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African American Folklore

The African American Folklore Section of the American Folklore Society was founded in October 2019. Founding section members committed to meet these expectations, at minimum: meet at the AFS annual meeting, use AFS communication tools to communicate essential section business throughout the year, and sponsor or foster pre-organized sessions and individual presentations at the annual meeting on the subject of African American folklore.

On March 16 at 6:00 p.m. (CST), Todd Lawrence, Maria Lewis, and Lamont Pearley will host a livestream event offered by the AFS African American Folklore Section, the African American Folklorist, and Jack Dappa Blues featuring Notable Folklorists of Color creators and curators, Phyllis May-Machunda, Sojin Kim, and Olivia Cadaval.

Learn more about the event.

The section is proud to sponsor the John Wesley Work III Award, launched in 2022, to honor and spotlight applied folklorists, ethnographers, and ethnomusicologists who actively focus on the research, documentation, recording, and highlighting of African American culture through performance, written word, and music in their scholarly works.

Beginning in 2022, the section asks members to contribute an annual dues payment of $15 in order to support important work like the John Wesley Work III Award. Though anyone may freely participate in the section, section dues payments are essential to sustain this annual award. Reliable dues contributions may also make it possible to offer additional need-based financial assistance as necessary to support the winner’s participation in the annual meeting.

The section will also discuss other priorities and develop a sustainable plan for ongoing efforts.

Get Involved

Sign in to the AFS Member Portal to join the section and ensure you’re receiving section communications. All of your section involvement can be managed under My Info.

Join the conversation in the African American Folklore Section’s forum in the AFS Member Portal.

Join the section’s active Facebook group.

Section conveners: Lamont Jack Pearley and Todd Lawrence.

Contact the section conveners at [email protected]

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