Juneteenth Festival of The Carolinas Receives
2007 PRIDE CULTURAL ARTS/EDUCATION NON-PROFIT AWARD
The Juneteenth Festival of the Carolinas began with the vision of one man…Pape Ndiaye; Proprietor of Charlotte, NC based House of Africa. That vision later brought on the spiritual and all around support and leadership of Marilyn Griffith Turner, Chairman. With this formidable team and a score of volunteers, this small festival with humble beginnings in front of Mr. Ndiaye’s store at 1215 Central Avenue, grew to become a cultural celebration attracting close to 20,000 people from near and far to Independence Park in Charlotte, NC.
Juneteenth commemorates the June 19, 1865 date when General Gordon Grainger and his soldiers rode into Galveston, Texas to proclaim to the slaves that they had been freed 2 ½ years earlier. The slaves began the celebration on that day and it is continued today through The Juneteenth Festival of the Carolinas.
The 4-day Festival in Charlotte, NC began in 1997 and celebrates ” Freedom” foremost. It is inclusive of all that wish to participate in the idea of Freedom. In the most recent Presidential Message in observance of the 141st Juneteenth (2006), the words rang strong as the significance of this special celebration was summarized in a White House statement; “On this day, we honor the vision of President Lincoln, and we will keep striving to build a Nation where the dignity of every person is respected, where people are judged by the content of their character, and where the hope of the American dream reaches every neighborhood and every citizen. Together, we can continue to advance the ideals of liberty and justice that make our country strong and help more Americans realize the full promise of this great Nation.
During festival dates, attendees enjoy an Education Village with events that include lectures by prominent educators, historians, book signings and discussions. Wanting to play even more of a vital role in education, The Juneteenth Committee established, The Marilyn Griffith Turner Scholarship Fund. This very important Scholarship is named after the long-standing Chairman, modern day Harriett Tubman and now deceased; Ms. Turner. The aim of this fund is to send a deserving youth to college on a full four year scholarship worth $80,000. At the 2006 Juneteenth Celebration, Mr. Marlin D. Felder was presented with and became the first recipient of this award. St. Augustine College is the sponsor of this Scholarship and is now educating Mr. Felder who is Majoring in History & Political Science with a Minor in Education.
With goals of caring for the mind, body and soul The Juneteenth Festival of The Carolinas, Inc features:
A Health Care Village that is staffed with health care professionals from area hospitals, clinics and the like who are on hand to generously educate and offer various FREE health screenings to all festival goers.
A Children’s Village is a wonderful gathering place for kids from 1-99 filled with carnival of rides and games, arts and crafts and a performance stage where the youth may experiment and showcase their talents.
An ever popular Drum Circle attracts music and dance enthusiasts from all ethnicities and states
Multi-cultural vendors traveling from all across the country and parts of Africa to showcase food, exquisite art, music and culturally relevant specialty items.
Over the years The Juneteenth Festival of The Carolinas, Inc has become a must-attend summer event, attracting support from individuals, corporate and small businesses as well as two of the areas largest churches: Friendship Missionary Baptist & University Park Baptist . “These organizations and individuals have supported the event both financially and through in-kind donations. They see the vision and understand the importance of keeping this Festival alive. Juneteenth is a vital part of our collective history and needs to continue in order to inspire generations while serving as an opportunity to pass the torch onto future generations;” said Mr. Ndiaye.
Juneteenth spotlights all genre of entertainment to include fashion, dance, singing, poetry and much more.
Sankofa—-In order to understand our future we MUST know our past.
Work Does Not Stop With The Festival: Through the Non-Profit Juneteenth Festival of The Carolinas Inc., Pape Ndiaye has created a summer program where school aged children come to the House of Africa to participate in Arts & Cultural Programs as well as Youth Seminars to discuss important community issues. Finally, he has also invested in Housing to help families that find themselves in transition. The housing is provided as a way to help give people a “hand-up” while they are facing hard economic challenges.Juneteenth Festival of the Carolinas, Inc., Pape Ndiaye and his non-profit organization offer both our local and national communities with support through relevant cultural, economic, and educational efforts. For more on Juneteenth and Pape Ndiaye or to see how you can support this historic event, visit the juneteenth website.
The 14th Annual Pride Awards honoring Juneteenth & Pape Ndiaye , held on Saturday, January 13, 2007 at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte, NC.