Juneteenth event celebrates cultural expressions of African American history

The virtual 2020 Juneteenth celebration was a platform of an interactive presentation video, weighing in on the cultural expressions of African American history.

It fit the optics of a collaborative journey through word, song, dance, and music, including a footnote that Black lives have always mattered. The theme was titled “Bridging the Gap.”

The 43-minute video presented by the African American Cultural Society began late on June 19 due to technical difficulties. However, the organizers rejoiced that the event was not canceled.

Observance Day

Despite COVID-19, they produced video clips of students in the communications department of Oakwood University, scholars and community leaders of the Gullah Sea Islands, among other presentations.

It was the calling card for Palm Coast Mayor Milissa Holland to decree June 19, as Juneteenth Observance Day.

The mayor asserted that “Juneteenth recognizes the traditional African American Emancipation Day that originated in June 1865 in Galveston, Texas – two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the eminent Emancipation Proclamation.”

Cultural chair Dr. Salima N’Dulu added, “Imagine being a slave and being told that you are free.

“That’s exactly what happened,” said N’Dulu.

Celebrations in remembrance of the day have grown, then faded, but have now resurfaced to where Twitter, Nike and Target have proposed that they will recognize Juneteenth as a holiday.

Gullah culture celebrated

It was U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee’s signature of proclaiming “Juneteenth as a day of jubilation, a day when families gather together.”

The U.S. congresswoman (DTexas) recognized that “it is a story time…to… acknowledge what has been wronged can be fixed.”

The street artist’s widespread George Floyd mural flashed across the screen, symbolizing the police brutality of the young father.

The program weighed in on the vocal in song, Langston Hughes’ poetry, bridging the gap from Africa to the language system and Gullah traditions in the United States, the most authentic African culture in America.

These ancestors were forced to leave their homeland in West Africa to be enslaved on the plantations from North Carolina to Florida.

The video coupled in dance, particularly the ring shout, or holy dance, where individual shouting is still present among today’s most traditional church congregations.

It captured a rigorous dance performed to four-part harmony in a line formation by males – dominated by hand clapping, hip contractions, foot stomping – and accentuated by ankle wraps and whistles for setting the timing.

The Gumboot dance is closely related to the step dance as seen across the campuses of U.S. colleges and universities.

The presentations were performed by Cheryl Few in song, a recitation by Imani Kinshasa, and narratives by dancer/author Barbara Solomon, along with a rendition by Mt. Calvary Adult Liturgical Dance Ministry.

The African American Cultural Society can be reached at 386-447-7030.

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As always, remember our prayers for the sick, afflicted, the prodigal son, or daughter, and the bereaved.

Celebrations

Birthday wishes to Howard Wilson, June 25; Mattie DeVore, June 29; Bob Banks, June 30; and Jimmy Goodridge, July 1. Happy anniversary to Earl and Carmel Hooke, June 25.

God Only Knows

A poem, written by my cousin, Anne Phillips, makes mention of today’s dialogue:

“God Only Knows”
By Anne Phillips

I can’t breathe, for I am not free,
Cover my face, just to be safe.
They say don’t worry, pray,
I keep my Bible at my side,
Not in the air as a sense of pride,
To display a false sense of righteousness.

God Only Knows!

I can’t breathe, remove your knee,
Four hundred and one years,
Watching the mothers through their tears,
Modern-day lynching is their fear.

God Only Knows!

Jobs are lost, money is short,
Tempers flare, nothing seems fair.
No socialization, six feet apart,
Loved ones die, can’t mourn or say goodbye.

God Only Knows!

Police stop and frisk, your life is at risk.
Keep your hands up, do not resist.
Marching everyday, demanding our rights,
Hiding at night, waiting for the morning light.

God Only Knows!

Forgive them Father for they know not
what they do (Luke 23:34)!

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