Jubilee: Festival of Black History and Culture

By: Dawn Mills Campbell

Dawn enjoying the festivities at last year's Jubilee.
Dawn enjoying the festivities at last year's Jubilee.

 

What’s not to love about Columbia? After all, it is a real southern hot spot. But when one of the largest, continuously running outdoor festivals is hosted in a real southern hot spot, everyone is in for a treat. I’m talking about the Jubilee Festival of Black History & Culture, hosted annually by Historic Columbia on the grounds of the Mann-Simons Site.

For 41 years this free outdoor festival has brought together musicians, artisans, dancers, storytellers, and people from all over the region between Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, to celebrate South Carolina’s black history and culture. And what a rich history and culture it is. The music, dance, art, and history of African Americans come alive and are celebrated by everyone who attends this annual festival.

As an African American, a life-long resident of South Carolina, a board member of Historic Columbia, and a member of the Jubilee Festival Committee, I have a vested interest in the success of the festival. As a wife and mother of seven children and five grandchildren and counting, I am dedicated to ensuring that this festival continues for generations to come and that millennials get an opportunity to learn about the history and culture of African Americans. It is exciting to me to know that attendees can enjoy storytelling, reenactors, and marketplace vendors selling a variety of ware, products and art while a children’s area is set up with educational and family-friendly activities.

What I love most is the educational component of the festival. Throughout the day, guests are invited to take bus tours of African American Historic Sites as well as tours of two historic houses: the Mann-Simons Site (1403 Richland Street), which was home to the same entrepreneurial African-American family for nearly 130 years and the Modjeska Monteith Simkins House (2025 Marion Street), a one-story cottage built between 1890 and 1895 and home to Modjeska Monteith Simkins, considered "the Matriarch of Civil Rights activists of South Carolina.”

I encourage you to attend the Jubilee Festival of Black History and Culture and to bring someone with you to enjoy a day of food, fun, education, and entertainment.