Association of Ebonites celebrate Black History Month in style

On Feb.22 Association of Ebonites (AOE) Gospel Celebration came together to celebrate, sing-along and reflect on the history of African-American culture and Black History Month.

The Association of Ebonites wanted to “showcase the Ebonite Gospel choir and introduce the campus to a traditional style of gospel choir performances with a more modern twist. We wanted to celebrate black history month through songs and Negro spirituals,” said Crystal Booker, senior and host of the event.

The AOE marched in with their rugged clothes and straw hats. “The clothing they wore represented the different eras that took place in the Black culture during this particular time,” said Booker.

They were portraying how African-Americans were treated as minorities and the tough times that they faced such as being bound to poverty.

As the choir marched out of the ballroom, they changed their clothing to perform a third song, only this time their demeanor was a lot more exciting, as they portrayed the “church choir scene”.

There entire wardrobe had changed, and was much more up to date. It expressed that they were no longer bound.

The ladies wore hats that were all kinds of colors like vibrant red, purples and yellows. The guys were dressed in suits and ties as they re-entered in to perform. This seemed to how African-Americans have arrived and are no longer bound to segregation or the lack of opportunities that exist.

“Initially they were portraying slavery times and then they progressed to the 1960’s with the hats.” said Booker.

AOE was the first predominately black organization on Winthrop’s Campus which was founded in 1968. AOE has 7 committees: C.O.R.E. Programs/Projects, Community Service, Dance in Motion, Ebonite Gospel Choir, Historians, Boys II Men and Vision of Zion.

There are so many different entities to AOE and their work-ethic speaks volumes. Clearly everyone who went to last week’s event felt the spirit of God and Christ through their testimony through song.

Among family and friends, other guest who were also at the event were Women of Virtue Praise Dancers,  J da Realest- a gospel rapper, Vision of Praise and lastly a recent graduate and beauty pageant contestant Deja Frederick.

J da Realest performed a few of his raps and expressed his love for God. Women of Virtue did an eloquent praise dance, and expressed their love for God through dance and hand and arm gestures.

Frederick spoke to the guests about “setting yourself apart and setting goals and standards for your selves individually to reach your personal goals and achievements.” said Frederick.

“She often referred back to African-Americans who have paved the way for all of us, like Oprah Winfrey,” said Booker.

AOE will be having a Spring Gospel Concert before the semester is over. For those interested in the concert or looking to be a part of the AOE choir or other committee please contact them at

Special To The Johnsonian

"Special to the Johnsonian" is usually reserved for freelance writers around Winthrop's campus.

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