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Each year, StoryCorps asks all Americans to set aside an hour on the day after Thanksgiving to interview a family member, friend or loved one about their life. This Friday, November 28, is the 7th annual National Day of Listening.

Lowcountry Africana is a proud national sponsor of StoryCorps’ National Day of Listening. This year, we asked 5 colleagues to share 5 reasons to celebrate this new national holiday.

Yesterday, Thomas MacEntee of Geneabloggers weighed in with his post “Family Stories: Eat Them Up This Thanksgiving and All Year Round.”

Today, Joseph McGill of the Slave Dwelling Project shares his 5 reasons to celebrate the National Day of Listening by gathering those family stories!

5 Reasons to Celebrate the National Day of Listening

A Special Guest Post By Joseph McGill

1. As African Americans, it is essential that we celebrate and implement National Day of Listening because a system that enslaved our ancestors and denied them an education made us more reliant on oral history. Some of that historic oral tradition that has been passed down through generations still lives with some of our elders.

2. We are not far removed from the days of segregation. Elders, especially those who are well travelled have stories of challenges they faced in a segregated country that proclaimed liberty and justice for all.

3. I would wager that every African American family was affected by the great migration of African Americans from the south to the north. Engaging those in their reasoning for leaving the south is rich information. What if any segregation they faced in the north is also a good conversation to have with them?

4. How many of our African American elders thought that they would live to see and African American President of the United States? That question alone would generate some interesting responses.

5. Lastly, a lot of our history ends up in graveyards. As an historian, I hear often; “I wish I would have interviewed her/him before he/she died.” Don’t be a victim of procrastination. Make it so!

About Joseph McGill

Joseph McGill, founder of the Slave Dwelling Project, spends the night in former slave dwellings across the country, to raise awareness of the need to preserve the places where African American ancestors lived while enslaved. You can learn more about the Slave Dwelling Project by visiting their website and Facebook page.

About StoryCorps’ National Day of Listening

Each year, StoryCorps asks all Americans to set aside an hour on the day after Thanksgiving to interview a friend, loved one or community member about their lives, and to record the interview using recording equipment that is readily available in most homes, such as computers, smartphones, tape recorders or pen and paper, along with StoryCorps’ free Do-It-Yourself Instruction Guide.

Once your recording is complete, you can post it to StoryCorps’ interactive Wall of Listening. Then share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. Please be sure to post to our Lowcountry Wall of Listening on Facebook to tell us who you interviewed!

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