ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) – Once the center of the black community in Roanoke. Henry Street continues to hold a special place in people’s hearts.
“I’m from Roanoke but I actually live in North Carolina and I made a special trip to come up here for the Henry Street Festival. I try to make it every year,” says Kia Freeman one of the many Henry Street Festival attendees.
The Henry Street Heritage Festival honors the arts and culture of African Americans. For the past 30 years the Harrison Museum of African American Culture has organized the event, and it continues to remind people of what Roanoke once was.
“It’s a tremendous part of our history as black people and it’s a privilege to be part of the black community in Roanoke Virginia so I’m just glad that they’re continuing to do it every year,” explains Freeman.
For first time attendees Danita Maddox and her daughter, paying homage to those who’ve sacrificed so much is rewarding.
“It’s remarkable really just when you’re able to reflect and know your purpose and where you come from and what we’ve overcome it’s an awesome cause. I’m glad to be here today,” says Maddox.
People were able to immerse themselves in themselves in African American culture. They also got to see the sights and sounds of what made Henry Street so unique.
“Anytime you can be apart of something so big, bigger than you and just play a small portion of that I plan on coming back next year,” explains Maddox.
For Kia Freeman, the festival isn’t just an experience. It’s a learning tool for the next generation, like her son.
“It’s awesome he needs these kinds of experiences he’s not going to get them everywhere he’s not going to get them all the time in his life so any chance he gets to celebrate his heritage even though he wasn’t born here this is part of heritage part of his history and I’m glad he get’s to be here to enjoy it,” explains Freeman.
The event was held at Elmwood Park in Roanoke, and The Harrison Museum of African American Culture is looking forward to next year.