ERIC Number: ED219480
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Jul
Reference Count: 0
African-American Children's Stories.
Nichols, Patricia C.
Examination of representative stories told by black American children of West African descent in South Carolina shows that specific cultural motifs have been preserved in the oral tradition of black communities. Typical stories are tales of the supernatural, such as the Hag story about mortals who shed their skin at night to do evil deeds. Variations of the story can be found among groups in Nigeria and Liberia, and among blacks in Michigan and different parts of South Carolina. A second type of story deals with human powers and insight, such as the powers believed to exist in persons born with cauls over their faces. Similar stories have been found in Michigan. A third type of story is the narrative of personal experience which, among blacks, involves the active participation of the listeners. This manner of storytelling resembles that found among the Igbo of Nigeria, many of whom were brought to North America as slaves. Stories told by black children differ from those told by whites in that the latter seldom include the listeners; furthermore, blacks use a dialect that is unlike whites' standard English. In theme and storytelling style, black children's stories reflect a background in which children were reared by grandparents and great-grandparents who have exposed the children to the lore, language, and culture of the ancestral homeland. (Author/MJL)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: South Carolina; West Africans
Note: Paper presented at the Third World Studies Symposium on "Oral Sources and Third World Studies" (Santa Clara, CA, May 22, 1982).