KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Beck Cultural Exchange Center is hosting its annual Eighth of August Jubilee starting Friday, Aug. 6 through Sunday, Aug. 8 to commemorate Tennessee’s Emancipation Day, when enslaved people were freed back in 1863.
The Beck Center’s kickoff celebration and open house event begins Friday, Aug. 6 at 4 p.m. at the Logan Temple AMEZ on Selma Avenue. Then, on Saturday the Jubilee continues at Dr. Walter Hardy Park at noon. Also on Saturday and Sunday will be the Gospel Explosion at the Beck Center on Dandridge Avenue. Sunday morning at 7:30, there will be the Eighth of August Jubilee’s Libation Ceremony at the Freedman’s Mission Historic Cemetery.
A libation ceremony is a social ritual involving pouring a liquid as an offering to a spirit, deity, or soul of a deceased person. The Eighth of August Jubilee’s Libation Ceremony will pay a special tribute to the enslaved descendants.
African American history and culture continue to be a central part of the Beck Center’s mission in order to honor them while educating East Tennessee. According to the center’s website, Beck was established as a result of Knoxville’s Urban Renewal projects. With the support of the Mayor of the City of Knoxville, Kyle Testerman, Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation, the Knoxville Area Urban League, and the people, Beck became an institution in 1975, and was named in honor of James G. and Ethel B. Beck