Hugh Morgan Hill, (born Cleveland, Ohio in 1921, died Cambridge, Massachusetts, November 3, 2009) who performed as Brother Blue was an African American storyteller, actor, and street performer. He attended and graduated from Harvard College after serving as a lieutenant in the segregated U.S. army in World War II, received an MFA from the Yale School of Drama and a Ph.D. from the Union Institute having delivered his doctoral presentation in prison being accompanied by a 25 piece jazz orchestra. He regularly performed on the streets around Cambridge, most notably in Harvard Square. He was the official storyteller of Boston and Cambridge.
He appeared as an actor in the 1981 film Knightriders directed by George Romero. His is survived by his wife, the oral historian Ruth Edmonds Hill. A tribute to the Hills was published as AHHHH! by Yellow Moon Press, and featured contributions by Romero as well as such authors as Seamus Heaney, Stephen Jay Gould, Howard Zinn, Ossie Davis, and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and fellow storytellers Utah Phillips, Linda Goss, Jay O'Callahan, and Diane Wolkstein.
Brother Blue's unique style of storytelling made extensive use of rhyme, rhythm, and improvisation, creating a verbal jazz of words and images. He referred to himself as a street poet and as God's fool. He told idiosyncratic versions of Shakespeare's "King Lear" and "Romeo and Juliet", a variety of self-mythologizing autobiographical stories, and always his signature story about a caterpillar's first vision of a butterfly.
- Official Brother Blue website
- Brother Blue as actor in Romero's Knightriders
- Yellow Moon Press site
- Interview with Brother Blue and Ruth Hill on Street Storytelling
- NECN: Brother Blue Obituary clip
- WBUR: Brother Blue Cambridge’s Street Storyteller, Dead at 88
- Boston Globe: Obit Hugh M. Hill weaved stories as Brother Blue
- Boston Globe: Eulogy Brother Blue remembered for compassion
- Harvard Crimson: Brother Blue, Street Performer, Storyteller Dies at 88
- Boston.com: Obit Brother Blue
- City Paper: Warren Lehrer on Brother Blue
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