Joyce Jefferson

Joyce Jefferson
Topics: American Old West, History, Native American, South Dakota, Women
Communities: Rapid City
Program Types: Chautauqua, Women's Suffrage Commemoration Topics
Joyce Jefferson Creates Stories in Song
Rapid City, SD | (605) 393-2680

2020- African Americans and the Vote
The year 2020 marks the centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment and the culmination of the women's suffrage movement. 2020 also marks the sesquicentennial of the Fifteenth Amendment (1870) and the right of black men to the ballot after the Civil War. The theme speaks to the ongoing struggle on the part of both black men and black women for the right to vote. This theme has a rich and long history, which begins at the turn of the nineteenth century, i.e. in the era of the early Republic, with the states' passage of laws that democratized the vote for white men while disfranchising free black men. Thus, even before the Civil War, black men petitioned their legislatures and the U.S. Congress, seeking to be recognized as voters.

Dakota Daughters: Wounded Knee 1890, Three Women, Three Lives, Three Cultures (Chautauqua)
Dakota Daughters - Lillian Witt, Geraldine Goes in Center and Joyce Jefferson - commemorate the upcoming 130-year anniversary of the December 29, 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre. They have made it a priority to tell this story throughout South Dakota by relaying historical information in an interesting, entertaining and memorable way. The Dakota Daughters hope that when people see their play, they will realize that although we all are unique - such as skin color, cultures, beliefs - deep down we are not all that different. All of us have hopes, dreams, fears and struggles. Dakota Daughters' goal is to increase sensitivity and understanding of others, of their customs and their cultures; and by looking into the past, find peace, closure and understanding in the future. After all, we are all related ... or as our Lakota sisters and brothers say, Mitakuye Oyasin. Please see fellow scholar, Geraldine Goes in Center, for "Dakota Daughters" video promo.

Aunt Sally – She Vanquished with the Vanguard of Civilization (Chautauqua)
Sarah Campbell (Aunt Sally) was the first documented non-Native woman to come to the Black Hills with the 1874 Custer Expedition. When gold was discovered in the Black Hills, she staked an illegal claim along with the other members of the Custer expedition. Of 12 claims above discovery and 8 claims below discovery, Campbell's claim with the gold company was No. 7 below discovery. "Aunt Sally" loves to tell Gen'l Custer stories.

Mary Kercherval – Custer Cook and Spearfish Homesteader (Chautauqua)
Jefferson shared Mary Kercherval's story to fourth grade students in Spearfish. The students were so impressed they decided to learn more about Mrs. Kercherval by going on a field trip to her grave site at Rose Hill Cemetery. In 2018 Jefferson portrayed Mary to over 50 of Mary's descendants at the first ever Mary Kercherval Family Reunion held at the High Plains Western Heritage Center.

Daddies' Dreams (Chautauqua)
Getting hooked in the mouth by a bucking bull's horn, finding a boiled egg with two baby chicken feet sticking out of it, and roping a deer and a badger are only a few of the hilarious, but true stories told by Lillian Derflinger Witt of her adventurous father as a young cowboy, WWII veteran, and South Dakota rancher. In addition, South Dakota Humanities Council scholars Joyce Jefferson and Geraldine Goes in Center add their stories and fond memories of their Air Force and Army veteran fathers.