Town Of Colony A Celebration of Life 2018

by | Feb 4, 2018 | Community, Images, People, Videos

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Town Of Colony A Celebration of Life 2018

Around 3 pm today, approximately 80 visiting spiritual dignitaries from around the nation and esteemed residents of The Colony in southwestern Cullman County gathered at the town’s Educational Complex.

The occasion was the annual town celebration coinciding with national Black History Month.

Carter G. Woodson established Negro History week in 1926.

According to the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Woodson realized the importance of providing a theme to focus the attention of the public. 

The 2018 national theme is ‘African Americans in Times of War‘.

As a military veteran, Colony Mayor Donnis Leeth is embracing the larger national theme while spotlighting his community from its origins to present day:

“This Celebration tell folks how Colony was established, how blacks in this community survived before modern conveniences. Out history is our present. We covering from the beginning to present day this afternoon.”

The local theme for the 2018 edition of this event was entitled: ‘Colony: A Celebration of Life

The west wall of the main public area of the Colony Educational Complex had many artifacts and memories displayed.

Prominently featured were historic Colony families, beloved civic leaders and citizen dignitaries from the past.  

The program for the 2018 Celebration of The Colony included outstanding musical performances. Three examples led by Linda Bradford & Brenda Johnson are:

When The Saints Go Marching In
This is a Negro Spiritual originating as a Christian hymn. It is most often associated with New Orleans jazz scene.

Wade In The Water
Likely sung by black Cullman slaves as they immersed themselves in Black Warrior River near Colony to clear their scent. This was done to avoid human hunting dogs that were dispatched by white slave owners to retrieve their wayward ‘property’.

Down To The River To Pray
The earliest known version of this song is titled “The Good Old Way” which was published in Slave Songs of the United States in 1867.

Former Mayor of Colony Earlene Johnson acted as the cohesive glue for the entire program. She recounted a genuinely fascinating and complete oral history of the Town of Colony between the many musical guests and various orators.

Here are a few highlights from the Mayor’s presentation:

The ‘visiting spiritual dignitaries’ we mentioned at the opening of this report were Benedictine nun leaders from 45 of the nation’s top 52 Benedictine nun houses. 

It was both astonishing and heartwarming watching, the 1,500-year old Benedictine tradition meet the almost 200-year old lineage of the descendants of Colony’s founders. 

Mayor Pro Team Curtis Johnson presented the Invocation. Scripture was read by Ethel Alexander. Jamelle Dimbo acted as the welcoming committee of one.

Other musical guests included Gwen Purifoy, Catherine Minnit, Carma Clopton, Darrius Hall, Diamon Miller, and Derrick Blankenship.

The Honorable Mayor of Colony – Donnis Leeth – provided these closing remarks along with Sister Margaret and Pastor Minnit:

Then, everyone was dismissed to partake in a bacchus feast of traditional foods and ‘soul’ food refreshments.

Colony Educational Complex

Town Of Colony A Celebration of Life 2018

Timothy Collins

Timothy brings an insightful holistic perspective as well as a mountain man tenacity to his various roles at Cullman Today. You can reach him at

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