African American Storytelling
From the dawn of time, storytelling has always been a major event in the African and African American communities. Stories were used to answer questions, pass on history, and impart life lessons and acquire them.
Africa is the second-largest continent, with over eight hundred distinct languages spoken by its multitude of ethnic groups. Each group has its own name for the storyteller. The most popular term in the West is griot, which refers to an authority on oral performance. The term Akewi is used among the Yoruba, Maroka among the Hausa, and Imbongi among the Xhosa.
The archives of the past have been entrusted with the duty of preserving the beliefs and values of society. They are musicians, poets, public speakers, educators, genealogists, and custodians of people's history and customs.
Within their memory lies centuries of folklore, epics, myths, and legends passed on through oral tradition. It's in this light that a scholar might say, "When an elder dies, it's as if a library has been destroyed."
Africans were persecuted and enslaved during the notorious slave trade, in which slavers kept them from practicing many of their customs for thousands of years. The enslaved African was cut off from his rich African history. His name, which had substance and meaning, was erased.
He was not permitted to pray to his gods or speak his native tongue, according to the record. The clothing on their backs and the accounts they had heard and told in Africa were brought across the Atlantic by those who survived the horrors of the Middle Passage, which was a slave ship route from West Africa to the West Indies and America. They also recounted them.
The most popular type of storytelling among these enslaved people was the folktale. The lion, elephant, monkey, and trickster Anansi are some of the characters found in African folktales. The hyena, lion, elephant, monkey, and spider were among the characters mentioned in Africa's stories.
Among the most outstanding components of the I Ching is its ability to reproduce, reflect, and transform in order to adapt to a new environment. This text did not differ significantly from those produced during previous eras; however, the characters altered to match the animal life of this new terrain.
The lion, elephant, and hyena now had tales of the rabbit, fox, and bear that are recognized as the Brer Rabbit stories. These fables amused the plantation owner, therefore there was no issue with allowing this sort of activity.
The Brer Rabbit stories became a source of identification for the African slave. The rabbit, being one of the smallest and weakest creatures in the forest, had a special relationship with the Africans. Despite being one of the tiniest and weakest animals in the jungle, the rabbit was also one of its fastest.
He outwitted the larger and more powerful animals with his cleverness. These variants of African folklore were amusing to the enslaver, but they also served as a source of information and planning for enslaved Africans.