facilitator Christina Stanton. She spoke while her coworker recorded Williams and Dale. “We want to create a history by the people and for the people, and… we really strive for diversity.”
Stanton said she’d been all over the country for different StoryCorps projects. She said the cause brought her to Richmond to help collect stories form folks who may have been silent in the past. “It’s no mistake for us being here in Richmond,” she said. “We’re excited to get a taste of the OutLoud initiative in the South.”
Stanton and her coworker recorded 6 interviews a day for the few days they were in town. All of the audio goes on file at the American Folklife Center in the Library of Congress, and some have a chance to be cut into radio pieces for NPR’s Friday Morning Edition episode. Audio files are usually retrievable at the Library of Congress about six weeks after they are recored.
A gathering to celebrate Mr. Dale’s life will be held Jan. 17 in the Virginia Room at Brookdale Imperial Plaza, 1717 Bellevue Ave. in Richmond.January 4, 2016
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