Sista’ Martha Ruff, an African American folklore and culture storyteller, former Lower School librarian at Gilman from 1986 to 1992, and grandmother to a Gilman first grader, visited several classrooms in Lower School on Tuesday, April 26. She shared poems by Paul Laurence Dunbar, an African American writer and poet born in 1872. A Baltimore City public school is named after him.
Ruff brought props to complement her presentation, including an instrument, a mask, an angel, and two baby dolls. She shared Dunbar’s poems “Dawn,” “Fishing,” “A Boy's Summer Song,” and “Little Brown Baby.” Ruff first recited the poems to the boys and then invited them to join her in reciting it together.
“The boys learned a lot about both poetry and Mr. Dunbar,” said fifth grade teacher Katie Thomas. “Mrs. Ruff brought her enthusiasm, characters, and love of storytelling to the students, and we are so grateful for the time she spent with us.”