Featuring: Brother Blue (Posthumously)
Storyteller, Mentor, & “Holy Fool”
Brother Blue made an impression as soon as you are in the same room. He could be 10 feet away or 100 feet away and still his aura will take hold. Yes, the first time I saw Brother Blue, it was at the National Storytelling Conference held in Bellingham, Washington in 2004. This was my first time attending any National Storytelling Conference. Seeing Brother Blue solidified my need to promote the art of storytelling in any way that I could. He was willing to share his true self with everyone. Could I find my own way to further the work? Brother Blue always sought for people to find their voice and then shout it out to the heavens.
I can’t even dedicate decent enough words or thoughts about him. I had that fleeting moment that, to this day, feels surreal. All I know is that when he came to the floor of the auditorium that bustled with bards and raconteurs – all focus was on him when he took the stage. People – like me – hung on his every word. He was a peace-maker and what often felt eccentric bits of wisdom that formed as he opened his mouth. One of the most intelligent person I could hope to know all in disguise – of sorts – in his “wanderer” attire of different shades of blue – from the blue hat to the blue shirt and pants and covered in butterflies. Always butterflies, a symbol of personal transformation. Everything he did, said, and wore was with great purpose – often with spiritual undertones.
He saw himself as the “Holy Fool,” and a moment with him was enough to verify this identity. Five years later from when I first saw him in 2004, it was sounded out through the storytelling universe that Brother Blue had passed on.
Yet, he never really passed on. I see his influence everywhere.
When meeting with Laura Packer through Zoom, I noticed the blue butterfly on her left palm. I flashed back to 2004 again. Now, Laura Packer would be a person who could share so much more than me on Brother Blue’s ever-inspiring nature. She purposely has that blue butterfly as a constant reminder about him.
I did find these articles, books, and videos about or featuring him – from people who either knew him better or delved deeper into how Brother Blue became Brother Blue:
Hugh Morgan Hill, the Storyteller Brother Blue, Dies at 88 – The New York Times – published November 26, 2009
RIP, our Brother, Blue aka Dr. Hugh Morgan Hill – massmouth – published November 4, 2009
Brother Blue Is Immortal – Daily Kos, written by WarrenS – published November 5, 2009
Brother Blue – Alchetron – updated May 24, 2018
Brother Blue: A Narrative Portrait of Brother Blue A.K.A. Dr. Hugh Morgan Hill – book dedicated, published October 1, 1995
Ahhhh! A Tribute to Brother Blue & Ruth Edmonds Hill – book dedicated, published September 1, 2003
Brother Blue – Listen with Your Entire Being – only 42 seconds long though wisdom to hear – shared on YouTube on November 18, 2009
Some Footage of Brother Blue – National Association of Black Storytellers Festival 2007/2008
Brother Blue Confesses – a homage shared by Thomas Southern with him talking as if he was Brother Blue – really remarkable in how he was able to capture Brother Blue’s essence – shared on YouTube on August 29, 2016
Miss No Name: Struggles for Justice – a homage shared by Jay O’Callahan with permission from Brother Blue’s wife, Ruth Hill – shared on YouTube on August 23, 2013
Do you know a Story Artist who has passed on and want others to remember them? Memories? Pictures? You can submit names and memories of Story Artists who have passed on through our online form.
I appreciate Brother Blue for the influence of yesterday, today, and forever in all cosmic ways. He listened to others and thus why we are drawn to listen to him. Thank you, Brother Blue.
Brother Blue still has a story. You have a story. We all have stories.