African American History & Culture Showcase gets set to return for its 15th year

Cherri Gregg
April 14, 2019 - 1:43 pm

Cherri Gregg/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The 15th annual African American History & Culture Showcase is next weekend at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The free event draws thousands, and this year’s focus is on the 400th anniversary of when the first enslaved Africans were brought to America.

Slavery in American is said to have begun in 1619, when a Dutch ship brought 20 Africans to Hampton, Virginia to settle in the North American British Colonies as involuntary laborers.

"The people that came here in 1619, they were not slaves, they were captured, kidnapped Africans," said Everett Staten who founded the African American History and Culture Showcase in 2004.

"We started out as being a Black History event, and then we added culture because we have contributed so much to this world," he said.

The free two day event brings together Black History items, story tellers and living legends to one place. People of all backgrounds can learn the about black inventors, athletes, intellectuals, military leaders, cultural icons and more.

Staten says the highlight this year will be a speech by Dr. Molefi Asante, author of the new book "400 years of African Witnessing: The African Presence in the American Nation."

"We were the only group of people that were forcibly brought to this country and the contributions that we have made to the world, despite the odds that we had to face- it's something to celebrate," Staten said.

The theme of this year's event is "Celebrate 400 Years of Human Resilience." There will be exhibits from museums and cultural houses from around the region and country that touch on history from slavery, to today.

There will also be cultural performances by Philadanco Youth ensemble, the Marian Anderson Historical Society and more.

The event runs April 21 through 22, from 11 a.m. to 6pm at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.  You find out more at BlackHistoryShowcase.org.