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Touching the past

Josanne Jenkins browses through a wide assortment of memorabilia on display Saturday at the African American Festival held at Hertford County Middle School. Staff Photo by Amanda VanDerBroek

MURFREESBORO — For those that gathered here Saturday, the African American Festival offered music, dancing, face painting, vendors and a slice of history.

“I’m really interested in African American history,” said Josanne Jenkins of Ahoskie as she browsed through mementos of African American history. “It keeps you in touch with your history.”

Jenkins said she wished more people attended the festival that is in its 13th year. Jenkins makes an effort to come each year and this time she brought her grandchildren.

Local African American historian Alice Eley Jones said her sister, Ann Riddick, began the event to educate younger people as African American history is not necessarily taught in schools.

Jones said it is important to observe African American history and culture throughout the year and not just February, which is traditionally Black History Month.

“(The festival) shows African American history can be celebrated more than one month out of the year,” she said.