ARTHURETTA MARTIN, a member of the Washington Revels Jubilee Voices, is a lifelong advocate for civil and human rights, especially those of African people. She supported women and minority-owned business inclusion for over 30 years with the Federal Government, including service as Deputy Director of the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business at the Department of Health & Human Services. She also was Senior Professional Staff on the House Committee on Homeland Security. She holds a bachelor’s degree in public administration from James Madison University and a master’s degree in management from Florida Institute of Technology, with additional post-graduate course work in communication, sociology, history, and theater.
In addition to her work in public administration, Arthuretta is a professional storyteller specializing in Black history, folklore, stories and spirituals. She has performed for various organizations and at numerous venues including the Kennedy Center, Strathmore, Wolf Trap, the Black Theater Festival (Winston-Salem, NC), the White House, and small communities and churches throughout the country emphasizing Black American history and culture. In 2015 she performed stories at the University of Ghana for Panafest celebrations.
In 2009 Arthuretta launched a small business that focuses on researching, teaching and performing stories and songs to heal, educate and inspire. She currently serves as a board member and a performing artist for Voices from the Earth, a performance company that focuses on live theater and the art of storytelling. She has researched and performed historical narrative in the persona of Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Marian Anderson, Sisretta Jones, and the Herero woman of Namibia. She is the President of the newly formed National Capital Area Black Storytellers Association and a member of the National Storytelling Network and National Association of Black Storytelling.As part of the work she performed with the Federal Government, Arthuretta conducted oral histories of hundreds of individuals and authored five publications which contained the results of such work. She is currently working on 3 research projects that are based on interviews and oral histories of elders in African-American communities:
- African-American Midwives, sponsored by Voices from the Earth
- African-American Gold Star Mothers, sponsored by Voices from the Earth
- “On the shoulder of Giants,” the untold stories of the making of Black Business and Affirmative Action, sponsored by the Minority Business Development and Legal Defense Fund