Sunny skies greet African-American history celebration

Published: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 12:38 PM.

“We gather to gauge how far we have come as a society since the institution of slavery, Jim Crow laws and racial imbalance marred the landscape of this great nation founded upon the principles of liberty and justice for all,” he said. “We gather not to relive past hurts or injustices, but to determine for ourselves after 238 years since the signing of the Declaration of Independence whether this great nation, a melting pot of humanity, can justifiably call itself the sweet land of liberty.

“And we gather 151 years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation to ensure that our children, and our children’s children will be able to continue to sing ‘Long may our land be bright with freedom’s holy light; Protect us by Thy might, Great God, our King.’” Johnson said.

The Baby Boomers who form the heart of the event’s organizers gathered Friday night at the Sixth Street Recreation Center for a ‘70s Bash, bringing back that era at a party that used to be held the Friday before Labor Day.

“It was neat, we had a good turnout,” said Elinor Mount-Simmons, who helped coordinate the festival. “A lot of folks came.”

As the morning events commenced, Franklin County High School co-valedictorian Bria Walker, and salutatorian Jathan Martin read President Obama’s proclamation for Black History Month, and then Banks was introduced as grand marshall.

Also introduced was the Royal Court, who included Tiny Miss Hillside Aubriunna Davis and Tiny Mr. Hillside Antrell O’Neal; Miss Hillside Alonna Brown; Hillside Princess Arryonna Cargill; and Hillside Queen Trianna Lockley.

As a basketball tournament energized the nearby courts, the event continued with plenty of food booths, including one serving curried and jerked chicken, and goat, as well as booths from Franklin’s Promise Coalition, the Apalachicola library, the health department’s anti-tobacco program, and FAMU Physics Professor Ronald Williams, who offered hands-on science demonstrations.

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