From My People: 400 Years of African American Folklore: An Anthology

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A magnificent celebration of—and an essential introduction to—African American life and culture. Folklore displays the heart and soul of a people. African American folklore not only hands down traditions and wisdom through the generations but also tells the history of a people banned from writing and reading during slavery. In this anthology, Daryl Cumber Dance collects a wealth of tales that have survived and been adapted over the years, many featuring characters (like Brer' Rabbit) from African culture. She ...
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Overview

A magnificent celebration of—and an essential introduction to—African American life and culture. Folklore displays the heart and soul of a people. African American folklore not only hands down traditions and wisdom through the generations but also tells the history of a people banned from writing and reading during slavery. In this anthology, Daryl Cumber Dance collects a wealth of tales that have survived and been adapted over the years, many featuring characters (like Brer' Rabbit) from African culture. She leaves no genre of folklore out, including everything from proverbs and recipes to folk songs and rumor. There is a section on the unique style that African Americans have consciously fashioned, including works by and about Paul Laurence Dunbar, Zora Neale Hurston, and Jelly Roll Morton. Within the chapter on folk art, which includes a sixteen-page color insert, quilts, dolls, sculpture, and painting get their due. From the famous to the anonymous, From My People is Dance's gift back to her culture. A Booklist Top Ten African American Nonfiction Book of the Year. Nominated for the Library of Virginia Literary Award. 82 illustrations.


About the Author:
: Daryl Cumber Dance is the author of Honey, Hush! An Anthology of African American Women's Humor. She is a professor of English at the University of Richmond.

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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
Good work, Daryl. You make us proud.
Alan Dundes
[A] stunning sampler of African American tradition, compiled by one of America's leading scholars of African American folklore.>
Nikki Giovanni
Good work, Daryl. You make us proud.
Arnold Rampersad
This extraordinary book is a treasury that should prove of lasting value and appeal.
John Lowe
[T]he grand collection of African American folklore we have long yearned for....a rich and representative selection.
Trudier Harris
[A]n extensive and impressively rich collection....unparalleled in its coverage and variety as well as in its interpretive commentary.
Henry Louis Gates
What an astonishingly rich collection of African American folklore Dance has produced! A major contribution to African American scholarship.
Publishers Weekly
In From My People: 400 Years of African American Folklore, Daryl Cumber Dance (Honey, Hush!: An Anthology of African American Women's Humor) celebrates rumors, riddles, recipes, song lyrics, sermons, art objects and stories. The anthology offers a compendious assortment folklore and commentary on African-American culture by the eminent likes of Frederick Douglass, Jelly Roll Morton and Jacqui Malone. Zora Neale Hurston's fashion sense is assessed by her contemporaries; nursery rhymes and clapping games are recounted by experts; quilts and tramp art are pictured; and superstitions are repeated. Dance, a professor at the University of Richmond, has assembled an impressive, diverse array of African Americana, including 30 b&w photos and 16 pages of color photos. (Feb.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Comprehensive if not exhaustive, this anthology provides a synthetic overview of African American folk expression, offering an entree into a vast subject. Informative texts introduce each of the 13 major genres covered in this book, which include tales, songs, beliefs, folk arts, proverbs, costume, and sermons. Drawing on both oral and printed sources in addition to original works, Dance (ed., Honey Hush!: An Anthology of African American Women's Humor) reprints familiar materials from such notables as Paul Dunbar, Zora Neale Hurston, Jelly Roll Morton, Ben Botkin, and Langston Hughes and also from songs, proverbs, and recipes. The selections vividly affirm the strength of African American lore as part of American language and culture. Dance has conducted an ambitious search for the identity and essence of African American expression, and she succeeds admirably, capturing what was largely invisible to many generations. Rendered in dialect where possible, these selections reflect an inventive people who speak and sing without embellishment. Recommended for all collections. Richard K. Burns, MSLS, Hatboro, PA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Because the history of black Americans has been largely written from the perspective of white contemporaries, folklore, oral tradition, is our best window into the world African-Americans found themselves in as slaves, and later as second-class citizens. University of Richmond professor and frequent anthologist of African-American culture, Dance (Honey, Hush!: An Anthology of African American Women's Humor, 1998) here interprets "folklore" in its loosest possible form, and includes-along with the traditional folk stories and songs-sermons, rumors, e-mailed joke lists, recipes, furniture, etc. While clearly a rich resource for, and a powerful introduction to, black American culture, the collection is also vastly entertaining, almost overflowing with centuries of wise, sad, and funny responses to centuries of living in the white man's world. Perhaps unavoidably, due to the extent of the material, the volume has an amorphous, scattershot feel, but it remains a valuable and rewarding compendium.
John Lowe
“[T]he grand collection of African American folklore we have long yearned for....a rich and representative selection.”
Alan Dundes
“[A] stunning sampler of African American tradition, compiled by one of America's leading scholars of African American folklore.”
Trudier Harris
“[A]n extensive and impressively rich collection....unparalleled in its coverage and variety as well as in its interpretive commentary.”
Arnold Rampersad
“This extraordinary book is a treasury that should prove of lasting value and appeal.”
Nikki Giovanni
“Good work, Daryl. You make us proud.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393047981
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/1/1902
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 760
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.70 (h) x 1.74 (d)

Meet the Author

Daryl Cumber Dance is a professor at the University of Richmond and the author of numerous works including Shuckin' and Jivin' and Long Gone.
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