The words “Let Freedom Ring,” from Samuel Francis Smith, evolved to hold a greater significance when repeated in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Dr. King, along with many other civil rights activists, played a pivotal role in ending the legal segregation of African-American citizens in the United States. However, long before Dr. King’s unforgettable acts, African-American citizens worked to progress the movement for racial equality.
On November 3 and 4, the Brazos Valley African-American Museum is opening an exhibitions called “Freedom Ain’t Free,” which includes a reception with artist Burl Washington’s artworks. The museum will display a special gallery for 22 of Washington’s watercolor paintings, which highlight the history of the African-American experience before the start of the Civil Rights Movement.
Washington’s paintings include overlooked characters and themes of Western heritage, such as the Buffalo Soldiers, Women of the West, Blacks in Aviation, Black Cowboys and others who may have been omitted from history books. The introduction of his exhibit will begin as a reception, with refreshments to welcome Washington to our community.
In addition to the exhibition, there will be a Youth Steelband Open and Festival of Trinidadian Arts and Culture. Special performances include Texas A&M Maroon Steel and Matanzas High School Blue Steel from 5:30 to 6:30, at the Texas A&M Liberal Arts and Humanities Building on campus.
In celebration of First Friday in Downtown Bryan, Maroon Steel will also perform at Sale Park along with students enrolled in a cultural performance of Trinidad class.
On Saturday, November 4, the Festival of Trinidadian Arts and Culture will continue at the Brazos Valley African-American Museum. Come out and experience the culture of Trinidad and Tobago with Caribbean music presented by SOCA performers from Texas, Florida, and Trinidad and Tobago.
The Department of Performance Studies at Texas A&M will be collecting monetary donations to benefit Habitat for Humanity for Hurricane Relief in the Caribbean.
The Brazos Valley African-American Museum is located at 500 E. Pruitt St. Bryan, TX 77803. Tickets for the “Freedom Ain’t Free” exhibition are $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $2 for students and free for children 5 and under. The Festival of Trinidadian Arts and Culture is free admission for all.