N.C. Museum of History Hosts African American Cultural Celebration
It's fast becoming a January tradition in Raleigh -- the N.C. Museum of History's African American Cultural Celebration. Now in its sixth year, this annual free festival ushering in Black History Month keeps getting bigger and better. The upcoming event on Saturday, Jan. 27, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., features more than 70 presenters.
A full roster of activities, including music and dance, storytelling, hands-on crafts and cooking demonstrations, is sure to keep children and adults entertained. Deborah Holt, a producer and on-air talent at UNC-TV, is honorary event chair.
WNCU-FM jazz host Ken Grady will emcee the show in Daniels Auditorium, and jazz will be musically represented by Joe Cea and Friends, featuring Jackie Ruffin.
Blues guitarist John Dee Holeman, the recipient of a N.C. Folk Heritage Award, keeps the roots of Piedmont blues but adds a touch of urban blues, jazz and rhythm and blues. Then the soul-stirring sacred shout band, Madison Clouds of Heaven, takes the stage.
Thomasi McDonald will introduce the performers on the Staircase Stage and also present a spirited set of drumming and stories.
The a cappella four-part harmonies of Durham's Gospel Jubilators and the fiddle and banjo tunes of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, a group of young musicians who are keeping alive the rich tradition of Piedmont string-band music, may also be heard.
The Daughters of Judah and the Fayetteville State Dance Ensemble will show will give a performance of praise dancing and also lead a workshop. Other groups include the Hillside High School Step Team anad Djembe Fire.
The program lineup includes "The Marines of Montford Point: Fighting for Freedom," a documentary written and directed by Melton McLaurin, a professor emeritus of history at UNC-Wilmington.
After the film, Finney Greggs, director of the Montford Point Marines Museum near Jacksonville, will discuss how the project came about.
Actor Holmes Morrison will perform a monologue as a modern-day doctor reflecting on his grandmother's struggles with segregation as a domestic worker known for her "doctoring." And Civil War re-enactors Battery B, 2nd U.S. Colored Light Artillery 18th Army Corps will be on duty all day.
Joanna Easter and Barbara Taylor of the High Point Museum will discuss the project that led to the creation of a statue honoring jazz innovator and High Point native John Coltrane.
Retired NCCU professor Barnetta McGhee White, an avid researcher of African American history, will present "Tracing Your Roots: African American Genealogy."
David Barnwell, a jazz host on Raleigh's WSHA-FM, will look at "North Carolina's Jazz Greats: Big Bands to the 1970s." Dr. E. B. Palmer, director of the African American Cultural Complex, will give a talk titled "Changing the Celebration of African American History."
Children's book author Eleanora Tate will oversee the goings-on and share her work. Comic book writer and illustrator Mike Sales, who writes as M. Torez, will speak about his cutting-edge comics that combine contemporary, urban characters with the popular manga style of drawing.
Children's book author Carole Boston Weatherford will entertain with poems and stories. Writer Zelda Lockhart will introduce participants from her Youth Writers' Workshop, who will present their work.
And master storyteller Mitch Capel, better known as "Gran'daddy Junebug," will spin inspirational tales to enthrall listeners young and old.
Among the talented craftspeople who will demonstrate their work are dancing-doll maker George SerVance Jr., carver Frank Barrow, basketmaker Neal Thomas, doll maker Marilyn Griffin, furniture maker Jerome Bias, and wire artist Jonathan Daniel.
Yafah Asiel, author of "The New Soul Vegetarian Cookbook," will demonstrate how to prepare great-tasting foods that are tasty as well. With over 25 years of experience as a nutritionist, vegan chef, holistic health practitioner and restaurant dietary consultant, Asiel shares her message of the importance of healthy eating to audiences around the globe.
Rhonda Muhammed of Rhonda's Pie Creations will also preside over the stove to teach visitors the ABCs -- appetizers, breads, and confections -- of down-home cooking.
For lunch or a snack, purchase a variety of foods from vendors on Bicentennial Plaza.
Representatives from numerous historic sites and museums, such as Somerset Place, the MLK Resource Center and the Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum, will be available to answer questions about their organizations.
For more information, call 919-807-7900 or access www.ncmuseumofhistory.org.
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