Yesterday, the Northern Virginia Urban League commemorated the anniversary of three-life changing events in
African-American American history:
- 150th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation
- 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom (This is where MLK, Jr. delivered the historic “I Have a Dream” speech)
- 5th anniversary of the Freedom House Museum located in the Northern Virginia Urban League (NVUL) Headquarters. The website says that it is also the former site of the nation’s most profitable domestic slave trading company.
The event was composed of a reception and museum tour at the headquarters and then a panel discussion on “Slavery, Civil Rights & the Next Generation” at the historic Alfred Street Baptist church. Check out the event description and list of distinguished panelists.
I’m typically not a fan of panels with more than three people (this one had 6) as it seems that we rarely get in-depth with panelists’ thoughts (and spend too much time on introductions and book plugs). But this was different. The conversation was stimulating and I think the audience got a true feel for each panelist’s passion and the type of work they were called to complete.
Honestly, there was a lot of good discourse and some controversial points were discussed. Here are two of my many personal highlights:
After some discussion on the lack of integrity in some African and African-American museums, a commenter asked how the ideal museum would be. Dr. Greg Carr (@AfricanaCarr) responded by saying “Let the ancestors speak/talk.” He shared that not only should our ancestors, those who have experienced and KNOW our stories, be involved in the design and content-adding phases of our museums, but they should also be the narrators. When we have them recount our stories, they will tell them as the stories should be told and with the truth and integrity that’s due. I agree.
I also liked what Julian B. Kiganda shared concerning the things she took for granted being an African. She shared how she took for granted the fact that she knows her bloodline as far back as you have time to listen. I think many African-Americans only know up to their great-grand parents, if that. She also shared her perspective on African Americans growing up and how it evolved as she matured and had more experiences.
Overall, the event was a very potent and provocative discussion on important topics to us all. Special thanks to Vibrant Design Group and NVUL for giving us a great way to celebrate Juneteenth 2013.
Pictures: A few images from the event held at Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, VA.
Today, I’m thankful for ancestors who thought it not robbery to be walk for freedom, equality and justice so many years ago, so that we could run for those things today. God bless.