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Visit Winston-Salem

Celebrate African and African-American Heritage in Winston-Salem

Winston-Salem invites you to journey through our deeply-rooted African and African-American heritage and experience the many attractions, galleries and performance venues that support the works of African-Americans in Winston-Salem. As the City of Arts & Innovation, Black art and culture is proudly showcased not only as a large part of our city's history, but also a delightful modern entity of the visitor experience today. Here you will find annual events as well as venues where Black culture is celebrated. 

 

Celebrate Black History Month in Winston-Salem

St. Philips Heritage Center at Old Salem Museums & Gardens
In honor of Black History Month, Old Salem Museums & Gardens and St. Philips Heritage Center hosts special events to bring awareness to the rich cultural heritage of African-Americans, stimulate intellectual thought and inspire young children and families to learn more of their historical contributions. 

Brothers and Sisters Amazing Quest
Through February 28
Tuesday - Saturday; 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. and Sundays; 1 - 4:30 p.m.
St. Philips Heritage Center (911 South Church Street)
In celebration of Black History Month, St. Philips Heritage Center hosts a fun daily quest for kids to learn about enslaved and free African Americans who worked and lived in Salem. 
Admission: Included with the purchase of an All-In-One ticket ticket (purchase at Old Salem Visitor Center; 900 Old Salem Road).
Two-Stop ticket may also be used. Children under 6 are admitted free. 
Group rates are available for groups.
For more information, please call (336) 721-7300 or email info@oldsalem.org.

African-American Heritage Group Tours
Through February 28
St. Phillips Heritage Center (911 South Church Street)
Offered Tuesdays - Saturdays between 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m
Learn the stories of many of the enslaved African-Americans who lived in Salem from the early years of its founding in 1766 and of the African Moravian congregation that was organized in Salem in 1822. Learn the hidden legacy of African-American influence in Southern Decorative Arts. Group tours typically last one hour. 
Group minimum: 10 people; maximum: 25
Cost: $17 per adult

Included in your tour:

  • View audiovisual introduction to African-Americans in Salem
  • Engage in interactive activities and exhibits at the reconstructed 1823 African Log Church
  • Tour the St. Philips African Moravian Church, the oldest standing African-American church in North Carolina.
  • Sit in the original pews where the ending of slavery was announced by a Union Calvary Chaplain on May 21, 1865
  • Visit the African American Graveyard and view artifacts
  • Tour the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA) gallery and view iconic work by North Carolina cabinetmaker Thomas Day, the Edgefield, S.C., potter David Drake, and the Baltimore painter Joshua Johnson.

Reservations and non-refundable payment are due at least 30 days in advance.
Please call 800.441.5305 to schedule.

National African-American Read-In
Sunday, Feb. 5; 4 - 5:30 p.m.
Free admission, no RSVP required. 
St. Phillips African Moravian Church (911 South Church Street)

Join Old Salem in the 27th National African-American Read-In Chain to promote literacy and the reading of African American literature, hosted by Dr. Elwanda Ingram. Come and listen to works by African American writers or original pieces written by the participants. Readings of no more than one-three minutes long may include poetry, or excerpts from fiction or non-fiction works.

All attendees also receive a 10% off coupon on all African American books at the Old Salem Visitor Center. Valid February 5 – 28, 2017.

Learn more at www.ncte.org/aari.

Black History Month Showcase of Song
Saturday, Feb. 25
Old Salem Visitor Center - James A. Gray, Jr. Auditorium; 900 Old Salem Road
Noon - 1:30 p.m.
Free admission.
Black History Month Showcase of Song features African-American music from various genres along with local choirs and dance teams to perform. Other genres of music which reveal the struggle and triumph of African-Americans such as gospel and jazz will be performed by musical ensembles and spoken word.

Commemorate Black Heritage and Culture in Winston-Salem

Delta Fine Arts Center

Delta Arts Center
deltaartscenter.org
2611 New Walkertown Road, Winston-Salem, NC 
336.722.2625
Free admission

Located just 10 minutes from downtown Winston-Salem, Delta Arts Center hosts an array of exhibits, artists discussions, poetry events and workshop and features rotating exhibitions in a number of different mediums including beautiful tapestries, vivid oil paintings and vibrant quilt work. W-S Delta Fine Arts, Inc. was established as a project of the Winston-Salem Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. with a strong focus on engaging community in cultural, educational and public service programs. 

