By Kyle Wente, Staff Writer
On Tuesday, Mar. 19, a non-profit organization known as StoryCorps landed in Chattanooga with the goal of recording the life stories of American citizens as part of a nationwide initiative spanning 10 cities.
StoryCorps MobileBooth Airstream trailer is stationed in Miller Park downtown on Georgia and East Martin Luther King. Inside is a small living space and a recording studio.
“At its heart, we think of ourselves as sort of this democratized oral history project,” said Jacqueline Van Meter, Site Manager of StoryCorps.
The StoryCorps MobileBooth will travel the country and accumulate the narratives volunteered by citizens of its stops. Chattanooga is the MobileBooth’s first stop.
UTC’s public radio station, WUTC-FM 88.1, and the City of Chattanooga partnered with StoryCorps to bring the MobileBooth to the city.
“Everybody at the station, everybody at the university, and everybody at city hall, and everybody at StoryCorps agreed that this was the right thing to do,” said Davis, “and that this was the right time to do it.”
Davis’s and Van Meter’s keynote speeches on Tuesday offered thanks to their constituents and addressed the scope of the initiative. Davis, Outreach Manager of WUTC, played a crucial role in bringing StoryCorps to Chattanooga.
“When I moved to Chattanooga and started working at WUTC, I learned that StoryCorps had never been here,” Davis said, “ And I thought ‘well, I’m going to make this happen.’”
The stories will be posted on StoryCorps’ website and aired on WUTC as they release. Digital copies will be given to participants.
Volunteers sit in the studio in pairs and have 40-minute facilitated conversations. Stories captured by the MobileBooth will be documented and have a chance to be chosen to be archived in the Library of Congress as a historical record. Appointments are made on StoryCorps’ website.
“Everybody has wisdom from their own life to share that matters. Everybody has experienced love, loss, grief, joy—that adds to the portrait of American life, and we welcome you to come in,” said Van Meter.