KOTC Logo (C) 1996 Columbus Knox
KOTC Logo (C) 1996 Columbus Knox
A Message From The President
Keepers Of The Culture Inc, Philadelphia’s Afrocentric Storytelling Group, is committed to telling the stories of the African, and the African-in-America experience.
As our motto states, our mission is “Telling Our Story, Claiming Our Glory".
This entails stories that build us up as a people, filling us with hope, pride, joy, and love. Conversely, we must share the true and often untold stories of pain and trauma that make up the Black American experience.
The tragic and senseless murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and way too many others of our race, reminds us of the painful narrative of four hundred plus years of trauma and abasement of the lives of Africans in America.
The conditions that led to the murders of our brothers and sisters indicate the everyday threat for all Black people in America. Unless we stand and protest, this un-justice can also be the narrative of our children and future generations.
As Griots, Keeper’s Of The Culture, Inc.it is our commitment to tell stories of the long historic struggle of Black people in America to people of every race, ethnicity and background. We are the catalyst for discourse and community building that leads to change: practical, tangible, and equitable solutions. Since the origins of our existence, stories have built, unified, and healed us as a people.
"Lest we forget."
In this struggle for Justice and Liberation for Black people in America, KOTC understands that in order to achieve this, we must fight on all fronts. From the classroom, to the courtroom, to the streets, to our stoops, we must be continuously engaged in the struggle.
In the words of Ella Baker, “We who believe in freedom cannot rest." We ask Black storytellers around the world, to have stakes in our claim as we share the stories of our people in efforts to spread knowledge and bring healing to the Africans in this place called America and throughout the diaspora.
While we recognize our role in this terrible continuous struggle, we also understand that we must do more. While soldiers are trained in survival tactics and combat, they are first trained in working together as a unit. Keepers Of The Culture, Inc. has begun to actively seek collaborations with cultural, civic, educational, and social justice organizations, in order to bring storytelling in a way that raises consciousness, spreads hope, and dismantles racism during our lifetime.
We extend our deepest condolences to the families of George Floyd and all the brothers and sisters who have died at the hands of injustice and police brutality. This movement for Black liberation, honoring their lives, requires action.
As Philadelphia’s Afrocentric Storytelling Group, and pro claimers of the glory of people of color, everywhere, Keepers Of The Culture, Inc. stands in solidarity with all who have taken measures of peaceful resistance against injustice, systematic oppression, and racism for the cause of equal rights and justice. May we all continue to carry the legacy of our people, serving as torch bearers of truth, change, and peace.
In Culture, in Spirit, in Love,
Paul D. Best
Since 1991, storytellers and artists of Keepers Of The Culture, Philadelphia's Afrocentric Storytelling Group has served schools and organizations throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware with quality educational cultural enriching storytelling experiences.
Individually, we have represented as Keepers Of The Culture Storytellers for communities around the world.
Our members have performed and conducted workshops throughout America, Africa, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean.
Keepers Of The Culture artist/storytellers, offer customized storytelling, literary, educational and entertaining performance and workshops.
Thousands have enjoyed us individually and collectively in schools, organizations, festivals, museums, corporate and social gatherings.
Enjoy our journey, join our adventures and we look forward to meeting you in person!
Paul D. Best
Bernadette "Birdy" Rogers
Atiya Ola Sankofa
Keepers Of The Culture, Inc. KOTC, or ("Khotsi") of Philadelphia is a non-profit, educational, cultural art organization which seeks to perpetuate the African and African-American oral tradition.
We recognize the traditional African storytellers - griot's - were the true "Keepers Of The Culture." The griot's role as historians of the community helped people maintain a strong, positive sense of self and a clear understanding of the values of the community and the individual's role in the community.
The storyteller/griot presence insured that the history, culture and values of a people would be passed on in their own words.
We intend to highlight, reinforce and pass on the history and culture of African-Americans and their antecedents, to educate and nurture individual and collective self-esteem and foster pride of culture in our community-especially in our children.
Our objective is to do this by offering performances, workshops, seminars, mini-festivals and collaborations with other cultural arts organizations and artists of various disciplines in the Philadelphia area.
FIHANKRA - Adinkra symbol for a house of security, safety & unity.
I am KOTC
Keeper Of The Culture
Keeper of our African culture.
I keep it through the telling
The telling of our stories.
Our Stories. Our Stories. Our Stories.
Reflecting our culture and
The history of our People, I say
The history of our People..
Throughout the entire world
Our mission is to
Entertain & Validate
Reinforce & Reinstate
The Truth of who WE are.
The Truth of who we are
The Truth of who we are
We are Keepers Of The Culture
(c) 2018 Wanda Gigetts, Founding Member
* * * * * * *
We are Poets, Historians, Advisors, Spokespersons, Diplomats, Peace-makers, Praise-singers, Interpreters, Translators, Musicians, Composers, Teachers, Warriors, Witnesses and cultural conduits. Both men and women are griots.
"Our Sun Paul" is a professional storyteller, photographer, and an educator. Paul recently earned his Masters in Education degree. Congratulations Mr. Best! (for living up to your real name)
To our beloved co-founders and past presidents; Janice "Jawara" Bishop, Wanda Gigetts & Irma Gardner-Hammond
Our well deserved recipients of the National Association of Black Storytellers' BROTHER BLUE CIRCLE OF ELDERS AWARD 2019.
"In The Tradition..." The 38th Annual National Black Storytelling Festival & Conference
November 19-22, 2020
We may be virtual this year stay informed...
In 2016 KOTC hosted The National Association of Black Storytellers
34th Annual Storytelling Festival and Conference.
Swipe/scroll down for information on NABS 2020!
We support Kwanzaa principals in our community year round!
KOTC's dynamic storytellers enrich, educate, enlighten & entertain, everyone, everywhere!
Check out this great video!
Asante Sana (thank you)...to
Joslyn Duncan of Griot Works for organizing and capturing this memorable storytelling event in Philadelphia. Featuring Keepers Of The Culture's storytellers, musicians and artists.
AYA the Adinkra symbol of endurance and resourcefulness. The fern is a hardy plant that can grow in difficult places.
"An individual who wears this symbol suggests that he has endured many adversities and outlasted much difficulty."
(Willis, The Adinkra Dictionary)
KOTC is a non-profit organization. Your generous tax-deductible donations will fund our mission.
Your support will also allow us to bring quality arts-in-education programs to under served schools and neighborhoods in Philadelphia and in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.
KOTC accept checks or money orders via KOTC P. O. Box 15083
Philadelphia. Pennsylvania 19130.
ALSO, for your convenience feel free to securely submit your debit or credit card membership payments or a donation by clicking on the PAY PAL button below.
Asante Sana - Thank you!
KOTC will be returning to in-person meetings in the Fall of 2022. Fill out our contact form to join our mailing list and be updated on meetings and events.