StoryCorps, the oral history project that provides people of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share and preserve their stories, will release an historic interview conducted at the White House last week.
President Barack Obama speaks with Noah McQueen, a mentee in the White House Mentorship Program, which is designed to make a concrete impact on a group of young people by providing them with mentoring and exposure to new opportunities. In conversation with the President, the 18 year-old McQueen speaks openly about his journey from being a troubled teen to being a young man whose life is defined by academic, artistic and athletic success and a commitment to mentoring fellow at-risk youth in his community.
StoryCorps recorded President Obama’s interview of McQueen in the Roosevelt Room on Friday, February 20, and will release the audio at 6:20am EST on Friday, February 27, the one-year anniversary of My Brother’s Keeper. An edited version will be available at www.storycorps.org and will air in this Friday’s broadcast of NPR’s “Morning Edition.”
Noah McQueen is a senior at Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr. High School in Prince George’s County, Maryland. There he is involved in many extracurricular activities, serving as student ambassador, editor of the newspaper, anchor/producer of the school’s news broadcast, member of the improvisational acting team and an all-county football player. He is the recipient of the school’s Freedom Award, presented for overall outstanding achievement and academic turnaround, and is president of AMATE (African American Males Aspiring to Excel). He inspires youth ages 7-17 through mentorship and speaks to at-risk youth at neighboring schools. McQueen recently started a mentoring program at Barack Obama Elementary School, in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. After graduating from high school later this year he hopes to attend Morehouse College, in Atlanta, Georgia, to study mass communication and education.
Broderick Johnson, Assistant to the President and White House Cabinet Secretary, and the Chair of the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force, said, “The inspiring conversation between President Obama and Noah McQueen speaks volumes about the President’s vision and personal commitment to the notion that we must invest in the lives of our country’s young people. Over the past year, this initiative has already begun to impact young people like Noah. It is my hope that those who hear this conversation will find their own ways to bring opportunity to, and instill optimism in, the young people of this nation.”
It is becoming something of a tradition for sitting Presidents to participate in StoryCorps. Previously, President George W. Bush recorded an interview with his sister Doro Bush Koch and First Lady Laura Bush at the White House in November 2008.
On February 27, 2014, the President unveiled the My Brother’s Keeper initiative to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color and ensure that all young people can reach their full potential. Through this initiative, the Administration is joining with cities and towns, businesses, and foundations who are taking important steps to connect young people to mentoring, support networks, and the skills they need to find a good job or go to college and work their way into the middle class. Learn more here.
Founded in 2003 by MacArthur Fellow Dave Isay, the nonprofit organization StoryCorps has given 100,000 Americans the chance to record interviews about their lives, pass wisdom from one generation to the next, and leave a legacy for the future. It is the largest single collection of human voices ever gathered. Participating in StoryCorps couldn’t be easier: You invite a loved one, or anyone else you chose, to one of the StoryCorps recording sites. There you’re met by a trained facilitator, who greets you and explains the interview process. You’re then brought into a quiet recording room and seated across from your interview partner, each of you in front of a microphone. The facilitator hits “record,” and you share a forty-minute conversation. At the end of the session, you walk away with a CD, and a digital file goes to the Library of Congress, where it will be preserved for generations to come.
StoryCorps shares edited excerpts of these stories with the world through popular weekly NPR broadcasts, animated shorts, digital platforms, and best-selling books. These powerful stories illustrate our shared humanity and show how much more we share in common than divides us.
StoryCorps is working to grow into an enduring national institution that celebrates the dignity, power, and grace that can be heard in the stories we find all around us, and helps us recognize that every life and every story matter equally. In the coming years StoryCorps hopes to touch the lives of every American family.
For more information, or to listen to stories online, visit www.storycorps.org.