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The cold weather did not keep participants from the kick off to Black History Month celebrating North Carolina’s diverse heritage and culture. The theme this year From Jubilee to Justice honored the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to civil rights legislation since Reconstruction.

There were musicians, storytellers, writers, dancers, chefs and craftspeople. In addition to the activities, Mississippi bluesmen (and North Carolinian) Ben Wiley Payton performed, a cooking demonstration by Michael Twitty, and children’s book author and illustrator Vanessa Brantley-Newton. Also on hand, Ursula Gillespie, one of four licensed African-American female drag racers in the United States signed auto graphs and took pictures with fans.

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