11-25-11: National Day of Listening

November 25, 2011 at 8:10 am 1 comment

This segment originally aired on November 24, 2008.

If you are a frequent listener to Morning Edition, chances are good that StoryCorps has at least once brought you up short, maybe drawn a few tears. Today, StoryCorps is  asking people to devote part of a day to the idea at the heart of StoryCorps—that listening to and learning from the people around us is essential, precious and often overlooked.

It’s called the “National Day of Listening.” To get ready, we revisit a conversation we had in 2008 with David Isay, the founder of StoryCorps.

We also hear a conversation recorded in a StoryCorps booth in Baltimore a few years ago between Molly Talbott Smith and her cousin Catherine Talbott about their visit to the U.S. Capitol to see President John F. Kennedy’s body lying in state.

Sadly, Catherine Talbott passed away not long after we originally aired the conversation. Today we’ll also hear a letter her sister Priscilla Lewis wrote us after the original broadcast.

More links:

StoryCorps question generator

Listening is an Act of Love

Isay’s Sound Portraits Productions–“Ghetto Life 101” is the story he mentions as the inspiration for StoryCorps


Entry filed under: Books, On Air. Tags: , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Mike Baker  |  November 25, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    Today there was a story about some girls being allowed to use the restroom facilities in a black church in the old Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, DC while waiting in line to view the Kennedy casket back in November of 1963. I was reminded of two different things.

    I was working for the Acacia Mutual Life Insurance company in 1963 as an underwriter — I evaluated the policies the salespeople wrote and returned price quotations. My office was on Louisiana Avenue, NW in DC, and I had a window desk that looked out on the Senate side of the Capitol Building. The news of Kennedy’s shooting had overtaken the office and as I was looking out the window I saw the flag lowered and then raised to half mast. Yikes!

    The comment the woman made about how inviting her church would be if blacks had asked to use their restroom reminded me of a conversation I had a couple years earlier at The Howard Theater.

    I was talking to an acquaintence after a show that included Marvin and Johnny, a very good duo that was every bit the equal of Sam and Dave, who came along a few years later. The Everly Brothers, another great duo, came up and my friend said he liked them and would enjoy seeing them live.

    I told him how much I appreciated being welcomed so warmly at The Howard (I was VERY white, and often the only member of my race at the shows). The Everly Brothers played shows at the DC Armory, which were attended by a 100% white audience. I suggested the best he could expect would be to be turned away, but most likely he would be beaten up while the white policemen watched, no doubt with a smile on their faces.

    I’m a WYPR supporter and volunteer, by the way


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