African American Folkore

Local Knowledge Project: Folklore and Self-Knowledge. Here are a series of bibliographies, articles and links related to PFP's 2005 project exploring ways that individuals and communities preserve critical and alternative understandings. You can also learn more about the Gerald Davis Memorial Lecture, held February 19, 2005 as part of the Celebration of Black Writing and marking ODUNDE's 30th annniversary. The program was intended to remember and honor the important contributions of this brilliant scholar, who wrote passionately about a wide range of African American folk arts. Folklorist (and Davis' friend) Dr. Kathryn Morgan spoke on the topic of "Self Knowledge." She was joined by storytellers Linda Goss and Thelma Shelton Robinson. Links acquaint you with the work of folklorists and storytellers involved with the project.

Folklore and self-knowledge: how stories tell us who we are

Philadelphia Folklore Project invites you to an afternoon gathering, in honor of ODUNDE’s 30th anniversary and Art Sanctuary's 21st Annual Celebration of Black Writing:

Featuring scholars and storytellers:
Dr. Kathryn Morgan (folklorist, author of Children of Strangers)
Linda Goss (storyteller, author of Talk That Talk)
Thelma Shelton Robinson (South Philly born and raised “poetic storyteller")

Saturday, February 19th
1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Church of the Advocate
18th and Diamond Streets
Admission: $5 or a good story about why you don’t have it! (Three special prizes)

For everyone who’s ever listened to or loved a story, told a lie, or struggled to find a truth. Come hear what one of today’s most insightful folklorists and two of the region’s most thoughtful storytellers have to say about how stories tell us who we really are, how they help us to know ourselves and others, how they place us in time and space. Pioneers in their own right, these scholars and artists of the spoken word will share stories and talk about how stories carry cultural and individual self-knowledge. Reading, telling , Q & A and discussion. Followed by a reception. Introduction by Lois Fernandez.

Link to a press release.
Link to a special downloadable PFP Works in Progress magazine issue (18:1) featured participating artists and scholars.

For more resources and readings on African American narrative:
Dr. John Roberts (folklorist, author of From Trickster to Badman)
Dr. Gerald L. Davis (folklorist, filmmaker, author of I Got the Word in Me and I can Sing It I Know)

“I am not confused about who I am. I am not defined by the accident of my gender or my size or my exceedingly good looks. I am defined by any choices I may have made. . . But where I have gotten to is sacrosanct,” wrote the late great African American folklorist, writer and filmmaker Gerald L. Davis. Davis found in African American folklore emotionally powerful and aesthetically satisfying tools for the necessary work of self-naming and self-knowing. Join us for an afternoon exploring the work of self-knowledge. . .