Lift Ev'ry Voice Festival
|Country and Region||United States — Massachusetts|
|Type of Festival||Dance, Drama, Literary, Music|
|Location of Festival||Towns throughout Berkshire County, Massachusetts, USA|
|Festival Contact Information|
Lift Ev’ry Voice is an arts and heritage festival that celebrates African-American history, culture and traditions throughout the US. The events that take place in towns throughout Berkshire County in Western Massachusetts involve numerous arts organizations: Barrington Stage Company, the Berkshire Museum, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Chesterwood, the Clark Art Institute, the Colonial Theatre, Jacob’s Pillow, the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Mass MoCA, Tanglewood, and other renowned cultural venues in the Berkshires.
|Festival Dates||June 26 - 27, 2013|
The first edition of the festival takes place in summer 2011. The events celebrate African-American culture and heritage in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts. Entitled Lift Ev’ry Voice, after the beloved “black national anthem” Lift Ev’ry Voice And Sing by James Weldon Johnson, once a summer resident of the Berkshires.
The African-American community of the Berkshires region of western Massachusetts has a rich and impressive history, from the Revolutionary War heros to NASA astronauts. Best known as the birthplace of W.E.B. DuBois, the Berkshires were also home to Elizabeth “Mumbet” Freeman, the first slave to successfully sue for freedom, Reverend Samuel Harrison, chaplain to the acclaimed 54th regiment in the Civil War who successfully fought for equal pay for black soldiers, Jazz Age photographer James Van Der Zee, and writer James Weldon Johnson, among many others. The cultural institutions of the Berkshires have led the way in presenting African-American artists and performers from Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, built on the site of an Underground Railroad station, to the Lenox School of Jazz at the Music Inn in the 1950s. African-American history in the Berkshire region can be explored through self-guided tours along all or part of the Upper Housatonic Valley African-American Heritage Trail, in the book African-American Heritage of the Upper Housatonic Valley, or by visiting http://www.africanamericantrail.org.