In an effort to bring awareness and education about the emancipation of enslaved African descendants in the United States, the Spady Cultural Heritage Museum and the Arts Garage teamed up to host the recent Juneteenth Celebration featuring Pat “Mother Blues” Cohen and Dr. Joan Cartwright.
Held Saturday, June 19 from 8 to 10 p.m., both performers explored the history and influence of women in rhythm and blues, as the focus of the 2021 Juneteenth Celebration.
Pat “Mother Blues” Cohen, a professional blues performer and entertainer, took the audience on a lyrical ride through the joy, pain and tribulations of African-American music, which is a form of spiritual expression. She was invited back to Delray Beach by the Spady Museum, after performing in 2017 for Juneteenth. Mother Blues brings the legacy of blues musicians to the stage, sharing the pain and challenges of being an oppressed person, but not allowing that pain to undermine or diminish her talents and gifts.
The talk-back after the show was led by Dr. Joan Cartwright, a local, retired Jazz and Blues performer, who educates adults and youth on the history of Blues-performing women through her non-profit organization, Women in Jazz.
The Spady Museum brings people together with history, culture and heritage, so the Juneteenth Celebration was a great way to not only celebrate emancipation, but to also educate the community on the ongoing fight for all citizens to be free and independent.
The Juneteenth event drew almost a full house at the Arts Garage, of people from multiple races and backgrounds, and provided a way for them to connect, enjoy and celebrate the blues, which is a gift of sorts from the enslaved and oppressed peoples to themselves. The performance was an acknowledgement of the priceless contributions enslaved people have made to the cultural fabric of America, which continue to yield such dividends, even into 2021.
According to the Spady Museum, the Juneteenth Celebration is bringing awareness of the end of slavery to Americans who are unaware of this history. It is a time of celebration for freedom gained, but also a time of reflection and understanding of the perspective of the African Diaspora in America.
The Spady Museum shines a light on Juneteenth, which is now a federal holiday, as a way to continue to educate the community about the historically correct sequence of events that constitute the end of chattel slavery in the United States. As always, the Spady Museum is our local resource that provides our community members with not only significantly important national events, but also how those events help to create and shape the city we all know and love.