Festival and Conference Highlights


The 36th “In the Tradition...” 

Annual National Black Storytelling Festival and Conference


Our Storytelling Fabric: Weaving Tales From the Dismal Swamp to

"Moral Monday" Marches



  alt NORTH CAROLINA AFRICAN-AMERICAN HERITAGE TOUR- North Carolina offers a rich history and legacy for African Americans. There are many sites of interest-from the Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum at Historic Palmer Memorial Institute to the many plantations that dot the landscape. But we will be travelling to Greensboro, NC to the International Civil Rights Center & Museum,134 S. Elm Street. The International Civil Rights Center & Museum is an archival center, collecting museum and teaching facility. It’s building formerly housed the F. W. Woolworth’s department store, the site of a non-violent protest by for students from NC A&T State University on February 1, 1960. See the original counter in the original building; a significant site of reference in the African American struggle for freedom and dignity. We will stop for lunch at the famed K & W Cafeteria before returning to Cary.


altOPENING GALA & MOTHER MARY CARTER SMITH LOVE CIRCLE – The official opening of the “In theTradition…” Festival includes libation followed by the opening storytelling concert.This year we will have a procession by the Affiliates (in alphabetical order) into the Biltmore/Hope/Bella Ballroom. Affiliates come prepared to represent your Affiliate, city, state or region in the storytelling world! The sacred Mother Mary Carter  Smith Love Circle culminates the evening!


altSTORYTELLING CONCERTS – Every evening and Sunday morning the finest and the foremost storytellers in the Blackstorytelling world perform traditional and contemporary stories that energize, electrify and fortify heart and spirit. This is WHY you come to NABS! This is the REASON you come back!


altAKWABAA GATHERING /LUNCHEON -First-Time attendees, New Members and the very versed in NABS’ lore have always enjoyed the Akwabaa Gathering - meet and greet, understand why we hug, why you hear “Ago! Ame!” (from the Twi, pronounced “ah-go, ah-may) throughout the Festival etc. Be present for the first ever Akwabaa Gathering/Luncheon hosted by our Membership Chair, Sister Sylvia Yancy Davis. 


altVILLAGE TELLIN’ – NABS’ Affiliate names are drawn out of a hat to invite one of their members to represent their unique style and unique regional Blackstorytelling for a national audience.



altAFRICAN AMERICAN MARKETPLACE with NABS RESOURCE CENTER - African imports, Afro-centric wearable art, African American literature, Black art, Karamu Corner, craft demonstrations and intriguing wares.



altJACKIE TORRENCE TALL TALES CONTESTS – In honor of Jackie Torrence, the Liars’ Contest has been renamed! Yet, is still the one place Big Mama won’t mind the children tellin’ a little tall tale! Then, the adults get a chance to test their lifetime practice of the art!


altYOUTH ACTIVITIES – NABS’ Youth will enjoy workshops and other activities as well as their annual Conversation with the Elders and with Co-Founder Mama Linda Goss.