With the growth of interest in folklore, it becomes increasingly evident that the presentation of a collection needs some rationale more than the fact that traditional materials have been collected and properly annotated. Much has been gathered and is now accessible through journals, archives, and lists. If a corpus of lore is not presented in some way, which bears new light on the process of word-of-mouth transmission, on traditional forms or expressions, or on the group among whom the lore was encountered, there is little reason to present it to the public.
This work represents an attempt to present a body of folklore collected among one small group of Black Americans in a neighborhood in South Philadelphia. The author's approach toward collection and presentation has been intensive. He has tried to collect "in depth," and to recreate in his presentation the social background in which the lore was found, and to relate the lore with the life and the values of the group.
Abraham's work is a departure from any past methods of analyzing folklore, and therefore a description of the author's point of view and his method will be given first. The majority of this work was written before his methodology was actually formulated. However throughout the project û the object was to illuminate as fully as possible the lore of one small group of African Americans from urban Philadelphia. The methodology, which developed, did so because of this objective more than anything else. Though the formulation of this theory may seem ex post facto, it is included because it clarified much during the rewritings of this book, and more importantly, because it will clarify many matters for the lay reader and for the professional folklorist.