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African American celebration in Raleigh this weekend kicks off Black History Month

Sandra Dubose performs during the African American Cultural Celebration at the N.C. Museum of History on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017.
Sandra Dubose performs during the African American Cultural Celebration at the N.C. Museum of History on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017. NEWS & OBSERVER FILE PHOTO

North Carolina will usher in Black History Month with the 17th Annual African American Cultural Celebration, set for Saturday at the N.C. Museum of History.

The festival, named a top-20 event by the Southeast Tourism Society, will begin at 10:30 a.m. with a procession up Bicentennial Plaza between the history museum and the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences.

From 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., programming held inside and outside the history museum will feature more than 75 artists, musicians, storytellers, dancers, chefs, historians, playwrights, authors and reenactors.

“Each year, the planning committee says, ‘We can’t top this year’s event!’ and each year, the event just gets bigger and better,” said festival coordinator Emily Grant. “The celebration has grown over the years from a small afternoon event with a few hundred people, to a daylong event serving as the state-wide kickoff to Black History Month with thousands in attendance.”

The day also will include special gallery tours and events for children, a lunchtime lecture for adults, and a chance to view the state’s 1868 Constitution – the first to grant rights and privileges to newly-freed people after the Civil War.

The document will be displayed through April in the 1860s gallery in the museum’s largest exhibit, The Story of North Carolina, which traces life in North Carolina from its earliest inhabitants through the 20th century.

For more information on the African American Cultural Celebration, visit ncmuseumofhistory.org.

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