1989 Working Papers #2: “‘There Are Other Ways To Get Happy’: African American Urban Folklore”

“There are other ways to get happy,” the slogan signifying “Say no to drugs!” is gaining attention within the African American community in the Philadelphia (Pennsylvania) area. “There are other ways to get happy” comes from learning about and understanding traditional elements of African American folklore. For those who seek to understand and appreciate folklore that has been passed down from ancestors, they will be able to pursue positive improvements of urbanization. The study of African American folklore has long concentrated on the verbal arts and music, but today more attention is given to everyday, non-verbal, traditions. How people group together and share similar non-verbal characteristics always has taken place among African Americans. Recently research has begun to observe significance in the way certain groups gather and has sought to describe the qualities that make groups enjoy one another. An example of this type of gathering would be a gospel choir that meets on a regular basis not only to sing but also to enjoy the pleasure of expressing themselves. The importance of these groups getting together offers a positive force that enhances the quality of their lives. Twelve citations are listed in the pamphlet along with topics relating to African Americans.

Jerrilyn McGregory