Festival to highlight black storytellers

Published 9:12 pm Monday, March 11, 2019

The National Association of Black Storytellers Festival and Conference will be held in Montgomery the week of November 6 and will feature workshops, concerts, youth tellers and a liar’s contest.

Dr. Toni Wilson, co-chair of the City of Brundidge Revitalization Committee, attended a NABS reception hosted by the Alabama State Council on the Arts in Montgomery on Wednesday.

Wilson said the reception was an opportunity to learn more about the National Association of Black Storytellers and the NABS Conference in Montgomery.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“The conference will be an opportunity to learn more about NABS and how the City of Brundidge can be involved” she said. “The city is looking for ways to revitalize the downtown area and Brundidge is already known for its annual storytelling festival. For the city to become a NABS affiliate would expand what is already being done. This is a great opportunity for the Revitalization Committee and for the city.”

Wilson said she has a master’s degree in storytelling and is a patron of the art of storytelling.

“Storytelling is the oldest form of entertainment and for every culture,” she said. “Storytelling is how we pass down family stories and our community heritage. Storytelling is a part of our everyday lives. Organizing a NABS affiliate in Brundidge would be a great opportunity for our revitalization efforts.”

Wilson said NABS has an Adopt-A-Storyteller program and libraries, schools, clubs and organizations are eligible to take advantage of the opportunity to hire a professional storyteller during the week of November 6.

The hire would not require the travel and lodging expenses usually associated with bringing a professional storyteller to an event.

Wilson said the Fine Arts Academy at Pike County High School would be an ideal venue for a storytelling concert.

“The Fine Arts Academy has a stage, sound and lighting and seating for 150. It is a convenient location for students to attend as well as the public,” she said. “The Fine Arts Academy would be a good starting place for a NABS event.”

The idea of the National Association of Black Storytellers was conceived by storytellers Mary Carter Smith of Baltimore, Maryland, and Linda Goss of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1982. The purpose of NABS was to give more opportunities for African American storytellers to be heard and for more of the rich heritage of the African oral tradition to be shared and preserved.

There are now 14 NABS affiliate organizations in New York City, N.Y, Baltimore, Maryland; Detroit, Michigan; Atlanta, Georgia; San Diego, California; Rochester, New York; Cleveland, Ohio; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Raleigh, North Carolina; Providence, Rhode Island; Buffalo, New York; Taylorsville, Utah; Wichita, Kansas; Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The National Association of Black Storytellers Festival and Conference will be held at the Embassy Suites in Montgomery November 6-10, 2019. For more information: visit the web at www.nabsinc.org.