Thousands gathered for the 2017 Black History and Culture Showcase in Philadelphia April 15-16. The free event was held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and featured over 30 exhibits, family activities, panel discussions and a performance by the Universal African Dance & Drum Ensemble. Guest speakers and appearances included former MLB player Bill White; Philadelphia Daily News editor Michael I. Days; Tuskegee Airman Eugene Richardson; and the oldest living African American Olympic medalist, Herb Douglas.
While the showcase had a variety of attractions, many of the attendees seemed to enjoy the Jackie Robinson presentation led by former MLB player Bill White. “He’s part of history; we need to cherish people like him. He talked about economics and segregation” said Diane Showens.
Blair B. Wilson, another attendee added, “I wanted to hear his stories. I liked the truthfulness and his favorite stories about major league baseball.”
The exhibitors also shared why they continue to support the annual event celebrating the contributions of African Americans to society.
“We’ve been an exhibitor for the black history showcase since the beginning. It’s a showcase that the Black community can come and share the history of the black experience. You might learn about history or a particular individual and their struggles,” said Leah Fletcher, CEO of the Philadelphia Sunday Sun newspaper.
Lorraine Peden, an employee at the Philadelphia Tribune newspaper added, “We always come out. I like the social interaction, getting the word out. You see all types of exhibits. You see Black people together, which is good.”
The founder, Everett Staten, explained why he created an event that highlights African American pioneers. “In 2004, we wanted to create an event that showcased African Americans’ contributions to the world. We wanted an event that was free for the public to attend. We wanted living legends to present their oral histories,” he said.