Black History Month
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RALEIGH: In celebration of Black History Month, Governor Roy Cooper and First Lady Kristin Cooper will honor African American musicians and artists from North Carolina at a reception at the Executive Mansion beginning at 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 14.

“Black History Month is a time to reflect on the deep contributions made by African Americans to the life and culture of our state and our nation,” said Gov. Cooper. “This year, we will recognize African American artists, musicians, and writers with ties to North Carolina whose work has enriched our lives and expanded our understanding.”

Gov. Cooper has proclaimed February as Black History Month in North Carolina.

The event is hosted by the N.C. African American Heritage Commission and the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. Attendees will include Susi H. Hamilton, Secretary, N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources; Dr. Valerie Ann Johnson, Chair, N.C. African American Heritage Commission; and Tracey Burns, Asst. Secretary for Diversity and Cultural Inclusion, DNCR.

The event is open to credentialed media and will take place at the Executive Mansion, located at 200 N. Blount St. in Raleigh.

North Carolinians being honored on Thursday include:


Fantasia Barrino (Mecklenburg County, NC) | R & B singer and Broadway performer
Pastor Shirley Caesar (Wake County, NC) | Renowned gospel artist
Maestro William Henry Curry (Durham County, NC) | Conductor and arts advocate
Carroll Dashiell (Pitt County, NC) | Jazz musician, composer, conductor and jazz educator
Patrick “9th Wonder” Douthit (Durham County) | Rapper, producer and educator
Roberta Flack (Buncombe County, NC) | Grammy Award-winning R & B artist
Rhiannon Giddens (Guilford County, NC) | Grammy Award-winning vocalist and musician
Dick Knight (Lenoir County, NC) | Musician and educator
Bill Myers (Wilson County, NC) | Musician, bandleader and educator
Sister Lena Mae Perry (Johnston County, NC) | Traditional gospel singer, member of the Branchettes
Larry Reni Thomas (Orange County, NC) | Radio host, jazz writer and jazz scholar
Joe Thompson—posthumous (Alamance County, NC) | Fiddler and old-time musician
Mary D. Williams (Durham County, NC) | Singer, educator and scholar of Civil Rights-era songs

Visual Art

Ernie Barnes—posthumous (born in Durham County, NC) | Acclaimed painter
Endia Beale (Forsyth County, NC) | Award-winning photographer and Director, Diggs Gallery at WSSU
Dare Coulter (Wake County, NC) | Muralist, sculptor and illustrator
Dr. Linda Dallas (Wake County, NC) | Watercolor artist and food illustrator
Olivia Gatewood (Durham County, NC) | Visual artist
Vandorn Hinnant (Guilford County, NC) | Visual Artist, educator and poet
Beverly McIver (Guilford County, NC) | Visual artist
Antoine Williams (Mecklenburg County, NC) | Mixed-media artist and educator

Craft & Folk Traditions

Jerome Bias (Alamance County, NC) | Craftsman and foodways preservationist
Sharon Bryant (Craven County, NC) | Heritage practitioner critical to preserving ancestral African American music and dance traditions, specifically the Jonkonnu tradition
Kisha Kinard (Pender County, NC) | Craftswoman renowned for preserving the Gullah-Geechee tradition of sweetgrass basketry
Ben Watford (Craven County, NC) | Potter, storyteller and educator

Arts Advocacy

Congresswoman Alma Adams (Mecklenburg County, NC) | Arts advocate
Simona Atkins Allen (Forsyth County, NC) | Founder, Delta Arts Center
Phyllis Coley (Wake County, NC) | Arts supporter
Patrick and Dr. Judy Diamond (Mecklenburg County, NC) | Art collectors

Film & Television

Shirlette Ammons (Durham County, NC) | Television producer, writer, musician and poet
Natalie Bullock-Brown (Wake County, NC) | Filmmaker
Lana Garland (Durham County, NC) | Documentarian, filmmaker and producer
Deborah Holt-Noel (Wake County, NC) | Producer and host, UNC-TV
Samm Art Williams (Forsyth County, NC) | Executive producer, “Martin” and “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air”
Kevin Wilson, Jr. (Durham County, NC) | Academy Award-nominated director, “My Nephew Emmett”


Dasan Ahanu (Christopher Massenburg) (Durham County, NC) | Poet
Gerald Barrax (Wake County, NC) | Poet and professor
Jaki Shelton Green (Alamance County, NC) | Poet, writer and educator; 9th NC Poet Laureate
Dr. Zelda Lockhart (Durham County, NC) | Writer and educator
Lenard Moore (Onslow County, NC) | Writer, educator, poet and renowned haikuist


Debra Austin (Forsyth County, NC) | Ballerina, Ballet Master, Carolina Ballet
Baba Chuck Davis—posthumous (Durham County, NC) | Dancer, choreographer and dance preservationist
Tommy DeFrantz (Durham County, NC) | Dancer, choreographer and dance scholar
Cara Hagan Gelber (Watauga County, NC) | Choreographer and educator
Mel Tomlinson (Mecklenburg County, NC) | Renowned dancer, choreographer and educator
Wesley “Dr. Zulu” Williams (Guilford County, NC) | Breakdancer


Jackie Alexander (Forsyth County, NC) | Director and playwright, Creative Director, NC Black Repertory Company
Howard Craft (Durham County, NC) | Award-winning playwright
JaMeeka Holloway Burrell (Durham County, NC) | Playwright and director
Leon Hamlin and Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin (Forsyth County, NC) | National Black Theatre Festival

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