Savannah State University Announces 2016 Heritage Festival

Westley W.Law
Westley W.Law

Reflections of a Proud Legacy is  the  central  theme  of the 2016 Savannah Black Heritage Festival scheduled for February 1-­21, 2016. Each year the festival, which is sponsored by Savannah State University (SSU) and the City of Savannah, presents activities for every age and interest.  Cultural education and exposure to the performing and visual arts, as well as ethnic cuisine, crafts, fun and family are emphasized throughout the celebration. Great music of every genre, dance performances,  national and regional recording artists, local youth talent showcases, historic tours, visual art exhibitions by internationally acclaimed and local artists and sculptors, the W.W. Law Lecture Series, spoken word and dramatic productions are all included on the schedule. In addition, educational opportunities are provided through a health and wellness fair, culinary arts activities and youth programs.

Featured activities this year will include milestone recognitions of the three African American Museums in Savannah founded by the late W.W W.W Law – The King-Tisdell Cottage (35years); the Beach Institute African American Cultural Center and its 20-20 year Ownership Ownership of the “Ulysses Davis Collection”; and the 20th Year Anniversary of the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum. In addition, other activities will focus on the influence and legacy of the Gullah-Geechee Culture in the Low Country areas of Georgia and South Carolina.

Opening events for the festival will include a special photograph exhibition and book signing for Without Regard to Sex, Race, or Color:The Past, Present, and Future of One Historically Black College, and the 4th Annual youth forum, “Continuing the Legacy of Community Leadership.”

The Lula Washington Dance Theatre of Los Angeles, CA, returns as the featured dance group for the 27th Annual Festival. Prior to their evening public performance on February

5, the dance troupe will engage the community with a public conversation on Thursday, February 4, highlighting African-American cultural and historical influences upon choreographing a dance repertoire. In addition, the troupe will conduct community and school dance workshops. “Singing Praises: Mahalia and Martin” is proposed to be the featured production from the National Portrait Gallery. The annual visual arts exhibition at the Beach Institute African American Cultural Center will exhibit works by artists who are influenced by the Gullah Geechee culture. The Bright Star Children’s Touring Theatre of Asheville, N.C., will present multiple performances of their productions of Black History Hall of Fame, North Star, Bella

Under the Bullying Big Top, Meet Dr. King, From Anansi to John Henry, and Celebrate: Songs and Stories from Around the World. Also on the schedule is the festival’s 7th Annual Future of Jazz Concert featuring the up and coming jazz vocalists and instrumentalists.

Grand Festival Day, a favorite family-fun event packed with activities and top entertainment, will be held at the Savannah Civic Center on Saturday, February 13, followed on Sunday, February 14 with the annual gospel concert featuring top-named gospel artists.

The 2016 festival will be the 17th one produced by Savannah State University and the 27th sponsored by the City of Savannah. All festival events and activities are free of admission and open to the public.

Established in 1890, Savannah State University is the oldest public historically black college or university in Georgia and the oldest institution of higher learning in the city of Savannah. The university’s 4,900 students select majors from three colleges — Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, Business Administration and Sciences and Technology — and the School of Teacher Education.

For more information, call (912) 358- 4309, or visit for updates.

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