No WV Without Black History
“This celebration is an effort, plan and inspiration to make an impact. Our attempt to connect history and what is happening now.” This quote by Juneteenth Event Coordinator Ron English turned to be a reoccurring theme throughout the four day celebration.
When the Tuesday Morning Group (TMG) noticed the lack of acknowledgement given to African Americans for their donation to West Virginia History they felt entitled to change that. After hard work spearheaded by event coordinator Ron English, the Tuesday Morning Group organized a Juneteenth Celebration.
The four day ceremony began on Sunday, June 16 at the WV Cultural Center in the Grand Hall. WV Musical Hall of Fame Ensemble brought us selections like Grandma’s House by Bill Withers. After Crystal Good brought us a beautiful poem it was time for our keynote speaker David M. Fryson, Esq. Chief Diversity Officer, WVU. He urged us to remember our roots and that WV has always been at the forefront, reminding us that while we are celebrating 150 years of history it is relative young in terms of generations. We must continue our work for the following generations just like our ancestors did for us.
TMG transitioned the celebration to Mary C. Snow Elementary on the west side of Charleston for Monday’s ceremony. They looked at The Black Presence in Politics for Social Change. Booker T. served as an example along with J.R. Clifford of what one or a group can do when they dedicate themselves to a purpose.
After two successful nights it was time for our featured Scholars to take the stage in WVSU Davis Fine Arts Building. Dr. Ancella Bickley, Professor Emeritus of English spoke to us and recollected about what it is was like growing up in West Virginia over the years. Dr. Charles Ledbetter define “experiment” from two point of views in a presentation around the Tuskegee Experiment at State College.
To build on what was becoming a grand experience we welcomed from Carnegie Mellon University home, Dr. Joe William Trotter, Jr. He told us “hard times and hardships have been a theme in Black WV but so has our race overcoming”.
To conclude the Juneteenth Events there was a Revival Celebration at First Baptist Church where Arley Ray Johnson would be the speaker. The congregation was reminded that our community walls are down and gates consumed with fire as referenced from biblical text. We were offered ways of correcting this for the sake of upcoming generations like strengthening the church and what we have left.
The keynote followed this up by urging us to stand up, change it and rearrange it. Johnson told the congregation they must be willing to say if it is your will God I will endure. God is looking for people to sellout to move.
Event coordinator summed it up best by saying “this celebration is an effort, plan and inspiration to make an impact. Our way to connect history and happenings now.” photo from Wednesday night celebration.