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The Anniversary Project

Screen Shot 2022-08-31 at 15.22.33By Beverly Collins-Roberts

http://stillstanding.homestead.com/the-anniversary-project.html

Award-winning fine-art documentary photographer, filmmaker & historian Beverly Collins-Roberts is celebrating 43 years in the arts. Under that umbrella, her greatest accomplishment has been her 2002 discovery of the history of slavery and plantations in Camden, NJ, which had never been made known. She later revealed it through the arts from 2005 – 2010 locally, nationally, and internationally. In 2005 she curated The Still Standing Exhibition, The 1st Award Celebration, The 1st Slave Route Tour and began interviewing some of the first seniors who came to live upon the shores of Camden, NJ, in the early 1900’s telling and sharing their lives with the world; it was called “” The Essay of our lives”. 

In 2006 she was asked to create and develop the “Made in Camden” Project for the Walt Whitman Center for the Arts. She curated “The Made in Camden Art Exhibition” and created the Vanguard Awards given to prestigious Writers, Poets, and Entertainers out of Camden, such as the award-winning Writers & Poets, Sandra Turner Barnes, winner of the 1995 Ebony Magazine Literary Award, Ewuare Osayande 2002- 2004 1st Poet in Residence, Rutgers University and Lamont B Steptoe winner of the American Book Award; all three have too many others to name. Musicians were also given the Vanguard Award, such as Buster Williams and his father Master Bassist Charles Anthony Williams Sr., Leon Huff, Billy Paul (Camden’s Adopted Son), Norman Connors, Robert & Wanda Dickerson, and more.

In 2008 Ms. Collins-Roberts traveled back to the Homeland to finish her research on Slavery, where she filmed and photographed the people, our brothers, and sisters, and the inside of the Slave Castle in Cape Coast, Ghana, where a million Africans died before even making that dreadful Journey of no return!

Beverly Collins-Roberts digitally launched “The Anniversary Project” on August 24th, 2022, revealing the "Unhushed" history of slavery in Camden NJ. It provides a distinct perspective into decades of work and a celebration of discoveries made in 2002, a collection of documents and images from Pomona Hall’s slave quarters owned by the Cooper Family and from her transformative visit to the Slave Castles in Ghana. The launch of her website “The Anniversary Project” connects the 20th-year celebration that will provide viewers with an in-depth exploration into her amazing discoveries, with powerful insight into a hidden portion of American history, right here in our own backyard.

Also she is providing free access to her critically acclaimed short-film, “UnHushed” 2006 and her full feature documentary “The Journey” 2010. She is making her work accessible to the people so no one will have to come through her for the information about our history that was kept from us all these years. Now we can access it freely and share it with our families, friends and our communities. She says, “Knowing our history frees our hearts, minds and souls”.

In September and October 2022 both films will screen together and can be seen at any location which chooses to host the event: Churches, Art Centers, Community Centers, providing history and entertainment in their own neighborhoods, or just a few friends for a watch party from home, if one so chooses. Yes it’s a sensitive subject, a painful subject, but in “The Journey” Ms. Collins-Roberts says, “Just like I created all the events in 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2010, it was always about putting a bright spotlight on the people that remained standing no matter how difficult it may have been; here in Camden, but also African Americans everywhere here in America. I filmed “The Journey”  with a sense of Hope. Everything is to Uplift the people!”

Right now screenings are scheduled in Camden, NJ, Philadelphia, PA, LA, and Ghana.

If you would like to host a screening send an email to: bev1023@gmail.com – It’s free! A package will be sent out with both films on DVD and documentation on how the films came to be made, which can be printed and shared with your attendees.

Following the release of the website, Ms. Collins-Roberts will host a week-long celebration which will kick off Saturday, October 1st during the 2nd Annual Johnson Park Music and Arts festival sponsored by IDEA Center for the Arts from 12pm to 5pm. Her Exhibition “The Fabric of America” will begin showing that day and continue through October 23, 2022 located at IDEA, 217 Market St., Camden, NJ 08102.

