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Begin celebrating Black History Month a week early at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh. Join the statewide kickoff at the 13th Annual African American Cultural Celebration on Saturday, Jan. 25, from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Have fun while learning about the state’s diverse African American heritage and culture during this free event for all ages.
The large festival boasts more than 75 outstanding presenters that include musicians, storytellers, writers, dancers, chefs and craftspeople. Catch a performance by well-known Mississippi bluesman (and North Carolinian) Ben Wiley Payton, watch a cooking demonstration by Michael Twitty, and meet children’s book author and illustrator Vanessa Brantley-Newton. Take your picture with Ursula Gillespie, one of four licensed African American female drag racers in the United States, and her car.
Another event highlight will be the panel discussion Black Business in North Carolina. Three outstanding panelists will focus on the history of African American business and major issues faced by business owners in the past and present. Panelists are Raymond Pierce, Director of Mechanics and Farmers Bank and its parent company, Mechanics and Farmers Bancorp Inc.; Robert J. Brown, Founder, Chairman and CEO of B&C Associates Inc.; and Andrea Harris, President and Co-Founder of the N.C. Institute of Minority Economic Development. Andre Nabors, Tourism and Development Manager at the N.C. Department of Commerce, will moderate the panel.
Children can dive into hands-on activities and go on a scavenger hunt. With so much to see and do, the African American Cultural Celebration will extend onto Bicentennial Plaza, directly in front of the museum.
Many presentations will focus on the theme, From Jubilee to Justice, honoring landmark civil rights and voting rights legislation. For example, see the documentary “Invisible Warriors: African American Women in World War II,” followed by comments from World War II veteran and civil rights activist Millie Dunn Veasey. Or watch Dorothy Clark in a performance incorporating drama, music and comedy. This retrospective focuses on the obstacles faced in securing the right to vote.
The African American Cultural Celebration will be presented in six categories that encompass culture and history. Several event highlights follow. For a complete schedule of all performances and presentations, go to ncmuseumofhistory.org.
Celebrate Music and Movement
Enjoy performances by musicians and dancers:
● Bailey Sounds of Joy, a trombone shout band;
● Andrea Woods, dance and movement as contemporary African American folklore; and
● Heritage Restoration Chorale, spirituals and music of the black experience.
Celebrate History, Film and Enterprise
Learn about African American life from these individuals and groups:
● scenes from Camp Followers, a new play by Rudy Wallace; and
● Katina Parker, discussion of her photography and documentary work including the exhibit Many Voices, chronicling the history of seven community marches.
Celebrate Literature and the Spoken Word
Hear from authors and storytellers:
● Mark Anthony Neal, Duke University professor, author, editor of the NewBlackMan blog, and host of the weekly webcast Left of Black;
● Zelda Lockhart, author and poet; and
● storytellers from the N.C. Association of Black Storytellers.
Celebrate Craft and Arts Traditions
Watch these artisans or see their work:
● mask maker Chester Williams, sculptor Ben Harris, and wire artist Jonathan Daniel;
● photographs by Brenda Scott, featured in the upcoming exhibit Stagville: Black & White; and
● the Ebony Raleigh Area Group Stitchers and the African American Quilt Circle.
Celebrate Food and Health
Learn about cooking and healthy living:
● Chef Kabui, presenting cooking demonstrations and tastings about the connections between African cuisine and African American cuisine; and
● Rhonda Muhammad, featuring cooking demonstrations of traditional foods.
Celebrate Education and Heritage
Get information about historic sites, museums and organizations across North Carolina:
● representatives from the N.C. Freedom Monument Park Project, the N.C. African American Heritage Commission, and many more.
This year’s event is funded in part by the Raleigh Arts Commission and the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County, with funds from the N.C. African American Heritage Commission, PNC, IBM and the N.C. Museum of History Associates. Additional support provided by the MLK Commission, N.C. Writers’ Network and LaVenson Press Studios.
Mark your calendar for this educational and fun-filled festival at the N.C. Museum of History on Jan. 25.
For more information about the N.C. Museum of History, call 919-807-7900 or access ncmuseumofhistory.org. On Facebook “like” the page “2014 AACC” to get updates.
IMAGE CAPTIONS Please credit N.C. Museum of History for images.
#87 There will be activities for all ages at the 13th Annual African American Cultural Celebration on Saturday, Jan. 25, from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the N.C. Museum of History.
#015 The Westover High School Band’s percussion section will provide a rousing start to the 13th Annual African American Cultural Celebration at the N.C. Museum of History.
#054 Wire artist Jonathan Daniel will demonstrate his craft at the 13th Annual African American Cultural Celebration.
About the N.C. Museum of History
The museum is located at 5 E. Edenton Street, across from the State Capitol. Parking is available in the lot across Wilmington Street. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. The Museum of History, within the Division of State History Museums, is part of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.
About the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources
The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources (NCDCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state’s cultural resources to build the social, cultural and economic future of North Carolina. Led by Secretary Susan W. Kluttz, NCDCR’s mission to enrich lives and communities creates opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history and libraries in North Carolina that will spark creativity, stimulate learning, preserve the state’s history and promote the creative economy. NCDCR was the first state organization in the nation to include all agencies for arts and culture under one umbrella.
Through arts efforts led by the N.C. Arts Council, the N.C. Symphony and the N.C. Museum of Art, NCDCR offers the opportunity for enriching arts education for young and old alike and economic stimulus engines for our state’s communities. NCDCR’s Divisions of Archives and Records, State Historic Sites, and State History Museums preserve, document and interpret North Carolina’s rich cultural heritage. NCDCR’s State Library of North Carolina is the principal library of state government and builds the capacity of all libraries in our state, developing and supporting access to traditional and online collections such as genealogy and resources for the blind and physically handicapped.
NCDCR annually serves more than 19 million people through its 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, the nation’s first state-supported symphony orchestra, the State Library, the N.C. Arts Council and the State Archives of North Carolina. NCDCR champions our state’s creative industry that accounts for more than 300,000 jobs and generates nearly $18.5 billion in revenues. For more information, please call 919-807-7300 or visit http://www.ncdcr.gov.