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Podcast shares South Bend's history with new audience

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — the Civil Rights Heritage Center is looking to share a bit of South Bend’s history with the world.

“I think where we go is to continue to tell as many stories as we can,” said curator George Garner.

The center recently launched “South Bend’s Own Words,” a podcast series aimed at telling the city’s stories to younger audiences.

“We started the oral history collection back in 2001,” said Garner. “We have over 150 different interviews now.”

For nearly two decades, staff at the center interviewed people around town who were instrumental in shaping the city.

Those conversations were stored at the center and accessible at St. Joseph County Public Library.

“But from audio cassettes sometimes 90 minutes long, that can be a lot for people to listen to all of them,” said Garner. “We’re in the process of being able to put them all online and then also with projects like this podcast just make them a click away from someone’s smartphone.”

Garner hosts the podcast series, slowly taking those interviews from the archives and adding them to this new digital space.

These history lessons produced for your phone or car speakers were made possible thanks to the multimedia space at the library.

“That’s exactly what this is for, to let people express themselves using modern technology in a very easy way,” said Sara Maloney, assistant manager of research and technology at St. Joseph County Public Library.

Considering it’s free to use for anyone with a library card, this opportunity will give listeners access to many unheard stories in South Bend.

“South Bend is not just the history of one person. It’s the history of many people, the history of many cultures,” said Garner.

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