Planners pore over plans for new Bethune festival

01_JerolineMcCarthy01Key players lunched following a rollout of a presentation of the Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Cultural Heritage Arts Festival, while enjoying the ambience at Las Palmas, a residence in Palm Coast for retirement living.

The residence on occasion is utilized for marketing pursuits. The festival, scheduled for April 6-13 in Daytona Beach, will honor the legacy of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune.

The signature event is “a delightfully exciting, high energy experience” with a theme, “A Diamond in the Rough.”

Muriel McCoy, Ann Scott, Dr. Evelyn Bethune, Carolyn Hawkins, Donna M. Gray-Banks and Cynthia Black attended a festival presentation at Las Palmas in Palm Coast.
Muriel McCoy, Ann Scott, Dr. Evelyn Bethune, Carolyn Hawkins, Donna M. Gray-Banks and Cynthia Black attended a festival presentation at Las Palmas in Palm Coast.

The participants were “evited” through Carolyn Hawkins by Dr. Evelyn Bethune, granddaughter of the B-CU founder. They learned through stepped-up efforts that the purpose of this single event is to celebrate the wholeness of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune.

“I am determined that people will understand that she was far greater than just founding Bethune-Cookman,’’ quipped Bethune.

Her message came across for Flagler County Realtor Carolyn Hawkins, F.R.E.S.H. Book Festival director Donna M. Gray-Banks, North East Florida Jazz Association founder Muriel McCoy, along with model/radio host Cynthia Black, jazz radio host Na’m-Rashid, and administrative executive Ann Scott.

‘5 Blessings’
A libation and African drumming will jumpstart the festival of April 6 at sunset on Mary McLeod Boulevard at the corner of Lincoln, and will travel to Dr. Bethune’s gravesite.

“The 5 Blessings,” the focus of a HBCU President’s Roundtable discussion on April 7 at B-CU will include President Dr. Edison O. Jackson and will take on how Dr. Bethune and the National Council of Negro Women dug wells in the south, providing clean drinking water for Black people, and making it possible for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to have certain advances.

This is one of the pieces for discussion. Most of the events are free, and so Bethune is soliciting sponsorships. To be part of the sponsorship, a form can be found at

For the most part when talking about African-American history, nine times out of 10, the people they are talking about are males. “I say this all the time,” said Bethune.

“Before there was Martin and Malcolm, there was Mary.”

Without Dr. Bethune’s work for President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Black Cabinet, the Tuskegee Airmen’s planes would not have gotten off the ground. Dr. Bethune was part of the founding body of the United Nations, and in integrating the American Red Cross and the Women’s Army Corp.

Her efforts are all part of “The 5 Blessings” that will align the HBCU President’s Roundtable, filled by educators and noted personalities that folks are attuned to, and whose focus is on all aspects of Dr. Bethune.

“We also want them (our children) to see that our ancestors had so much less and did so much more because they made headway with no resources,” asserted Bethune.

Highlight of events
A Bridge Builders Gala Awards Dinner at $100 a plate will function on the evening of April 7 at the Daytona Beach Hilton Resort on the beachside.

Lined up for April 8 is a roundtable of leaders for a town hall meeting from diverse faiths across the nation, who will gather at the Performing Arts Center on campus, galvanized to help move our communities forward. A service at White Hall Chapel will take place in the afternoon.

Highlighting some events and subject to date restructuring, plan to attend a Health & Wellness Conference at the Ocean Center on April 9, which is tied in with the festival by the university in its feature of the U.S. Surgeon General. On April 10, catch a Business Leaders Forum and job fair at the School of Business.

On Mary McLeod Boulevard as well as in Daisy Stocking Park, spend three days at Umoja Village beginning April 10 with artists, performers and street vendors, and enjoy the evening with a concert on campus at the Performing Arts Center.

On April 11, another dynamic arises in a Political and Human Rights, Global Thought Discussion, regarding the politics of the African-American community with international leaders on campus, and part of the Civic Engagement & Advocacy piece. Include in the same day’s activities, an Author’s Forum/Book Fair, and take in the Healthy Living Village, entertainment, and music with art, a cultural marketplace, living legacies, children’s activities, and a Black Film festival.

Scout and procure a “Schedule of Events” to pinpoint the specific activities.

Top-brand celebrities and athletes have shown interest in taking part in the festival. A videography showing interest by students will become a legacy when shown of the folks that grew up during the span of Dr. Bethune’s life.  A journal is in the making as a keepsake and a means of support.

A street ball competition will extend from April 11 to April 12. Include on April 12, a 5K Walk-Run for Alzheimer’s, along with other activities, plus Jazz Vespers featuring musicians, accomplished choirs, and vocalists, and include the African drumming with a fellowship closing ceremony on April 13, 7 p.m.

Plug in for gala tickets, book fair entry, sponsorship forms, vending, and volunteer information at The festival promises fun and hype for learning about Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune in a catchall spanning the duration of her life.

First Church’s MLK service is Jan. 19
Find out how God uses change agents like the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  There’s special music, and the Rev. Gillard S. Glover will preach 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. for the celebration service of Jan. 19. Persons of diverse ethnicities are invited to celebrate Dr. King’s life and legacy.

Located at 91 Old Kings Road North, Palm Coast, First Church can be reached at 386-446-5759.


NAACP ‘Olympics’ set for Jan. 25
The Flagler NAACP will have the 2014 “Olympics of the Mind” Kickoff Competition Luncheon on Jan. 25, 3 p.m., at the African American Cultural Society, 4422 North U. S. 1, Palm Coast.

The fund-raiser, representing the NAACP’s principal youth initiative, will kick off with local youth showcasing the Performing Arts and the Humanities.

For information on a combination ticket price, call the NAACP at 386-446-7822.

The Flagler County NAACP will hold the Jan. 28 meeting at 6 p.m., at the African-American Cultural Society, 4422 North U.S. 1, Palm Coast.

Everyone is invited to hear the annual reports of the branch for the year 2013.

For further information, contact the NAACP at 386-446-7822.


Come socialize, meet new people at “A Card and Board Game Party,” presented by Flagler County Women in the NAACP (WIN).

Play bridge, bid whist, Pokeno, chess, checkers, Coo-Coo, Scrabble, etc.

WIN desires that you join them, and bring a friend for a fun afternoon, replete in a boxed lunch, beverage, and a chance to win door prizes.

The fun begins Feb. 5, 11:30 a.m., at the African American Cultural Society, 4422 North U. S. 1, Palm Coast. The ticket price is $15.

For tickets, call 386-445-3738, 386-986-4847, 386-437-5082, or 386-446-7822.


As always, remember our prayers for the sick, afflicted and bereaved.

Birthday wishes to Thea Smith, Jan. 17; Donald Jones, Jan. 18; Kilus White, Jan. 19; Gloria Wilder, Jan. 20.

Happy anniversary to Eddie and the Rev. Lannie Thomas, Jan. 19.



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