Louisville’s Untold Stories Focus of Project with Shawnee High Students

The Louisville Story Program helps historically underrepresented Louisville residents write and publish books about their lives and neighborhoods, and pays them for their work. Their first project highlights student from Shawnee High School.

Darcy Thompson is the founder and director of the Louisville Story Program, and the Managing Director of Research for Teach for America. He was inspired after seeing the impact of a similar project in New Orleans.

Thompason joined my live in the studio, along with Brian Weinberg, who is the co-director of the Louisville Story Program, an instructor of creative writing at U of L, and a writer of fiction, essays, and journalism.

We discussed the importance of publishing the untold stories of a city, and what LSP hopes to achieve.

“I think that right now there are so many untold stories in this community—particularly in lower-income parts of the community,” Thompson said. “Folks in those neighborhoods, their stories are often untold or are told for them by outsiders, often in ways that they themselves find problematic.”

The first part of the project works with eight student from the Academy at Shawnee (formerly Shawnee High School), Thompson said. They started righting workshops in June. The students will work through the fall, writing, interviewing and doing photography and other tasks. 

They're planning to publish in May 2014.

The stories have to be nonfiction that the students write or oral histories from their interviews—and the students choose who is interviewed, often family members or neighbors, Thompson said.

“Part of what's been fun is to see them learn how to layer on some perspective, some hindsight onto their experiences,” Weinberg said. “When you've only been alive for 17 years you haven't had long enough to sort of think about that perspective.”

Learn to the rest of the interview here:

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