Freddi Williams Evans

Author / Independent Scholar / Arts Educator / Licensed Tour Guide

Freddi Williams Evans is an author and arts educator.

artist statement

“My goal as a writer is to promote, preserve and share untold and under-told stories of the African American experience. This endeavor reflects my passion for history and is focused in literature for children as well as adults. Drawing from a multidisciplinary artistic background infuses my work as is illustrated by my years of research and numerous presentations on Congo Square, a historic and cultural landmark in New Orleans.  Themes that resonate in my writing include community, family and courage. For young readers, I strive to craft stories with themes that make history come alive – that inform, empower and ignite a curious desire supporting a life long passion for reading. For all audiences, a common thread of intention throughout my diverse writing and professional endeavors is to engage, enlighten and inspire.”


Bio

Freddi Williams Evans is a previous public school arts educator/administrator and current arts education consultant. Her book, Congo Square: African Roots in New Orleans, which is the first comprehensive study of the historical landmark, received the 2012 Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Book of the Year Award and has been published in French. Her research and advocacy for Congo Square influenced the New Orleans City Council to pass an ordinance in 2012 that made the popular name, “Congo Square,” the official name of the national landmark. She has written over a dozen articles for professional publications, and her numerous engagements include presentations in France (Paris, Aulnay and Bordeaux) and Senegal (Dakar and St. Louis) sponsored by the American Embassies in those locations.  She participated in Fulbright Teacher Abroad programs in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Japan and additional study-travels in Ghana and Haiti.

Evans is also an award-winning author of three historically based children's books, Hush Harbor: Praying in Secret, The Battle of New Orleans - the Drummer's Story, and A Bus of Our Own. Her numerous recognitions include, New Orleans Arts Council Community Arts Award and a Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame Award. She is a native of Madison, Mississippi and holds dual degrees in music and psychology from Tougaloo Collage, Tougaloo MS and a graduate degree in creative arts therapy (music) from Hahnemann University, Philadelphia, PA.


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International Research/Travels: SELECTED LISTING

“NOMMO in Exile” in Didn’t Wash Us Away: Transformative Stories of Post Katrina Cultural Resilience, New Orleans: Johnsons and Associates, 2016

“The Forward” in Freedom in Congo Square (Little Bee Books, 2016)

"Congo Square." Oxford African American Studies Center. Ed. New York: Oxford U.P., 2015

 “African Spirituality and Religion in New Orleans’ Congo Square,” Ashe' to Amen Exhibition Catalogue, Ashe Cultural Arts Center, New Orleans, 2015

 “Congo Square.” In The SAGE Encyclopedia of African Cultural Heritage in North America. Ed. Sheren Sanders, Ph.d. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, Inc., 2014

The Popular Dances of Congo Square.” In The SAGE Encyclopedia of African Cultural Heritage in North America. Ed. Sheren Sanders, Ph.d. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, Inc., 2014

“Kongo Music and Dance at New Orleans’s Congo Square.” In Kongo Across the Waters, Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2013

“Congo Square.” KnowLA Encyclopedia of Louisiana. Ed. David Johnson. Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, 16 Sept. 2013

“Freddi Evans’s Black Expressions in the Big Easy” in The Booklover’s Guide to New Orleans, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2013.

“Congo Square: African Roots in New Orleans.” Louisiana Cultural Vistas, Fall, 2011

Congo Square: African Roots in New Orleans (University of Louisiana Press, 2011)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2012 Humanities Book of the Year, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities

“New Orleans’ Congo Square: A Cultural Landmark” in Ancestors of Congo Square: African Art in the New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans: Scala Publishers, 2011

Hush Harbor – Praying in Secret (Carolrhoda Books, 2008)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2009 Best Picture Book - Language Arts, The Society of School Librarians International       

“A Bus of Our Own,” The Storytelling Classroom (Libraries Unlimited, 2006)

Ÿ The Battle of New Orleans: The Drummers Story (Pelican Publishing Co., 2005)

Ÿ A Commentary on A Bus of Our Own, “Africa Rising,” Louisiana Weekly, June, 2004

Ÿ A Bus of Our Own (Albert Whitman & Company, 2001)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2004 Juvenile Book Award, Mississippi Library Association; 2003 Living the Dream Book Award, New York; 2002 Oppenheim Portfolio Platinum Book Award;                                                                          2002 Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People; 2002 Best Children’s Books; Bank Street College of Education, New York

   Apartheid Laws in South Africa and “Separate but Equal” Laws in the Deep South, Part I and II, “Africa Rising,” Louisiana Weekly, September 2001               

