I am often called a "griot" -- a "rememberer" charged with holding onto tradition and transmitting ancestral knowledge to future generations. As such, my work centers on inter-generational relationships, and the impact of time and place in developing personal identity. A residency with me as teaching artist could result in an exhibition of textile art, a story performance with music embedded, or anthologies of personal memoir and collective poems.
I am from northern Appalachia, specifically, Ironton (Lawrence Co), Ohio, a small river town with a history of providing pig iron for national infrastructure and for Union iron-clad ships during the Civil War. The iron-masters there supported the abolition of slavery, and the area has many documented Underground Railroad sites associated with the furnaces and nearby settlements. rn My great-grandfather and family migrated to Ohio from their Georgia farm in 1922, escaping terrorist attempts to steal their land which included a threat to hang my grandfather. Despite that painful heritage, my summers always included trips "down home" to sacred places in Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee and Georgia where family lived without electricity or running water.rn I grew up climbing hills and playing in creeks, fishing and picnicking at Vesuvius Furnace in Wayne National Forest; jumping double-dutch and reciting hand game rhymes; roller skating with pig-tails flying and skinning my knees on slag-filled playgrounds; singing spirituals, gospel and hymns, taking music lessons and playing multiple instruments; exploring ancient Kentucky caves; mastering needle crafts and learning the healing properties of the Plant People. rn I migrated to urban living in 1970, but my Appalachian upbringing grounds me in my identity. I gladly gut fish and game with a hum and no negative commentary, cook most anything from scratch, make gravy without lumps, squeeze a penny till it hollers, and tell a story that'll keep you listening.
Contact Info[email protected]
100 Huffman Ave #303, Dayton, OH 45403