A Look at African Contributions to the Humanities: Storytelling at its Best

By Von H. Washington.

Published by The Humanities Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

I propose that we add African contributions to the discussion of the Humanities to shore up the self-esteem of millions of African American children and to provide updated information to all others. As an African American educator, I have spent most of my adult life trying to discern what has gone on in the world --as it pertains to my ancestral family. If one of the great rules of life is “know thyself,” American and world Educational Institutions have not spent much time trying to correct the damage that slavery, oppression, separation and segregation has done to their African American brothers and sisters. This is especially disheartening when after many years of research, I recognize the true depth of the African contribution to civilization and yet, at many levels, we continue our Humanities studies with the Greeks and the Romans. I specifically would like to address theatre and its place in the Humanities. When dealing with white educators, it is assumed that the study of the Humanities naturally begins with the Greeks when history reveals that the first great storytellers were Africans—the greatest being the African known as Aesop-- and we know that the Greek theatre began with storytellers.

Keywords: Theatre, Storytelling, African Culture

The International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp.111-120. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 532.422KB).

Dr. Von H. Washington

Dir. Multicultural Theatre Program, Theatre Department, Performance Area, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI, USA

Dr. Von H. Washington has written, directed, performed in and/or supervised more than 300 theatrical productions. Working professionally in three performing arts areas, he has amassed enough credit to become a member of several professional unions: SAG, AFTRA, and the AEA. He is also a member of the AAUP. He has directed theatrical productions and programs for Wayne State University, The University of Michigan, The University of Missouri, Kalamazoo College, Lake Michigan College, and Western Michigan University, where he presently directs the Multicultural Theatre Program. He has also worked as an actor, playwright, teacher, director, and theatrical consultant at various theatres across the country including the Missouri Repertory Theatre, The Meadow Brook Theatre of Detroit, The Los Angeles Theatre Center, The Kalamazoo Festival Playhouse, and the Attic, Detroit Repertory, and Hilberry Theatres of Detroit.He has directed state, regional and national College touring shows for Washington Productions, Inc. (WPI), Western Michigan University, the University of Michigan, Wayne State University, and The Afro-American Studio Theatre of Detroit. He has worked on theatre panels for the American Theatre Association, The Michigan Council for the Arts, The Detroit Council for the Arts, The Michigan Foundation for the Arts, and is a founding member of the Black Theatre Network.


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