Celebrating Columbia’s Black history + culture at the 43rd annual Jubilee Festival
Monday, August 30, 2021 12:00 AM by Renée Chow
This guest blog is a collaboration with partner Historic Columbia.
As Columbia’s longest running festival, Jubilee: Festival of Black History & Culture will mark its 43rd year on Saturday, September 18, from 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. on the grounds of the Mann-Simons Site. Join Historic Columbia for live music from local musicians, meet African American artists, and celebrate the history and contributions of Columbia’s Black citizens past and present. Read on for more on the music lineup and all you need to know to attend!
Jubilee is a celebration everyone can enjoy. Watch artist demonstrations for quilting, broom making, basket weaving, African mask making, and drumming. Let the kids get in on the fun with educational and family friendly activities in the children’s area. Learn about history from re-enactors or shop among the marketplace vendors for food, clothing, art and more.
Dance to the Music
In celebrating Jubilee’s return to an in-person event (after a virtual event in 2020), the music stage features local acts, including Benny Starr, Musical Solutions, Reggie Sullivan and TiffanyJ. Find your new favorite music and support local music with this year’s lineup:
11 a.m. TiffanyJ
Noon Musical Solutions
1 p.m. Reggie Sullivan
2 p.m. Benny Starr
3 p.m. Mrs. Jenkins Dance Academy
4 p.m. Divas of Perfection Dance Team
5 p.m. Pride Ensemble
Benny Starr, a Pineville native now based out of Charleston, is a hip-hop artist whose project, “A Water Album,” was named “South Carolina’s Best Album” by the Free Times in 2019. That album’s success also led to Starr becoming the first-ever hip-hop artist to perform at Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston. On Mach 23, Grist, an online non-profit magazine that explores solutions at “the intersection of climate and justice,” named Starr as one of 50 Fixers of 2021. Starr was joined on the list by emerging leaders in climate, sustainability, and equity who are creating change across the nation.
The eight-member band, Musical Solutions, has a distinct Palmetto State flavor with Columbia native Lucious Frierson, Jr., playing the keyboard and assisting with vocals. Vocalist and songwriter Tammy Gillett is from Lancaster, South Carolina, and Kenny Rolle, Sr., a Columbia resident, has built a reputation as one of the most “go-to” drummers in the area.
Reggie Sullivan is the lead of the Columbia-based Reggie Sullivan Band. Sullivan was recently named “Best Local Jazz or Blues Artist” by the Free Times for 2021, while TiffnayJ is a Columbia singer, songwriter who won BET 's “Pitch Your Hustle” competition in 2018 for her Super Beauty Pep Talker doll that helps to combat bullying and boosts self-esteem in children.
Since 1978, Columbians have gathered on the grounds of the Mann-Simons Site at the corner of Richland and Marion streets to celebrate African American culture, cuisine and creativity. While only one house stands today, the Mann-Simons Site historically was a collection of commercial and domestic spaces owned and operated by the same African American family from at least 1843 until 1970.
Midwife Celia Mann and boatman Ben Delane made this site their home by the early 1840s. Members of Columbia's small population of free people of color, the couple challenged social norms at a time in which most Africans and African Americans were enslaved. Successive generations of their family negotiated the eras in which the capital city evolved from Jim Crow into the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. Threat of demolition in 1970 galvanized a grassroots movement that saved the remaining structure, which opened as a house museum in 1978.
The house museum will be closed to tours during the festival. Beginning September 1, tours of the Mann Simons-Site are offered at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday and at 3 p.m. on Sunday. All house museums are available for private group tours within HC’s capacity guidelines. Click here for more tour information related to African American history.
Make a weekend of it with a historic hotel stay! Hotel Trundle (covering three buildings built in 1914, 1920 and 1940) and Graduate Columbia (a former home built in 1911) both offer memorable stays in the heart of downtown. Hotel Trundle’s boutique rooms with handcrafted details are located right off Columbia’s Main Street, while Graduate Columbia boasts quirky decor inspired by the capital city and its flagship university, the University of South Carolina.
Hand sanitizer stations will be available and vendor booths are spaced apart to allow increased social distancing for attendees. SC DHEC will be onsite to give free COVID-19 vaccinations to those who are interested in receiving one (Pfizer, Modern, and J&J vaccines will be available).