Saint Augustine’s University helped the state of North Carolina kick off Black History Month when SAU’s Superior Sound Marching Band took part in the African American Cultural Celebration at the North Carolina Museum of Natural History on Jan. 25.
The event featured musicians, storytellers, dancers, chefs, historians, playwrights, authors, artists and others and was designed to showcase the state’s African-American cultural heritage. Held in partnership with the N.C. African American Heritage Commission, the event also included remarks from prominent North Carolinians, including Governor Roy Cooper, who gave an introduction speech. The crowd was packed shoulder-to-shoulder as men and women dressed in colorful period costumes marched into the museum’s main hall during the event’s Grand Procession. In the middle of the procession, led by Band Director Alfred David Jr., the SAU band marched in filling the hall with the sounds of horns and drums.
SAU representation doesn’t stop just there the SAU Royal court was in attendance. In addition, the SAU Chamber singers stunned the crowd when they broke out into a flash mob performance of “When Dreams Take Flight.”
Freshman Jeremee Jeter, a member of the SAU Chamber Singers, said the song was her highlight of the festival. “I believe we made a big impact on everybody at the festival,” Jeter said
Alumni Alyssa Smith Junior attended the festival for the first time “My highlight was seeing all the SAU Alumni there emphasizing the importance of black history,” Smith said. “I felt like I spoke to a lot of the alumni and they taught me a lot about their history and what they have been though during their time at St. Aug.”
Miss Sophomore Delicia Bost was also in attendance. “I think it was really nice that everybody was enjoying each other’s company and enjoying the festivities,” Bost said.
Throughout the festival there were many different exhibitions and tables to visit to learn informative history on the roots of African Americans in North Carolina and throughout the South.
The North Carolina African-American Cultural Celebration has been named a “Top 20 Event” by the Southeast Tourism Society.
Valerie Ann Johnson, a professor at Bennett College and chair of the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission, said in a TV news interview after the event that it was unique for the state. For folks to be able to come together for a single day to immerse themselves in the African-American cultural experience is really something precious,” Johnson said.
— Christopher Ingram