San Diego 32nd Street Naval Base Celebrates Black History Month

Author Kalif Price, a master storyteller, reads children's book MAASAI BOY, Heart of a Warrior.

Author Kalif Price, reads his latest children’s book MAASAI BOY, Heart of a Warrior.

(San Diego, CA) This past Saturday, was the inaugural Black History Month celebration at 32nd street Naval Base in San Diego.

Local businesses and performers were invited and escorted onto the military base to participate in, and pay tribute to historical achievements within the African American culture. Tables and covered vendor booths were provided at no charge. The base staff set up an arranged the tables in between the commissary and the Navy exchange shopping center.

Organizers for the event, Dee Banks and Laura Veneers acknowledged that 32nd street Naval center personnel had been in talk for years about the military being apart of a Black History Month celebration yet, nothing had ever come of it until now, 2016, considering that other ethnic groups have had annual cultural celebrations on the base.

Once the decision was made to move forward with the festivities, the wheels were set in motion and the planning began. Organizers reached out to local photographer/clothing designer Rochelle Porter for her assistance in getting the word out to the community.

As a business owner Porter, owner of Peaché Fashions was delighted to volunteer and be apart of organizing an event for the community.  The opportunity allowed her to showcase her beautiful line of men, women and children’s African wear in a prime spot located inside of the Navy Exchange.

In addition celebrating Black History Month, the event provided the venue and a platform for local Black businesses and community based organizations to share information on their products and services.

African Wear, designed by Rochelle Porter of Peache Fashions.

African Wear, designed by Rochelle Porter of Peache Fashions.

 

Among the local talent that performed during the festivities were: Vocalist Robert Rush, who moved the crowd singing a medley of Negro Spirituals in his distinct baritone voice. Storyteller and publisher, Kalif Price read authoritatively, the captivating story from his children’s book MAASAI BOY, accompanied by the sounds of an African drummer. Writer/Director, Maxine Clark and a group of actors masterfully presented: “Our Living Heritage,” a live historical play reenacting African American Heroes and Heroines from the past–Harriet Tubman, Fredrick Douglass, the first permanent settler in Chicago a Black man named Jean Baptiste Point DuSable,  Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahalia Jackson, to name a few.

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Actor portrayed the first permanent settler in Chicago, a Black man named Jean Baptiste Point DuSable.

Organizations on site included: Ron Lacey, a representative from the “Tuskegee Airmen,” also known as the Tuskegee Experiment. Ron presented the audience with historical facts on the heroic accomplishments of the all African American military pilots, navigators and the support staff, who in spite of adversity, played a significant role in Black History and, in the United States History.

Business owners Thyrza Knox, Beyond The Sky Solutions, David Knox, MS, DVM, CCRP (Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner), and The Chocolate Voice online Magazine all presented information on their respective businesses.

Closing out the event were powerful African dance performances, and colorful artistic expression by Dajahn Blevins and company from the KuumbaFest San Diego.

This was the first observance at the 32nd street Naval Base San Diego, and we suspect that it won’t be the last.

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