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- Twin City Ribfest
- National Black Theatre Festival
- Winston-Salem Open
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Celebrate African and African-American Heritage in Winston-Salem
Winston-Salem invites you to journey through our deeply-rooted African and African-American heritage and experience the many attractions, galleries and performance venues that support the works of African-Americans in Winston-Salem. As the City of Arts & Innovation, Black art and culture is proudly showcased not only as a large part of our city's history, but also a delightful modern entity of the visitor experience today. Here you will find annual events as well as venues where Black culture is celebrated.
Commemorate Black Heritage and Culture in Winston-Salem
Delta Fine Arts Center
Delta Arts Center
2611 New Walkertown Road, Winston-Salem, NC
Located just 10 minutes from downtown Winston-Salem, Delta Arts Center hosts an array of exhibits, artists discussions, poetry events and workshop and features rotating exhibitions in a number of different mediums including beautiful tapestries, vivid oil paintings and vibrant quilt work. W-S Delta Fine Arts, Inc. was established as a project of the Winston-Salem Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. with a strong focus on engaging community in cultural, educational and public service programs.
On the Walls:
Conscience of the Human Spirit: Quilts Honoring Nelson Mandela
Through February 24, 2018
Diggs Gallery at Winston-Salem State University
Diggs Gallery at Winston-Salem State University
601 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive
Winston-Salem, NC 27110
One of the top 10 African-American art galleries in the nation, Diggs Gallery, on the campus of Winston-Salem State University (WSSU), offers one of the largest exhibition spaces dedicated to the arts of African and the African Diaspora in North Carolina. Africana artists on display include John Biggers, Mel Edwards, Richard Hunt, Tyrone Mitchell, Jimoh Buriamoh, and Beverly Buchanan. Diggs Gallery is also home to an outdoor sculpture garden and the John Biggers Murals located inside the campus library.
WSSU was founded by Simon Green Atkins in 1892 and was the first black institution in the U.S. to grant degrees in elementary education. To learn more on the history of WSSU and Simon Green Atkins visit our African-American Heritage page here.
International Civil Rights Center & Museum
International Civil Rights Center & Museum
134 South Elm Street
Greensboro, NC 27401
Tour the International Civil Rights Center & Museum in Greensboro, just a 30-minute drive from Winston-Salem. The museum contains a piece of history that sparked a courageous movement of the entire South. On Feb. 1, 1960, four brave young African-American men sat down at an all-white lunch counter and were denied service. From that day, “sit-ins” began sprouting up around the segregated South. At the International Civil Rights Center & Museum visitors step back into that significant moment in history. A portion of that infamous lunch counter, along with the original stools, is on permanent display at the museum. Striking images and photographs along with inspirational stories make this Civil Rights Museum a must-see.
North Carolina Black Repertory Company
North Carolina Black Repertory Company (NCBRC)
610 Coliseum Drive, Suite 1
Winston-Salem, NC 27106
Founded by Larry Leon Hamlin, the North Carolina Black Repertory Company (NCBRC) is the state’s first professional Black theatre company, with a mission to expose audiences of all backgrounds to Black classics with the motto that “Black theatre is for everyone.” NCBRC hosts the biennial National Black Theatre Festival (NBTF) which draws more than 65,000 theatre lovers to Winston-Salem in the summer. The NCBRC also presents three to four productions annually featuring members of its ensemble or through collaborations with other theatre companies. The annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration in January and the holiday presentation of Langston Hughes’ Black Nativity in December are two of the company’s staples. The critically acclaimed NCBRC production, Mahalia, Queen of Gospel (written and directed by Mabel Robinson, the Company’s artistic director) has been a National Black Theatre Festival showcase performance.
(Photo credit: Larente Hamlin)
Schedule of Performances:
Old Salem Museums & Gardens
Old Salem Museums & Gardens
900 Old Salem Road, Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Old Salem Admission Ticket Information:
Purchase the All-in-One ticket and tour the St. Philips Heritage Center and all museum buildings. $27 Adults, $13 Children (4 – 18 years old)
(Purchase the Adult All-in-One ticket online and receive a $3 discount.)
- Purchase the Two-Stop ticket and tour the St. Philips Heritage Center and one other museum building. $18 Adults, $9 Children (4 – 18 years old)
Founded in 1766 by the Moravians, the town of Salem was once home to both freed and enslaved Africans and African-Americans. Visitors of Old Salem today experience 18th and 19th century Moravian lifestyles and traditions. Costumed interpreters greet you at the doorsteps of dozens of historic buildings and share the trades and skill sets of Colonial era Moravians. At the southernmost tip of the district sits St. Philips African Moravian Church, North Carolina's oldest standing African-American church. At this very church, freedom was announced on May 21, 1865 to the Salem community. A component of the St. Philips Heritage Center, the brick church helps to share the story of education amongst the Black community through the renovated school house that sits above the sanctuary. The reconstructed African Moravian log church that sits adjacent to St. Philips is the starting point to the heritage center, housing exhibits and hands-on children’s activities.
