How My Auntie Inspires My Teaching

Many do not know that the presentation of my class at HU was inspired by my Aunt Ruth. She was a professor and I heard my cousins talk about how she would teach her classes and would include storytelling. She passed away several years ago from cancer, but her beauty is still so present.

The purpose of my class is to show how ancient texts help us tell the human story, which is why so many Black authors reference them in their writings. Each human story builds on the other until you learn the story of a people and how the ancestors and people who have come before have all contributed to the next human story. So I start my lectures off with a story, usually a story of Africa or African American history. I used Virginia Hamilton’s stories a lot as well. My favorite story is The People Could Fly because it reveals the power of WORDS and how they make us fly…literacy makes us fly!

After a short storytelling, we would discuss a Classic and an African American text that was assigned the week before and would reveal how the texts intersect and help us understand humanity. Every time I would tell a story I could feel my Aunt Ruth sort of and I felt like I was making her proud. She was so lovely, creative, artsy. Thank you Aunt Ruth for your example.

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