Eighth of August (copy)

The Rev. Pamela Hoard, pastor of Russell Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church, of Rogersville, performs at the 2018 “8th of August” Freedom Day Celebration, along with her church’s vocal group, “Devoted.”

The community “Street Dance on Davis” that is part of annual Eighth of August celebrations was authorized Tuesday by the Greeneville Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

The aldermen met in called session to consider the request for the street dance due to the timing. The street dance is scheduled 6 p.m. to midnight Friday on Davis Street, and will feature deejay “Lil’ Dre.”

Gene Maddox, president of the George Clem Multicultural Alliance, thanked the board for scheduling the called meeting to consider the request.

The George Clem Multicultural Alliance is the sponsor for the 2019 Freedom Day “8th of August” Festival.

Since the 1860s, African-American communities in Tennessee and surrounding states celebrate the day as one of freedom. The celebration is held annually in Greeneville on the weekend before Aug. 8, in remembrance of Aug. 8, 1863, the date when then-Military Gov. of Tennessee Andrew Johnson freed his personal slaves at his home in Greeneville.

In the past, the street dance in the celebration was coordinated by the Negro Women’s Civic Club. However, since that organization is no longer active, there were some people in the community who wanted to have the dance and approached the George Clem Multicultural Alliance for help, Maddox told the board.

“We are happy that we can continue this community tradition that has become an integral part of the Aug. 8 celebration,” he said.

Angela Campbell, events coordinator for the George Clem Multicultural Alliance, thanked Greeneville Police Chief Tim Ward for his assistance in helping with the organizers with what was needed in the approval process for the dance.

Events in which a street will be closed for traffic require approval by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

Although the Street Dance on Davis is Friday evening, most of the activities for the Freedom Day “8th of August” Festival will be Saturday from 1-10 p.m. at John J. Jones Memorial Park, 312 Floral St.

Maddox said that everyone is invited to enjoy the entertainment and fun that will be part of the festival. Although the celebration started as primarily an event involving the local African-American community, he said that the alliance wants to make it a celebration for all Greene Countians and East Tennesseans.

Campbell said the event will begin at 1 p.m. with the Community Churches’ Gospel Hour, featuring choirs or groups from each of the churches in the local African-American community performing a song.

Other live entertainment will include “old school” R&B by Donnie Bunch and the headliner, The Free Flow Band from North Carolina, who perform old school, funk and R&B.

A free kids zone featuring inflatables and train rides will be set up in the park. There will also be games, presentations, music from by DJ DaDRE and food.