|4/29/2014 1:52:00 PM
Drama students study African-American folktales
By BRENDA HARRISON
African American folktales told in Darlington County in the 1900s were retold and acted out during a drama workshop for seventh and eighth grade drama students at Southside Middle School. Artist-in-residence Jeremiah Nabawi of Savannah, Ga., worked with students in Gloria Turner’s drama classes last week. He shared with them folktales told to the Rev. Dr. William J. Faulkner as a 10-year-old boy growing up in Society Hill. William was the son of African American Lawrence Faulkner, a Society Hill postmaster, teacher and merchant. He was a successful businessman and holder of property, including his own store in Society Hill. When he passed away in 1898 his widow hired former slave, Simon Brown of Virginia, to work on her farm as a freed man.
A gifted story-teller, Brown shared his tales with the young William who later immortalized them in Brer Rabbit and His Friends and recorded them in “The Days When Animals Talked: Black American Folktales and How They Came to Be.” Nawabi told the classes that two historical markers were erected on Society Hill’s Main Street by the Darlington County Historical Commission in 1989 to honor Lawrence Faulkner and Simon Brown. Several of the drama classes presented a reading performance from Faulkner’s book to Special Education classes on Friday. The Drama 2 class rehearsed a performance reading of “Brer Tiger and the Big Wind,” which Mrs. Turner plans to record before the school year ends.