StoryCorps helps to collect the first-person recollections of immigrant experiences in Worcester.
The largest professionally collected archive of American voices and stories includes a number of interviews from Worcester’s immigrant community thanks to the support of Mass Humanities. In spring of 2014, New England Archivists hosted StoryCorps, an independent nonprofit whose mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of their lives. StoryCorps spent two days recording stories from city residents as part of an ongoing initiative to celebrate the immigrant community in Worcester. Interviews were conducted with voices from Bhutan, Liberia, Cameroon, Iraq, and the Congo. Some participants spoke in their own language and others wanted the challenge of speaking in English, a language they were learning.
The New England Archivists partnered with the Worcester Historical Museum, Worcester Cultural Development Office, Worcester Women’s Oral History Project and the coalition worked with StoryCorps to find new Americans who have made the city their home within the last five years. In each session, two participants (i.e., brother and sister, neighbors, friends) were invited into an intimate recording space to ask one another questions and reveal the story behind their journey to Worcester.
Each interview is archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress and copies can also be found at the New England Archivists center and Worcester Historical Museum. Segments of select interviews may air nationally on NPR’s Morning Edition.