Ms. Collins-Roberts “Still Standing Portraits of Camden” Exhibition received national news coverage in 2005 as an artistic and educational tribute to her discovery that 14 slaves toiled in captivity under Camden’s prominent Cooper family in Pomona Hall, an 18th century mansion anchoring a 412-acre plantation. Also she will be showing some of her Fine Art pieces from the first 20 years. The exhibit will also highlight images from her 2008 visit to Ghana where she photographed the historic Slave Castle in it’s entirety in Cape Coast.. 

“The Anniversary Project” will close out its week-long celebration on Saturday, October 8th, 2022 from 12pm to 3pm at IDEA with a live viewing of Ms. Collins-Roberts award winning films; “Unhushed" and "The Journey". The award winning film "Unhushed" was screened on PBS, the Philadelphia International Film Festival and the Harlem Stage Film Festival. The film focuses on the Purification Ceremony that took place in the slave quarters on the 3rd floor in the Attic of Pomona Hall, the big house. The 14 enslaved Africans who toiled here, it’s the 1st time their names were called ever by anyone other then the master. Viewers will be provided with a unique and intimate opportunity to meet ms Collins-Roberts in person for a more comprehensive dialogue on the subject matter.

The celebration will continue into the evening of October 8th for the “Still Standing Anniversary Project Fundraiser” concert being held at Rutgers-Camden Gordon Theater from 5pm to 8pm featuring the musicians whose music created the soundtrack of her film “The Journey”’ including the legendary Norman Connors, The Primas/Santos Quartet and more, to support multimedia and performing arts programs at IDEA for youth in the Camden County area as well as the artists “The Still Standing Project” supports.

As the great-great niece of William Still: a famous abolitionist in Philadelphia who helped hundreds of slaves cross into freedom and author of “The Underground Railroad” in 1872, Ms. Collins-Roberts creates these events with a focus of making the information accessible to  people everywhere but especially in Camden, NJ her hometown.  

Ms. Collins-Roberts is available for speaking engagements concerning her experiences of the Discovery of Slavery & Plantations in Camden, NJ, how she Revealed it & The Resolve. She will also share memories of her personal and painful journey back home to Ghana, West Africa.

She says, “The only regret I have is that it was all I could do. to fund all of those projects through sales of my work, bartering, using my family savings and household money, sometimes barely having enough gas to get to an event and still everything was so incredibly successful. I could not have done it without all the artists in the exhibitions. The writers, poets and dancers who performed and those who sang, the musicians who performed and those who allowed me to use their music on “The Journey” documentary film and everyone who worked behind the scenes, volunteering their time, expertise and love for the project. Also the elders I interviewed as well, I regret I did not have any compensation to give them. They all did it from love and respect.. 

Any and all donations will be used to retroactively go back to the events of 2005 – 2010 and give stipends or honorarium that I would have given if I had it then. So please consider giving & sharing this journey with others. 

This is not just about Slavery & Plantations in Camden, NJ USA  it’s about an entire people who for centuries have with stood it all and are “Still Standing”

We all make up “The Fabric of America”

             

In Humanity,

Beverly Collins-Roberts

Note :

Beverly Collin-Roberts is in a Group Art Exhibition: Rutgers Stedman Gallery

Portraits of Camden

September 6, - December 10th, 2022

Stedman Gallery

N 3rd St & Pearl, Camden, NJ 08102

Monday – Saturday 10 am – 4 pm

856 225-6350

Artist :

Kimberly Camp

Beverly Collins-Roberts

Pedro Fuller

Rafael Miranda

Erik James Montgomery

Donald Williams

________________________

The Fabric of America     Solo Exhibition

October 1 – October 23, 2022

Idea Center for the Arts

217 Market St

Camden, NJ 08102

856 210-9394

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