RALEIGH – As Black History Month quickly approaches, people across the country are already commemorating Black History with events that honor the culture and its creativity, and remembering the strides made to ensure the freedom of African Americans today.

Saturday was the 17th Annual African American Cultural Celebration at the North Carolina Museum of History. This event included a host of musicians, dancing, arts and crafts, and educational lessons, with the theme "From Africa to the Americas."

The United States Colored Troops Color Guard and Reenactors, Tryon Palace Jonkonnu Drummers and A Drummer’s World Drumline opened the event, along with welcoming remarks from members of the NC African American Heritage Commission.

"Usually we get between 2,000 and 5,000 people who come to the museum for this event," said Director of the NC Museum of History Ken Howard. "This is our second largest one-day event at the museum. So we're very appreciative of our African American heritage that North Carolina has."

Throughout the day, guests enjoyed live performances from gospel group Truevine, R&B artist Vanessa Ferguson, poet Pamela Tuck and Michele Andrea Bowen, and many others. This year, there was a specific focus on artist Ernie Barnes who was born and raised in Durham and made a mark on the world with his famous painting "The Sugar Shack."

"A lot of people are familiar with the Ernie Barnes' work, either from the beginning or end of "Good Times" when you see that phenomenal painting associated with the fictional character JJ," said Michelle Lanier, executive director of the NC African American Heritage Commission. "It's an image of the African American people dancing, and their limbs are almost liquid in movement."

To see the full African American Cultural Celebration schedule, visit https://www.ncmuseumofhistory.org/aacc-2018/schedule-of-events.

Throughout Black History Month, Spectrum News will post weekly on Instagram about Black historical facts, traditions and art. Follow us on Instagram @spectrumnewsnc to see all the action.

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