National Association of Black Storytellers, Inc.

PositionOrganization overview

The National Association of Black Storytellers, Inc. (NABS) promotes and perpetuates the art of Black storytelling--an art form which embodies the history, heritage, and culture of African Americans. Black storytellers educate and entertain through the Oral Tradition, which depicts and documents the African-American experience. A nationally organized body with individual, affiliate and organizational memberships, NABS preserves and passes on the folklore, legends, myths, fables and mores of Africans and their descendants and ancestors - "In the Tradition..." The vision of the Association is to strengthened communities through the telling, collecting, owning and institutionalizing of our stories. Hence, the Association believe (1) that communities are empowered through storytelling, (2) we need to own and tell our stories by collecting, creating, publishing and archiving the oral histories of black life in America, (3) that we must enrich our neighborhoods by developing programs and performances that share our stories, culture and history; and, address contemporary social justice issues, (4) in institutionalizing storytelling in underserved environments by creating curriculum and guidelines that are unique to our art form, (5) we must sustain the tradition of Black Storytelling by listening and blending the voices of our elders and youth, and (6), believe it is a collective responsibility to provide both traditional and innovative tools of action in order that its members may be the best stewards of the Black storytelling tradition.


Esteemed storytellers Mary Carter Smith of Baltimore, MD and Linda Goss of Philadelphia, PA are the founders of the National Association of Black Storytellers, Inc. They conceived the idea in 1982 to give more opportunities for African American storytellers to be heard and for more of the rich heritage of the African Oral Tradition to be shared and preserved.

The first "In The Tradition..." Festival of Black Storytelling was held in the McKeldin Center at Morgan State University (MSU) in Baltimore, Maryland, November 18-19, 1983. Festival sponsors were Alpha Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. (Linda Jenkins Brown, Chapter Basileus), and Morgan's...

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