What, to You, is July Fourth?

“Agitate. Agitate. Agitate.” Those were the last words of Frederick Douglass, portrayed in a short film of his life story at his home, Cedar Hill, in Washington, DC. Douglass escaped slavery and became an abolitionist, human rights activist, published author, statesman — and one of America’s most courageous citizens and brilliant minds. So it doesn’t surprise me that he kept it real when he wrote the speech “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro” in 1852.

When I toured his home in DC’s Anacostia neighborhood, where Douglass lived from 1878 until his death in 1895, there was no white picket fence — iconic symbol of the American dream. Instead, his house crowned a hill overlooking what seemed like all of Washington DC. Before the tour, I sat […]

By |July 2nd, 2015|Blog

4th of July Celebration in Colonial Williamsburg

Colonial Williamsburg’s guests discover the inspiring story of African Americans during the American Revolution, and the Fourth of July celebration is a prime time for this walk through history. Some of the events include a salute to the states behind the courthouse, reading of the Declaration of Independence on the courthouse stairs and family activities, such as 3-legged races and crafts.

The day ends in a Salute to the Nation: A special tribute to our armed forces as well as fireworks. Some African American attractions that can be visited during the Fourth of July celebration include the Jamestown Settlement, where visitors see and hear the story of the first Africans who arrived in the new country, as well as the Great Hopes Plantation tour.

Colonial Williamsburg is the largest living history […]

By |July 2nd, 2015|Blog

Atlanta Ushers in the New Caribbean American Month

After the long winter nothing could make the summer arrive fast enough. While I may have been born in New York, I can’t help but think my West Indian blood churns and thrives in the summer season. With June being Caribbean American Month, there’s no better way to welcome the return of hot weather and good times than in visiting Georgia during Memorial Day Weekend for the annual Atlanta Carnival, the official launch of the American festival season.

Truly embracing and enjoying the Caribbean celebration goes beyond just the feature parade event. The entire build-up to the parade is comprised of its own multiple events. Caribbean tradition includes a grand public exhibition of the costumes that will be on display during the parades. Each respective band turns this into a […]

By |June 29th, 2015|Blog

Black Hampton Unbound

“Hampton? I always read it was Jamestown,” I said when told the city was the first on record in which a group of Africans disembarked in 1619. I was standing at the Old Point Comfort lighthouse near Fort Monroe National Monument on a trip to the Virginia port town with origins that reached back more than 400 years.

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    A First Timer’s Experience Exploring Voodoo Culture in New Orleans

A First Timer’s Experience Exploring Voodoo Culture in New Orleans

New Orleans is a cultural melting pot with a blend of lifestyles, cultures and religious groups that make the city so appealing to visit. One main attraction is its voodoo culture, which has a strong influence in New Orleans, and is a practice that 15 percent of the city’s residents observe in some way. For those who are unaware, Louisiana voodoo, also known as “New Orleans Voodoo,” describes a set of underground religious practices that originated in the traditions of the African diaspora. The core beliefs of Louisiana voodoo include the recognition of one God who does not interfere in people’s daily lives, and spirits that preside over daily life.

“Ghosts and ghouls” (so I call them) have never interested me, and I’ve never believed in voodoo or superstition. Growing […]

By |May 21st, 2015|Blog