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Department of African American Studies

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Black Women in Folklore

New to the African American Studies Program class roster the second half of the Spring 2019 semester, “Black Women in Folklore,” AFAM 398-Y01/WGST 430, taught by Nancy Tolson, AFAM Studies assistant director and storyteller master.

The class will explore the inclusion of black women in oral, written and visual art folktales. Students will learn how folklore, fairytales, mythology and music reflect the cultural, social, political and historical images of black female characters in folklore.

The men and women brought to America as slaves, also brought with them their folktales, part of their rich traditions that spoke often of tales of origin, of trickery and trouble, tales of triumph over natural or supernatural evils, comic heart-warming tales, tales teaching life lessons, tales of ghosts and spirits, and tales of slaves and their slave-owners. Many stories also revolved around animals with human characteristics and had the same morals and short comings as humans to make the stories relatable.

Although many of the original stories have evolved since Africans were brought to the Americas as slaves, their meanings and life lessons have remained the same.

“She is sold, bold exposed, reposed, married away, carried away and lives to do more alchemy.”

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.