All life is rhythm
Friday, June 17, 2022, the 100 Men Hall begins its centennial celebration with African drumming and dancing on the grounds. We welcome the community to come join us as we pay homage to the ancestors whose DNA, encoded with survival, gave rise to the people who organized, built and breathed life into the 100 Men Hall.
There is a sign hanging over the Hall's front doors with a quote by James Carroll Booker III, honored every year at Booker Fest, the Hall's annual fundraiser. Booker was born in New Orleans and raised by his aunt in Bay Saint Louis in a house on Ballantine Street, on the corner of Hancock.
The sign reads:
To know the feeling of rejoicing in sorrow is nothing strange to me.
This same feeling runs through the African American community who created the 100 Men Hall in their self-directed desire for joy amidst the sorrows of Jim Crow and segregation. The Hall offered a safe place for their collective activism and resilience. It sanctioned the rhythm of a community who sought nothing more than the free expression afforded others.
African dancing, drumming and Black American music have always been tools to overcome the dark forces of racism in this country. In the southern corner of Armstrong Park is Congo Square, an open space where enslaved and free Blacks gathered throughout the 19th century for meetings, open markets, and the African dance and drumming celebrations that played a substantial role in the development of jazz.
We have invited Baba Luther and Mama Jamila from Congo Square to lead us in African drumming and dancing. The Hall dedicates this afternoon to the ancestors of the Bay Saint Louis African American community.
When: Friday, June 17, 2022 at 6PM
Where: 100 Men Hall
READ: Booker, The Bay
WATCH: Luther S. Gray, Musician, Producer & Cultural Organizer with Bamboula 2000, Congo Square Preservation Society & Ashe' Cultural Arts Center in New Orleans.
VIDEO: Booker Fest at 100 Men Hall
This project is made possible by a grant from the Mississippi Coast National Heritage Area. All dates, times and tickets are on the 100 Men Hall’s website – https://the100menhall.com - please sign up to receive updates to the programs.
By Rachel Dangermond