CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. — The 28th annual Jefferson County WV African American Cultural and Heritage Festival promises youth activities, fellowship, great entertainment, and some regional history, according to spokesman Kenny Hosby.  “Knowing history is important, especially in these times.  I think knowing other culture’s history is a unifying factor in any community.  We all live in the same community, we study certain types of history here, there and the other.  But when you put it all together and put it on display, it’s very eye opening, I think it’s very important,  especially in this region of West Virginia,” he says.

The events kick off this Friday with a gospel concert in the auditorium at Wright Denny Intermediate School in Charles Town.  “We’ll be participating in that, so we’re pretty excited about that.  And then, at 6 p.m. that Friday evening as well, there’s a youth block party.  And then of course Saturday, the parade kicks off at about 12 noon,” according to Hosby.

“The parade starts out in Ranson near the Independent Fire Company, then we make that right on Washington, then parade right down through the center of town, then it terminates about a block from where Wright Denny campus is and the vendors, so it’s a good jump off right there at the end, because you’re going to walk right into the vendor area,” Hosby says.

The festival honors graduates of the historic Page Jackson High School as the first high school for blacks in Jefferson County. It was chartered in 1938 and lasted until desegregation in 1965. Prior to its founding, black students in the county went to school through the 8th grade but their only option after that was a high school equivalency diploma through Storer College.

That program ended in 1938, and the Jefferson County Black PTA requested and was approved for a high school but no building or additional resources were given.
According to the event brochure, Page Jackson High School became “the first Negro high school in Jefferson County” with the first graduating class of ten students graduating in 1942.
The school was initially housed in Eagle Avenue Elementary until moving to a separate building on Mordington Avenue in Charleston in 1951.
Page Jackson School was closed in 1965.
Today Page Jackson Elementary School is in operation on Rt. 340.
The 2022 Grand Marshalls are Delores Jackson Foster, Sylvia M. Stanton Gregory, and Barbara Ann Smith, who graduated from Page Jackson High School.
Among the events this weekend:

Friday Aug 19
7:00-8:30 p.m. Gospel Extravaganza at Betty Roper Auditorium
6:00- 10:00 p.m. Youth Block Party
Saturday Aug 20
Noon – Parade
Health Fair, Entertainment, Vendors,
7:00-9:00 “Quiet Fire Soul” Jazz, R&B, and Pop
Sunday Aug 21
Memorial Walk to John Brown Fort Site – Murphy Farm, Harpers Ferry

More information on the event post at the JCAACHF Facebook page.