Raleigh Black History Month kickoff goes virtual due to COVID-19

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The traditional ceremony marking the start of Black History Month brings a large, enthusiastic crowd to the state history museum. That's not what happened Saturday for the 20 year anniversary of the kickoff activities. The reason: COVID-19 concerns.

"It's been a tough year for a lot of folks," said Adrienne Nirde of the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission, "And I think that this is a wonderful opportunity to come together and experience what's really unique and special about African American history, heritage, and culture here in our great state of North Carolina. Typically we expect about 10,000 people at the North Carolina Museum of History. But this year we're inviting folks to join us virtually."

Organizers livestreamed musical performances, spoken word and storytelling sessions, panel discussions about health and wellness as well as some film, all free and available online.

"It's a lot of what we've come to expect from previous cultural celebrations, but also a little bit more," Nirde said.

Partners who helped participants maintain social distancing online include the City of Raleigh, The Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County, Wake Med, Publix and Wegmans. If you missed the livestream you can watch by going here.

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