Beginning Sunday, August 7, the Beck Cultural Exchange Center, Inc., will kick off a weeklong series of events to commemorate its Second Annual Eighth of August Jubilee that will culminate on Saturday, August 13 at Chilhowee Park.
Sunday, August 7 beginning at 6 p.m. at the Freedmen’s Mission historic cemetery adjacent to Knoxville College, an hour long libation ceremony entitled, “A Community Remembers,” will kick off the week of events. The Libation Ceremony is a symbolic pouring of liquid done in the spirit of remembrance. During the ceremony, original slaves, some of which are buried in this historic cemetery that were freed on August 8, 1863, will be remembered. Moreover, there will be a remembrance and a Roll Call of the names of each deceased youth from the community and a community prayer will be offered.
On Monday morning, August 8, Beck will open its doors at 7 a.m. for a Preview of a New Permanent Exhibit. Coffee and refreshments will be available as guest enjoy a preview of the new exhibit and commemorate this significant day in our history. The Preview will be available until 10 a.m.
Monday evening, August 8, Beck will premier its Glitz and Glam Red Carpet Premier Event. There will be a formal reception at the Historic Tennessee Theatre in Downtown Knoxville with live entertainment followed by a stroll down the Red Carpet to the Regal Riviera Cinema where guests will be greeted by flashing cameras. After having a photo opportunity, guest will promenade into the theater where the Special Feature Presentation will start at 8 p.m. Beck, in partnership with East Tennessee PBS and East Tennessee Historical Society, will feature a special one-hour Eighth Of August documentary. This is a $50.00 ticketed event. Tickets may be purchased online or at the Beck Center.
Friday evening, August 12, at 7 p.m. in partnership with the Knoxville ReAnimation Coalition an hour-long Illumination Tribute will be held at the Odd Fellows Cemetery. The cemetery is one of the first African American cemeteries in Knoxville and dates back to 1880. The Coalition has worked diligently to ensure the preservation of this historic cemetery. The Illumination Tribute will be a fitting prelude to the Opening Jubilee Celebration on Saturday. During the Tribute the graves of persons who were alive during the time of slavery that are buried in the cemetery will be illuminated and their names will be called.
Saturday, August 13 the week of events will conclude with the Jubilee in the Park at Chilhowee Park. The Celebration will kick-off at 10 a.m. with a parade reminiscent of days of old in which participants paraded into the park. The parade will include vintage vehicles, dancers, music, community groups and much more and will be a visual and audible display of community spirit. The parade will commence at Austin East High School and stroll into the park where the Opening Celebration will begin. There will be a full day of activities for the entire family including food vendors, merchandise vendors and games. The Jubilee will conclude with an exciting Closing Explosion of entertainment, comedy, music, fashion stomping and much more including a multi-generational soul train line.
Reverend Reneé Kesler, President of Beck, states that, “Beck is committed to being ‘The Place Where African American History is Preserved’ and the Eighth of August Jubilee is part of that firm affirmation.” Kesler further asserts that, “We are being intentional about Reawakening our Rich Heritage.”