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Sarah Culberson  

Philanthropist, Dancer & Actress

Sarah Culberson was born in Morgantown, West Virginia, to an African father and a white mother. As an infant, she was given up to foster care and adopted by a loving white family in West Virginia. She grew up contemplating and dealing with questions about her identity and her biracial roots.

She fell in love with theatre in early childhood and later won an acting scholarship to attend West Virginia University. She earned her MFA at The American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco and joined the Los Angeles acting community.

Culberson has been acting on stage as well as in films and TV. She appeared in shows such as Strong Medicine, All of Us, Boston Legal, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, and the film American Dreamz. She also guest dances with professional Urban Latin Dance Theater company Contra-Tiempo. However, her biggest role so far came when she decided to locate her biological parents. After learning that her biological mother had died when she was just 11, she found out that her father lived in a village in Sierra Leone, West Africa. She learned that she was from a royal family, a Mahaloi, the granddaughter of a Paramount Chief, with the status of a princess. She also learned of the difficulties and privations of the people in Sierra Leone resulting from a brutal 11-year civil war that ended in 2002.

The discovery of her unique heritage and her response to this new information changed her life forever. Now, as co-founder and president of The Kposowa Foundation in Los Angeles, she and many others work to improve education for young people, bring clean drinking water to the community, and provide sustainable opportunities for the people of Sierra Leone. Culberson's story has been featured nationally and internationally in The Singapore News, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, BBC radio, NPR, "Oprah and Friends" radio show, and in magazines such as Reader's Digest, Newsweek, People, and Glamour. She has also appeared on Good Morning America, CNN, Inside Edition, and more. Culberson's book, A Princess Found, co-written with Tracy Trivas and published by St. Martin's Press, was released in Barnes and Noble and other bookstores in 2009 and is being used at Pepperdine University in an ethnic identity class.

In addition to raising awareness about Sierra Leone, Sarah Culberson is the director of service-learning at the Oakwood School in Los Angeles. She takes groups to Sierra Leone to stay with her family and work together on different service-learning projects. The groups work on projects with the Bumpe community and learn about the people and the culture of Sierra Leone. Culberson speaks nationally and internationally and shares the inspirational quest that led her to her birth father in a war-torn country that is now rebuilding and moving forward.


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Speech Topics

Overcoming Your Deepest Fears & Making Your Dreams Come True

In an inspired presentation, Culberson shares her experience of searching for her birth father and the deep fear of rejection and hurt she had to overcome. In doing so, she asks people to consider their own dreams and fears. She encourages audiences to resurrect forgotten goals and to overcome thoughts of “it’s too late.” Arming listeners with the steps they must take to take to find their inner courage, Culberson shares how to seize every opportunity in chasing our wildest dreams and pursing our loftiest goals.

From African American to African Princess: One Woman's Search For Her Roots

The Dynamics of Biracialism: Being Black in America & White in Africa

Interracial Adoption: The Perspective of an African American Child Raised in a White Family

From Fear & Uncertainty to Courage & Discovery: Finding My Biological Parents

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