An Appalachian of mixed ancestry, Omope Carter Daboiku hails from the Ohio River town of Ironton. She migrated to Cincinnati in 1972 and to Dayton in 2012. A cultural geographer and award-winning teller of tales, Omope became affiliated with the Ohio Arts Council in 1990 and the Cincinnati Arts Association at its inception in 1997 and has performed and led story circles across the U.S. and abroad. In 1993, she spoke at the Art of Survival (Nuremberg, Germany), addressing quilting as a cottage industry used by African American women to support families. In 2008, the U.S. Department of State chose her for a seven-city tour of Turkey as part of the Adana Consulate’s English Proficiency Program. Her company, Homeside, specializes in arts-based, culturally relevant academic curriculum. She is also a seasoned stage and voice actor with multiple production credits and accolades in theatre and television. Omope’s writing appears in the Southern Appalachian Writers Collective’s Pine Mountain Sand and Gravel, and in Frank X Walker and Nikki Giovanni editions of Shepherd University’s Anthology of Appalachian Writers, where her first published short story, “The Power of Water Baptism,” was nominated in 2014 for the prestigious Pushcart Prize. Grassroots work in health, nutrition, and foodways is documented in several small press cookbooks and “History Keeper” —a memoir about place and identity produced in 2018 at a Story Center/NPS Network to Freedom digital storytelling workshop— is on YouTube.
Working to share generational wisdom and encourage cross-cultural conversations about social justice, Omopé serves the Urban Appalachian Community Coalition as a cast member of “Express Appalachia,” an initiative about cultural identity. She supports the National Park Service and poet Paul Laurence Dunbar’s historic home, is a cultural advisor at Sinclair College and vice president of the Ohio Storytelling Network, and leads the Dunbar Branch of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.