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The African American Experience in Missouri: Stories from Family and Community

The African American Experience in Missouri: Stories from Family and Community

February 4, 2021

Join Mid-Continent Public Library’s Story Center for the next virtual program in its ongoing State of Stories series, which examines the 200-year history of Missouri and the experiences of those who have been part of it. Launched in recognition of Missouri’s bicentennial in 2021, State of Stories is offered in partnership with the University of Missouri Extension Community Arts Program.

As part of this, Stories from Family and Community will be held on Friday, February 19, at 6:30 p.m. on The Story Center Facebook page. Wonderfully blending tradition and performance, this program led by Dr. Gladys Caines Coggswell and Angela J. Williams, BA, will bring to the stage stories of the African American experience in Missouri.

Coggswell and Williams will share stories that they’ve learned from several different areas. Both have learned from their great-grandmothers, grandmothers, communities, and at family reunions. Some stories reach back to the days of slavery. Others were shared or collected during Coggswell’s research for her book, Stories from the Heart: Missouri’s African American Heritage.

On Saturday, February 20, at 10:30 a.m., Coggswell and Williams will host the virtual workshop Developing & Telling Historical, Family, and/or Community Stories. Participants must register in advance online and will receive instructions on how to join the workshop via Zoom.

A master storyteller with the Missouri Folk Arts Program, Coggswell was the first Black president of the Missouri Folklore Society and is the founder of the By Word of Mouth Storytelling Guild. In 2005 she received the Missouri Arts Award for her work in encouraging and preserving African American storytelling traditions.

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