Mentor Charles Jr. Addicks, or “Duke," as most of us knew him, “went to walk with his ancestors” on November 12, 2016 at age 76. His contributions to the Twin Cities storytelling community were great. Duke was a founding member of the then North Star Storytelling League, writing up the initial articles of incorporation. Duke learned the power of story at his Cherokee grandmother’s knee. During his summer visits to Georgia each morning his grandmother would tell him a story and make him recite it back. Duke was considered a “living storytelling legend” and was known as “Minnesota’s Master of Real Ghost Stories”. He made ghost stories seem natural and true. When he told ghost stories at hospitals and jails he stipulated that his audience was expected to share their own ghost stories with him. In 2008, he was presented with the prestigious honor of the Story Stick from North Star Storytelling League for his contributions to storytelling and in that same year he was made the official storyteller of the Shakopee Sioux tribe.
Duke traveled seamlessly between many worlds as a naturalist, historian, musician, Scottish and Cherokee tale teller. At the time of his death he was working to complete a Masters in Divinity. He could just as easily tell a tale about Singing Bird, The Woman Behind the Blackhawk War, as the life story of Pig’s Eye Parrant, a St. Paul icon, or be a fur trade era re-enactor. An expert eagle handler, Duke worked closely with the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, MN, presenting eagle programs. Music was an important part of Duke’s life. He played over twenty-five instruments and led a drum circle.
Duke embraced life, squeezing everything he could out of it. He grew up in Minneapolis and lived his whole life in Minnesota where he practiced law and lobbied at the Minnesota legislature. His generosity touched many lives. He founded an African charity, Hope Multipurpose Incorporated; volunteered at TELLABRATIONS! ™; and did pro bono legal work. We will miss this multi-talented and generous man.