Resources - Freedom Stories

All Freedom Stories resources are provided free of charge for educational and nonprofit purposes only; not for commercial use. We ask that these resources be used for the general good: for developing safe spaces, inclusive dialogue, and a deeper understanding of historically marginalized stories.


Watch master storyteller Sheila Arnold as she brings to life true tales from the Underground Railroad. This special session began the two-year Freedom Stories initiative. This session includes a special...
October 5, 2019
Our first Freedom Stories public discussion posing the critical question, “Do Black lives matter in Appalachia?” including performance from National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Fellow and co-founder of the...
July 3, 2020
You’ve heard of Juneteenth, but what about Emancipation Saturday? This Freedom Stories discussion explores this lesser-known Appalachian emancipation celebration. The distinguished panel features Black in Appalachia founder, William Isom; author...
August 8, 2020
Antebellum slavery is most often associated with the Deep South: sprawling Mississippi cotton fields, Alabama sugar plantations, and Georgia estates straight from Gone with the Wind. But Central Appalachia had...
September 5, 2020
Inspirational instrumentalist and storyteller, Reverend Robert Jones, Sr., brings to life true tales from the Underground Railroad. This session was originally presented as part of the 2020 National Storytelling Festival...
October 1, 2020
Our sixth Freedom Stories event explores the history of a tri-racial ethnic group prevalent in Central Appalachia and the rural Southeastern United States known as Melungeons. Through performance and discussion...
November 7, 2020
At the end of the Civil War, the South emerged with destroyed transportation and shipping lines, a devastated economy, and no labor force. The North and South agreed slavery was...
January 9, 2021
The end of the Civil War granted ascendancy of industry over agriculture. This economic shift in the American ideal gave birth to a new generation of American capitalist focused on...
February 13, 2021
This is the ninth public discussion in our Freedom Stories series. Through performance and conversation with Emmy Award-winning storyteller, Bobby Norfolk; Langston Centre Supervisor, Adam Dickson; and Green McAdoo Cultural...
March 13, 2021
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This discussion, “Out-Migration: Spreading Appalachia Abroad” is a look at how Appalachian culture, specifically Black Appalachian culture, has spread to other areas of the country. We hear from wordsmith and...
April 10, 2021
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In 1955, Rosa Parks refused to relinquish her bus seat to a white patron, an act which sparked the Montgomery bus boycott. In 1963, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr....
May 8, 2021
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In 1776, America’s forebears declared that “all men are created equal.” Twelve years later, they developed their plan for “a more perfect Union.” While not unprecedented, these acts were unique...
June 12, 2021
Following two years of programming, six ISC staff, project supporters, and guest panelists come together to share their reflections on the Freedom Stories initiative and discuss hopes for continuing the...
February 9, 2022


The Freedom Stories Story Map serves as an amalgamation of location data which pertains to the Freedom Stories project....
April 19, 2021
Originally conceived as a series of in-person events, Freedom Stories was forced to pivot to an all-online delivery due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this allowed us to reach far...
July 20, 2021
As part of this project, we partnered with the National Humanities Alliance to document the impact of the Freedom Stories initiative. This infographic represents their findings for the Freedom Stories...
July 21, 2021
Along with quantitative analysis of each discussion, the National Humanities Alliance also captured qualitative feedback from Freedom Stories participants. This infographic shows a handful of direct quotes from these participants...
July 21, 2021
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This report reflects data which was collected and collated both by International Storytelling Center (ISC) staff and by the National Humanities Alliance (NHA), a coalition of organizations dedicated to advancing...
August 9, 2021
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Curriculum Guide
These curriculum guides were designed by and for secondary and post-secondary instructors. Please use them to augment existing curriculum in your classroom, as guides for further independent study, or simply...
October 18, 2021

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