“There’s an old African proverb that says if you can talk, then you can sing.”
That's how Janine Bell, president of the Elegba Folklore Society and our December 2017 breakfast speaker, opened the "Juneteeth" festivities in Richmond recently. Members of the audience in front of her lit up with laughter and she led the crowd in a welcome song sung by people in southwestern Nigeria and Benin.
Juneteenth is a three-day celebration commemorating the emancipation of American slaves. It marks the arrival of Union troops in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865. Upon their arrival — two months after the Confederacy had surrendered in the Civil War — the troops declared the freedom of all enslaved people in Texas.
The three-day celebration at the Pine Camp Cultural Arts and Community Center in Richmond includes musical performances and a symposium to start
“It’s an opportunity for people to be in humility, gratitude, and triumph all at once,” Bell said in a recent Times-Dispatch article about this year's festivities. More