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AACC 2021 Schedule and Registration


AACC 2021 Program

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Schedule and Registration

The 20th Annual African American Cultural Celebration is going virtual! All presentations and performances will be online-only this year. Register below for interactive sessions. Registration is limited for all sessions. Enjoy videos featuring regional artists and craftspeople demonstrating their skills as well as other on-demand videos from the museum; links coming soon! Many live-streaming sessions will be recorded and made available as videos on demand as well. All sessions are subject to change. For more information on registering and viewing live-streaming sessions, click here: Demio FAQs. Click here to go back to the home page.

All videos produced by the museum will be closed captioned. Many live-streaming sessions will include sign-language interpretation. Check individual session listings for details.  


11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Register here

One of the many highlights of the festival is the Music, Movement and Drama area, which features dynamic and engaging performances from talented artists across the state and beyond.

Hosted by Moses T. Alexander Greene, Founder/Artistic Director, Lī V Mahob Productions.

Featured performances:

  • 105 Voices of History National HBCU Choir: “Lift Every Voice and Sing” 
  • The Allen Boys: sacred steel band
  • North Carolina Association of Black Storytellers: storytelling vignettes
  • Mahogany Stage: watch actors perform scenes from the play Frederick Douglass: Freedom in Mind, an imaginative telling of Douglass and other figures who helped to shape the concept of freedom and liberty in America
  • Remembrance, a dance film in honor of Ring Shout traditions, choreographed by Tamara Williams, danced by the UNCC Dept. of Dance students, and filmed by Marlon Morrison.


2:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Register here!


Hosted by Earl Ijames, Curator of African American, Agriculture and Community History, North Carolina Museum of History.

Farmer Brown and Daughter of Hertford County, NC

  • 12:00 p.m.
  • Register here!
  • Farms provide North Carolinians with a deep-rooted sense of identity. They cultivate our state’s image and give our landscape its texture. Join Andrew Brown and his daughter Sharonda Brown –better known as Farmer Brown and Daughter from their popular Vimeo series-- as they discuss the daily challenges and personal satisfaction in making a living off the land by providing locally-grown produce to their community.

Halifax Underground Railroad

  • 1:00 p.m.
  • Register here!
  • Discover the tremendous number of Freedom Seekers with connections to Halifax County, NC, and hear their inspiring stories in a presentation by Steven Green, Halifax Underground Railroad; Rodney Pierce, historian; and Jackie Ruffin-Pittman, storyteller. Halifax County has three National Park Service designated Network to Freedom Sites: Old Town of Halifax, Roanoke River, and the Roanoke Canal.

318 Years of Black American Indian Culture in the Eno River Basin of North Carolina (ASL included) 

  • 2:00 p.m.
  • Register here!
  • Judge Beverly Scarlett of Hillsborough, NC, is a descendant of the Harris Family of Orange County, North Carolina, part of little-known tri-racial isolate located along an old Indian trading path presently known as St. Mary's Road. Members of this community engaged in freedom work during the Antebellum period, fought for the Union during the Civil War, and participated in the Civil Rights Movement.

From Slavery to Freedom in Surry County 

  • View the video.
  • Dr. Evelyn Thompson, Mt. Airy, N.C.
  • After her father passed, Dr. Evelyn Thompson realized she knew very little about his family–not even the names of his parents. Determined to find answers to her questions, Thompson undertook a journey of discovery that culminated in West Africa with a trip to Ghana. One of 13 children raised in Surry County, NC, Dr. Thompson shares stories about her family and their role in the community.  
  • Run time: 29:59 


Hosted by Najla McClain, ABSN Senior Program Coordinator, Duke University School of Nursing.

(CANCELED) Black Maternal Health & The History of Eugenics in NC with Dr. Kimberly Harper

  • 11:30 a.m. 
  • Dr. Harper, an assistant professor at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, reveals how the current Black maternal health crisis in not new, but rather, ties back to America's history with chattel slavery. Through the lens of the eugenics movement and medical segregation, Dr. Harper examines reproductive justice in contemporary society.

Mental Health and the African American Community with Jamilah McClain

  • 12:30 p.m.
  • Register here!
  • Emotional health is just as important as physical health. Learn strategies to help cope with the many stresses of daily life during the COVID-19 pandemic, with McClain, a licensed clinical social worker and owner of True Colors Counseling & Consulting.

Cedric Harrison on Support the Port and Wilmington in Color

  • 1:30 p.m.
  • Register here!
  • Harrison is the founder of Support the Port Foundation, with the mission to enhance, cultivate and provide a renewed sense of community ownership and excellence for residents of Wilmington, North Carolina. The Support the Port coloring books, Wilmington in Color and History in Action, are now offered for free online.


Hosted by Bridgette A. Lacy, journalist and author of Sunday Dinner, a Savor the South cookbook.

Black Woman’s Guide to Self-Care During COVID-19 with Dr. Tonya Armstrong

  • 2:30 p.m.
  • Register here!
  • Dr. Armstrong shares tools for helping people--particularly women who are often the primary caregivers within families –combat the stresses of isolation and uncertainty. Dr. Armstrong has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from UNC and a Master of Theological Studies degree from Duke Divinity School. She established a counseling ministry at her church and a group behavioral health practice for the broader community.

