Beverly Fields Burnette

Beverly Fields Burnette is a Storyteller (current President of the N.C. Association of Black Storytellers, Inc), a published poet, a retired school social worker/elementary guidance counselor, and the mother of two adult daughters who are both educators. Burnette is a great admirer/lover of poetry, short stories, history, genealogy and anthropology. Born in Rocky Mount, NC, Burnette, being the older of two children, relished hearing family stories and loved "eaves-dropping" in on the talk of the grown folks around her. These family and community stories sealed Burnette's early "storytelling" interest, as well as her desire to research her family genealogy. She has been a consistent hunter of her ancestors for over two decades.

Burnette attended Livingstone College, Salisbury, NC, and chose Social Work as a profession. During Burnette's professional career, she held positions as a Juvenile Evaluation Counselor at Dobbs (State Training) School (for Girls) in Kinston, NC, a Mental Health Social Worker at Murdoch Center in Butner, NC., and as a School Social Worker and Elementary Guidance Counselor for Wake County Public Schools.

Burnette has done freelance writing, and, for a time, was a script writer for "Sparks,” a locally – produced children’s television program. She also edited a small – town newspaper advice column for kids, entitled “Ask Miz Bee.” 

Burnette has written and published historical memoirs, and has had poetry published in eight state and national anthologies. She has employed poetry and storytelling as vehicles for teaching family and African American history, creating positive feelings, healing wounds, and bridging gaps.

Additionally, in the 1990's, Burnette created a drug prevention activity/coloring book for kids (presented as a narrative poem-story) entitled KC Takes a Stand, which was adopted by Partnership for a Drug-Free North Carolina and used (along with a study guide) by elementary guidance counselors in the Wake County Public Schools.

Burnette is a founding member of both the Carolina African American Writers’ Collective and the N.C. Association of Black Storytellers, Inc. (she is the current president of the latter); a member (for 26 years) of the Washington Street Writers group; a member of the Triangle Chapter of the African American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAGHS, Inc.); and a member of the national AAGHS, Inc. association.

Burnette continues to enjoy performing stories in the persona of Harlem Renaissance folklorist/anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston, and sharing personal stories of growing up in Eastern North Carolina. She has been a resident of Raleigh, NC for the past 45 years.

[This biography was submitted by the honoree and has been edited.]