“Old Slave Day” in Southern Pines, 1934

I found this fascinating photo in a November 23, 1934 issue of The Pilot, from Southern Pines, N.C. Apparently the inaugural Spring Blossom Festival, held in Southern Pines in April 1934 featured an “Old Slave Day.” The newspaper description reads:

The Festival was featured by Old Slave Day, a day set aside for those of the colored race who lived during slavery days. These old timers came from far and near, spent a day in the Municipal Park telling of their experiences and recollections to the thousands that gathered about to see and hear them. A program of entertainment was provided, in which both white and colored participated, and the day was one long to be remembered throughout this section. Old Slave Day will be repeated this year.

I don’t recall seeing anything like this before. Were “Old Slave Days” common at public events in the early 20th century?

There are now more than 600 issues of The Pilot, ranging in date from 1929 to 1942, available on DigitalNC.org in the North Carolina Newspapers project.