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Black Arts and Culture

Portsmouth Celebrates 29th Annual Umoja Festival

By Randy Singleton
Community Correspondent
New Journal and Guide


The City of Portsmouth celebrated its 29th annual Umoja Festival during Memorial Day weekend (May 24-26) at downtown Festival Park beside the Union Bank & Trust Pavilion.  During Friday’s opening ceremony, city officials received permission from the festival’s elders, Sandra Exum and Darrie Brown, to launch the event.  Food trucks and merchandise vendors were lined on both sides of the park, with a stage set up at the end. A children’s village was also created.   

Friday night’s entertainment featured the United Souls, Plunky and Oneness, and the Kustom Made Band. Saturday’s musical artists included local favorites the Fuzz Band and Rajazz, with national group the Dazz Band closing out the night.  Sunday’s talent lineup featured gospel acts Earl Bynum & the Mount Unity Choir and John Fox and Fellowship.

Other events included heritage tours to Portsmouth Colored Community Library and Truxtun Celebrates 100 Years, Howard Baugh’s talk about “Life as a Tuskeegee Airman,” “Meet Frederick Douglass,” by historian Nathan Richardson.

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