Upcoming Exhibitions / Events

African Dance Classes 
Through May 27
Delta Arts Center and Otesha Creative Arts Ensemble teach participants the art of African dance in five monthly sessions through May 27. Scheduled every last Saturday, the classes are open to participants of all skill levels.
Individual classes are $12/per person, per class.  

Dates (Classes begin at 10 a.m. and last one hour):
Saturday, Feb.25
Saturday, March 25
Saturday, April 29
Saturday, May 27


For more information, contact the Delta Arts Center by phone at (336) 722-2625. Classes can be purchased online here.

 

Diggs Gallery at Winston-Salem State University 

Diggs Gallery at Winston-Salem State University 
www.WSSU.edu/Diggs
601 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive
Winston-Salem, NC 27110
336.750.2458
Free admission

One of the top 10 African-American art galleries in the nation, Diggs Gallery, on the campus of Winston-Salem State University (WSSU), offers one of the largest exhibition spaces dedicated to the arts of African and the African Diaspora in North Carolina. Africana artists on display include John Biggers, Mel Edwards, Richard Hunt, Tyrone Mitchell, Jimoh Buriamoh, and Beverly Buchanan. Diggs Gallery is also home to an outdoor sculpture garden and the John Biggers Murals located inside the campus library. 

WSSU was founded by Simon Green Atkins in 1892 and was the first black institution in the U.S. to grant degrees in elementary education. To learn more on the history of WSSU and Simon Green Atkins visit our African-American Heritage page here

Current Exhibition(s):

Do You See Me?
Oct. 14, 2016 - March 1, 2017
"This exhibition is a clear, intentional meditation on ways to take control, re-inscribe, and resist dominant narratives of what it means to be SEEN. To be a black man, woman, transgender -- to be what the creator called us to be!" - Dr. James Pope


Image credit: Aaron Fowler, He Was, 2015, Mixed Media, 134x164x108. Courtesy Ric Whitney and Tina Perry-Whitney

 

International Civil Rights Center & Museum

International Civil Rights Center & Museum
www.sitinmovement.org
134 South Elm Street
Greensboro, NC 27401
336.274.9199

Tour the International Civil Rights Center & Museum in Greensboro, just a 30-minute drive from Winston-Salem. The museum contains a piece of history that sparked a courageous movement of the entire South. On Feb. 1, 1960, four brave young African-American men sat down at an all-white lunch counter and were denied service. From that day, “sit-ins” began sprouting up around the segregated South. At the International Civil Rights Center & Museum visitors step back into that significant moment in history. A portion of that infamous lunch counter, along with the original stools, is on permanent display at the museum. Striking images and photographs along with inspirational stories make this Civil Rights Museum a must-see. 

 

North Carolina Black Repertory Company Productions

North Carolina Black Repertory Company (NCBRC)
610 Coliseum Drive, Suite 1
Winston-Salem, NC 27106
(336) 723-2266

Founded by Larry Leon Hamlin, the North Carolina Black Repertory Company (NCBRC) is the state’s first professional Black theatre company, with a mission to expose audiences of all backgrounds to Black classics with the motto that “Black theatre is for everyone.” NCBRC hosts the biennial National Black Theatre Festival (NBTF) which draws more than 65,000 theatre lovers to Winston-Salem in the summer. The NCBRC also presents three to four productions annually featuring members of its ensemble or through collaborations with other theatre companies. The annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration in January and the holiday presentation of Langston Hughes’ Black Nativity in December are two of the company’s staples. The critically acclaimed NCBRC production, Mahalia, Queen of Gospel (written and directed by Mabel Robinson, the Company’s artistic director) has been a National Black Theatre Festival showcase performance.

Schedule of Performances:

The Right Reverend Dupree in Exile
March 3 – 12
Written and directed by Jackie Alexander, this performance introduces audiences to a once powerful religious leader who faces a crisis of faith, while clinging to his dignity with the support of his most devoted congregation—family.
Buy Tickets Online

Maid’s Door
May 18 – 21
A family is pushed to the breaking point as they struggle to save their beloved matriarch from being robbed of a glorious present by ghosts from her past.
Written by Cheryl Davis and Directed by Jackie Alexander
Buy Tickets Online

(Above Photo credit: Larente Hamlin)

 

Old Salem Museums & Gardens 

Old Salem Museums & Gardens
OldSalem.org
900 Old Salem Road, Winston-Salem, NC 27101
(336) 721-7350

Founded in 1766 by the Moravians, the town of Salem was once home to both freed and enslaved Africans and African-Americans. Visitors of Old Salem today experience 18th and 19th century Moravian lifestyles and traditions. Costumed interpreters greet you at the doorsteps of dozens of historic buildings and share the trades and skill sets of Colonial era Moravians. At the southernmost tip of the district sits St. Philips African Moravian Church, North Carolina's oldest standing African-American church. At this very church, freedom was announced on May 21, 1865 to the Salem community. A component of the St. Philips Heritage Center, the brick church helps to share the story of education amongst the Black community through the renovated school house that sits above the sanctuary. The reconstructed African Moravian log church that sits adjacent to St. Philips is the starting point to the heritage center, housing exhibits and hands-on children’s activities.

