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Progress and promises of #cancer care at #UAB shared with Birmingham

Posted Jan 07 2011 12:00am

The city is talking.

Actually the people of the city are talking, and StoryCorps is listening. StoryCorps is an independent, nonprofit organization that collects and preserves the histories of Americans. Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 30,000 interviews—one of the largest oral history projects of its kind. Each conversation is recorded on a CD for the participants and is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Millions listen to the weekly StoryCorps broadcasts on NPR’s “Morning Edition” and on the StoryCorps web site, .

Birmingham’s local NPR affiliate, WBHM 90.3 , which lobbied for years to bring StoryCorps to Birmingham, is helping gather the stories and will broadcast them locally on its “Tapestry” program. WBHM General Manager Mike Morgan says the stories archived will “further enlighten us and give us a bit of the history and essence of this great community.” And in an exciting twist, students and faculty (pictured above) in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences Digital Community Studies program , which is a community partner for the StoryCorps tour, will work with the crew and record interviews with members of the community.

Thursday morning, the three-member StoryCorps team, with their traveling recording studio—a silver AirStream “MobileBooth” trailer—got to work outside the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. They have a packed schedule, with more than 120 people reserved and another 75-plus on a waiting list, all eager to share their life stories.

The heart of StoryCorps is the conversation between two people who are important to each other. Birmingham’s first interview was between Beatrice Price, 86, and her friend Karen Beverly, who describes Price as her “mentor.” Price, an African-American woman, was a nurse in World War II.

Eloise Melzer, the StoryCorps MobileBooth site supervisor, says Birmingham is “a city with so much history, so much living history.” Then she set to work recording the second conversation, between Drs. John and Fran Carter. He was a soldier in WWII, while she was a “Rosie the Riveter.” He came in his actual uniform; she dressed in a jumpsuit just like the one she wore then, replete with a red bandanna covering her hair.

Check out this short video about StoryCorps' opening interviews in the city from The Birmingham News and
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