Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Happy birthday, Betty Mae Jumper

I just heard good news of the publication of a new biography for children of a great soul, Ms. Betty Mae Tiger Jumper, of Hollywood, Florida. Old pal, author Jan Godown Annino, is promoting her new book for children (of all ages), titled She Sang Promise , with appearances including one in a favorite spot, the St. Marks's National Wildlife Refuge, Saturday, May 1, described here, courtesy of the Tallahassee Democrat.

She Sang Promise
, by J. G. Annino, is published by National Geographic, and described here; distributed by Random House, and features a cool sample of the illustrations in a viewer, here.

I've finally found Jan's blog, including the reference to Ms. Jumper celebrating today - April 27 - as her birthday each year, at
So, happy birthday to you, Ms. Jumper! Che-han-tah-mo?

I used to keep and give away copies of Ms. Jumper's own illustrated book, Legends of the Seminole (Pineapple Press), written together with writer Pete Gallagher; here's the book, and the "peek inside" via Google. When I moved to Florida in 1994, I immediately learned about her work, as she received the Florida Folk Heritage Award in that annual cycle. I met her at the Florida Folk Festival, where the Florida Folk Heritage awards celebrate those illustrious souls; we also had the pleasure of hearing a master storyteller who learned traditional stories as a member of Ms. Jumper's family, Ms. Scarlett Young.

The 2010 FFF again features a Seminole Camp this Memorial Day weekend, described here. The camp, at the South gate on US Highway 41 of the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center in White Springs, is a partnership between the State of Florida and the Seminole Tribe's wonderful staff at the Ah-Tha-Thi-Ki Museum in South Florida. Instead, I'll be selling books in our shop, or some such, again this year; tell 'em all howdy, and I sent you, hear?

The Seminole Tribe of Florida website features a wonderful page about Ms. Jumper, including a story excerpt, Little Frog, here. Ms. Jumper says,
"This story was told to me by my grandmother when I was just a baby. Where we lived, the sounds in the woods were very important to us. We were always asking, "What is that sound from?" A lot of times we were answered with a story such as this one."
[Just ignore the note, "Visit Betty Mae's website"; the tribe kept a site at something like for a while, then stopped.]

And, not to be missed - though I miss a lot of these, and all my old colleagues - in the R. A. Gray Building, is the Voices of Florida Women exhibit at the Museum of Florida History, courtesy of the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs in Tallahassee... online, here. Wait, a quick search turns up no Betty Mae Jumper, though other great Seminoles and Florida folk tradition bearers do appear.

However, a search of the collections of the Florida State Archives contains more of the documentary and ethnographic collections, audio and visual samples of Ms. Jumper. Thanks to the State of Florida, Ms. Jumper appears in both the Florida Photographic Collection and the Florida Folklife Collection; a web-based search of the fine finding aids to the Folklife Collection produces archival records as results, here. And in fact, there is an exhibit I missed in 2007-8 at MFH, Seminole People of Florida (still online here); the Archives component paralleling the exhibit features the image of Ms. Jumper I use to accompany my blog post, here.

Hm... The Florida Women's Hall of Fame inducted Ms. Jumper in 1994, as noted here.

Might some kind soul donate an appropriate artifact, working together with curatorial staff, representing Ms. Jumper's career for the Museum of Florida History?

On your birthday, then, again, here's to you, Ms. Betty Mae Tiger Jumper! Be well.

P.S. I wrote my blog post on April 27; it took a week or more to show up on Facebook notes, due to four accompanying photos and a gazillion links. Aha, more Facebook links!
The Facebook group for She Sang Promise is here.
The Ah-Tha-Thi-Ki Museum Facebook page is here.
The 2010 Florida Folk Festival is on Facebook here; and on the web, here.

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