December 26, 2010 – RALEIGH – Kick off Black History Month three days early at the 10th Annual African American Cultural Celebration on Saturday, Jan. 29, at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., this free family event will feature more than 75 presenters – well-known musicians, storytellers, dancers, playwrights, authors, artists, re-enactors and more – who will bring to life North Carolina’s diverse African American heritage and culture. Both fun and educational, this festival includes hands-on activities for all ages. Parking is free.
Where else can you celebrate with free performances by Grammy Award nominee and neosoul gospel singer Cynthia Jones, blues guitarist Cool John Ferguson and so many other talented individuals? For a quick overview of this large festival, a sampling of topics and highlights follows. For a complete schedule with specific performance and presentation times, go to ncmuseumofhistory.org or call 919-807-7900.
Celebrate Music and Movement
Catch performances by these musicians and dance groups:
● Raleigh’s Cynthia Jones, a two-time Prestige Award winner;
● Cool John Ferguson, named Most Outstanding Guitarist by Living Blues Magazine, who has collaborated with B.B. King, Taj Mahal, and the Stylistics;
● the reggae group Positively Nelsons from Raleigh, with four albums to date;
● the Abdullah Rahman Trio, a jazz group from Winston-Salem;
● Jo Gore and the Alternative, a Durham group known for its unique mix of soul, blues, jazz and folk;
● the Purple Charlotte Steppers, also presenting a “steppin’ ” workshop;
● the Oneaka Collective, an African dance group from Charlotte; and
● an Afro-Cuban Zumba® Party with Lawanna Harris, who will also lead a class based on this dance-fitness phenomenon spreading the globe.
Celebrate Literature and the Spoken Word
Hear from a photographer, authors and storytellers who will share stories of African Americans:
● Katina Parker, photographer and creator of the online photographic essay One Million Strong: Photos from the Million Men, Women, and Youth Marches;
● Kelly Starling Lyons, author of the children’s book One Million and Me;
● award-winning author Zelda Lockhart, who will read from Fifth Born II: The Hundredth Turtle;
● Dr. John Williams, author of the forthcoming book God, Guts and Game: Survival of Three African American Families: 1747-2000, based on 38 years of research about his great-grandparents; and
● E.J. Stewart, a member of the N.C. Association of Black Storytellers, presenting a dramatization of a slave narrative.
Celebrate History, Drama and Film
Learn about African American life from these individuals and groups:
● Curator Earl Ijames, who will highlight the museum’s upcoming online exhibit A Change Is Gonna Come: Black, Indian, and White Voices for Racial Equality, focusing on North Carolina and the Civil Rights movement;
● Natalie Bullock Brown, host of UNC-TV’s “Black Issues Forum,” and Darryl Lester, president of Hindsight Consulting, who will present a talk about giving back to communities;
● Tarboro’s C. Rudolph Knight, who will focus on Princeville and the all-black town’s struggle to survive despite political, social, and legal setbacks from the late 19th century to the present;
● World War II veteran and author Clarence E. Willie, who will share veterans’ experiences from his book African American Voices From Iwo Jima; and
● re-enactors who will present a Civil War re-enactment focusing on Fort Fisher; Battery B, 2nd U.S. Colored Light Artillery, 18th Army Corps; and the 37th U.S. Colored Troops.
Celebrate Craft and Art Traditions
See a collection of works by local artists from the Triangle African American Artists Association. Watch these artisans and others at work:
● basketmaker Neal Thomas, furniture maker Jerome Bias, doll maker Marilyn Griffin; and
● the Ebony Raleigh Area Group Stitchers and the African American Quilt Circle.
With activities for all ages, there won’t be a dull moment during the African American Cultural Celebration. Hands-on activities include tobacco tying with staff from Duke Homestead State Historic Site, a scavenger hunt, and an opportunity to make a necklace from a cowrie shell.
In addition, watch a cooking demonstration by Rhonda Muhammad or join a hair-braiding workshop led by Diana Mitchell, author of The Hair Braider’s Secret Reference Manual. Stay for lunch and purchase foods from vendors on Bicentennial Plaza, directly outside the museum.
The African American Cultural Celebration is co-sponsored by the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission, whose vision is to transform and enrich people and communities by sharing North Carolina’s African American history, arts and culture. The event is also supported by the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County, with funds from the United Arts campaign, the North Carolina Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes a great nation deserves great art.
For more information, call 919-807-7900 or access ncmuseumofhistory.org or Facebook®.
The N.C. Museum of History’s hours are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Admission is free. The museum is part of the Division of State History Museums, Office of Archives and History, an agency of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources. The department’s Web site is www.ncculture.com.
NC Dept. of Cultural Resources Press Release