Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A = Althea Gibson…I Think: A-Z Blogging Challenge 2015: History Stories and the Telling of Them

Quick Performance Update (next two weeks):
    Apr. 3, 4, 6, 7 & 13 - Performances for Worldstrides, Inc. Student Tour Groups in Williamsburg, VA. 
    Sat., Apr. 11 - Lancaster Court Days, @Mary Washington Library and Museum, Lancaster, VA; 10 am – 4 pm (Oney Judge Historic Character Presentation, Ol’ Bess Historic Character Presentation, General Storytelling)

     Other Apr. performances:  California (Hawthorne); South Carolina (Woodruff), Virginia (Herndon, Oregon, Portsmouth, Williamsburg)
     Upcoming May performances:  California (Fresno); New York (Westchester County); VA (Norfolk, Williamsburg), West Virginia (Shepherdstown)

This year I am attempting to participate in the A-Z Blogging Challenge 2015.  My theme is “History Stories and the telling of them.”  My desire is to share some history facts and the stories I think are intriguing around them, along with some ways I have told history stories and techniques of researching and telling historical stories.  (That was a mouthful!)  So let’s begin….

A = Althea Gibson
Althea Gibson from

One of my friends, school librarian”, Janet Bass at Oklahoma Christian Schools, always gives me a book when I come and perform at her school.  She gives very unique and great choices and knows my likes.  This year she gave me the book, 28 Days:  Moments in Black History that Changed the World by Charles R. Smith, Jr. and illustrated by Shane W. Evans.  I was curious about the book because of its title and the introduction’s purpose to give unique African-American history dates to correlate with the amount of days in Black History Month.  It was a quick read and I want to encourage teachers and others to use it in the classroom, and I have a desire to work with author to create a Teacher’s Lesson plan for the book, however, the story of Wilma Rudolph grabbed me.
Wilma Rudolph from

I have previously read about Wilma Rudolph, the famed African-American Olympic track star, but I didn’t remember her life story:  “nineteen siblings”, “battled pneumonia, measles and scarlet fever and polio”, “the child would never again walk”, leg messages given by her family, then basketball, track and the Olympic gold.  Ah! What a storyThe overcoming, the persistence, the family rallying around….. oops, this is supposed to be about Althea Gibson.  Uh….hmmm….ever have that moment when you forget a name or you change one name for another?  Well, I did just as I was beginning to think about this challenge, but I decided to use “Althea’s name anyway”

Moving forward….As I read this story, and the others I saw lots of historical stories just waiting to be told.  Althea Gibson [see she’s in there] – started tennis at 14 and was a prodigy, became first African American to win the French Open; Robert Smalls – commandeers a Confederate sheep and captains it to freedom and later to the US Congress; Mae Jemison – skips 7th grade because reading at a college level, enters high school at age 12 and lives up to her 5-year-old declaration to her teacher “I mean to be a scientist” (and an astronaut).  I can’t wait to research more on some of these and add the stories to my repertoire.  I want to be clear, though, I’m not just adding these stories because I’m African-American, but because they are stories that inspire, motivate and instruct.  I encourage many storytellers of various cultures and heritage to tell these stories. 

What historical person’s story inspires you and that you tell or would like to tell?  Do you tell stories from cultures other than your own?  Oh, and ever have that moment when you mix up a name?  (welcome to my world!)

P.S.  Another good book about historical persons is 50 American Heroes Every Kid Should Meet by Dennis Denenberg & Lorraine Roscoe.  Enjoy!

What am I reading?  Yesterday finished “Curing the Cross-Eyed Mule:  Appalachhian Mountain Humor” by Loyal Jones & Billy Edd Wheeler, printed by August House, Inc. (@AugustHouseInc).  Currently reading “Revolution in World Missions” by K. P. Yohannan.  Most recent line I just HAD to underline - "


  1. Thank you for this, as the years go by I'm continually frustrated at the amount of history that doesn't get told ad the number of inspiring people we and our children never hear about. You are doing great work! Thank you.

    1. Sharon, I apologize for such a delayed response to your comment. First, thanks for reading. Second, I wholeheartedly agree with you about the how much our children don't get to know about. Thanks for the encouragement. Keep reading and remember to tell YOUR story! Peace,

  2. Fun post! And I learned new things! Thank you! :)

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary - Epics from A to Z
    MopDog - 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

    1. Csenge, I apologize for the delayed response to your comment. First, thanks so much for reading the blog, and for your encouragement in doing this. I am behind, but determined to at least work through the alphabet; I have learned so much from writing and from reading others. You always write such spectacular blogs. One day I'm gonna grow up and be like you. :) Keep reading and remember to tell YOUR story! Peace,

  3. Miss Sheila, getting to read your blog is almost as much fun as getting to hear you in person... OK, Not quite. I miss your smiles, laughter and hugs in person. I really liked the telegraphic style you used in the quick summary of "28 Days." Well done.

    1. Hi, Robert. I apologize for this delayed response to your comment. You are always so encouraging. I look forward to seeing you again some time later in the fall/winter. I'm glad the summary of 28 days worked; is a really good book. Take care. Enjoy the spring and bear through the summer. :) Keep reading and remember to tell YOUR story! Peace,

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