Fabric of Freedom
Celebrating Greensboro’s History as a Crucible for Freedom
Fabric of Freedom was a series of arts programs that celebrated the diversity and cultural history of Greensboro, host city for the National Folk Festival (2015-2017). Exhibits, music, dance, community events, and more were presented in venues across the city during the two-year run of the program. In its second year in 2016, Fabric of Freedom extended the spirit of the Festival across Greensboro, serving over 3,200 attendees.
Highlights of Fabric of Freedom in 2016. Video by program curator Katy Clune
Yacine Kout, Pamela Jackson-LeGrand and her husband, and Catherine Holcombe were part of the “What’s your North Carolina Story?” micro-oral history activity at the 2016 National Folk Festival
Why Celebrate Freedom in Greensboro?
Freedom movements and social justice activism are as integral to the “Gate City” as its railroads. Greensboro is named for Major General Nathanael Greene, who led American troops in a fight against the British at Guilford Courthouse in 1781. At the turn of the century, Quakers harbored the southern-most point of the Underground Railroad on the campus of present-day Guilford College. On February 1, 1960 four NC A&T students asked to be served at the Woolworth’s whites-only lunch counter. Beginning in the 1970s, the city has steadfastly welcomed new immigrants and refugees. Since the city’s earliest days, natives of Greensboro took history into their own hands.
Social justice activism continues to be alive and well. In 2014, the Greensboro City Council passed a resolution naming Greensboro a Welcoming City “that celebrates the growing diversity of its residents.” Today, individuals from over 140 countries live in Guilford County—making Greensboro an exceptionally diverse city. Students on Greensboro’s five college campuses and faith leaders from diverse communities are also reigniting the Greensboro Four’s legacy through contemporary activism.
In 2015 and 2016, this program series was presented by ArtsGreensboro and funded by a National Endowment for the Arts “Our Town” grant and co-sponsored by the AJ Fletcher Foundation and Lincoln Financial.