Just a short walk from St. Philips is the Museum of Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA), showcasing the handcrafted works for African-Americans of the Early South (1670s through early 19th century). Artists represented include North Carolina cabinetmaker Thomas Day, potter David Drake and Baltimore painter Joshua Johnson. Here you may request a special African-American themed tour a week in advance.
Homowo Harvest Collection
As the Moravians were also strong advocates for gardening, Old Salem's horticulturalists share the details of the Homowo Harvest Seed Collection, an initiative of African American Foodways interpretation. It is designed to celebrate garden heritage with these seeds from plants native to Africa and seeds from plants traditionally associated with African-Americans. Homowo is a word originally from Ghana, West Africa, meaning "hooting at hunger." Seeds from the collection may be purchased seasonally at T. Bagge Merchant in Old Salem.
CLICK HERE TO LEARN ABOUT OLD SALEM'S HOMOWO HARVEST COLLECTION.
Old Salem African-American Themed Visit at a Glimpse
- Engage in interactive activities and exhibits at the St. Philips Heritage Center
- Tour the St. Philips African Moravian Church, the oldest standing African-American church in North Carolina
- Sit in the pews where the ending of slavery was announced
- Visit the African American Graveyard and view artifacts
Upcoming Special Events:
Black History Month Speaker Series: Nourishing Traditions
February 6, 15 & 19, 2018; 6 p.m.
Old Salem Visitor Center
900 Old Salem Rd., Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Old Salem’s Hidden Town Project is partnering with local organizations to present a special lecture series during Black History Month. All lectures are free to attend.
- Tuesday, Feb. 6: Entering a White Profession: Black Physicians in the Turn of the Century South with Todd Savitt, PhD, Professor of Medical Humanities and History at the Brody School of Medicine of East Carolina University
- Thursday, Feb. 15: From a Haunted Plate: Becoming an 18th and 19th Century Black Chef with author and culinary historian Michael W. Twitty. A reception & book signing furnished by Bookmarks will follow. Part of the New Winston Museum spring Salon Series.
- Monday, Feb. 19: Seeds of Memory: Food Legacies of the Transatlantic with Judith Carney, PhD, Professor of Geography at University of California at Los Angeles. Also sponsored by WFU Phi Beta Kappa.
For more information, click here.
African American Heritage Group Tour
By appointment only
Learn the stories of enslaved African Americans who lived in Salem and the African Moravian congregation that was organized in Salem in 1822. St. Philips African Moravian Church is North Carolina’s oldest standing African church. Your group will also tour the Museum of Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA) and view some of MESDA’s most iconic objects and learn the hidden legacy of African American influences in Southern Decorative Arts. African American artists on display include Thomas Day. A North Carolina native, Day was a free black man who during the height of slavery, made a living selling his furniture pieces to more prominent whites.
For groups sizes 12-14 people.
View Our African-American Arts & Culture Guide Online
THE NATIONAL BLACK THEATRE FESTIVAL RETURNS JULY 29 - AUGUST 3, 2019!
It's never too early to start making your plans for a "MARVTASTIC" week in Winston-Salem as the biennial National Black Theatre Festival (NBTF) returns to downtown. One of the largest and most outstanding theatre festivals in the country, NBTF was founded in Winston-Salem in 1989 by the late Larry Leon Hamlin and is hosted by the North Carolina Black Repertory Company (NCBRC). Every odd year in the late summer months, NBTF transforms Winston-Salem into a mega-performing arts centre with more than 100 performances featuring more than 70 world-class celebrities. The National Black Theatre Festival is the only one in the country that offers six consecutive days of performances, seminars, shopping, poetry slams and more.
NBTF brings together black theatre companies from around the world and showcases the genre to all audiences. The late Dr. Maya Angelou, who made her home in Winston-Salem, was national chairperson of the inaugural Festival and one of its biggest supporters. According to The New York Times, "The inaugural 1989 National Black Theatre Festival was one of the most historic and culturally significant events in the history of black theatre and American theatre in general."
2017 Celebrity Co-Chairs
Each year two celebrities are appointed co-chairs for the festival events. The co-chairs for the 2017 festival were actress Anna Maria Horsford and actor Obba Babatunde. In addition to numerous television and movie roles, the duo is well-known for their roles as Vivenne and Julius on CBS Daytime Soap Opera, "The Bold and the Beautiful."
“Theater was the first introduction to the place that was magic for me as a child. I remember the first time I was able to buy a theatrical newspaper and I held it to my heart,” said Horsford. “Theater is a place you can escape and explore. That’s the exciting part about this festival; it brings people together to explore talent they didn’t even know existed.”
Babatunde, who attended the first festival in 1989, is best known for his role in the original Broadway production of “Dreamgirls.”
Join the more than 65,000 festival-goers for:
- Theatre workshops
- Teen poetry slam
- Star-studded black-tie celebrity gala
Click to view a teaser video for National Black Theatre Festival.
To learn more about the National Black Theatre Festival visit www.nbtf.org.
To learn more about annual performances as produced by the North Carolina Black Repertory Company visit www.ncblackrep.org.