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Coggswell receives Humanities Award
The governor and the Missouri Humanities Council honored Gladys Caines Coggswell of Frankford with a Governor’s Humanities Award I Exemplary Community Achievement on Oct. 13 at Stephens College in Columbia for her portrayal of both her own life and the untold stories of African Americans across the state in her latest book, “Stories From the Heart: Missouri’s African American Heritage.”
Each year the state of Missouri and the Missouri Humanities Council celebrate the accomplishments of people who have made exceptional contributions to the understanding of Missouri, its people and its stories.
Coggswell, an award winning full-time professional storyteller, has been traveling throughout local communities for the past 20 years collecting stories to give insight to the African American experience in Missouri. During her visits she heard from many African Americans, gaining new and richer insights to the African American experience.
“I wanted to write about ordinary people ho made it, just by contributing as they went a long. These were ordinary people, but they had, what I felt were, extraordinary stories,” Coggswell said. “They didn’t have it so easy, but they made the world a better place just by being in it. These are people that have made it in spite of the odds being against them. Most books are written about famous people or superstars, people who make a lot of money. You have to be determined to do your best, where you have a lot of money or not.”