Foods that Boost Immunity with Carol Quigless (ASL included) 

  • 3:30 p.m.
  • Register here!
  • The daughter of Dr. Milton Quigless, a ground-breaking African American doctor in Tarboro, North Carolina, Carol Quigless has studied a variety of natural healing traditions. Her interest in nutritional cooking led her to open one of Los Angeles’ first home-delivery meal services. Now living in Virginia, Carol frequently leads workshops on holistic healing and vegan cuisine.

Hungry for Success: How an Ex-Worker Turned Entrepreneur Opened Two Pizza Shops  

  • Efrem Yates, Proprietor, Your Pie LLC
  • View the video.
  • Kinston, N.C. native Efrem Yates has always been interested in owning his own business. With the opening of two franchises in Wake County, he is well on his way. Yates shares the keys to his success, from the inspiration of childhood mentors to the challenges of adapting to curbside during COVID-19 to the value of making a difference in his community.


Hosted by Deborah Holt Noel, UNC-TV Public Media North Carolina.

Tameka Fryer Brown on Writing for Children

  • 12:00 p.m.
  • Register here!
  • A former health care professional, Brown is now following her dream as an award-winning children’s picture book author. Her titles include Brown Baby Lullaby and My Cold Plum Lemon Pie Bluesy Mood. Her work is also featured in the much-heralded anthology, WE RISE, WE RESIST, WE RAISE OUR VOICES.

All the Songs We Sing: African American Writers' Collective Celebrates 25th Anniversary Anthology

  • 1:00 p.m.
  • Register here!
  • Panelists include Lenard D. Moore, L. Teresa Church, Fred Joiner, and Ashley Harris.
  • The Carolina African American Writers’ Collective was founded by poet and North Carolina native Lenard D. Moore twenty-five years ago and has cultivated nearly seventy writers, whose genres include poetry, prose, essays, and dramatic works. The group has been featured at numerous readings, festivals, and conferences in North Carolina and beyond, and various members have received international recognition for their writings and literary performances.

From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century by A. Kirsten Mullen & William A. Darity, Jr.

  • 2:00 p.m.
  • Register here!
  • Mullen is the founder of the Carolina Circuit Writers, a literary consortium that brings expressive writers of color to the Carolinas. Darity is the Samuel DuBois Cook Professor of Public Policy, African and African American Studies, and Economics and the director of the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University. In From Here to Equality they offer a roadmap on how to implement reparations for descendants of enslaved people.

Woke! Cartoonist Keith Knight 

  • 3:00 p.m.
  • Register here!
  • Keith Knight is many things to many people–rapper, social activist, father, and educator among them. He’s also one of the funniest and most highly regarded cartoonists in America, and the creator of the popular comic strips: the Knight Life, (th)ink, and the K Chronicles. Knight illustrated the Jake the Fake books for children and is also writer – and inspiration! – for the Hulu series Woke.


This year’s annual celebration offers many chances to see North Carolina artists and craftspeople at work in their studios, at their easel, in the woods, and more! Why do these creators of baskets, paintings, dioramas, face jugs, and quilts make what they make? How have they learned their craft? Who do they hope will carry on their traditions? Find out and enjoy other videos that commemorate North Carolina’s rich African American heritage.

Watch the pre-recorded videos at any time! Links coming soon.

African American Quilt Circle of Durham, quilting and fiber arts (video)

  • Quilters use threads of fabric woven together in a design and texture unique to themselves to tell family stories and preserve cherished memories that are passed down through the generations. Watch as members of the African American Quilt Circle of Durham discuss the importance of the rich quilting tradition within the Black community, while reflecting on their own stitched creations.
  • View the video

Shawn Etheridge, painting (video)

  • Shawn Etheridge sees potential in a blank canvas—a chance to tell a story, capture a moment, honor a legacy. In one of his popular painting series, the Elizabeth City native pays tribute to the state’s 11 Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Although the scenes are easily identified, Etheridge often leaves his subjects’ faces blank, to allow viewers to picture themselves in the paintings.
  • View the video

Pinkie Strother, miniatures and clay figurines (video)

  • Fuquay-Varina artist Pinkie Strother creates miniature displays that combine art and history. Shaping the clay that forms the basis of her figures connects Strother to her past, when she would sink her hands in the cool, white clay of the creek bed near her childhood home. Watch the acclaimed sculptor create unique pieces of art that recount history –like the 1963 March on Washington or everyday memories from her own life.
  • View the video.

Neal Thomas, white-oak basketmaking (video)

  • For nearly 50 years Neal Thomas has been making baskets out of white-oak trees that grow near his home in Wendell, North Carolina. Thomas doesn’t purchase his supplies online or at a local craft store, instead, he sources all his materials by hand. Follow along as he shares the process of creating a classic, hand-made basket—from selecting the tree to cutting the wood to weaving the strips.
  • View the video

Ben Watford, pottery (video)

  • Watch New Bern potter Ben Watford make one of his distinctive face jugs. Sometimes known as ugly jugs, face mugs are adorned with exaggerated human features such as bulging eyes, protruding ears and jagged teeth. Watford, who finds beauty in the jugs’ imperfections, explains the history of the art form and its connections to enslaved Africans.
  • Video courtesy of UNC-TV.
  • View the video