Here are some things to think about:

Who is in your own gallery of valued cultural treasures?

From who have you learned? (And what?)

What do you value and want to pass on?

Where have you taken a stand?

Questions to ask:

  • Can you tell us about where and how you grew up?
  • How did you became an artist or activist?
  • What are the most important things you have learned in your life?
  • What were some of the challenges you have faced?
  • What words of wisdom, or important lessons, do you want to pass on?
  • Who were your most important teachers or influences?
  • When did you take a stand?
  • Tell us the story of a song, story, dance or event/time that you will never forget, or that is important to you.







Artists, Activists, & Elders

photo of Dorothy Wilkie

Born: North Philadelphia

Known for: Being “a torch-bearer for African dance and culture;” decades of study and performance of African dance; years of study with William Powell, Baba Crowder and Saudah Amin, M’bemba Bangoura, Marie Basse, Enriqué Adamo Admiral and many others; travel to Guinea, Cuba and Brazil to study African diasporan dance; Artistic Director of Kulu Mele African Dance and Drum Ensemble; honored by prestigious grants including a Pew Fellowship in the Arts in choreography and grants from Leeway Foundation and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

Favorite culture tool: Dance

For more information, please check out the Philadelphia Folklore Project website and the Kulu Mele site.


John Wilkie

Born: North Philadelphia

Known for: Playing conga drums since the 1950s; studying with William Powell and Charles Brown (both noted percussionists who were among the first generation of Philadelphians to undertake extensive study of African and African Cuban hand-drum traditions), then with Robert Crowder, Garvan Masseaux, Enriqué Adamo Admiral and a circle of others; musical director of Kulu Mele African Dance and Drum Ensemble; member of Spoken Hand drum ensemble.