When the African slave was brought to the Caribbean and North and South America, s/he brought her oral literature and performance style. This presentation focuses on the transfer of those oral traditions from African culture to African American culture. Such traditions can be heard in trickster stories, but also observed in the narration of myths, folk tales, sermons, jokes, proverbs, folk sayings, signifying, capping, testifying, toasting, on street corners, in barbershops, in beauty shops, the blues, rapping and hip-hop. In demonstration of the connections between African and African American oral traditions, a variety of Ananse tales, African American proverbs and other verbal arts will be performed.
Akua Duku Anokye, Associate Director of SHArCS and Associate Professor of Africana Language, Literature, and Culture in Arizona State University’s New College, is past chair of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC), and co-chair of the College Board’s Advanced Placement English Language and Composition Development Committee. Anokye’s research centers on African Diaspora orality and literacy practices, folklore, and oral history focusing on Ghanaian culture, religion, storytelling, and dance. Her work in oral history on community mothers has led to the production of several documentaries on African American women activists including Jean and Betty Fairfax, and Judge Jean Williams in Arizona.