Palm Coast African-American Cultural Society celebrates 30 years
PALM COAST – For 30 years, the African American Cultural Society has worked to educate Flagler County about Black culture, history and excellence.
Now it’s time to celebrate these achievements with a dinner in honor of the founders of the organization.
The celebration will take place on October 24 at the company’s headquarters, 4422 US Highway 1 North, Palm Coast. The event is already full.
Joseph Matthews, president of the African American Cultural Society, said the mission of the organization described by the founders was to preserve the African diaspora.
“In other words, the goal is to educate people about the African American experience and heritage here in the Flagler community and beyond,” said Matthews, 78.
“We do it through cultural events. The three that come to mind are the Juneteenth celebration, the Kwanzaa celebration, and we have a reality show for black youth that we host during Black History Month.
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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, guest speaker and congresswoman Barbara Lee from California will speak virtually. Lee is the iconic protege of US Representative Shirley Chisholm.
The event will also pay tribute to the last active founder of the cultural society, James Sharpe, who is now 94 years old.
Blanche Valentine, administrator of the cultural society, recalled the motorized parade they organized in January in Bunnell to mark Dr Martin Luther King Day as an example of how the organization has established links with blacks and Whites.
“It was a large cross section of the community,” said Valentine, 65. “We were planning for 80 to 100 cars and we had close to 400. It’s such a dynamic organization. There are a lot of things we are proud of. We had voter education events that attracted a lot of people.
The African American Cultural Society was founded by seven members in 1991 to preserve the cultural heritage of African Americans through educational, artistic, intellectual and social activities.
The organization has offered cultural trips to Washington, DC, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and other parts of Florida. They were instrumental in securing the Black Studies course as a credited course in the state of Florida.
They offered Juneteenth, Kwanzaa, and black history cultural programs for youth, all of which took place online last year due to COVID. The center is a COVID vaccination site. During the holidays, they run a holiday gift program for underprivileged children in Palm Coast, Bunnell and Espanol.
“Before the pandemic, we had a bus ride on the Civil Rights Trail,” Valentine said. “He went from Montgomery to Selma. It was very powerful. It was open to the community as well as to members.