Teacher, Author, Photographer, Musician, Civil Rights Activists…

Today, I am grateful for the life and work of Julius Lester. Due to his scholarly work, we were gifted with a thick tome of numerous tales about the animals; Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox, Brer Wolf, Brer Bear… on, and on—the entire animal kingdom!

And that includes humans, too. They’re… we’re part of the animal kingdom! And there’s Sister Moon, the devil… and the dark and mysterious Aunt Mammy-Bammy Big-Money—the witch rabbit.

Yes, Julius Lester delighted my children and I with a year’s worth of tales; reading at least two to three a night. In the process, I think he taught us something, though I don’t quite know what it is. All I know for sure, is a great big grin starts growing from deep inside me, like it’s been a seed planted years ago… and my weak, old body can’t contain it none. And it bursts out like a bright ray of sunshine, lighting up my world at the tiniest of thoughts about them kin-folk… and their world shines alive in my being, tears of joy flow to my eyes as the corners of my mouth rise up to meet the sky in which Mr. Lester now resides…

Tell the tale as you would, not I, and believe in the tale… Trust the tale. Trust your love for the tale. That is all any good storyteller can do.

Julius Lester | Amherst, Massachusetts – August 1985

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