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We are pleased to present posts by StoryCenter staff, storytellers, colleagues from partnering organizations, and thought leaders in Storywork and related fields.


I Too Dream an American Dream – by Eugenia Gardner

Root Barrett

My family’s history and active involvement in the Civil Rights movement began four generations ago in Selma, Alabama where my great-grandparents and their children tended cotton fields. As a child, I heard their intergenerational stories about sharecropping, Jim Crowism, and “Daddy King” around the dinner table. My grandmother, who recently turned 92, participated in the Bloody Sunday March with John Lewis and Dr. King. In the 1970s, when Shirley Chisholm ran for president, years before there was Hilary Clinton, my mother and Ms. Shirley took me with them to voter registration events every Saturday. I don’t think I knew what voting was, but I knew Dr. King had given up his life for my right to vote. I also knew that Dr. King and his fight for black civil rights would, in many ways, define me.

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The Artists’ Side: All Together Now Civil and Human Rights – by Arlene Goldbard

Root Barrett

“The March on Washington: I remember my parents being very afraid for me to go. You know, thinking something was going to happen. I was kind of afraid too, but I knew that I had to do this, that it didn't matter whether I lived or died. I was going to go peaceably. I wasn't trying to fight. I wasn't going to get arrested, but I wanted to be there.”

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Four Little Girls: All Together Now Civil and Human Rights – by Arlene Goldbard

Root Barrett

“Four little girls were killed in Birmingham yesterday. A mad, remorseful, worried community asks, ‘Who did it, who threw that bomb?’ The answer should be ‘We all did it.’ Every last one of us is condemned for that crime and the bombing before it and the ones last month, last year, a decade ago. We all did it.”

This past Sunday marked the fiftieth anniversary of another bloody and tragic Sunday, one that inspired civil rights lawyer Charles Morgan to make the speech that starts with these powerful lines. On September 15, 1963, just a couple of weeks after the massive March on Washington for Jobs and Justice, a member of the Ku Klux Klan bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, killing four young girls: three 14 year-olds—Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley—and 11 year-old Denise McNair. The bomber was initially convicted only of possessing dynamite, receiving a six-month sentence and a $100 fine. It took 14 years to bring him to justice: the case was reopened in 1971, and he was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1977.

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All Together Now: Generations Sharing Stories of Civil and Human Rights

Root Barrett

For those who cherish civil and human rights, this is a year of many anniversaries. One is very much on our minds right now: the epochal events of August 28, 1963, when 250,000 Americans joined the "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom." StoryCenter is planning a series of free All Together Now Storied Sessions as our gift to communities across the nation this fall. If you like the idea, we'd love to hear how you can help. We'll announce the schedule in coming weeks, so please watch this blog for information on how to take part. 

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Heart Work – by Lisa Nelson-Haynes

Emily Paulos

My work with the Center for Digital Storytelling is what I often refer to as my heart work. . . the work closest to my heart. . . work that isn’t work at all, but vital in keeping my head and spirit straight as I navigate, along with my husband, the raising of a young son and teen daughter, and managing the uncertainties of working in the non-profit arts sector. 

About eighteen months ago, Stefani Sese, CDS’s East Coast Regional Director, asked if I was available to co-facilitate a digital storytelling workshop with participants from the National Park Service (NPS) and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) “Digital Storytelling Ambassadors” program. This year is especially poignant as we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington and CDS, NPS, and ASALH are intent in collecting both the memories of elders who participated in the March, as well as reflections and thoughts of a generation who recently voted to re-elect the country’s first African American president.

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