Just a short walk from St. Philips is the Museum of Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA), showcasing the handcrafted works for African-Americans of the Early South (1670s through early 19th century). Artists represented include North Carolina cabinetmaker Thomas Day, potter David Drake and Baltimore painter Joshua Johnson. Here you may request a special African-American themed tour a week in advance. 

Homowo Harvest Collection

As the Moravians were also strong advocates for gardening, Old Salem's horticulturalists share the details of the Homowo Harvest Seed Collection, an initiative of African American Foodways interpretation. It is designed to celebrate garden heritage with these seeds from plants native to Africa and seeds from plants traditionally associated with African-Americans. Homowo is a word originally from Ghana, West Africa, meaning "hooting at hunger." Seeds from the collection may be purchased seasonally at T. Bagge Merchant in Old Salem.
CLICK HERE TO LEARN ABOUT OLD SALEM'S HOMOWO HARVEST COLLECTION.

Old Salem African-American Themed Visit at a Glimpse

  • Engage in interactive activities and exhibits at the St. Philips Heritage Center
  • Tour the St. Philips African Moravian Church, the oldest standing African-American church in North Carolina
  • Sit in the pews where the ending of slavery was announced
  • Visit the African American Graveyard and view artifacts

Purchase the Two-Stop ticket and tour the St. Philips Heritage Center and one other museum building. $18 Adults, $9 Children (6 – 16 years old) 
Purchase the All-in-One ticket and tour the St. Philips Heritage Center and all museum buildings. $27 Adults, $13 Children (6 – 16 years old)
Purchase the Adult All-in-One ticket online and receive a $3 discount.

 

Upcoming Special Events:

See more Black History Month events mentioned above. 

African American Heritage Group Tour
By appointment only
www.oldsalem.org/tour/african-american-heritage-tours
Learn the stories of enslaved African Americans who lived in Salem and  the African Moravian congregation that was organized in Salem in 1822. St. Philips African Moravian Church is North Carolina’s oldest standing African church. Your group will also tour the Museum of Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA) and view some of MESDA’s most iconic objects and learn the hidden legacy of African American influences in Southern Decorative Arts. African American artists on display include Thomas Day. A North Carolina native, Day was a free black man who during the height of slavery, made a living selling his furniture pieces to more prominent whites.
For groups sizes 12-14 people.

 


THE NATIONAL BLACK THEATRE FESTIVAL RETURNS JULY 31 - AUGUST 5, 2017!

It's never too early to start making your plans for a "MARVTASTIC" week in Winston-Salem as the biennial National Black Theatre Festival (NBTF) returns to downtown. One of the largest and most outstanding theatre festivals in the country, NBTF was founded in Winston-Salem in 1989 by the late Larry Leon Hamlin and is hosted by the North Carolina Black Repertory Company (NCBRC). Every odd year in the late summer months, NBTF transforms Winston-Salem into a mega-performing arts centre with more than 100 performances featuring more than 70 world-class celebrities. The National Black Theatre Festival is the only one in the country that offers six consecutive days of performances, seminars, shopping, poetry slams and more.

NBTF brings together black theatre companies from around the world and showcases the genre to all audiences. The late Dr. Maya Angelou, who made her home in Winston-Salem, was national chairperson of the inaugural Festival and one of its biggest supporters. According to The New York Times, "The inaugural 1989 National Black Theatre Festival was one of the most historic and culturally significant events in the history of black theatre and American theatre in general."

Join the more than 65,000 festival-goers for:

  • Theatre workshops
  • Films
  • Seminars
  • Teen poetry slam
  • Star-studded black-tie celebrity gala

Click to view a teaser video for National Black Theatre Festival.

 

To learn more about the National Black Theatre Festival visit www.nbtf.org.

To learn more about annual performances as produced by the North Carolina Black Repertory Company visit www.ncblackrep.org


View Our African-American Arts & Culture Guide Online