Upcoming Black History Festival in Chattanooga

Black History Festival poster
(Photo courtesy of source)
Black History Festival poster (Photo courtesy of source)

A Black History Festival is scheduled to take place on Feb. 18 from 11a.m. to 4 p.m. at East Lake Community Center in Chattanooga. 

The event is being organized by Culture Books, a literacy and cultural reading program founded by Erica Denise in November of 2019. The center is located at 3610 Dodds Avenue.

“Culture Books is a safe space where community, creativity, connection and confidence thrives,” Denise said about the program’s mission. “We want to be a cultural hub for connecting lives and literacy, as well as being here for anyone anywhere that wants to diversify their libraries, both around the world and at home.”

The Black History Festival is the first of its kind in Chattanooga, and is presented as a joint endeavor alongside the Rhyme N Chatt Interactive Poetry Organization, according to Denise. The festival is the second event run by Culture Books, the first being a Multicultural Festival last July. 

“The inspiration for the Festival came from a need to showcase the amazing representation of Black people who are doing amazing things here in Chattanooga,” Denise said. “We wanted to showcase everything Black and brown [for] all ages. From local Black authors, Black entrepreneurs, Black dancers to African princesses… we are showing our city that excellence is here. Our kiddos need to see themselves in the city in which they live. Representation is important and we are the stewards of fostering community, connection, creativity and confidence here at Culture Books.” 

According to Denise, there are about 25 different vendors involved in the event and  over 250 people signed up to attend. Some of those include The PopUp Project that will be performing with their youth, Project Motion from the Center for Creative Arts Dance Department (CCA), Barger Academy of Fine Arts, a live wax museum of iconic African princesses and dance, a ballet troupe from the Tennessee Dance Theatre, poetry, art and more. 

Denise saidCulture Books will be giving away books and subscription boxes to attending families. 

“Every book purchased will be from authors local to Chattanooga,” said Denise. “Overall we have some spectacular vendors and authors that will be present for the event.” 

Denise attributes the possibility of the event to the support of the community and their sponsors. 

“It is thanks to sponsors like EPB, Sankofa Chattanooga, Festival of Black Arts and Ideas, Paragon Printing, the City of Chattanooga’s Department of Equity and Community Engagement and volunteers that we can bring events like this to our community,” she said.

Denise encourages people who would like to get involved or help in any way, to connect with Culture Books and volunteer at events or sponsor books, families or the event themselves. Those wanting to get involved with the upcoming Black History Festival can sign up to volunteer at: https://forms.gle/8Z9EJrK8hXXWv9ff8 or on the book store’s website  https://www.culturebookscha.org/.

“I think everything is going to be a hit at the Black History Festival,” Denise said. “We have a little something for everyone to enjoy, and we at Culture Books are excited to share it with you!”

More information about Culture Books and all upcoming events, collaborations and program can be found on the website, its Facebook page @culturebookscha or the Instagram page @culture_books_literacy. 

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