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About DABS

We, the members of the Detroit Association of Black Storytellers, Inc., being desirous of working together for the purposes of preserving, perpetuating, and passing on the folklore, legends, myths, fables, lore, and mores of Africans and their descendants and ancestors; promoting a sense of pride in African Americans; transmitting a knowledge of African history and culture throughout the African Diaspora, do establish this constitution.



    Hi. I am Leah Rich. I am a retired Detroit Public Schools’ teacher. I first became interested in the art of storytelling while working on my teaching certificate. I had a college professor who could tell a story like no other. His ability to spin a tale captivated, inspired and created a desire in me to learn more about this craft. I began to attend various storytelling festivals and decided that this is something I wanted to pursue. I was mesmerized that storytelling had the ability to teach life lessons, build and strengthen character, motivate, encourage, stimulate the imagination, help solve problems and fill in gaps. I felt this skill would be an asset in the classroom.



    Michelle Mame Diarra (pronounced "Mom Jar-ah") McKinney is a multi-talented performing artist working as a singer/lyricist, actor/storyteller, percussionist and educational programs producer in the Detroit community. She is presently the executive director of Detroit Sound Conservancy, a community archives, and working at the Wright Museum as an Archivist/Librarian. She tells interactive stories filled with song and rhythm. She is a featured singer with McKinfolk, led by her daughter, drummer/composer Gayelynn McKinney. The ensemble is regularly featured in the Detroit International Jazz Festival. In the future, Michelle Diarra is publishing a sacred music/choral collection composed by her deceased husband, Harold McKinney.

Board Members

Detroit Association of Black Storytellers Board Members

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1401 W. Fort St., P.O. Box 441004 Detroit, MI 48224

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