Spiritual dancers perform during ceremony.

By Vivian Shipe

KNOXVILLE, TN — On an early over cast Saturday morning with the sun breaking thru the clouds The Beck Cultural Center continued it’s August 8th Celebration of when the slaves were freed by Governor Andrew Johnson with a libation ceremony held in the Freedmens Mission Historical Cemetery next to Knoxville College where the bodies of former slaves and their descendants lie in rest.

Minister Ronni Chandler presided over ceremony.
Dr. Olga Welch singing a stirring negro spirtual.

“We Choose to Remember” were the opening words of Minister Ronni Chandler who led the ceremony that was complete with prayers, a negro spiritual song by Dr. Olga Welch, history of the occasion by Mr. Bill Murrah and dance by

Reverend Alan Jones performs libation ceremony assisted by Bill Murrah under the watchful eye of Buffalo Soldier Doug Minter. Photos by Vivian Shipe

Spiritual Dancers, God’s Anointed Women of Vision.

A Libation ceremony is an occasion where liquid or grain is poured out in remembrance of the dead . Minister Chandler explained it is a way to honor the sacrifice of our elders who made do with so little so that we could have much.

Reverend Alan Jones performed the ceremony and was assisted by Mr. Doug  Minter, a member of Metro Knoxville’s Buffalo Soldiers.