Date of Award


Degree Type


University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)


School of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name



African-American Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Mary A. Twining


This study examines the oral traditions of African American children through their games and play activities. It is comprised of a thorough analysis of the historical literature on African American folk song and dance for a solid background into contemporary African American expressions of music and movement. The thesis is based on the assumption that African Americans' oral traditions, although definitely affected by experiences of acculturation and enslavement, are still rich with their African heritage and are uniquely theirs. The bulk of the thesis is dedicated to examining the collected games and plays of African Americans, both from printed and recorded sources and from field research. Plays dating from slavery to the present are included and provide for excellent comparison between the two. The conclusions after detailed examination show that many of the games have survived generations of cultural transmission and are still popular today.

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