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‘Second Line’ parade highlights Black Cultural Center event

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The annual Black Cultural Center Friends and Family Day will bring New Orleans tradition and culture to the Purdue campus on Sept. 20 as the center focuses on the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the retention of African-American art and culture as their theme for the fall semester. The public is invited to attend.

The Hot 8 Brass Band from New Orleans will lead a procession from Ross-Ade Stadium to the Black Cultural Center, 1100 Third St. Participants are asked to gather under the Boilermaker bronze statue immediately following the Purdue-Central Michigan football game and march as part of the “Second Line” parade to the center. The “Second Line” is a tradition that dates back to the 1890s and is often associated with jazz funerals.

Irving Honey Banister, at left, will be part of the Black Cultural Centers Friends and Family event at the center on Sept. 20. (Photo contributed)

Irving "Honey" Banister, at left, will be part of the Black Cultural Center's Friends and Family event at the center on Sept. 20. (Photo contributed)

Serving as grand marshal for the center’s “Second Line” parade is Black Mardi Gras Indian Irving “Honey” Banister. The Black Mardi Gras Indian tradition came from an alliance between enslaved Africans and Native Americans. Historians said that tribes such as the Choctaw, Seminoles and Chickasaws in Louisiana helped enslaved Africans and men of color survive in the swamps after they escaped the plantations.

“The Second Line and Black Mardi Gras Indian traditions grew out of black communities that existed and still exist today,” said Jolivette Anderson-Douoning, the center’s facility and program supervisor. “We developed our own parades, insurance companies, ways of worship and arts and entertainment in response to being excluded from human activity because of racism and prejudice. We developed a system for taking care of each other on U.S. soil the same as was done among tribes in various villages in Africa. The Second Line tradition is but a glimpse into seeing the world as it is seen by many African-Americans.”

Upon arrival at the center, attendees will enjoy a sampling of New Orleans cuisine, children’s activities, beading and a mask-making workshop. The Hot 8 Brass Band will perform Hip Hop, jazz and funk style music. New Orleans, influenced heavily by African-American musicians, developed a style of brass band music that has been distinct to the city since the late 1880s.

“The New Orleans’ brass band sound can be heard from multiple establishments in the French Quarter and various locations throughout the Crescent City,” said Renee Thomas, director of the Black Cultural Center. “We hope people will get a small taste of the New Orleans culture, cuisine and sound at this event.”

During the fall semester, the Black Cultural Center’s cultural arts series will include lectures as well as artistic performances as part of its semester-long examination on the retention of African-American art and culture in New Orleans under the theme “What the Waters Washed Away.”

Established in 1969, the Black Cultural Center is nationally recognized and acknowledged by the Association of Black Cultural Centers as one of the best centers of its kind. Thomas said the center helps the community gain a greater understanding of African-American heritage and supports and enhances cultural diversity in the community. More information about the Black Cultural Center is available at

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 September 2020