Black FESTAC is tomorrow in HCC's Galleria


One of the county's largest black-oriented festivals will take place at Howard Community College tomorrow.

Black FESTAC '96, short for Black Festival of the Arts and Culture, is scheduled to run from noon to 8 p.m. at the Galleria at the college in west Columbia.

This year's festival is expected to attract more than the 5,000 people who attended last August, said organizer Christopher Onyejiaka, a Howard County substitute teacher.

The free event features storytellers, musicians, artists, dancers, singers, gospel rappers and 50 to 100 vendors. James E. Henson Sr., the county's human rights administrator, will be the festival's guest speaker.

"The aim and objective of the festival is to promote, preserve and uplift the culture of people of African descent," Onyejiaka said. "It's also to provide an opportunity for talented African-Americans to develop their talents and showcase them."

Onyejiaka is director of Black African Arts and Culture Promotion Organization Inc. (BAACPO), FESTAC's sponsor. The 30-member group raised about $3,000 and received a $1,000 grant from the Howard County Arts Council this year to pay for the festival, Onyejiaka said.

The festival is among a growing number of black-oriented festivals held in Columbia.

"Columbia is a multiracial place, and we see that as an opportunity to showcase people of African descent," Onyejiaka said.

It also gives festivalgoers a chance to network with each other. "It's having something to do in Columbia," Onyejiaka said.

Pub Date: 8/23/96

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