Pensacola, Florida: The Devilliers Cultural Heritage Museum will host Devilliers Night, Friday, May 28, 2010 by featuring the superb Neo-Soul Gospel group ‘KMM’ (Kingdom Minded Minstrels) and Christian Poet, ‘Wizdom’. The Devilliers Cultural Heritage Society will honor one of Belmont Devilliers most noted resident, Alice Johnson, age 93, who has lived in the community since it was a thriving African American community in the early twentieth century. Mother Johnson has experienced firsthand Belmont Devilliers community in its heyday. The redevelopment effort and Devilliers Nights Celebration will allow Mrs. Johnson the opportunity and pleasure of seeing her beloved community come back to life.
She is the first that will be honored by the Society.
Many residents identify her as the mother of the neighborhood. Alice Johnson is the mother of Korean War Hero Private Rosamond Johnson, Jr. Johnson Beach – Gulf Island’s National Seashore bears his name. Mrs. Johnson, watching from her front porch of her Belmont Street home, saw the best of times and the worst of times. She has seen and enjoyed some of America’s greatest entertainers perform at the various clubs in the heart of Belmont Devilliers. She remembers it all and is delighted to be the special guest at the Devilliers Museum, where she was a cook, when the building was the Sugar Bowl, before being transformed into the historic Bunny Club.
Devilliers Nights is a weekly celebration of this historic community’s rebirth and a reunion of all who have cherished memories of its past. The event will be held in this historic neighborhood every Friday starting at 7:00pm through September.
The Devilliers Museum of Performing Arts, formerly known as the Bunny Club, is the only original Chittlin’ Club venue left standing in Devilliers. The museum was created to honor those culturally important entertainment centers. The Bunny Club complex once housed the Bunny Club, the Saber, and the original 506 Club. The 506 Club was located at 506 West Belmont Street, before it relocated across the street and renamed Abe’s 506. All were unique and frequented by some of the best known Black entertainers of the Chittlin’ Circuit heyday. The “Chittlin’ Circuit” was the collective name given to the string of performance venues throughout the eastern and southern United States that were safe and acceptable for African American, musicians, comedians, and other entertainers to perform during the age of racial segregation in the United States. (from at least the late 1800s through the 1960s).
“KMM” will continue to its successful introduction of Neo-Soul Gospel and are scheduled to perform at 8:00 P.M. A member of the band states that, “ The vision of KMM is bigger than what most people can see or will ever begin to understand, because we begin by following in the path that God has laid for us. We are a group that can be received in and outside of God’s house. We are not a church based group, even though we are all church go’ers; striving to live a Christ filled life. We are all striving for success in our personal lives and God has brought us together to be a success for Him.” She further states “Our mission is to reach a different demographic, through a different genre, Neo Soul Gospel. It appeals to a younger, but mature crowd. Our future goals are to travel and perform (minister) and to build a brand that believers and non believers will be able to receive AND ENJOY…” The band is composed of Jessica Owens, Ashley Willoughby, Shermal DeLoach, LaJussica Lewis, Craigh Franklin, Tommy Durant, Rickey Duffy, and Chris Snowden..
Christian Poet Tiffany “Wizdom” Hills will take the stage at 7:00 P.M., with her classic “Ancestors”. Wizdom states “She’s been “touching” eliciting lives with her favorable yet inspiring gift for twelve years.” Her style keeps the audience attentative to her realness with humor, motivation and change.
This is a movement for spiritual and chosen that seek wisdom, poetic and prophetic form. So, come laugh, be motivated, and expect change.
The “Psalms and Proverbs” Presentation will run through the end of June. Seating is limited.
DeVilliers Nights is an opportunity to discover the entertainment venues and restaurants in the Historic Belmont Devilliers area. Five Sisters continues to please with its exceptional menu, delicious dishes and entertainment for your pleasure. Gumbo Gallery will be opened until 9:00 P.M. showcasing its multicultural art pieces.
The Elk’s will have its Happy Hour Special and the Belmont Art Center will present Pottery Guild and “Boutique at the Belmont”.
The DeViliers Museum is requesting a $5.00 donation for the Psalms and Proverbs presentation. All donations will benefit the DeVilliers Cultural Heritage Society. DeVilliers Nights information updates can be found at www.devilliersmuseum.com. Join our fan club and share stories on the DeVilliers Nights Facebook page.