The Griot Initiative documents the varied voices of people with roots in the African Diaspora living in the United States.

Stories from the Griot Initiative

Image of Tina Vasquez and Sonia Vasquez
Sonia Vasquez and her daughter, Tina Vasquez, talk about what it was like to grow up broke in the 1990s.
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Recorded in New York City, New York
Image of Alton Yates and Toni Yates
“It was like driving an automobile at a hundred miles an hour and running into a stone wall.”
Image of Alex Landau and Patsy Hathaway
“I was just another black face in the streets.”
Image of Kai Leigh Harriott and Aja David
“Someone was shooting in our direction...”
Image of Dekalb Walcott Jr. and Dekalb Walcott III
“Everyone wanted to be like Mike, but you were my Michael Jordan.”

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About the Griot Initiative

StoryCorps Griot is an initiative to ensure that the voices, experiences, and life stories of African Americans will be preserved and presented with dignity.

A Griot (pronounced gree-oh) is a storyteller, a position of honor in West African tradition, who hands down family and community history from one generation to the next.

All interviews recorded as part of the Griot Initiative will be archived at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture in addition to the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.


Advisory Group

Lonnie Bunch
Director, National Museum of African American History and Culture

William Ferris
Professor of History/Sr. Associate Director, Center for the Study of the American South

John W. Franklin
Manager, National Museum of African American History and Culture

Ennifer Lawson
General Manager, WHUT-TV

Farai Chideya
Host, News & Notes

Jennifer Scott
Director of Research, Weeksville Heritage Center

Allison Keyes
Reporter, National Public Radio

Orlando Bagwell
Deputy Director, Ford Foundation

Updates from the Griot Initiative

Evolving from the Negro Normal School in Tuskegee to Tuskegee Institute to Tuskegee University, the school and namesake community have had an intertwining history of great achievement and intellectual prosperity.


Funding for the Griot Initiative Provided by

  • Major Funding Provided By

    CPB Logo
  • National Broadcast Sponsors

    CTCA Logo Ford Logo
  • National Partners

    NPR American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress
  • Charity Navigator Logo