Billie Holiday |
Mahalia Jackson |
Oseola McCarty |
Connie Stone |
Cathay Williams |
Other Stories Based in History
Diane Williams currently has in her repertoire the biographical sketches of people whom she finds interesting enough to embody in a story and share with her audiences. She says, "These stories are based on individuals whose outstanding credits have left me with an overwhelming sense of gratitude and desire to share their lives with others." Diane Williams can create story presentations based on the lives of renowned individuals suitable for school, library, and holiday events such as Black History Month and Juneteenth celebrations.
Billie Holiday - The story of Lady Day allows us to take a seriously look at a woman whose eloquence caused some to commit suicide when they heard her sing Gloomy Sunday. Her singing, especially the song Strange Fruit and God Bless the Child, and the dramatic events that led up to her consuming drug abuse and uneventful death will be etched on our minds and hearts forever.
Mahalia Jackson - Diane's one-hour presentation on the highlights of Mahalia Jackson's life allows one to hear what life was like for Ms. Jackson as a poor girl growing up in New Orleans, Louisiana and overcoming many obstacles by following the path and pattern that God had for her life. Ms. Jackson became famous in 1945 when she sang, Move on Up a Little Higher. The syncopated rhythms of her contralto voice and her volume and dramatics mesmerized audiences around the world. Her style was different for the times she was living in. Ms. Jackson once said, "I don't need a microphone, just open the windows." This presentation can be fine-tuned as a 15-minute reflection on the early life and childhood of this "queen of gospel." Diane sings some of Ms. Jackson's more famous tunes and audiences have been known to join in with her.
- Diane shares and reflects on the life of this incredible woman who washed
clothes for others all her life in order to make a living. She saved almost every penny earned and
became famous as the "washer woman" who donated $250,000 to the
Connie Stone - During the war, women took their place in history by playing baseball while many of the men were away fighting. After World War II, Connie Stone came on the scene. She was a 2nd baseman for the Indianapolis Clowns (Negro Baseball League). This presentation is still a work in progress.
Harriet Tubman - Unlike the other presentations, this one is tailored specifically for children as it is a puppet show. Harriet takes on new meaning for children as she comes to life as a marionette puppet. As the children listen, Harriet tells her story and even reflects on a happy moment by dancing.
Other Stories Based in History
Annie Mae Jumps the Broom - Diane wrote this story in 1994 after performing the "Jump the Broom" ceremony is someone's wedding. It is based on two imaginary characters and Diane has captured the traditions, culture, and language of the slaves. This story leaves one smiling and filled with joy at its conclusion. The story has been written in a book and can be purchased from www.southernstories.com.
Celie, Midwife and Slave - This story is based on the life of a slave just prior to and after slavery. Her incredible story of pride and perseverance offers encouragement to both blacks and whites as Diane sings, "I'm Gonna Lay Down My Burdens and Study War No More."
For Freedom - The life of two slaves - a brother and sister, during the Civil War. The brother, Marshall, must fight with the Union Army. He promises his sister, "If I am wounded, I will not die. The blood will run warm in my veins until I see your face again."
The Railroad - We have taken for granted and forgotten the hard work of the men who built the railroads that connected the north, south, east and west for trade. We've especially forgotten the Gandy Dancer and Diane has tailored this story with a bit of song and dance and both young and old will have an opportunity to join in on the Gandy dance. The story is threaded with the heartbeat of history.
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