We are a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to collecting and archiving the stories and experiences of Americans during this pandemic. Our mission is to document the pandemic experience of Americans like you. We are archiving stories told by Americans in their own words. We are helping Americans record their stories for posterity to be used in the future by researchers, scholars, journalists and all who seek to understand this moment in American history.
Collections of first-person accounts are crucial to appreciating the impact of major historical events. In the last century, such collections vastly improved our understanding of social disruptions, wars, political upheaval, and more. In America, we constructed oral history projects to recount some of the most horrific experiences in humanity. During the Great Depression, the Federal Writers Project (part of the WPA and the New Deal) dispatched unemployed writers to record the oral histories of freed slaves so their experiences could be preserved forever. Those interviews are today archived in the Slave Narrative Collection and are still used by scholars. Between 1994 and 2002, the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation filmed interviews with Holocaust survivors and other witnesses, including liberators. Those videos, like the narratives of former slaves, let us learn the stories of those who experienced that horror long after the victims are gone.
In other cases, historians rely on letters and diaries recorded contemporaneously. For example, the Civil War letters from soldiers and diaries of those on the front lines and on the home-front have provided historians with intimate and moving details about that inflection point in American history. They have helped us understand these soldiers and their motivations as well as the excitement and the horror they experienced. Compared to the politicians and the generals, the average American may not seem exceptional, but it is the average American whose story matters.
Today, we no longer write letters or diaries for enterprising historians to find in our attics a century later. Rather, we are lucky to live in an age of modern technology that permits us to easily record our stories and our experiences directly and for posterity. We do not need to wait for WPA writers to take down our words or film crews to record our histories. Today, we can all record our own experiences on the internet to contribute to the national memory.
The events surrounding Covid-19 have been catastrophic and monumental in their own way, and we are all witnesses to this moment. Covid Stories Archive is your opportunity to share your experience, so you can be heard and remembered. It is imperative that we do this now, while the memories are fresh in our minds and the details are available and unaltered by time. This is an opportunity to make sure your experience becomes part of the history that generations of Americans write and learn. We want all of your stories—experiences with illness, lockdowns, mental health, school closures, virtual learning, work, job loss, birth, death, and everything in between. If it happened to you and it is tied to Covid-19, the story is important.
This project is conducted without any preconceptions. It does not support any narrative or agenda, except to document the history as it was lived by Americans.
Please consider participating, because your story will forever enrich our understanding of this pivotal moment in the history of the United States.
To participate, click here.
This is an opportunity to make sure your experience becomes part of the history that generations of Americans write and learn. www.CovidStoriesArchive.orgTweet