Power of Storytelling
Acclaimed storyteller, Shelia Arnold, performed at Miller School of Albemarle on Friday, January 26. Accompanied by Sarah Brady, the duo used dramatic storytelling to teach lessons about the history of the Civil Rights Movement. The program included a dramatic performance of the experience of Barbara Henry and Ruby Bridges. Ruby Bridges was the first student in New Orleans, Louisiana to desegregate William France Elementary School; Barbara Henry was her teacher. The performance highlighted the positive power of friendship and the need for individuals today to seek out a diverse group of friends.
With the prevalence of technology in the lives of children and adults, one might assume that storytellers have a hard time finding a captive audience. Interestingly, this is not the current trend. Shelia Arnold commented, "storytelling is an art that is going through a Renaissance. From personal narratives to fairy tales, storytellers are finding new audiences who want to hear a good story."
The student body at MSA was spellbound by the power of Ms. Arnold and Ms. Brady's performance. Ms. Arnold remarked afterwards that this is common among young audiences. "Our children are starving for people to talk to them."
When asked how one can make a difference today, Ms. Arnold responded with a simple but profound suggestion. "Go out of your way to make a friend, a real friend, whose background and culture is different from your own."
The stories told in chapel were particularly moving because all were from the point of view of "normal people standing up for what is right," commented Ms. Brady.
"We all think in stories," mused Ms. Arnold. The special presentation gave MSA students an opportunity for both discovery and reflection. They gained a greater appreciation for the Civil Rights Movement as well as the countless individuals whose stories were the voice of change.