Festival of Heritage celebrates progress - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Festival of Heritage celebrates progress

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Music filled the air as a celebration of culture filled downtown Saturday. Hundreds came out for the 35th Annual Jubilee: Festival of Heritage at the Mann-Simons site on Richland Street.

Folks who came out reflected on life of an African woman named Celia Mann and her descendants.

"As entrepreneurs they had everything from grocery stores and lunch counters to they worked in the community and were really a part of the community," said event coordinator Sarah Blackwell.  "They owned property, the entire block, and really integrated with everybody and really apart of Columbia's history and so we are just trying to celebrate that today."

Tours of the Mann-Simons site were given as folks looked at artifacts that have been uncovered throughout the years on the property and took in the rich history that is Columbia's own.

"It's a rich culture that's readable. It's walkable. It still can be experienced," said event coordinator Twila Jones.

There was also a chance to tour civil rights leader Modjeska Simkin's house which was filled with many photos from the movement here in Columbia. It was fitting since the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington was on the minds of many folks who came out to enjoy the jubilee.

"I choose to say that the cup is half full rather than half empty," Jones said. "I see progress. I am accepting and embracing progress not everybody is going to see it that way but I want a piece of the American pie and so for me it's more positive than negative but yes we still have a long way to go."

"So in a lot of way today is a celebration of the past and then also an opportunity to think about issues that we are having in American society today and how we can find solutions for them," said historian Ramon Jackson.

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