Dr. Carolyn Edwards

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English teacher, journalist, writer;  student of all forms of African/African American culture; BA degrees in  Anthropology and English; MA in Journalism and Communications; has  always used storytelling as a parent, writer, and teacher; past President.

Website Statement
The Blackstorytelling League of  Rochester (BLR) served as the primary  sources for my doctoral dissertation, entitled African  American Storytelling: Collective Memory, Creative Resistance, and  Personal Transformation.

I joined BLR because of the enthusiasm  of the members. It offered a creative outlet that had elements of drama  and poetry, and dance.
I remembered telling” made-up” stories to my children, so I had some  “experience.” I call myself an African and African American  “culturalist.” I have traveled and read widely and liked having an  opportunity to share what I have learned.

 I like the  sense of camaraderie, the warm welcoming feeling of the group towards  each other and I saw this transmitted to the audience.

By profession, I am a high school and  college English teacher, and storytelling blends well with teaching;  but I think one of the most important things is the  connection.

That’s what I mean by collective memory.  It’s the smiles of recognition about a memory shared. I saw it most in  “Front Porch” performance a few years ago, which sprang from group  members sitting and talking at a social gathering and we started saying”  remember when…” I distinctly remember the nods and smiles from the  audience when we did the performance. Creative Resistance—the creative  part is clear. The resistance is historically true (Brer Rabbit, codes,  “Steal Away,” etc.). Historical stories relate to the theme of  resistance, so telling those stories is resistance. Certainly, the stories resist the  imagery of the negative stereotypes about African Americans. Personal Transformation—I feel it and feel it in the  audience. I look at their faces and see them almost in a trance,  literally, wide-eyed, intensely listening.


Email address: edwa155@aol.com