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African American Homecoming Celebration

I don't know if this is the best place to post this, soo here goes.
I grew up in the small town of Scranton, PA population 671,000 of which we make up less then 2% of the population. Anyway, one member of our African American community who no longer lives in Scranton came up with the idea of having an African American Homecoming Celebration for those of us who grew up in Scranton. The theme was 'It take a village to raise a child'. Instead of returning home for funerals, he thought it would be great to come back to celebrate our 'hood' which has long since been demolished, our friends and our ancestors. The event took place over 2 day period. Friday evening was a welcome reception at a local hotel, Saturday was the picnic at a park. We had almost 150 people attend the picnic coming from places as far away as California and Texas. At the picnic there was a hula-hoop contest, trivia contests, music, dancing, games and food and an opportunity to honor some of the trailblazers in our community. The highlight of the picnic was a 100 black balloon release in honor of our ancestors. Saturday evening was a closing reception and at the conclusion of the reception, many attendees gathered at a local blues cafe where we listened to music played by one of the members of our hood. The weekend was a huge success considereing we only had about 6 people on our planning committee. We had fairly good press with articles and pictures in the paper for three days. The main reason we wanted to hold the celebration was to let the Scranton community at large know that we are here and have been here for a long time and that we have been contributing to the community since the mid 1880's. Some of our ancestors arrived in our area via the Underground Railroad and their descendants are here. There are many ethnic celebrations in Scranton but our homecoming celebration was the first of it's kind. It was our weekend, our time. The weekend was a time for affirmation. Affirming the old African saying 'Know who you are before they tell you.' And we know who we are!

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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