Library of Congress Releases Fourth Season of “America Works” Podcast
Season Features First-Hand Accounts of American Workers, including a Cement Plant Worker, Neonatologist, Cashier, Professional Wrestler and More
The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress has released its fourth season of “America Works,” an innovative podcast series celebrating the diversity, grit and creativity of American workers in the face of economic uncertainty. The new season, launched today, features stories from a cement plant worker, a grocery store cashier, a professional wrestler, a midwife, a herdswoman, and a neonatologist, among others.
The eight-episode series, part of the American Folklife Center’s ongoing Occupational Folklife Project, introduces listeners to a wide range of narratives within the changing American workforce. Each 5-minute episode includes the voices of workers whose stories add to the wealth of our shared national experience. The first episode is available now on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and at loc.gov/podcasts. Subsequent episodes will be released each Thursday through April 27.
“Our researchers are sending the Library so many great interviews with workers throughout the United States that it was hard to select just eight for Season Four. Despite the pandemic and a shifting economy, the humor, common sense and pride reflected in these first-person accounts of working in America are inspiring,” said Nancy Groce, host of “America Works” and senior folklife specialist at the American Folklife Center. “I feel privileged to assist the Library in adding them to our national record and to be able to share them with podcast listeners.”
The stories shared in the new season of “America Works” reveal the resilience and can-do attitude of American workers and they will be added to the Library’s expanding repository of historical records.
The fourth season of “America Works” includes:
Episode 1 – Jude Bejarano, a cement plant worker in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, describes working his way up the leadership hierarchy in an enormous plant filled with huge, noisy machines and his pride in manufacturing a product that, as he explains, literally built America.
Episode 2 – Tina Moore Braimah, a certified nurse midwife in Raleigh, North Carolina, talks about her training, daily routines, experiences, and the rewards and challenges faced by birth workers who deal “with the boundary of life” on a daily basis.
Episode 3 – Luann Miller, a grocery store cashier from West Seattle, Washington, who has worked just about every job there is in the grocery business – from shelf re-stocker to cashier to bagger. She talks about her work,daily routines and why she loves ringing up shoppers with lots of items in their baskets.
Episode 4 – Joyce Godbout, a dairy farm manager or herdsperson from Burke, New York, tells listeners about the long hours and other challenges of working with cows as well as the rewards of her work and why she likes Jerseys more than Holsteins.
Episode 5 – Rosemarie Francis-Primo, a home healthcare aide in Brooklyn, New York, talks about her daily responsibilities, the pride she takes in doing her work well and the importance of her membership in Domestic Workers United, an advocacy group that represents Caribbean, Latina and African nannies, housekeepers, homeworkers and caregivers in metropolitan New York.
Episode 6 – Mike Williams, a dirt track auto racer from the Tuscarora Nation in western New York, talks about local auto racing and the enormous amount of preparation and work it takes to be a race car driver at the Ransomville Speedway, a family-run race track that is a source of regional pride in Niagara County and the wider Buffalo-Niagara region.
Episode 7 – Susan Morelli, physician and neonatologist from Provo, Utah, talks about how she decided to become a doctor and shares a poignant story about a difficult birth and how her spirituality sometimes intersects with her occupation.
Episode 8 – Seymour Ray, an independent professional wrestler from Tennessee – (known to his many fans by his professional name “Ray Idol”) – describes how his sport is part competition, part entertainment, and part kayfabe (staged performance in wrestling jargon) and shares a few stories drawn from two decades as a professional wrestler.
Each “America Works” episode is based on a longer interview from the American Folklife Center’s Occupational Folklife Project, a multi-year initiative created to document workforce culture. Over the past 13 years, fieldworkers from the American Folklife Center have interviewed more than 1,800 working Americans, documenting their experiences in more than 100 professions. More than 600 of these full-length interviews are now available online.
The first three seasons of “America Works,” launched in August 2020, April 2021, and January 2022, respectively, are also available on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and at loc.gov/podcasts. Listen to a trailer for “America Works” and subscribe here: https://loc.gov/podcasts/america-works/.
About the American Folklife Center
The American Folklife Center was created by Congress in 1976 and placed at the Library of Congress to “preserve and present American folklife” through programs of research, documentation, archival presentation, reference service, live performance, exhibition, public programs and training. The Center includes the Archive of Folk Culture, which was established in 1928 and is now one of the largest collections of ethnographic material from the United States and around the world.
About the Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States — and extensive materials from around the world — both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov; access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov; and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.