Three black men singing on a stage at a festival

Christian Smooth

Kunta Kinte Heritage Festival


September 14, 2024


New Location: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium


The Festival

In September 1987, the Kunta Kinte Celebration was born in Annapolis, Maryland. Now known as the Kunta Kinte Heritage Festival, the festival celebrates the perseverance, education, and cultural heritage of Africans, African Americans, and Caribbean people of African descent. The festival runs all day with live music, vendors of African art, jewelry, handmade goods, dance performances, and activities for children. 


Look at last year's celebration—video courtesy of the Kunta Kinte Heritage Festival and Christian Smooth.

Kunta Kinte

Kunta Kinte was one of 98 enslaved people brought to Annapolis, Maryland, aboard the ship Lord Ligonier in 1767. Despite many years in bondage, he never lost his connection to his African heritage. Kunta Kinte's experience symbolizes the struggle of all ethnic groups to preserve their cultural heritage. (from the Kunta Kinte Heritage Festival website).


A man sells wares at a tent at a festival
Come check out the amazing vendors at this year's festival—image courtesy of Christian Smooth.


The Entertainment

The festival will showcase a range of performers across three stages. On the Main Stage you will find performances by Karnival Bounce Crew and music by Antfarmusic feat. Top5. The Main stage will also play host to a comedy show, a fashion show of African creations, and a performance from the Malcolm X Drummers and Dancers- just to name a few. 


A group of spectators watch a band of musicians on a stage at a festival
Entertainment at the Main Stage at Annapolis City Dock.
Image courtesy of Christian Smooth.


The Community Stage will offer up numerous lectures throughout the day on topics such as genealogy, gardening, and a Blacks of the Chesapeake lecture from Vincent Leggett. The Compass Rose Stage is located by the Alex Haley-Kunta Kinte Memorial and will feature several speakers beginning at 10 AM with a Remembrance Ceremony with the Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Foundation & Annapolis Drum & Bugle Corps.


African dancers dance at a festival in unison
Karnival Bounce Dancers.
Image courtesy of Christian Smooth


This year's festival includes something for everyone, including an amazing Kid's Tent with activities and fun for your little ones. To learn more and plan your stay, visit the festival website here.

Discover More African American Experiences in Anne Arundel County

Black History 365

Black History and the stories of the people of the African Diaspora are celebrated year-round through a collaborative initiative across state-wide organizations spearheaded by the Banneker-Douglass Museum.