*“The best way to get people to learn is to entertain,” said Dr. Kerri Moseley-Hobbs when I mentioned how entertaining her lectures are. She is an author, historian and lecturer who is a former model/actress that now manages her son Anthony Michael Hobbs, an award-winning actor and filmmaker.
Dr. Kerri Moseley-Hobbs has successfully tapped into those entertainment experiences when she speaks in her lectures and presentations on the history and culture of African Americans in America in the 18th Century. “I am talking to people saying, ‘question everything,’ I am talking to my son saying, ‘know your history,’ and I am talking to David saying, ‘I got the message’.”
David Walker was an abolitionist, anti-slavery activist and an author that Dr. Kerri Moseley-Hobbs came across during her research into enslaved Africans in America. He was the son of a slave and a free person, thereby born free in 1796. He wrote a book, a call for black unity and a fight against slavery for generations to come. So when I attended three of the many lectures and presentations of Dr. Moseley-Hobbs in 2020, aside from them being all different, all interesting because of her research documentation and the fact that her delivery was very entertaining, she always ended each with encouraging words.
In one lecture on Civil War research, she ended it saying “…as Thomas (her enslaved ancestor who fought for his freedom in the Civil War) said, ‘I am a free man, I do what I want’.” In another lecture and presentation of African Artifacts, she documented how the enslaved Africans that were forced to come to America were not illiterate, unintelligent and untrained, but were highly literate farmers, wielders, fabric makers, etc…who taught American Colonist how to do these trades. She ended that lecture by saying, “…you are more than the ancestors of an enslaved people.” Such serious dialog was made light by how she gave it, like a skilled comedian.
“Some are second-hand stories. Some are first-hand experiences. A lot of them (former enslaved) tell their stories…instead of academia. Fredrick Douglas ran from slavery and Rev. J. Wesley Loguen (who became a Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church) is a pastor who ran an underground railroad in 1859. We are not told this literature exists,” she pointed out about black history taught in America.
She noted that she also prays on what she should say for each engagement. She said, “God and Scripture are not separate from science. Science teaches you how Heaven is…Scriptures teach you how to go to Heaven.”
Her lectures began when she published a creative nonfiction book on the research and documentation she collected on her own ancestors the Fractions titled “More Than a Fraction: Based on a true story.” The research led her to a plantation in Blacksburg, Virginia called Smithfield that is now the campus of Virginia Tech University. It seems the site, where her ancestors were brought from Africa, had overseers that were looking for descendants of the Fractions who were enslaved on the estate – now a museum. The search was part of their attempt at reconciliation with those whose ancestors were enslaved there. By their request, Dr. Kerri Moseley-Hobbs became a Trustee of the Board of the Smithfield-Preston Foundation and an Advisor to the Virginia Tech Committee that oversees the property. Virginia Tech and Historic Smithfield have invited Dr. Kerri Moseley-Hobbs to lecture about her scientific research into the Fractions many times since the release of her book and it was to standing room only crowds.
Dr. Moseley-Hobbs said. “I like to connect what you do now with your culture to what they did then to get people excited about sharing that information.”
As far as being a great entertaining lecturer she concluded by saying, “I’m told that I come off honest and authentic. For some people, it could be hurtful, but some people find it entertaining. I don’t talk at you, I’m talking to you. I am reacting to them. In my lectures I also like to leave time for questions.”
Upcoming engagements of Dr. Kerri Moseley-Hobbs in 2021 are for Historic Smithfield, the Bay to Ocean Writers Conference and the Uplifting Minds II Entertainment Conference. www.MoreThanaFraction.com
SYNDICATED COLUMN: Eunice Moseley, MS, MBA, MPhil has an estimated weekly readership of over ¼ million with The Pulse of Entertainment. She is also a Public Relations Strategist and Business Management Consultant at Freelance Associates, and is Promotions Director (at-large) for The Baltimore Times. www.ThePulseofEntertainment.com. EVENTS: “Uplifting Minds II” Entertainment Conference (ULMII), founded by Eunice in 1999, is into its 21st year. Next events are coming to Baltimore Saturday April 17, 2021 at Security Square Mall via Zoom Conferencing and Los Angeles Saturday, November 6, 2021 via Zoom Video Conferencing. The ULMII event is a free entertainment conference offering a Business Management Panel Q&A Session, a Talent Showcase and Talent Competition (vocal, songwriting, dance and acting) where aspiring artists have a chance to receive over $15,000 valued in prizes/product/services. Log onto www.UpliftingMinds2.com for more information or to RSVP for Zoom Access email [email protected]