American Evolution Stories
Seeking motivated, enthusiastic and bold storytellers
400 Years of Our Stories
Life experiences are the stories that define us. Our stories, particularly those that have had the greatest impact on us, equally have the greatest impact on others. Our collective stories, when woven together, provide us a deeper level of understanding ourselves, our communities, and our world.
American Evolution Stories is a digital storytelling platform curated by the 2019 Commemoration. The crowd-sourced website provides a unique opportunity to reflect upon the breadth of stories that reflect the 400-year arc of history from 1619 to today.
Whether you wish to share something light-hearted or challenge yourself to dig deeper, each story acts like a prism illuminating our shared history in a full spectrum of experiences. To help you get started, consider the prompts below.
What is your American Story? Tell us why commemorating and honoring historic events is important to you, your family or country.
What does democracy, diversity and/or opportunity mean to you? Tell us about an impactful experience in your life related to the Commemoration themes of democracy, diversity and opportunity. What was that experience like and why do you think it made an impact on you?
How does the past impact you today? When you think about the Commemoration, in particular, the historical events from 1619, which of those events stands out the most to you, why? Please tell us about an experience in your life that relates to one of those events.
There is no right or wrong way to tell a story, but we do have a few helpful suggestions. As guidance, we recommended keeping your story to 200-500 words (written). When capturing your story by video, think of the story, outline the key points ahead of time and rehearse it. Get good lighting and hold the phone about a foot away so head and shoulders fill the frame. Also, be conscious of background and noise.
To help you explore and discover, American Evolution Stories is organized by Categories, Collections – including Curated Collections – and Communities. Stories shared in Categories help reveal our full history through the narrative of the story of the American Evolution – what happened, why it happened, who the major players were, and why each story is important to American history. Collections bring together the stories that reflect the three key themes of the 2019 Commemoration: democracy, diversity, and opportunity. Stories shared in Communities help to engage all our audiences to tell a more complete, authentic and inclusive story of Virginia’s history and our leadership role in the United States – past, present, and future. Through these stories, we learn more about the challenges, successes, and inequities of the past, which enables a fuller appreciation of the difficult path to today’s America.
Lastly, have fun and thanks for being a part of the American Evolution, 2019 Commemoration!
Discover the Virginia History Trails
Submit your own stories and photos
Share on Social Media