   “Jordan B. Noble, The Drummer of Chalmette,” The New Orleans Tribune, Dec/Jan, 2001                                                                                                                                    

   “Jordan B. Noble:  The Drummer of Chalmette,” Preservation In Print, Feb, 2001

 

International Research/Travels/Presentations

Independent Research/Travel, Jacmel and Port au Prince, Haiti, 2015

Congo Square Presentations and Independent Research, Dakar and St. Louis, Senegal, 2014

Congo Square Presentations, Bordeaux Congo Square Festival, Bordeaux, France, 2013

Congo Square Presentations, Festival Aulnay All Blues, Aulnay and Paris, France, 2012

Independent Research/Travel, Ghana, West Africa, 2006

Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund Teacher Program, 2004

Fulbright, Teachers Abroad, U. S. Department of Education, South Africa, 2000

European Art Study/Travel, England, France, Italy, 1999

Fulbright, Teachers Abroad, U. S. Department of Education, Zimbabwe, 1995

Exchange Study/Travel, University of Ghana, Accra West Africa, 1976

 

COMMUNITY ACTIVISM:

Co-chair, New Orleans Committee to Erect Historic Markers for the Transatlantic Slave Trade to Louisiana and Domestic Slave Trade to New Orleans, National Park Service, 2015 – present

Director,“Sundays in Congo Square,” children’s performance at N.O. Jazz Festival, 2013 – present

Founding Partner, New Orleans Teaching Artist Institute, Contemporary Arts Center, 2013, 2014

Board Member, Congo Square Preservation Society, 2011 – present

Founding Member, New Orleans Chapter WNBA (Women’s National Book Ass.), 2011 – present

Curator, Congo Square Exhibition, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, 2012

Initiator, New Orleans City Council Ordinance, Calendar No. 28, 411, that made “Congo Square” the official name of the historic landmark, 2011

Co-writer, Text for the historic marker at Congo Square, New Orleans, LA 1997

Founding Member, “Kids to Africa,” a study/travel program to Africa for New Orleans middle school students, 1996

 

Selected Congo Square and Black History Events: Selected Listing

Presenter, SAGE Program, Mayor’s Office, DeRidder, LA, 2016

Presenter, SAGE Program, McNeese University, Lake Charles, LA, 2016

Panellist, Tremé/7th Ward Arts & Culture Festival, New Orleans, 2016

Panellist and Presenter, New Orleans Community Day, WK Kellogg Foundation, 2016                                                                         

Panellist, ROOTs Advanced Screening, The History Channel and A+E Studios, New Orleans, 2016

Class Lecturer, Tulane University, Department of Music, New Orleans, 2016

Speaker, Black History Presentation, Southern University at New Orleans, New Orleans, 2016

Speaker, “The HistoryMakers” Presentation, St. Augustine High School, New Orleans, 2015

Panellist, Caribbean Studies Association Conference, New Orleans, 2015

Panellist, 2018 Tri-Centennial Commission, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, City of New Orleans, 2015

Panellist, Kongo Across the Waters Exhibition, New Orleans Museum of Art, 2015

Speaker, MAAFA, Congo Square/Armstrong Park, New Orleans, 2013, 2015, 2016

Speaker, Premier of Congo Square (Orchestral Composition), Uni. of LA, Lafayette, 2015

Panellist, Flash of the Spirit Conference (P.3 Biennial), Ogden Museum, N.O., 2014

Speaker, International Jazz Day event, St. Louis, Senegal, April 30, 2014

Speaker, Beta Delta Omega Chapter, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Jackson, MS, 2014

Lecture, John Coltrane Festival, Maison de la Culture Douta Seck, Dakar, Senegal, 2014

Panellist, West African Research Center (WARC), Dakar, Senegal, 2014

Speaker, Louisiana District Office of U.S. Small Business Administration, 2014

Featured Speaker, Bordeaux Congo Square Festival, Bordeaux, France, September, 2013

Panellist, Conference Internationale, Bordeaux, France, September, 2013                              

Collaborator, “Congo Square: Dances of the Diaspora,” with Chuck Davis, NOLA, 2013        

Featured Speaker, Congo Square, Hamilton Hill Arts Center, Schenectady, NY, 2013

Presenter, Calcasieu Parish Public Library, Lake Charles, LA, 2013

Presenter and Panelist, La Maison des Cultures du Monde, Paris, France, Nov., 22, 2012

Presentation, Georges Brassens High School, Paris, France, Nov. 21, 2012

Speaker, Sarah T. Reed High School, Career Day, New Orleans, 2012

Speaker, “The HistoryMakers” Presentation, Helen Cox High School, September 28, 2012

