The wonderfully bright and attentive students at Edna Maguire Elementary School welcomed Diane Ferlatte and Erik Peterson for two back-to-back African American Storytelling assemblies on March 10th. The audience was immediately captivated by Diane’s strong, warm presence as she told stories and sang songs steeped in African-American history. She touched on a variety of subjects including the Jim Crow Laws, Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad, Claudette Colvin and the Civil Right Movement, and even included a wonderful folktale about mischievous, Brer Rabbit. Erik’s expert banjo and guitar playing, culled with Diane’s delightful character voices, truly brought the stories alive! Many of Diane’s stories were told from the first person, which made them even more powerful. Several of the adults in the audience were visibly moved listening to her sweet, heartbreaking tales.
The students were able to join in with all kinds of call and response, which kept the large audience of over 300 K–5th grade students engaged. Diane was masterful in getting full participation from the entire audience, children and adults alike. Thank you Diane and Erik for a fantastic morning!