african american folktales

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Books Every Black Child Should Read 

Nappy Hair -  Carolivia Herron, Joe Cepeda (Illustrator)

The Snowy Day -  Ezra Jack Keats

Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters -  John Steptoe

Meet Addie - American Girl Story 

“Her Stories: African American Folktales, Fairy Tales, and True Tales” - Virginia Hamilton

Daddy and Me -  Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe

Dancing In The Wings - Debbie Allen

Something Beautiful - Sharon Dennis Wyeth

Her Stories: African American Folktales, Fairy Tales, and True Tales (Coretta Scott King Author Award Winner)

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 by Virginia Hamilton

A collection of twenty-five African-American folktales focuses on strong female characters and includes “"Little Girl and Bruh Rabby,”“ ”“Catskinella,”“ and ”“Annie Christmas.”“ By the author of The People Could Fly.

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amazing women series
Toni Morrison 


Toni Morrison, born Chloe Ardelia Wofford is an American novelist, editor, and Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. Her novels are known for their epic themes, vivid dialogue, and richly detailed characters. Among her best known novels are The Bluest Eye and Beloved.

Morrison won the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award in 1988 for Beloved and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. In 1996, the National Endowment for the Humanities selected her for the Jefferson Lecture, the U.S. federal government’s highest honor for achievement in the humanities.

Toni Morrison was born in Lorain, Ohio, to Ramah and George Wofford. She is the second of four children in a working-class family. Her parents moved to Ohio to escape southern racism and instilled a sense of heritage through telling traditional African American folktales. She read frequently as a child; among her favorite authors were Jane Austen and Leo Tolstoy. According to a 2012 interview in The Guardian, she became a Catholic at the age of 12 and received the baptismal name “Anthony”, which later became the basis for her nickname “Toni”.

Morrison taught English at two branches of the State University of New York and at Rutgers University: New Brunswick Campus. In 1984 she was appointed to an Albert Schweitzer chair at the University at Albany, The State University of New York. From 1989 until her retirement in 2006, Morrison held the Robert F. Goheen Chair in the Humanities at Princeton University.

She has conceived and developed the prestigious Princeton Atelier, a program that brings together talented students with critically acclaimed, world-famous artists. Together the students and the artists produce works of art that are presented to the public after a semester of collaboration. In her position at Princeton, Morrison used her insights to encourage not merely new and emerging writers, but artists working to develop new forms of art through interdisciplinary play and cooperation.

In April 2015, speaking of the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Walter Scott—three unarmed black men killed by white police officers—Morrison said “People keep saying, ‘We need to have a conversation about race.’ This is the conversation. I want to see a cop shoot a white unarmed teenager in the back. And I want to see a white man convicted for raping a black woman. Then when you ask me, 'Is it over?’, I will say yes.”

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I Ain’t Lying: Folktales from Mississippi

“1975 documentary based on fieldwork William Ferris conducted with African American storytellers and bluesmen in the communities of Leland and Rose Hill, Mississippi. The stories include include folk and religious tales, jokes, toast telling sessions, and characters from African American oral tradition." 

epperanalchemist  asked:

Hey, I was wondering if you had good primary sources for Yoruba mythology or other African mythological traditions/religions?

Yoruba and other African Mythology/Traditions/Religions

All that comes to mind is Vodun/Voodoo at the moment. Voudun can be practiced differently in different areas, like west Africa, Haiti and Suriname. Vodun is a religion which has been slandered and demonized throughout the world. Even the well known icon of the voodoo doll wasn’t originally a part of the religion and added in because they were used in witchcraft. This is always why Vodun is confused a lot for witchcraft. 

There are some links you could use from the internet like Wikipedia, but you should always make sure when doing research you back your information up with at least two or more different and reliable sources. 

You can use that link as a starting point for you research, not as a source. 

More Online Sources

Book Sources

 ~Mod Alice and Colette

On Westernizing POC Cultural Fairytales

Anonymous asked: I am writing a story that transplants fairytales and myths to a wild west setting. I want to include non-european fairytales but I am concerned that it will come off as white washing, even if the characters are POC. How can I go about avoiding this?

So let me see if I have this right; you’re redesigning Non-European fairytales into a Wild West setting? It sounds like an interesting concept that could potentially become problematic.

Without knowing too many fine details of your tales vs. the original stories, I would simply suggest you remember to respect the original story as much as possible. For example I wouldn’t swap out items or objects of religious, social or cultural importance into westernized counterparts that are not so significant as it may veer into whitewashing.

I happen to be working on a fairytale retelling of mostly European tales with all WoC protagonists, which seems to be the opposite of what you’re doing. I’m enriching my retellings with some cultural aspects from the given Woman of Color’s culture and that of the European culture in which she’s also a part of and resides within. 

To do the exact opposite and swap PoC cultural aspects for that of the West might definitely reside as problematic, but again I don’t know what tales you’re writing and what may or may not be grazing into that territory.

My advice would be to keep an eye out for any areas that seem very cultural-specific so as to avoid re-dressing them in a Westernized coating so to speak. When it comes to the story-telling itself, such as plot, I don’t see much issue in taking that plot into a Wild West setting as long as you’re including the People of Color of which the tale comes from.

Disneyforprincesses has thoughts on a question similar(ish) to this.

~Mod Colette 

Sounds like cool concept and it definitely could work. I agree with Colette as far as [not] replacing items that hold significant value to their respective cultures to something with less significance in a Wild West setting. It also depends on what fairytales and folklore you plan on using. If it’s a specific story that has a high cultural significance, you would have to tread lightly on how you use the story.

If you do your research thoroughly, you could interweave culture and history into your story. I’m not sure what the format of your story is but it would be reasonable to have a Black cowboy fall into the role of characters from an African (or African-American) folktale or myth. It might do well to research what ethnic groups were in the “Wild West” during that time period and looking into the folktales from that specific culture.

As Colette said, I don’t think it would be whitewashing if you included the characters of color from which the folktale comes from.  

~Mod Najela

I think it would be hard to not have it be problematic, but I think this has some great advice.

~Mod Alice

I feel like I’m the only one who finds racebending/culturebending offensive unless it’s done on a character that got whitewashed for no reason. i.e:The Mandarin in Iron man 3 (merged with AIM, not the casting of Kingsley) and Khan in star trek (since he was kind of a terrorist………… they are fucked either way.)

Like if someone took Mulan and made her white or black or Japanese or American I would just… OmO

It’s just such a cop-out, instead of drawing an actual fairy tale/folklore character from the culture he/she is from, the artist decides to just take someone else’s culture/history/literature and slap the face of another culture on it, how is that even acceptable?

As an Asian, I don’t want an Asian face on Snow White or Rapunzel, we have 5000 years of history and literature and we don’t need to put our face on a German fairy tale. Instead, I want the characters from our stories drawn so that other people around the world can know of our fairy tales. (i.e Nyuwa, who sacrificed herself to piece the sky back together, the crane who transformed into a beautiful girl and married the man that saved her, etc)  

I want to see characters from Native American/African folktales so when the art is reblogged, we are learning about a piece of their culture, because they have such a rich one and it’s a shame that not a lot of people know about it. For example when I’m trying to think of an example of African folktales/children’s stories, I can only think of the story with the lion and the jackal from the top of my head. 

By putting another race into a character from another race/culture, you are essentially saying that culture has no tales of their own worthy of representation or they need the creativity of another culture to represent their own people, and it’s no better than putting a white person in the role of a poc (like the cast of Avatar the last airbender, 21 & Over, Gods of Egypt, etc)