The “Urban Aesop” to visit Tyler Public Library

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Released by the City of Tyler:

TYLER, TX - Acclaimed storyteller DeCee Cornish will come to Tyler Public Library Friday, July 16, at 1:30 and 3 p.m. Telling stories from cultures around the globe, Cornish keeps things light-hearted and fun for little ones, entertaining and relevant for teens, yet cautionary for all, in the tradition of the griot.

"The griot is the village storyteller, keeper of history and legend," says Cornish. "This aspect of black culture was lost to the Americans as a result of the middle passage, where the language, history and culture of a people were eradicated by an oppressor. I am recreating the art form and reinserting it into the urban village of today."

Cornish, who also describes himself as an "urban Aesop", is Texas born and was raised in "Fifth Ward" Houston. A prodigal at heart, he joined the military and traveled the world, visiting five of the seven continents, while attending colleges and universities worldwide. He lived for years among the people of the Pacific Rim, Southeast Asia, Australia, Alaska and the desert tribes of the American southwest, finally settling down in Ft. Worth, Texas.

He uses stories to teach and motivate inmates and youth in the federal, state and county correctional facilities. In 2004, his work with at-risk pre-teens and teenagers was recognized by the Presidential Commission on Arts and Humanities.  Cornish also conducts training for schoolteachers on the use of storytelling in the classroom and storytelling to teach about anger and violence.

Cornish's work is recognized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention in Multi-Cultural Collaboration and the I Have a Dream Foundation.

"As a contemporary American griot," says Cornish, "I represent you. When I sit among the griots of Africa they don't ask me about Africa they ask me 'Hey DeCee tell me a story about the Hood?' Now we can thank (the media) for that, because all the world sees of us is the 'hood' but we are more than that. It is my job to tell our stories, learn theirs in turn and share them all."

Throughout June and July, Tyler Public Library continues to host exciting free events for adults and kids to beat the heat. Movies, story hours and lively family entertainers will fill the long hot days of summer. All activities are free and open to the public.

All summer programs take place in Taylor Auditorium at the Tyler Public Library, 201 S. College in downtown Tyler. Summer Reading Club programs are made possible through the Friends of the Tyler Public Library, with additional support from Target Distribution Center-Tyler. For more information, call the Library at (903) 593-7323 or check out the Summer Reading Club page online at

Information on this and other City of Tyler events is listed on our website at, on our Twitter page at\TylerEvents; or become a friend of The City of Tyler, Texas on