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The Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture at the College of Charleston will host its annual event, The Avery Family Reunion. This year’s theme is “Homecoming/My HBCU” and will celebrate Avery’s connection to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and their longstanding commitment to community uplift through engagement and education.
Although it is not a Historically Black College, the Avery Normal Institute (and later Avery High School) focused on educating African Americans (and preparing African American educators) from 1865 to 1954. Building on the HBCU pinnacle tradition of Homecoming, the event is designed to highlight Black culture and cultural institutions. Avery Family Reunion is presented by title sponsors St. Royale Vodka, Explore Charleston, and The Avery Institute for Afro-American History & Culture.
“The Avery Family Reunion is a nostalgic experience,” said Courtney Hicks, Outreach and Public Programming Coordinator at the Avery Research Center. “Community members will be able to feel the warmth, love, and positive energy that we enjoy from intimate family reunions while interacting with the Gullah Geechee culture that makes living in Charleston so beautiful.”
“In 2021, we offered our first Avery Family Reunion as a way to welcome new and returning students to campus,” said Dr. Tamara T. Butler, Avery’s executive director. “More specifically, we wanted students to meet people and programs across campus and introduce the Avery Research Center as a hub and home for those students.”
Since this year’s event happens during the first week of College of Charleston’s classes, it is designed to welcome students to their new community and welcome/introduce community members to the Avery Research Center, College of Charleston and HBCUs. The 2022 Avery Family Reunion is free and open to the public and will highlight local cuisine, art, artisans and business owners with a particular focus on Gullah Geechee culture. Guests can expect a wide array of food trucks and vendors in the Avery Family Reunion’s Culinary Village. Vendors from the Charleston area include sweetgrass basketmakers, health and wellness specialists, legal service providers and more. Guests will enjoy music provided live musical performances of R&B, Southern Soul, Funk and Gospel.
This year’s Avery Family Reunion will be hosted by Charleston-based multi-media personality Kris Kaylin, host of Next Up Charleston, a web series covering in-depth looks at artists, tastemakers and entrepreneurs. The event will also feature special guest Bakari Sellers, former South Carolina House Representative, political commentator, and New York Times best-selling author.
For more information on The Avery Research Center and the upcoming Avery Family Reunion, visit avery.cofc.edu or call 843-953-7609.