|Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013|
George Washington Carver National Monument hosted the 70th annual Carver Day celebration on Saturday, July 13th. This date marks the establishment of the park on July 14, 1943, the first national park dedicated to an African American.
Special speakers included Dr. Linda Edwards, Carver scholar, historian and author of George Washington Carver, Scientist And Symbol. She examined Carver as a complex and intriguing figure who served as a powerful symbol of black achievement.
Architectural historian Deb Sheals and architect Angie Gaebler spoke about the 1872 Neosho Colored School project. The school in neighboring Neosho, Missouri, is where Carver and many African Americans received an education, and the park is working with the Carver Birthplace Association on preserving this rare resource that speaks to Carver’s early years.
Missouri state representative Bill Reiboldt honored the park with two state resolutions recognizing Carver Day and the park’s role in education and stewardship. The Carver Birthplace Association recognized the recipient of the Carver Scholarship award, Jeri Lynn Henry, who will be attending the University of Missouri as an agriculture student.
Musical performers included Lem Sheppard, a blues, jazz and folk guitarist and musician, the Sensational Wonders, a gospel singing group, and area church choirs. The Kansas East State Sunshine Band children’s choir (pictured above) thrilled a large crowd with an energetic performance of gospel classics.
Activities included storytelling, exhibitors, musical performances, guided tours, educational programs, a Junior Ranger station with a special ‘Carver Day’ badge to earn, and much more. Almost 1,200 people attended this special day.
The Call to Action strategic plan charts a path toward the 2016 centennial of the National Park Service; one action concept, “History Lesson,” showcases the meaning of parks to new audiences and provides an opportunity for communities to learn more about their heritage. In response, Carver Day celebrates the African American experience through guest speakers, storytelling, music, and educational programs.