African American Heritage Festival offers hybrid schedule June 8-12

The annual festival is usually held during Black History Month but was rescheduled and extended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Charlotte Museum of History will host its fourth African American Heritage Festival from June 8 through June 12 – ahead of Juneteenth – in hopes to recognize and educate residents on Charlotte’s Black history.

Adria Focht, the museum’s president and CEO, said it’s important now more than ever that children and adults in the Charlotte community acknowledge and accept Charlotte’s whole history – from the institution of slavery to the social justice movement of today.

“It’s so important to recognize, to acknowledge, to accept the continuum of Black history in the United States and in Mecklenburg County to enact any type of real change,” she said. 

Focht adds that one of the festival’s goals is to raise the voices of underrepresented people in Charlotte’s historical narratives.

“We haven’t done the best job of preserving and representing our built history, particularly African American history,” she said.

The African American Heritage Festival began in 2018 and usually hosts nearly 1,000 people for a daylong event during Black History Month. Due to the pandemic, it was rescheduled and extended to safely accommodate guests. 

This year’s festival features a series of both virtual and in-person events. 

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There’s a West African dance performance by the Charlotte Ballet and a history talk with former Charlotte mayor and U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. Playwright and actress Lakeetha Blakeney will lead a virtual conversation about the evolution of African American food, hair and fashion. Viewers can also learn the origins of the Rosenwald Fund, which helped build thousands of schools for Black children in the South during the Jim Crow era.

JazzArts Charlotte will pay tribute to Black musicians during an in-person concert, and a special Afternoon on the Grounds features a live painting demonstration of notable Black Charlotteans by four local artists. 

Click here to see the full schedule and register for in-person events. Capacity is limited for in-person events and guests must register in advance.

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