Annual Black Belt Folk Roots Festival, time for reunions, good food and music


Lemon Harper of Sumter County shows off his dance routine at Annual Festival.  and John Kennedy Byrd prepares his famous Barbecue ribs at annual festival

Where else can you smile and sway to ole timey blues, enjoy the delicacies of right-off-the grill barbecue and polish sausages, feast on freshly cooked country dinners with assorted pies and cakes and then top it all off with hand churned homemade ice cream.
All this and more is happening at the annual Black Belt Folk Roots Festival on Saturday, August 25 and Sunday August 26 on the Old Courthouse Square in Eutaw, AL.
The festival features down home blues music, old timey gospel, traditional foods, handmade crafts. Saturday’s events are scheduled from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. with Ole Timey Blues and dancing featuring musicians Clarence Davis, The Liberators, Jock Webb, Davey Williams, Russell Gulley, Terry “Harmonica” Bean, and others.
The handmade crafts available at the festival are traditional quilts and other needle works; baskets from white oak, pine needles and corn shucks. The assortments of down-home foods include soul food dinners, barbecue, fried fish, chicken and skins, homemade ice cream, cakes and pies; snow cones, Italian ice, and more.
Ole Timey Gospel is reserved for Sunday’s festival beginning at 2:00 p.m. and featuring the
The Echo Juniors, The Melody Kings, The Mississippi Traveling Stars, The Golden Gates, New Generation Men of Promise, Greene County Mass Choir, Glory Gospel Group, Angels of Faith, The American Gospel Singers and many others.

“The Black Belt Folk Roots Festival is home coming time in the region. Many families, class reunions and social clubs plan their annual activities to coincide with the festival’s schedule,” stated Dr. Carol P. Zippert, festival coordinator. “The festival brings together musicians, craftspersons, storytellers, food specialists, community workers – all who are considered bearers of the traditions and folkways of the West Alabama region,” she explained. “This is a festival where people truly celebrate themselves – their joys and struggles and especially ‘How we made it over,’” Zippert states.
According to Dr. Zippert, the two day festival is open to the public free of charge. The hours are Saturday, August 25, 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and Sunday August 26, 2:00 p.m.- 7:00 p.m.
The Black Belt Folk Roots Festival is supported in part by the Black Belt Community Foundation, Alabama Power Foundation, Alabama Department of Tourism and other local contributors.
The festival is produced by the Society of Folk Arts & Culture.
There is no admission fee for the Festival events.
For more information contact Carol P. Zippert at 205-372-0525;

Black Belt Community Foundation welcomes three new team members Black Belt Roots and Deep Dedication to Service Characterize All Three

Group Photo Carolyn, Dex and Kim

Shown above (L-R -Carolyn Essex, Dexter Jackson and Kimberly Davis)

SELMA,  AL  –  June 20, 2018:  The Black Belt Community Foundation is proud to announce adding three new team members, Kimberly Davis, Carolyn Essex and Dexter Jackson, to its full-time staff, filling key positions.
Selma native, Kimberly Davis, will serve as BBCF’s new Arts Program Officer. She is a graduate of the Art Institute of Atlanta and American Public University, possessing both a B.F.A and M.P.A. (in Public Administration with a focus in Human Resource Management) from these institutions respectively.

Adding to her impressive resumé, Kimberly has served our country for ten years in the Georgia National Guard while working active duty as a Human Resource Generalist, and is continuing to serve through Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, AL. Prior to joining BBCF, Kimberly had been working at Concordia College for the past four years as Lead Data & Communications Specialist.
Marion native, Carolyn Essex, joins BBCF as Office Administrator. With over ten years of experience in office administration and Associate Degrees in both Business Administration and Business Technology from Wallace Community College – Selma, she is thrilled to bring her considerable skills to bear for the benefit of BBCF and the Black Belt.
Fort Mitchell native, Dexter Jackson, now fills the role of BBCF’s Fiscal Officer having formerly served as Controller, Vice President for Business & Fiscal Affairs and Chief Operating Officer at Concordia College Alabama in Selma.  Dexter is a proud graduate of Auburn University, holding a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Accounting.
BBCF President Felecia Lucky states: “BBCF is truly blessed to welcome our three newest team members to the fold. All three possess deep Black Belt roots and no doubt will be working with that level of personal passion and dedication to serving the Black Belt region adding to their impressive professional skill sets and training. One of things I am most thrilled about is that each of them have already been serving the Black Belt in diverse ways for many years now, prior to their joining our BBCF family. Already possessing an understand of the region and many of the challenges we are tackling, they bring their positive sense of dedication to work with them each day!”

