Shirley Scott comes to the Blackstorytelling League from our sister organization, Akwaaba:the Heritage Associates. Shirley enjoys sharing history and telling tales. For many years she worked for the New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities and is now happily retired.
Everyone does have a story; Everyone must have their story told. It has been this way for many many years, starting with the Griot. The Griot would remember the stories and pass them on to the next generation. As his time on earth draws to an end, he would tell all the stories to another Griot and the next Griot would then tell those stories and also tell the new stories to the next generation. And so on and so it went from generations to generations.
Now, it seems as if our stories have stopped being told. When our ancestors came to this country unwillingly and under the constraints of that horrible institution called slavery, they kept telling our stories of Kings, Queens, brave warriors and fathers, loving strong mothers respect, honor and love. At some point in time we stop telling our stories. Why, was it because we thought we should be ashamed of being enslaved, should we be ashamed of our ancestors being treated like something less than human?
I say NO, we should remember that only the strongest African survived the middle passage, only the strong enslaved people survived such a terrible ordeal and out of all that, LOVE, HONOR, and PRIDE in our people survived. That’s why we, “The Blackstorytelling League of Rochester,” tell our stories and why we say to you each time we tell stories “To send down the stories, To send down the stories, We need the stories, and after you hear the stories then you must Pass on the stories”. That’s why I tell the stories, that’s why I tell Anna Murray Douglass’s story, Adeline Green’s story, Mary Louise Wilson’s story, Maggie Catherine Hooks’ story and Fred Aaron Hooks’ story.
I pass them on to my children, my grandchildren and everyone that will listen. My hope is that they will pass on the stories. Out of those stories come strength, love, pride, respect and endurance. You can hear it in the words, you can feel it in the message and your heart and soul is never the same. All is not lost even though some days as we listen to the news and hear all the stories about our young people killing each other and the loss of respect for themselves and others we think that all is lost. We must continue to tell the stories even more.
The Blackstorytelling League of Rochester and Akwaaba the Heritage Associates are out and about as are others passing the stories on. As you read this, think about your grandparents, your mother and father, your aunt and uncle, and what they endured for you to be able to be the person you are today. If you are passing the stories on, continue. If you are not then, start. Our people need to hear the stories.
Email address: SSHIRLEY60@aol.com
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