Saturday, October 14, 2023

Freedom Story Project reaches milestone of collecting 100 oral histories


Freedom Story Project Team

North Elba, NY – “Freedom Story Project” an endeavor of John Brown Lives! and OurStoryBridge Inc., recently achieved the milestone of collecting 100 stories from storytellers across the nation. Launched in 2022, Freedom Story Project collects and broadcasts three- to five-minute audio stories and related photographs online, centering around themes of freedom and justice, human and civil rights, activism and engagement, at local, national and international levels. John Brown Lives! seeks to inspire younger generations to tell their stories and connect to their communities and these issues, including through especially powerful personal narratives by elders who share their experiences. Freedom Story Project uses the OurStoryBridge methodology, making stories easily accessible and shareable.

Initially funded from an AARP Community Challenge grant, Freedom Story Project has collected 100 personal narratives (64% collected from storytellers 50 and older) regarding social justice, activism, and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI); created a pop-up physical space for storytelling at the John Brown Farm State Historic Site in North Elba, New York; launched an online platform at; collected 20 stories during the first and second annual Adirondack Family Book Festivals and 14 during recent John Brown Days; and published four Freedom Story Project podcast episodes threading together common themes of narratives.


Freedom Story Project features the voices and experiences of national and locally known figures, such as musician Tom Morello, Native American author Joseph Bruchac, criminal justice activist
Dr. Alice P. Green and the late author Russell Banks, who helped found John Brown Lives!. Officials at John Brown Lives! and OurStoryBridge Inc. express their gratitude to the storytellers for sharing their experiences.


Martha Swan, Executive Director of John Brown Lives! said, “One hundred stories from young and old exemplify and support the mission of John Brown Lives! as they inspire all generations to work toward making the world a better and more equitable place.”


Jery Y. Huntley, Founder and President of OurStoryBridge Inc. which has collected the stories, said, “Of the almost 1,000 stories collected across the country by OurStoryBridge projects, Freedom Story project stories are the most impactful of all and often tear at your heart strings inspiring you to create positive change in these difficult times.”


Those who want to share their stories can email


John Brown Lives! is a freedom education and human rights project that amplifies the lessons and legacies of the past to inform and inspire civic action and the creation of a just and livable community. As the official New York State Friends Group of the John Brown Farm State Historic Site in Lake Placid, NY, JBL! works to promote, preserve, interpret and welcome all peoples to this sacred site and human rights destination. JBL! connects and enhances life in our community through wide-ranging conversations, innovative programs, partnerships and collaborations, as well as through joyous celebrations and moving commemorations that provide ports of entry to address issues at the core of JBL!’s mission, including racial justice, voting rights, mass incarceration, human trafficking, and climate justice.


OurStoryBridge Inc. is a national charitable nonprofit organization whose mission is to serve as a resource and tool kit for OurStoryBridge projects that preserve and circulate local audio stories
past and present through accessible online media; to promote, build and assist with the deployment of these resources in communities across geographic, cultural, socioeconomic, racial and organizational strata; and to help strengthen these communities through sharing of their stories, including preserving the stories of older generations before they are lost and encouraging younger generations to become engaged community members.


Photo at top: The Freedom Story Project Team. Photo courtesy of Freedom Story Project.


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Community news stories come from press releases and other notices from organizations, businesses, state agencies and other groups. Submit your contributions to Almanack Editor Melissa Hart at

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