(Florence, S.C., July 15, 2022) – Jamestown Foundation announces today the return of the 34th James Family Reunion: Come Celebrate Jamestown on July 22-24, in celebration of 152 years. This year’s theme is “True Freedom.”
“We are excited to be back after being postponed for two years due to the pandemic. There is nothing like family and being able to gather in the name of cultural and land preservation and celebration of who started it all, Ervin and Nora James,” said Terry James, founder and executive director of Jamestown Foundation. “For us, as a family, to be able to share with the community our strength and vision is always a blessing. True freedom is land ownership.”
Jamestown, an African American community located in the Pee Dee region of South Carolina, served as a testament that being afforded the same opportunities, African Americans can be successfully self-reliant, with the community flourishing for over 70 years, 1870 until the 1940s. Such institutions as Jamestown Cemetery, Summerville Methodist Church (renamed Bowers Chapel), and the Summerville Rosenwald Elementary School served as the cornerstones of this society. The reconstruction settlement was the 1870 vision of Ervin James, who purchased 109 acres, influenced his five sons and son-in-law to purchase 137 acres, totaling 246 acres for which he left his descendants. His desire was for his heirs to be able to live independently and free of debt and ownership by another man.
The James Family Reunion, as past events, will be open to public, as the family shares its rich heritage with all, as it serves as the signature fund raiser for Jamestown Foundation.
Over the weekend, an educational and festive slate of activities are planned, starting on Friday, July 22, kicking-off with a prayer breakfast and health fair, 9 AM, at City Grill and Sports Bar, 260 W. Palmetto Street; entry cost is $5.00.
For the evening, 7 PM, the James Family will present the “Jamestown Cultural Freedom Show” at Francis Marion University’s Chapman Auditorium located on the campus. Performing will be Gullah Kinfolk Theater’s Anita “Aunt Pearlie Sue” Prather and Scott Gibbs, Geechee Gullah Ring Shouters, Caroline Evans as Harriet Tubman, and Founding Violinist and Vocalist Henrique Prince of The Ebony Hillbillies, the last African American string band in America. Admission is $20.
On Saturday, July 23, everyone is invited to enjoy a day of fellowship and learning, as it will be filled with food, vendors, and demonstrations from Sweetgrass basket makers, a blacksmith, a furniture maker to name a few. The activities of the day will allow attendees to enjoy the land, 6103 Jamestown Road, giving a glimpse as to what life was like in the Jamestown community during reconstruction. Activities will start at 9 AM and end at 4 PM, admission is free to the public.
Mr. James said, “If I had to say, the highlight of the reunion is for family members to fellowship on the grounds with the community learning about living then, learning about the reconstruction era through interpretive performance, the Buffalo Soldiers and others is just amazing. It is really an experience.”
The day will close with a banquet at Francis Marion University’s Ervin Dinning Hall, featuring keynote speaker, Dr. Amir Jamal Touré, visiting professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Georgia Southern University and owner and operator of Day Clean Journeys, a Gullah tour company in Savannah. Dr. Touré is a graduate of Savannah State University with dual degrees, cum laude, and Mercer University’s Walter F. George School of Law with a Juris Doctorate. Dr. Touré is the resident scholar for Geechee Kunda Cultural Center and Museum in Riceboro, Ga. and is known as a Djeli (cultural historian). Zeb Harrison and the Sounds of Praise will provide musical entertainment for the evening. To attend, tickets costs $45.00.
Sunday, July 24, the reunion comes to a close with 10 AM church service at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church on Liberty Chapel Road in Florence, S.C.
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit jamestownfoundation.com or call 843-661-5679.
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