Black Belt Community Foundation announces 2017 Arts Grant Cycle


SELMA, AL: The Black Belt Community Foundation recently announced its 2017 Arts Grant Cycle. Community-based organizations from Bullock, Choctaw, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Perry, Pickens, Sumter, and Wilcox Counties are encouraged to apply.
The BBCF seeks to support organizations who engage citizens in the Black Belt region in the arts. The 2017 Arts Grant Cycle will support projects addressing the arts in these categories: arts education programming, arts exposure programming and arts professional development.
The BBCF will offer funding in two ways:
• Small grants pool with funding up to $3,000 will cover arts education programming, arts exposure programming and arts professional development.
• Larger grants with funding up to $10,000 will cover arts education programming only.

The BBCF will be hosting six grant seeking workshops for the organizations who are interested in applying for a 2017 Arts Grant. Attendance at one of the workshops is mandatory in order to be considered for a 2017 Arts Grant. The Grant seeking workshops will be held at the following locations:

• University of West Alabama, Livingston, AL. on Saturday, February 11th from 10 am to 12 pm
• BBCF office in Selma on Wednesday, February 15th from 10 am to 12 pm
• BBCF office in Selma on Thursday, February 16th from 6 pm to 8 pm
• Black Belt Treasures, Camden, AL on Friday, February 17th from 10 am to 12 pm
• Tuskegee Human & Civil Rights Multicultural Center, Tuskegee, AL. on
Saturday, February 18th from 2 pm to 4 pm

• BBCF office in Selma on Saturday, February 25th from 10 am to 12 pm

Please contact Jo Taylor at 334-874-1126 or jtaylor@blackbeltfound,org for more information about the workshops. Applications will be available by request, at the workshops and through the Black Belt Community Foundation’s website:

Applicants are encouraged to email completed applications to or

Grant Applications are due before 4:30 PM on Friday, March 3, 2017. These grants are made possible by the generous support of The Alabama State Council on the Arts
As BBCF is a tax-exempt organization (ID 63-1270745) under the 501(c) (3) code of the IRS, your gift is tax-deductible as a charitable contribution to the fullest extent allowed by the law. In compliance with federal tax laws, we acknowledge that no goods or services have been received in return for your gift.

SPOT students honor Greene County Trailblazers


The Greene County Children’s Policy Council (CPC) through its SPOT Program (Strategically Preparing Out Teens) honored six individuals who played strategic roles in the Civil Rights Movement in Greene County. The honorees and their student presenters were: Mrs. Johnnie Ella Williams, presented by Jamia Jackson, Jamar Jackson, and JaMarcus Jackson; Mrs. Ninnia Jo Hutton (posthumously), presented by Victoria Jones and Talia Hawkins;  Mrs. Annie Knox, presented by Courtney Davis; Mr. George ‘Boy’ Perry, presented by Ivan Peebles and DeMarius Cockrell; Mrs. Marie Perry Hines,  presented by Elijah Isaac and Gabriella Walker; and Mr. Raymond (Mank) Powell (posthumously), presented by Jorien Reeves and Jamaiyah White.
The Trailblazers program is an annual event begun in 2009 by CPC through a grant from the Black Belt Community Foundation and has continued since then. In preparation for the event, the SPOT students interview the perspective honorees and/or their family members and write their individual stories.  This is a unique experience for young people to learn local history and the key players who affected social and political change in the county and the region.
Other program participants included: Prelude Music by Nigel Speights; Welcome by Makayla Farrow, Meditation by LaTaursa Jones, Occasion by Sara Hawkins, Musical Selections by Wanda Hawkins, Closing Remarks by Judge Lillie Jones Osborne and Benediction and Blessing of Food by Rev. James E. Carter.