32nd Savannah Black Heritage Festival Opens February 5th

Shirley James
Shirley James

“It will be a Virtual Experience, so get your iPhones, iPads, PC’s and television sets ready; invite family and friends near and far, and ask them to join you and safely enjoy the 32nd Annual Savannah Black Heritage Festival from the comforts of home,” says Shirley James, long-time festival coordinator. The Annual Festival, scheduled February 5 – 21, is going virtual this year, and the theme is “Reflect, Reform, Rejoice.” All performances and presentations can be accessed either through the Savannah Black Heritage Festival’s You- Tube platform or by viewing main performances on WSAV-TV 3.

James mentioned that the festival committee members are working diligently to make sure this virtual festival will be a oneof a-kind and the best ever. The schedule will include, but not be limited to, headline music and gospel performances, dance presentations, virtual historic tours, a visual arts exhibition of Fabric Art by Savannah’s Sonja Robinson, a virtual health and wellness fair, Courageous Conversations by our youth and the annual Future of Jazz Concert. A precursor to the opening will be the 79th National Freedom Day Observance Celebration on February 1st, an observation initiated by Richard R. Wright, former slave and First President of Savannah State University. The celebration commemorates President Abraham Lincoln’s signing a resolution for the 13th Constitutional Amendment to outlaw Slavery.

The formal opening on Saturday, February 6, will begin with greetings from Savannah Mayor Van Johnson and Kimberly Ballard Washington, Interim President at Savannah State University. Following will be the “Call to Remembrance” Libation Ceremony conducted by Master Storyteller Lillian Grant-Baptiste and the virtual Laying of Wreaths at various African American Monuments and the World War II and Vietnam Memorials where youth organizations will virtually share the significant origins and histories of each monument. Later that evening, Sons of Mystro will return with the opening performance which will be aired on WSAV-TV. Their performance is funded in part by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment of the Arts and the Georgia Council for the Arts.

On behalf of the festival committee, James expresses appreciation for the support, commitment and investment by the City of Savannah and Savannah State University who have presented the Annual Savannah Black Heritage Festival for the citizens of Savannah and her visitors for the past 32 years. A complete schedule for this year’s Virtual Festival will be available at www.savannahblackheritagefestival.org

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