The National Black Theatre was founded in 1968 by Dr. Barbara Ann Teer, to showcase productions by, and about, black Americans at a time when such stories rarely appeared on the mainstream stage. It has evolved into a cultural spawning ground, one that presents shows and workshops intended to foster respect for African ancestry and for black self-expression. The building maintains one of the largest exterior and interior exhibit of Nigerian Yoruba “new sacred art” in the western hemisphere. consisting of hand carved wood totems and copper, aluminum and brass relief art done by traditional Nigerian artisans. NBT’s spaces host all manner of performances–musical and dramatic–as well as lectures, workshops and dance classes led over the years by artists Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis, Nina Simone, Nikki Giovanni, Maya Angelou ,Alicia Keyes, Ntozake Shange, Avery Brooks, Micki Grant, Dominique Morrisseau,and Imamu Amiri Baraka.