Jacksonville African American Museum Hosts Special Event Today

By Jeremy Coumbes on February 18, 2023 at 9:20am

The Jacksonville African American History Museum is holding a special event this afternoon. The museum will be open from noon to 4:30 pm today and will have some new items on display, along with two special programs.

Founding Executive Director Art Wilson says two guests will be on hand to help educate visitors on not only black history but the history of music as well. “The first will present at 12:00 and he is Mr. Joe Guarrera. He is a local person from Jacksonville who collects African art and he will have a display with some masks and pottery and beads and such all set up in one room. And he will take questions from guests as they come in.

The second person will be Robert Sampson, he’s a pretty well-known musician here in Jacksonville. And he will play music but his main thing will be teaching and discussing how negro spirituals were the backbone to a lot of music that we listen to and hear today and he will explain how that came about.”

Wilson says the museum also will have on display some new never before seen artifacts. “A lady from Missouri has donated some items to us, and then she gave us some items on loan we will have for six months.

We have a cabinet that was built in the 1700s, that’s ours. We have a pair of slave cuffs that actually came from an auction house where the gentleman actually sold the slaves, had his cuffs on him when he sold them, and then when people bought them, he took his cuffs off and they put their cuffs on.

And then we have some bricks that were made by slaves, plus a whole bunch of other different things so it will be pretty interesting to come out. You’ll see some things that slaves actually had their hands on or a hand in making and doing.”

Mr. Joe Guarrera will be presenting from noon to 1:30 pm and Robert Sampson will be presenting from 2:00 to 4:00 pm. Wilson says, even if you have seen Sampson perform in the area before, this is a whole different side of his as both a performer and teacher.

The Jacksonville African American History Museum is located in the Asa Talcott House at 859 Grove Street.

The museum will be open for regular hours this summer and is available for private tours. For more information, call 217-299-6017 or look for the Jacksonville African American Museum on Facebook.

A $5.00 donation is suggested for adults, and $3.00 for children with those five and under free to enter.