Featuring a documentary that tells the stories of early African American cotton pickers in El Mirage and in other regions of Arizona, this presentation explores the lives of African Americans who came to the cotton fields from Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma during the 1940s through the 1960s. These individuals made significant cultural, historical, and economic contributions to life in Arizona, from founding churches to serving as civic and social leaders. Notable families include the Cutrights, Marshalls, and Dunbars.
Akua Duku Anokye, is an Associate Professor of Africana Language, Literature, and Culture and Director of International Initiatives in Arizona State University’s New College is past chair of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC), and past chair of the College Board’s Advanced Placement English Language and Composition Development Committee. Dr. Anokye’s research centers on African Diaspora orality and literacy practices, folklore, and oral history focusing on Ghanaian culture, religion, storytelling, and dance. Her current projects feature Arizona culture and life. She is working concurrently on “African American Pioneers of AZ” focusing on community mothers and “Telli.”