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Category: American Folklife Center

Two men sit on a slightly elevated stage, engaged in conversation.

Researcher Story: Cormac Ó hAodha & the Heart of Irish Music

Posted by: Wendi Maloney

Cormac Ó hAodha, a resident fellow in the John W. Kluge Center, is taking a deep dive into the Library's Alan Lomax Collection. Lomax, a major figure in 20th-century folklore and ethnomusicology, made field recordings in the Múscraí region of County Cork, Ireland, in the early 1950s. Ó hAodha is using those recordings as part of his Ph. D studies at the University College Cork into the history of the Múscraí song tradition.

“Language is Life” and Native American Historical Voices

Posted by: Wendi Maloney

The Library and three Native American tribes are collaborating on a project to digitize and restore some 9,000 wax cylinder recordings of Native Americans singing and telling stories from more than a century ago. The work is the subject of "Language is Life," a documentary narrated by Joy Harjo, the former U.S. poet laureate. It premiered at the Library in November in advance of its broadcast as part of the PBS series, “Native America.”

The Library Wants Your COVID-19 Stories!

Posted by: Maria Peña

he Library, in collaboration with the nonprofit organization StoryCorps, has launched the COVID-19 Archive Activation website to encourage everyone share their COVID-19 stories. Stories will be deposited into the American Folklife Center and made accessible at archive.StoryCorps.org. The new website is part of the COVID-19 American History Project — a congressionally mandated initiative to document and archive Americans’ experiences with the pandemic.

Three Marines, all Navajo Code Talkers, pose with weapons in a World War II photo

World War II’s Navajo Code Talkers, In Their Own Words

Posted by: Neely Tucker

Some of the U.S. military's best intelligence assets during both World Wars were Native American troops who used their own, unwritten languages as the basis for coded radio messages. These Code Talkers, particularly Navajo Marines, were invaluable in the Pacific theater of World War II. Twenty-nine Navajo Code Talkers were later awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. Many of these soldiers' personal stories are preserved in the LIbrary's Veterans History Project.