a dancer in motion, wearing colorful fringe and a fur and antler headdress

Celebrate a remarkable African American holiday tradition with Historic Stagville and St Sya Academy!

Durham musicians and St Sya Academy students will perform at Horton Grove on December 9 to honor Jonkonnu, a masquerade celebration with roots in West Africa and the Caribbean.

After the performance, join the lead artists around the bonfire for stories about Jonkonnu traditions, past and present.

Jonkonnu masquerade traditions connect African diaspora communities across the Atlantic and Caribbean. In North Carolina, people of African descent resisted cultural erasure by preserving Jonkonnu's dance, drum, and costume traditions through generations of enslavement. Stagville is one of the rare sites in North America with primary source documentation of Jonkonnu.

Event details:

The performance will be outdoors at Horton Grove, with storytelling and drumming around the bonfire afterwards. You are welcome to bring your own chairs or blankets to sit. This event will be outside, so dress warmly! Parking will be in the grass lot on Jock Road.

The program includes includes walking in low light and over uneven surfaces. Please contact our staff at info@stagville.org with any questions about accessibility.