Producer, Panel Discussions for Historic Tremé 200th Year Celebration, New Orleans, 2012, 2013

Presenter, The Creole Festival, Louisiana State Museum – Mint, New Orleans, 2012

Presenter, Tulane University for The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, 2012

Speaker, 1st Annual International Jazz Day (UNESCO), Congo Square, April 30th, 2012

Speaker, Congo Square Symposium, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, 2012

Panellist, Hallelujah Bye and Bye: Funeral Processions in Ghana and New Orleans, Tulane University, New Orleans, 2012

Speaker, Congo Square, Le Musée de f.p.c. Museum, New Orleans, LA, 2012

Lecture, Arna Bontemps African American Museum, Alexandria, LA, 2012

Presenter, Congo Square, State Library of Louisiana, Baton Rouge, 2012

Lecture, Congo Square, Louisiana State Museum – Cabildo, New Orleans, 2011

Presentation, Congo Square, Ashe Cultural Arts Center, New Orleans, 2011                                                                                                                 

Book Talk, Congo Square, Louisiana Book Festival, Baton Rouge, 2011

Panellist, Tennessee Williams Festival, New Orleans, 2011

Panellist, Juneteenth Celebration, New Orleans African American Museum, 2011

Presenter, Congo Square, New Orleans City Council Meeting, April 28, 2011

Lecture, “New Orleans’ Congo Square: A Cultural Landmark,” NOMA, 2011

Panellist, “Haiti and the Music of Congo Square," New Orleans Jazz Festival, 2011                

Panellist, Congo Square Symposium, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, 2009                                                                                                                            

Featured Speaker, “Congo Square, the African Roots of New Orleans,” Xavier Uni., 2008

Speaker, Tom Dent Literary Festival, New Orleans Public Library, 2004, 2008, 2011

Panellist, Tom Dent Congo Square Lecture Series, NOJ&H Foundation, 2007

Panellist, National Council for Black Studies 29th Annual Conference, 2005

Presenter, 1st Congo Square Symposium, Southern University at New Orleans, 2004

Presenter, Southern Institute, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, 2003

Annual Joseph Logsdon Memorial Commemoration, St. Augustine Church, 2001

Producer, “I Hear the Drums,” a multi-disciplinary performance for children about Congo Square, Jackson, MS and New Orleans, 1995         

 

Media:

Television Appearances: Selected Listing

Interview, WDSU T.V, “The HistoryMakers,” September 20, 2015

Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Awards, New Orleans Access T.V., 2012

Featured Author, “Congo Square: A Cultural Treasure,” a documentary film,   

New Orleans Access T.V., 2011

Panellist, “Book TV,” C-Span T.V. at The Tennessee Williams Festival, NOLA, 2011                       

Guest Author, “Sunday Edition with Dennis Woltering,” WWL-TV Ch. 4, NOLA, 2011

Guest Author, “Good Morning New Orleans,” WGNO Channel 26 (ABC), 2011

Radio Interviews Selected Listing

Interview, Teranga FM 103.2 Radio, St. Louis, Senegal, April 30, 2014

Interview, France Bleu Radio, Bordeaux, France, September 12, 2013

Interview, Aquitaine T.V., Bordeaux, France, September 13, 2013

“Congo Square,” Stéphane Colin. ABS Magazine. Châteaugay, France, 2013

Interview, NOVA Le Grand Mix Radio, Paris, France, November 23, 2012

Interview, Radio France, Paris, France, November 23, 2012

New Orleans, Wake Up! www.neworleansblogtalkradio.com, 2012, 2013

Guest Author, WBOK, 1230AM, John Slade and Paul Beaulieu Show, 5/2011

Guest Author, “All Things New Orleans,” WWNO 89.9FM, New Orleans, 2011                                                                                                                    

Guest Author, WBOK, 1230AM, New Orleans, 2011

Guest Author, “The Reading Life,” WWNO, 89.9FM, New Orleans, 2011

Guest Author, “Sunday Journal,” Clear Channel, 1280AM, New Orleans; 2011

Guest Author, “Writer’s Forum,” WRBH-FM, 88.3FM, New Orleans, 2001

Guest Author, “Lloyd Dennis Show,” WODT-AM, 1280AM, New Orleans, 2001                                                                                                                                         

Documentary/Video Appearance: Selected Listing

Featured Historian, Kongo Across the Waters Exhibition Video, Uni. of Florida, Gainsville, 2013

