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The North Carolina Museum of History in downtown Raleigh is excited to announce the 23rd annual African American Cultural Celebration (AACC) will take place on Saturday, January 27, 2024, from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. This highly anticipated event is the statewide kickoff to Black History Month in North Carolina. Admission and parking are FREE.
For more than two decades, the AACC has brought together community members, organizations, artists, musicians, scholars and more to commemorate African American history and culture. This year’s theme, “Our North Carolina Expressed through the Arts,” promises to showcase the deep artistic legacy of the state while highlighting a jam-packed lineup of contemporary and emerging talent.
The past is interwoven with the present at the start of the festival. Join in the 10:30 a.m. procession, led by the Shaw University Platinum Sound Marching Band Drumline and featuring United States Colored Troops reenactors and dancers from local dance schools and academies. Adrienne Nirdé, director of the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission (AAHC); Dr. Valerie Ann Johnson, AAHC chair and dean of Shaw University; and Department of Natural and Cultural Resources Secretary Reid Wilson will then welcome everyone to the festival. The Men in Black Ensemble will perform “Lift Every Voice and Sing” as the opening festivities conclude.
Michelle Carr, curator of special programs at the North Carolina Museum of History, expressed her excitement for the event, stating, “The AACC is one of my favorite events. I learn new information, meet remarkable people and enjoy performances and demonstrations. The event is a celebration of people, their creativity, their perseverance and their resilience. North Carolina has a rich African American heritage and history, and it is an honor to play even a small role in ensuring that these traditions are not lost but shared with all North Carolinians.”
- Immerse themselves in traditional African folktales and original North Carolina stories presented by the North Carolina Association of Black Storytellers,
- Savor the mouthwatering taste of shrimp and grits prepared by local chef and entrepreneur Julius West,
- Celebrate the 100th birthday of Pasquotank County native Max Roach, the master percussionist whose rhythmic innovations defined bebop jazz, in a presentation by Elizabeth City State University Music Professor Douglas A. Jackson,
- Uncover how the Turner House in Raleigh’s Oberlin historic district holds an untold piece of Black history as revealed by the home’s fifth-generation owner,
- Watch as talented artisans create one-of-a-kind pieces, including modern quilts, traditional white oak baskets, innovative jewelry and wearable art,
- Take a musical journey through the African American Music Trails of Eastern North Carolina and hear Goldsboro native Curtis Pope’s remarkable stories from the road when he toured as the band director for such R & B greats as Wilson Pickett and the Isley Brothers,
- Participate in a tribute to the 50th anniversary of the founding of hip-hop with a presentation by local DJ Damon “Doc” Johnson and a live performance by Durham’s Tha Materials, and
- Engage with their families while enjoying hands-on crafts and activities, fostering a sense of community and appreciation for African American culture.
The North Carolina Museum of History invites everyone to join in this celebration of African American heritage and history. Don’t miss this opportunity to experience the vibrant arts and culture of North Carolina firsthand.
To view a full schedule of all performances and presentations, plan your visit and learn more, visit NC-AACC.com.
The festival is held in partnership with the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission and sponsored, in part, by the City of Raleigh Arts Commission, Norfolk Southern, United Therapeutics, Crumley Roberts, McDonalds-Holder Family, Publix, Southern First Bank, WakeMed, PNC, AARP and Advance Community Health.
About the N.C. Museum of History
The North Carolina Museum of History, a Smithsonian Affiliate, fosters a passion for North Carolina history. This museum collects and preserves artifacts of state history and educates the public on the history of the state and the nation through exhibits and educational programs. Admission is free. In 2022, more than 274,000 people visited the museum to see some of the 150,000 artifacts in the museum collection. The Museum of History, within the Division of State History Museums, is part of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.
About the Smithsonian Affiliations Network
Since 2006, the North Carolina Museum of History has been a Smithsonian Affiliate, part of a select group of museums and cultural, educational and arts organizations that share Smithsonian resources with the nation. The Smithsonian Affiliations network is a national outreach program that develops long-term collaborative partnerships with museums and other educational and cultural organizations to enrich communities with Smithsonian resources. More information is available at affiliations.si.edu.
About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) manages, promotes, and enhances the things that people love about North Carolina – its diverse arts and culture, rich history, and spectacular natural areas. Through its programs, the department enhances education, stimulates economic development, improves public health, expands accessibility, and strengthens community resiliency.
The department manages over 100 locations across the state, including 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, five science museums, four aquariums, 35 state parks, four recreation areas, dozens of state trails and natural areas, the N.C. Zoo, the N.C. Symphony, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, the African American Heritage Commission, the American Indian Heritage Commission, the State Historic Preservation Office, the Office of State Archaeology, the Highway Historical Markers program, the N.C. Land and Water Fund, and the Natural Heritage Program. For more information, please visit www.dncr.nc.gov.