SWEDESBORO — Experience the music, joy and beauty of African-American culture at the area’s premiere Black History Program, Feb. 26 at 3:00, at the First Baptist Church, 700 Auburn Ave., in Swedesboro. This joyous program, now back in-person after the pandemic, promises to have something for everyone. The program is free and open to the public.
This year’s theme is “Oh, Freedom,” and will celebrate the African-American struggles and triumphs on the road to freedom with Negro Spirituals, gospel music, dance, storytelling, dramatizations, and more. Headliners include Omar Frederick Pratt and Devotion (Stellar award-nominated gospel recording artists), the South Jersey Community Choir, PACE Jazz Band, along with Millicent Sparks (professional Harriet Tubman reenactor), Tiffany ThrBak (as Sojourner Truth), and keynote speaker, Rev. Derek Gatling, First Baptist Church of Jericho.
“We are super excited with this year’s line-up. Five hundred people attended our last Black History Program. So, everyone is encouraged to come early,” remarked Rev. Sherry Lynn Hall, Director of Community Programming, HELP Inc. Seating is first come, first served.
Leading up to the event, the South Jersey Community Choir, composed of singers from various denominations, ages, and racial backgrounds, will rehearse at Mt. Zion A.M.E. Church (an Underground Railroad station). Singers will hear the church’s connection to Harriet Tubman, view the trap door where slaves hid, and speak to descendants whose ancestors found refuge there.
Then, they will learn two Negro Spirituals, used as signals on the Underground Railroad, to sing at the program on Feb. 26. This will be a life-changing event for all.
All singers are welcome to join the choir. Rehearsals are on Thursday, Feb. 16, and Friday, Feb. 24 at 7 p.m., 172 Garwin Rd, Woolwich Township, NJ.
The program is sponsored by HELP, Inc., whose mission is to celebrate, educate, and preserve African-American history and culture. HELP, Inc. sponsors several widely attended public programs throughout the year including the Swedesboro MLK Day Celebration, Juneteenth Festival, Black History Program, educational historic tours, Art and Essay contests, Legacy (a film about the historic Richardson Avenue School), and much more.
Donations are needed to support its youth educational programs, community programs/events, and preservation of its three historic sites. HELP, Inc., is a non-profit organization. To donate and/or volunteer, and for more information, please visit www.helpinc.org. Inquiries can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out its Facebook page at Swedesboro Black History Program.