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African American Heritage Festival

Celebrate Charlotte’s Black history and culture during the annual free African American Heritage Festival. This year’s festival was a combination of virtual and in-person events that explored dance, visual art, historic memory, and enslavement and segregation through the stories of those who lived here.

The 2021 African American Heritage Festival was made possible with support from the Arts & Science Council and Pride Magazine.

2021 Festival

The 2021 African American Heritage Festival was virtual, but we still had some amazing experiences. Explore these videos to see the online version, then come to our 2023 festival to experience the event in person!

Charlotte Ballet Dance Demo

Take a lunch break and dance along with the Charlotte Ballet! The Charlotte Ballet hosted a livestreamed dance demonstration featuring West African dance traditions. The program explored movement, music, costuming, and more.

Lunch & Learn: What’s in a Name?

Listen in to a conversation with Charlotte community history Tom Hanchett, JCSU archivist Brandon Lunsford and representatives from Tuskeegee and Fisk universities as they discuss the origins of the Rosenwald Fund, which helped build thousands of schools for African American children in the South during the Jim Crow era.

Lakeetha Blakeney: Bridging Then & Now

Playwright and actress Lakeetha Blakeney joins the Museum for a livestreamed conversation that explores African American food, hair, and fashion as they were, as they are now, and how they could be in the future.

JazzArts Concert

JazzArts performed a small-ensemble concert in-person at the Museum, featuring a musical timeline of genres and styles created by Black musicians beginning in the 19th century to today. The concert was exclusive to attendees, but you can watch a clip on our social media here.

Click/tap here to see a clip from our social media.

Afternoon on the Grounds

The Museum welcomed back visitors for African American Heritage Festival! Visitors learned about Charlotte’s Black history and culture on the final day of the Festival. Performances included the “Chronicles of Adam,” a powerful first-person historical narrative with interpreter Dontavius Williams as well as an interactive drum circle with Drums 4 Life. Our brand-new Siloam School exhibit opened. The exhibit explores the story of the historic Rosenwald-era school. And with help from our partners at Charlotte Is Creative, four local artists brought history to life with their unique portraits of notable Black Charlotteans. Featured local artists are Makayla Binter, Abel Jackson, Marcus Kiser, and Ricky Singh. Read more about the paintings from Charlotte Is Creative.

Click/tap here to see a clip from our social media.

You can also see the Siloam School exhibit and the completed Path of Portraits paintings every day during regular operating hours. More information about visiting the Museum is on the Visit page!

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