The Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum is celebrating Black History Month with a month-long lecture series kicking off Saturday, February 6th with “Folk Tales and Fables: Passing on the Oral Tradition to the Youth.”
Dr. Linda Hogans, Ph.D, will captivate the audience as she tells stories with passion emanating from her voice while her body emotes and transports the audience to a different place and time. This is a celebration of the African tradition of oral history and storytelling.
In Africa, storytelling is more than just entertainment. Through storytelling, questions are answered, history is conveyed and lifelong lessons are taught and learned. Centuries of enslavement in the Americans only strengthened the tradition. Hogans does not feel that she is a griot, which is a West African storyteller who is responsible for preserving the principles and values of the people.
She said the stories she tells are to honor her great-grandmother, her mother and five aunts.
“To me it’s history; my family history. There were always stories being told — stories about when my family was young, ghost stories, wild animal stories and some stories from books, but with a different spin on it,” said Hogans.
Who is Dr. Linda Hogans?
Originally from Havana, Florida, Hogans grew up on a tobacco farm. She got into storytelling by chance when she was the director of the Bridges to Learning Child Development Center of the 20th Street Church of Christ in 1992. She was asked during a conference to tell an impromptu story and quickly realized she had a knack for it.
She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from the University of South Florida in 1977. She then continued her education, receiving her M.Ed. in Interdisciplinary Studies in Curriculum and Instruction from National Louis University in 2000 and graduating with her doctorates from Barry University, University Partnership Center, and St. Petersburg College in 2008.
Hogans is now the executive director of Retention Administration at St. Petersburg College where she helps to retain students by confronting challenges that might hinder or interfere with their enrollment or completion of their college education. Some of the programs offered are the Student Support Services and Women on the Way. For high school students, the college offers College Reach Out Program as well as Summer of Success, an outreach program that gets students acclimated to college while allowing them to earn three credits.
She has also sat on two boards: Florida Fund for Minority Teachers as a gubernatorial appointee and on the Pinellas County Opportunity Council as Board President.
So don’t miss a chance to watch Hogans pass down a treasured piece of our heritage to the youth through the performances of African folktales and fables. She will dress in African attire with a cane in her hand as she becomes “Lil’ Clora’s Chil,” and pays tribute to her mother Clora and the other women in her family.
Hogans is also an accomplished writer and will be reading from her works including “It’s All In How You Look At A Thang,” “Gumma’s Kitchen,” “DEY AIN’T GOT NO ROOTS” and “Saved by Collard Greens.” “There is a strength and courage to our past that we have to remember. If they could endure, it gives me the courage to keep going,” said Hogans.