Members of the University of Tennessee’s inaugural cohort for the Ghana Experience.

By Vivian Shipe

KNOXVILLE, TN — The dance card was full for those attending the many events held in Knoxville on the last weekend of July. From Sunday to Monday, there were enough events to ensure everyone a good night sleep by sundown on Sunday.

Friday, the annual KUUMBA festival kicked off it’s two day event on Market Square Mall with an all day event lasting well into the night. Now in it’s 34th year, the KUUMBA festival was created to showcase the rich culture , art and artists of African Americans and draws visitors from across the nation,  offering a plethora of vendors with many different wares, delicious foods, and African dance and drum.

Saturday’s events kicked off at noon as  Lomax Temple AME Zion Church held its scholarship luncheon with a performance by Annointed Praise and former Vice Mayor Gwen McKenzie as the key note speaker. Later in the evening, the KUUMBA festivities continued in the old city,. Across town, the 100 Black Men of Greater Knoxville held their annual gala with hundreds of Knoxville’s finest, dressed to the nines, dancing the night away. 

As the music flowed, close to midnight at the airport; the plane carrying the inaugural cohorts for the University of Tennessee’s Department of Africana Studies touched down, returning to America, some of Knoxville’s community leaders, home from an eleven day, life-changing trip to Ghana.

As the sun rose on Sunday morning, so did the veil covering the plaque at Greater Warner AME Zion Church, presented to the public  at a reception honoring David Wyatt Sr. 

Wyatt served the church for over 50 years as the Chairman of the board of trustees and was over the  Food Services Department at the University of Tennessee for decades. In addition, the chef also catered many events for the city of Knoxville. The fellowship hall and kitchen of Greater Warner was renamed in his honor.

A full dance card indeed.