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2020 juneteenth celebration portsmouth

2020 Juneteenth Celebration

Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire
222 Court St.
Portsmouth, NH 03801
United States

Food for the Body, Food for the Soul

June 18, 19 & 20, 2020

Live Streamed Cooking Demonstration, Virtual Community Dialogue, African Drumming Live Streamed from the Portsmouth African Burying Ground, &  A Virtual Concert.

There is more of a connection between food, culture, and our soul than we may think.

On a small scale, food ties us to memories of our childhood and our families. On a larger scale, food connects us to an important part of our culture and the expression of our cultural identity.

With a focus on the history of Soul Food and Soul Music, this year’s Juneteenth Celebration offers a series of engaging, informative, and entertaining programs that examine the connection between food and historical events in the Black community. Programs also highlight how those involved in the creation of certain dishes weave together a narrative of Black culture, lifestyle, values, and beliefs that shapes how Americans eat.

Juneteenth is the oldest known nationally-celebrated event commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation declared that as of January 1, 1863, all slaves in states in rebellion against the Union “shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.”  However, it was not until June 19th, 1865, two years later, when the U.S. Army took possession of Galveston Island in Texas and began a war against defenders of slavery that the enslaved people in Galveston, could begin their journey towards freedom.

Information on Registering for Zoom Events Coming Soon

Schedule of Events

Thursday, June 18, 3:00 PM | Facebook Live
Cooking with Selina: A Soul Food Cooking Show

African American cuisine, Soul Food, is one of the most popular and recognizable types of cooking in the United States. It was birthed in the deep South from a history of enslavement, relentless racism, and ingenuity. Forced to live off scraps from their enslavers, enslaved Africans blended African and American cultural traditions, techniques, and certain ingredients to create incredibly delicious and culturally unique dishes.

Join Selina Choate in her home kitchen for this live demonstration to see how she puts her own twist on an authentic Soul Food meal.

Friday, June 19, 1:00 PM | Facebook Live
Music to Celebrate Our Ancestors:  Drumming, Dance & Song

Music: It feeds the soul, fuels the body, inspires artists, influences politics, and impacts just about every part of our lives.

For this commemorative event, live streaming from the Portsmouth African Burying Ground, members of the African drumming and dance group Akwaaba Ensemble and Rev. Robert Thompson will honor the ancestors who survived the Middle Passage with traditional songs and dance.

Friday, June 19, 7:00 PM | Zoom Performance
Songs that Feed the Soul: A Concert

The daily struggles, triumphs, hopes and failures of generations of Black Americans are carefully and methodically recorded not only in the pages of history textbooks but also by the music and lyrics of the era.

This virtual concert, with performances from members of the Negro Ensemble Company in New York, will feature songs that defined certain eras in African American history. From the coded messages of subversion implicit in traditional Spirituals to the stirring soulful songs emanating from Motown, this musical montage will have you testifying to the impact of Black music on America and the world.

Saturday, June 20, 10:00 AM | Zoom Panel
The Diet of Our Ancestors: What History & Science Reveals

During the Transatlantic Slave Trade, enslaved Africans were given meager food rations that were low in quality and nutritional value. With these rations, enslaved people preserved African food traditions and adapted traditional recipes with the resources available. Over time, these recipes and techniques have become the Soul Food dishes we are familiar with today. This food genre, now associated with comfort and decadence, was born out of struggle and survival.

This panel of scholars will explore how history, science, and food connect major events in African American history and define Black culinary traditions. The panel will also share what dental metrics and plaque analysis can tell us about New Hampshire’s early African Americans.

Presenters’ Biographies

Selina Choate is the Associate Director for the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program at UNH. She is also the owner of S. F. C. Catering Company that specializes in soul food with a twist.

Theo Martey & The Akwaaba Ensemble’s energetic and engaging performances are a reflection of their name, which means ‘welcome’ in the Twi language of the Ashanti tribe of Ghana. At each performance, the Ensemble brings Highlife music, West African drumming and dance to vivid life. Theo was born and raised in Accra, Ghana, West Africa. He is a songwriter, recording artist, producer, performer, teaching artist, and recipient of the 2019 Governor’s Arts Award for Arts Education.  He was featured on New Hampshire Magazine “Who’s It for 2019?” list.

Rev. Bob Thompson is the retired Phelps Minister for Phillips Church at Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, New Hampshire.

The Negro Ensemble Company, Inc. (NEC)  provides African American, African and Caribbean professional artists with an opportunity to learn, to work, to grow, and to be nurtured in the performing arts. The overall mission of the NEC is to present live theatre performances by and about black people to a culturally diverse audience that is often underserved by the theatrical community.

Adrian Miller to come.

Amy Michael is a biological anthropologist specializing in the investigation of human tooth and bone microstructure. Using the principles of skeletal biology, Michael asks questions about health, pathology and age-at-death to better understand people in the past and present. With training in bioarchaeology, forensic anthropology, and historical archaeology, Amy has worked on field projects in the United States, Belize, and Albania. She is currently a visiting Lecturer at UNH.

Meghan C.L. Howey is an anthropological archaeologist specializing in landscape archaeology and interdisciplinary approaches to deep-time coupled human-natural systems. She has conducted research in North America, Europe, and East Africa. One of her major research projects has focused on Native American regional organizations in the Northern Great Lakes region in the period preceding European Contact. Dr. Howey is currently the James H. Hayes and Claire Short Hayes Professor of the Humanities at UNH.

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