"Dean of Folkculture"
February 13, 2002
African American Culture
8:00 p.m., Page Hall
UAlbany, Downtown Campus
(Note: No 4:00 Seminar)
Songs sung by
Daryl Cumber Dance, known by many simply as the "Dean of Folkculture," has collected the writings and traditions of numerous cultures in six acclaimed anthologies. Her most recent anthology, From My People: 400 Years of African American Folklore (2002), assembles everything from tales and proverbs to folk songs, recipes, rumor, sermons, music, and art. Its 700-plus pages tell the history of a people who were banned from reading and writing during slavery. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. called the collection "a major contribution to African American scholarship. . .destined to be studied, passed on, and cherished for generations to come."
Dance's previous collection, Honey, Hush! An Anthology of African American Women's Humor (WW Norton & Co, 1998), amasses the vibrant wit and laughter of African American women in both written and spoken manifestations. The collection includes material such as autobiographies, novels, essays, poems, proverbs, comic routines, cartoons, and folk tales. "A dazzling anthology," said Publishers Weekly. Breathtakingly broad and deep," said the Miami Herald.
Her other works include: New World Adams: Conversations with Contemporary West Indian Writers (Peepal Tree Press, 1992); Long Gone: The Mecklenburg Six and the Theme of Escape in Black Folklore (University of Tennessee Press, 1987); Fifty Caribbean Writers: A Bio-Bibliographical and Critical Sourcebook (Greenwood Press, 1986); Folklore from Contemporary Jamaicans (University of Tennessee Press, 1985); and Shuckin' and Jivin': Folklore from Contemporary Black Americans (Indiana University Press, 1978).
Dance currently is a professor at the University of Richmond in Virginia. She has also served as the Advisory Editor of Black American Literary Forum since 1978, and as the Editorial Advisor of the Journal of West Indian Literature since 1986. She regularly contributes to numerous folklore and black studies journals.
"A hefty, rich, amusing, moving, and wonderfully delicious helping of every possible type of literature and cultural artifact that demonstrates the absolute and essential nature of the black presence in American life and thought." - M. Thomas Inge, author of The Humor of the Old South
"With an expert hand (Daryl Cumber Dance) has gathered here a wide variety of pieces that speak to the dynamism and central inspirational role of black folklore in American expressive culture. This extraordinary book should prove of lasting value and appeal." - Arnold Rampersad, author of The Life of Langston Hughes
Deacon Elgin Taylor has served as the Minister of Music of the Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church in Albany for the past 17 years. He has taught sacred and African-American religious music at numerous workshops and has been Director of Music of the Empire Baptist Missionary Convention of New York State for 17 years and Music Director of the New York State King Holiday Memorial Observance for the past 12 years. In 1997 Taylor was appointed Director of Music and Operations of the Empire State King Interdenominational Mass Choir by the Governor's Office. He has received numerous awards and honors for his service to the community including the NAACP Outstanding Community Service Award and Medal, and citations of recognition from Albany Mayor's Thomas Whalen and Jerry Jennings and New York Governor's Mario Cuomo and George Pataki.