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Black Folktales

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  55 ratings  ·  4 reviews
Twelve remarkable folktales, culled from the black experience in Africa and America, are freshly retold in the thoroughly original voice of Julius Lester. Arranged by topic — Origins, Love, Heroes, and People — the tales combine universal themes and uncanny wisdom. Though some of these stories have been around for centuries and many were passed down by slaves, Julius Leste ...more
Paperback, 110 pages
Published January 10th 1994 by Grove Press (first published October 1st 1970)
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Black History Month
104th out of 369 books — 351 voters
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This is an excellent collection of classic folktales, respectfully told, though with a dash of late sixties influence added to the writing.

There are stories about Love, Heroes, and Origins, like "How God Made the Butterflies" and "How the Snake Got His Rattles." I liked the author's depiction of God as a portly man, perched in his rocker, chomping on a big cigar. He is also apparently pretty grumpy before he has his morning coffee.

Though folktales are usually meant for children, these stories a
Folktales are like stage performances: done and redone so often, the particular(re)interpretation we happen to catch becomes our personal reference point. Julius Lester is, for me, the consummate performer. His voice and the sly political and social commentary he weaves into these tales make them vivid for each generation -- despite the fact that this volume was published 45 years ago. Note to the uninitiated: For more of this virtuoso storyteller's voice --his literal voice-- make the effort to ...more
Read it as a kid in 4th grade and later as an adult. First place I ever heard of Stagolee. Stagolee was so bad he pulled a gun on Death, was killed personally by God with a thunderbolt and when he went to hell he took over.
Nicole G.
Short folk tales
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I was born on January 27, 1939 in St. Louis, Missouri. From 1941-1954 I lived in Kansas City, Kansas, and from 1954-1961 in Nashville, Tennesse. I received a B.A. in English from Fisk University in 1960.

In 1961 I moved to New York City where I had a talk radio show on WBAI FM from 1966-1973, hosted a television talk show on WNET from 1969-1971.

Since 1968 I have published 43 books. Among the awards
More about Julius Lester...
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“Stagolee was, undoubtedly and without question, the baddest nigger that ever lived. Stagolee was so bad that the flies wouldn't even fly around his head in the summertime, and snow wouldn't fall on his house in the winter. He was bad, jim. ” 2 likes
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