Museum Offers Cultural Celebration
Black History Month begins two days early at the Ninth Annual African American Cultural Celebration Saturday, Jan. 30, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh.
Each year, the event's presenters arrive from across North Carolina to share their history and culture during this large festival.
"Bring the family to this fun and educational event with more than 50 presenters and loads of hands-on activities for all ages," says a spokesman. "Truly a celebration, the variety of dancers, musicians, actors, authors, storytellers, artists, craftspeople and others will bring to life the rich heritage of the state's African Americans, past and present."
Admission and parking are free.
This year's African American Cultural Celebration continues its strong tradition of engaging presentations. For example, visitors will hear music performed by legendary bluesman Big Ron Hunter and nationally acclaimed musician Grenaldo Frazier, composer of the off-Broadway gospel musical "Mama I Want to Sing," to name a few.
But the event encompasses much more than music. Modern dance company Cyrus Art Productions will perform and teach dance moves, storytellers from the N.C. Association of Black Storytellers will captivate both young and old, Rhonda Muhammed will serve up hometown cooking tips, and artists like carver Frank Barrow and basketmaker Neal Thomas will demonstrate their talents.
"Many cultural groups have made significant contributions to North Carolina, yet their achievements are not always recognized in textbooks," says Emily Grant, the museum's youth programs coordinator, who organizes the annual event. "This celebration gives us a wonderful opportunity to tell the stories of many individuals. We try to strike a balance between historical programs and presentations about contemporary topics."
Special guests include staff from the Freelon Group, who will highlight Durham architect Philip Freelon's recent projects, such as the Harvey Gantt Center in Charlotte and the International Civil Rights Museum in Greensboro.
They will also share their plans for the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. With construction slated to begin in 2012, this will be the first national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life.
History and drama will be part of the event. Visitors can watch scenes from the play "Phillis Wheatley and Friends"; see historical figures come to life from the museum's upcoming exhibit on Thomas Day, who operated North Carolina's largest furniture workshop in 1850 and became the state's best-known cabinetmaker; or learn about the George Eastman School in northeastern North Carolina.
For a complete schedule or more information, go to ncmuseumofhistory.org or call (919) 807-7900.
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