African Diaspora Festival celebrates identity and culture at Underground Railroad Museum
, 2022-09-11 17:45:50,
When rain threatened early Sunday morning, some of the volunteers for the African Diaspora Festival in Burlington County wondered whether they should cancel the event.
But Louise Calloway, the 92-year-old founder of the Underground Railroad Museum in Eastampton, brushed aside the doubters.
“We’ve got to go on with the program,” she said.
The rainy weather actually retreated for most of the day, and hundreds of people wandered through the festival area at the Historic Smithville Park grounds, home to the Underground Railroad Museum.
» READ MORE: Burlington County will honor Louise Calloway, founder of its Underground Railroad Museum
There was music and dance, including drumming by Sangue Mbacké, a master drummer from Conshocken who is originally from Senegal.
Mbacké, who uses his first name, Sangue, as his professional name, said he loved the idea of Black people from America and the Diaspora getting together to share music, culture and ideas.
“I feel like people can learn something new in their own culture,” he said.
For many Black Americans who have little knowledge of which countries in Africa they came from, he said the drumming experience may be new, but it is steeped in generations of bloodlines.
Rowena Harvey, a Black American woman who lives in Willingboro, echoed that sentiment. She said she attends as many ethnic festivals as she can. And not just those celebrating African heritage. She recently went to a Brazilian festival and saw that there were elements…
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