Juneteenth Festival of the Carolinas collaborate with Levine Museum to bring Africa to Charlotte
By CELEST M. HART
On June 19, 2018, Pape Ndiaye, president of Juneteenth Festival of the Carolinas, said two births occurred, a partnership with, Levine Museum of the New South and The Males Place Inc., a Mecklenburg County Health Department resource for African American boys, ages, 12 through 18.
“I am so glad and happy to spread our wings, after 21 years, with the museum and the Health Department. Two babies were born today. We are grateful that the community is expanding its knowledge about Juneteenth. If you can’t get to Africa, we’ll bring Africa to you,” said Ndiaye.
Juneteenth, the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery, organized by freedmen in Texas, in 1866, now an official holiday in 45 states. Although President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862, news did not reach the slaves until June 19, 1865. According to Ndiaye, the major intent of the festival is to examine the cultural heritage of slaves and their descendants, not to recreate the past.
“For the past 20 years we have gathered together to celebrate the freeing of the slaves and their legacy to future generations with food, music, dance, drumming, art, youth seminars and historical displays. It’s a great piece of American history,” said Ndiaye.
The celebration, held at the Levine Museum of the South, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., featured an African Drum Circle with audience participation, children’s story times throughout the day, a Harriet Tubman monologue, Black Gospel Spirituals and daylong educational arts and crafts. Visitors also enjoyed the museum’s exhibits and a scavenger hunt, called, Cotton Fields to Skyscrapers that started in the Sharecropper’s Cabin to the Cotton Gin, the Jim Crow water fountains and to the Lunch Counter.
“We are thrilled to build on this relationship with the House of Africa. The city also needs to learn about our series including, MLK Birthday celebration, Family Day and Women’s rights”, said Mandy Drakeford, Levine Museum communications director.
"The activities told the rich legacy of our culture through story, song and dance. I feel like we gathered today and really celebrated FREEDOM,” said Vanessa Latimore
“I felt like I was in Africa,” said Savannah Latimore, age six.
House of Africa, an outlet of African art, artifacts, books and information, Ndiaye opened 1992, located at 1215 Thomas Ave, Midwood Plaza.