Presenter, 1st International Jazz Day, UNESCO, (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization) Website and Video, Congo Square, 2012

Interview, “The HistoryMakers,” Chicago, IL, 2011

 

Printed Articles: Selected Listing

Article from Interview, “Congo Square: Le jazz connecte la Nouvelle Orléans à l’ Afrique,”

Scheina Adaya. Walfadiri Newspaper, Darkar, Senegal, April, 29, 2014

Mississippi Book Award, The Natchez Democrat, Natchez, MS, October 22, 2004

Book News and Awards, Jefferson Parish Public Schools Newsletter, 2001, 2004, 2006

Author Visit, The Helena Echo, Greensburg, LA, July, 2003      

Author News, Algiers Picayune, New Orleans, LA, November 8, 2001

Article from Interview, The Mississippi Link, Jackson, MS, October 25-31, 2001

Article from Interview, Madison County Journal, Canton, MS, September 27, 2001

 

Children’s Author Engagements: Selected Listing

Author Visit, Concordia Lutheran, Marrero, LA, 2016

Presenter, Black History Program, Belle Chasse Academy, Belle Chasse, LA, 2016

Speaker, New Orleans History Presentation, Christian Unity Baptist Church, New Orleans, 2016

Author Visit, Young Audiences Charter School, Gretna, LA, 2014

Speaker, Humanities Program, Metairie Park Country Day School, Metairie, LA, 2013

Speaker, Regular Baptist Church, Gretna, LA, 2013

Speaker, Q.U.E.E.N.S, Inc. Anniversary, St. James A.M.E. Church, NOLA, 2012

Author Visit, St. John Parish Public Schools, La Place & Reserve, LA, 2011

Presenter, Mississippi Reading Association, Gulfport, MS, 2010

Author Visit, Metairie Park Country Day School, Metairie, LA, 2010, 2015

Author Visit, Arlington Independent School District, Arlington TX, 2010      

Panellist, Louisiana Book Festival, Baton Rouge, 2009                                                                                                          

Author Visit, Coleen Salley Foundation, Lincoln Parish Schools, Ruston, LA, 2009                                                                                                                              

Featured Author, American Library Association, New Orleans, LA 2006

Guest Author, Dallas Children’s Literary Festival, Dallas, TX, 2001, 02, 06, 07, 09                                                                                                                       

Guest Speaker, 1st Young Author’s Celebration, William Carey College, Hattiesburg, MS, 2006

Featured Author, Young Author's Celebration, William Carey College, Hattiesburg, MS, 2007-10                                                                                                   

Presenter, F.B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival, University of Southern MS, 2005, 2009

Author Residency, First Regional Library System of Mississippi, 2005

Author, 1st New Orleans Literary Word Festival, 2004                                                                                                                                  

Presenter/Author, Louisiana Reading Association, New Orleans, 1990, 1993, 2001-03           

Featured Author, State Farm Bayou Classic, Neighborhood of Knowledge, 2003

Featured Author, Mississippi Library Association, Bay St. Louis, MS, 2003

Author, Multi-Cultural Bk Festival, Kennedy Center for the Arts, Washington, DC, 2003

Book Presentation and Signing, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, 2002

Presenter, Africana Studies Department, New Orleans Public Schools, 2002

Featured Author, Essence Music Festival, New Orleans, LA, 2002

Featured Author, State Conference, MS Department of Education, Gulfport, MS, 2002

Author Tour, Madison County Public Schools, Madison County, MS, 2002

Author Visit, Dallas African American Museum, Dallas, TX, 2002

Author Visit, Sacred Heart Academy, New Orleans, 2001, 2006

 

Awards and Recognitions:

First and Always Award, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, New Orleans Graduate Chapters, 2015

Cultural Preservationist Award, Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame, New Orleans, 2013

Torchbearer Award, National Coalition of 100 Black Women, New Orleans, 2012

Listed in “The HistoryMakers” – African Americans Who Have Influenced History, 2011

Community Arts Award – Arts Education, Arts Council of New Orleans, 2011

The Brown Bookshelf, http://thebrownbookshelf.com/ February, 19, 2009

Special Congressional Recognition for Outstanding Contributions to the Arts, 2002

Outstanding Achievement Award – Literature, The Links, Inc., N. O. Chapter, 2002

The Artie (Literature), Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, N. O. Alumnae Chapter, 2002

Kids-to-Africa, Inc., Founding Member Recognition, New Orleans, 2001

1998 Mazie Malveaux VSA Award for outstanding service to Louisiana students with disabilities  

Independent Research Grant, National Endowment for the Humanities, 1997