Her­itage fes­ti­val held at Ken­nard

Record Observer - - Front Page - By DOUG BISHOP dbishop@kibay­times.com

CENTREVILLE — Ken­nard Alumni As­so­ci­a­tion in part­ner­ship with Abun­dant Life Restora­tion Min­istries hosted the African Amer­i­can Her­itage Fam­ily Fes­ti­val Sun­day af­ter­noon, Feb. 18, at the ren­o­vated Ken­nard High School, built orginally in 1936, and used as the All-Ne­gro seg­re­gated high school in Queen Anne’s County un­til 1966. In 1967, Queen Anne’s County High School was opened bring­ing in­te­gra­tion and all high school stu­dents un­der one roof in the county.

The proud grad­u­ates of Ken­nard have re­stored the former school build­ing to turn it into a cul­tural arts and com­mu­nity cen­ter and are on the thresh­old of do­ing just that af­ter years of fundrais­ing and ren­o­va­tion. Sev­eral events have re­cently been held at the build­ing al­though the grand open­ing is yet to come.

A small African Amer­i­can mu­seum has been started in­side the former school. One of the class­rooms has been re­stocked with old-time stu­dent desks and text­books, his­tor­i­cal poster dis­plays of the his­tor y of Ken­nard, fea­tur­ing Teach­ers of Ken­nard and a his­tory of Col­ored Schools of Queen Anne’s County.

Ken­nard Alumni As­so­ci­a­tion Pres­i­dent Clay­ton Wash­ing­ton wel­comed ev­ery­one who at­tended the pro­gram Satur­day. He said, “Yes­ter­day I was able to at­tend the Na­tional African Amer­i­can Mu­seum in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. I hope we can even­tu­ally turn our small mu­seum here into a sim­i­lar mu­seum for our com­mu­nity, on a much smaller scale. We need all of you, all peoples who re­side in our county, to do this, We can’t do it alone.”

As part of the pro­gram, ev­ery­one in at­ten­dance stood and sang the James Wel­don John­son song, “Lift Ev­ery Voice and Sing,” also know as the “Black Amer­i­can Na­tional An­them” and the of­fi­cial song of the NAACP.

San­dra But­ler served as mis­tress of cer­e­monies for the pro­gram, in­tro­duc­ing all who per­formed. She first in­tro­duced the singing trio of Friends in Faith, mem­bers Dana Bowser, Zita Seals and Tory Brown. The group sang “Praise the Lord, I’m Free” and “Open My Mouth.”

They were fol­lowed by chil­dren dressed in colo­nial-style cos­tumes telling sto­ries of lit­tle known former slaves from Queen Anne’s County. One of those was known only as “Ne­gro Eve” who died in 1771, and an­other a black man named Lon­don Gould from 1799.

But­ler said, “These sto­ries are about ev­ery­body’s strug­gle from the past. This is not just a black strug­gle. To­day, if we look closely, we have dif­fer­ent types of slav­ery that are col­or­less. Slav­ery of in­car­cer­a­tion and ad­dic­tions. Re­gard­less of your color, don’t al­low these things to en­slave you!”

Later in the pro­gram, four mem­bers of the com­mu­nity were hon­ored for their work: Authur Lee Jones Sr., Regina Ben­nett, Made­lyn Hol­lis and Rev. Janet Rochester. Each has been a pil­lar of lead­er­ship and a role model for oth­ers to em­u­late and fol­low.

Pro­ceeds from the event will be used to fund the Ken­nard Alumni Schol­ar­ship Fund for deser ving high school se­niors in Queen Anne’s County.

San­dra But­ler in­tro­duces per­form­ers dur­ing the African Amer­i­can Her­itage Fam­ily Fes­ti­val Satur­day af­ter­noon, Feb. 18, at the re­stored Ken­nard High School.

PHO­TOS BY DOUG BISHOP

Dana Bowser speaks briefly about the in­tent of the first African Amer­i­can Her­itage Fam­ily Fes­ti­val held Satur­day af­ter­noon, Feb. 18, in­side the former Ken­nard High School.

All of the seg­re­gated All-Ne­gro one-room school houses that once ex­isted in Queen Anne’s County can be seen through pho­to­graphs in­side the re­stored former Ken­nard High School build­ing in Centreville.

PHO­TOS BY DOUG BISHOP

Stand­ing next to the The Teach­ers of Ken­nard dis­play is Made­lyn (Matthews) Hol­lis, who be­gan teach­ing at Ken­nard High School in Septem­ber 1951. She, along with three oth­ers, were hon­ored dur­ing the African Amer­i­can Her­itage Fam­ily Fes­ti­val, Satur­day, Feb. 18, at the former school.

Part of the dis­play show­ing a pic­ture of Made­lyn (Matthews) Hol­lis, teacher at Ken­nard High School, be­gin­ning in 1951 with all the ba­sic in­for­ma­tion about her teach­ing ca­reer, now on ex­hibit in­side the newly re­stored build­ing that is be­ing trans­formed into a cul­tural arts and com­mu­nity cen­ter in Centreville.

Friends in Faith, from the left, Dana Bowser, Zita Seals and Tory Brown, har­mo­nized for sev­er­al­songs dur­ing the African Amer­i­can Her­itage Fam­ily Fes­ti­val on Satur­day, Feb. 18, at the re­stored Ken­nard High School.

The former Ken­nard High School is be­ing trans­formed into a cul­tural his­tory build­ing. Part of one class­room has desks and books once used by the stu­dents who at­tended the Al­lNe­gro seg­re­gated school in Queen Anne’s County.

MarKeith Demby Jr., left, and An­nah Reed, dressed in colo­nial at­tire, in­tro­duced sto­ry­tellers of African Amer­i­can his­tory, Satur­day af­ter­noon, Feb. 18, as part of the African Amer­i­can Her­itage Fam­ily Fes­ti­val in Centreville.

Ken­nard Alumni As­so­ci­a­tion Pres­i­dent Clay­ton Wash­ing­ton wel­comes ev­ery­one to African Amer­i­can Her­itage Fam­ily Fes­ti­val, Satur­day af­ter­noon, Feb. 18.

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