Wonderfully blending tradition and performance, Gladys Coggswell brings to the stage stories of the African American experience in Missouri — stories collected from our older residents, plus traditional folk tales, one-woman historical dramas, folk and gospel music and interactive storytelling-story sharing workshops. Programs can be tailored for young children, students, elders, or mixed ages. Coggswell has spent a lifetime gathering and telling stories — her great-grandmother’s, which relate back to slavery, her own, and stories researched through professional work and travel.She is the recipient of the Distinguished Achievement in Literature Award from the Missouri Humanities Council. Part teacher and part charmer, her dramatic portrayals and sharp sense of dialect and character make her a sought-after entertainer. “Storytelling has become a mission for me, to try to bring about a better understanding of history. At the same time I think there is a need for the kind of storytelling that will bring people together, rather than pull them apart.” Gladys just published her second book, “Stories from the Heart – Missouri’s African-American Heritage,” published by the University of Missouri Press. She is also available to speak about the book and history. Gladys just released Mark Twain's classic story on DVD, A True Story, Repeated Word for Word As I Heard It. She also performs this story several times a week at the Mark Twain Museum and Home in Hannibal. Search her name (Gladys Caines Coggswell) online for more information.