DES MOINES, IOWA — Don Tate knows what its like to find bookshelves devoid of anyone who looked like him as an African-American child growing up in Central Iowa. Now he’s made a career of filling those same shelves with the stories he couldn’t find.
“When I grew up there weren’t a lot of books in the library featuring people who looked like mE,” says Tate, a Des Moines native. “When black history month came around those stories tended to be about slavery and civil rights and the suffering of black people.” Tate says the seriousness of those stories didn’t appeal to him and he felt ashamed, until he learned what the stories were really trying to teach him.
“I realized these are stories of perseverance and brilliance and black creativity,” says Tate. That realization lead him to begin his career as a storyteller. “In addition to these stories of slavery and civil rights we needed stories of black girl joy and black boy magic. That’s what I’ve done in my career is to tell these untold stories.”
You can find more of Don Tate’s work on his website: www.dontate.com