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  • Writer's pictureOCAAHS

JUNETEENTH "Faith To Freedom" Celebration

Updated: Jun 27

Orange County African American Historical Society, Carter Farms, Africulture, and The Arts Center in Orange sponsored community celebration of Juneteenth on June 19th.

Featuring local musicians, storytellers, and activities for all.

Enjoy the photos and video below.


11:00am: Welcome

Our MC of the day was the dynamic Ms. Donea Brooks, member of OCAAHS board and Marketing teacher at Orange County High School.

11:15am: Performance by Hopewell Baptist Church Choir

11:40am: OCHS African American Club  The club’s mission is to educate Orange County High School and the community about the importance of African American history. They also take a leadership role in helping narrow the academic

gap for students of color.

12:05pm: Dr. Dena Jennings Story and Song  Renaissance woman Dr. Dena Jennings is a musician, luthier, and retired osteopathic physician. She performs Appalachian and folk Indian music on handmade gourd instruments and hosts the Affrolachian On-Time Music Gathering, an annual retreat and concert featuring Black American string band musicians from across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom —

In her spare time, she is Chair of the Virginia Commission for the Arts

12:30pm: Blue Ridge Area Virginia Youth Orchestra is a free program for kids 8 & up to learn how to play an orchestral string instrument: violin, viola, cello, and bass.  Classes are taught by retired Virginia music educator and Rapidan Orchestra violist Darlene Dawson.

12:55pm: Orange School of Performing Arts Dance OSPA has been providing premier arts education in central Virginia for over 25 years. Ricardo (Ricky) Porter is the Artistic Director.  Co-Artistic Director Demetia Hopkins-Greene* is his niece.

1:20pm: PHMS Academic Scholars' Skits and More Honored Names read

1:45pm - 2:15pm: Afro-Brazilian Capoeira Performers with dance, acrobatics and music

The Mural Project

This was a Community Engagement Mural Project that depicted historical African American figures from Orange County who contributed greatly towards Freedom and the community.


This project was about honoring historical figures, sharing Davi Leventhal's platform as an artist to the community and descendants so they could speak about their stories and ancestors to help educate the youth and beyond on who these incredible folks were and the great contributions they gave towards their community and fight towards freedom.


The community was essential in being part of the art making, as this was an art project born from within the community, for the community. These paintings will be displayed as outdoor murals throughout the neighborhood where these very figures used to inhabit to remind future generations of the immense sacrifices and contributions they gave for the good of all.


Figures Depicted:

 Beatrice Snead - she taught generations in OC spanning roughly 50 years. Even our very own OCAAHS President, Bruce Monroe, had her as a teacher as well. According to Bruce, she had incredible diction and spoke very eloquently and was always calm mannered.


Ruth Lewis Smith - She was an amazing person within the Lewis/Smith family, sister to Edna Lewis and was also gifted with an amazing culinary skillset.


Winnie Simpson Brown - She was Caroline French's ancestor who was born enslaved at the Barboursville Plantation in 1835. She married John Albert Brown who was born at the nearby Newman plantation, Burlington. Winnie and J Albert Brown built Brownland, their home where they raised their ten children such as their daughter, Parke Farley Brown who was also born enslaved, and became the first teacher at school in Orange, VA. Parke educated generations of folks which gave an immeasurable impact on the community and future generations.


William James Howard - descendant of Winnie Simpson Brown and John Albert Brown, went on to be one of the first African Americans to graduate as a Doctor from Harvard University class of 1906 and went on to serve as a surgeon in World War 1 in France, deployed in 1917 with the African American Buffalo Soldiers, 351st Field Infantry, 92nd Division. Becoming discharged from service in 1919 he returned to America following the signing of Armistice. Upon his return, Mr. Howard moved to Washington DC where he set up his practice as a Doctor.

Photos of the Day Long Celebration