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High school senior and New York City resident Judith Joseph traveled over 100 miles to attend the second annual "African American Celebration" held Saturday at the University Museum, but did not regret the trip. "I think it was excellent," Joseph said at the end of the celebration Saturday. "I haven't seen anything like this in Brooklyn." Joseph, one of 162 prospective University students visiting campus for Minority Scholars Weekend, came to the event with several other University students who heard about the event last week. The group joined hundreds of Philadelphia residents of all ages in a day-long celebration, complete with African music, dancing, food and craft demonstrations scattered throughout the museum's auditoriums and galleries. The event, which is part of the University's continuing Black History Month celebration, also marked the opening of the Museum's renovated African Gallery. Tours of the gallery focused on the symbolic aspects and cultural significance of African artifacts used in both mystic rituals and the chores of everyday life. "I think you got a good picture from beginning to end," said Philadelphia high school student Aaron Witherspoon after touring the refurbished gallery. A capacity crowd filled Harrison Auditorium at the museum for the JASSU Ballet, a series of pieces performed by four female dancers in shimmering robes and colorful dress to the pounding beat of an energetic five-man drum section. Over 100 children accepted an invitation to join the dancers on stage at the end of the program and learn basic techniques of African dance. Children also sat on the floor and atop parents' shoulders during performances to an overflow crowd of the Women's Sekere Ensemble, which performed music from countries including Brazil and Ghana to the accompaniment of the Nigerian sekere, a hand-held percussion instrument. In the University Cafe, the catering staff prepared dishes following recipes from Sierra Leone. In the Roman Sculpture Gallery, those interested could learn "Swahili for Beginners." In the Mosaic Gallery, young and old alike helped create the "Make Your Own Music Band" using hand-crafted African percussion instruments. A group of children from the Anti-Drug and Alcohol Crusade After-School Program played along in one of the bands. Margo Davidson, their chaperone, said the outing was a chance for the children to temporarily escape drug-addicted parents. "I saw this going on and I thought it would be a great opportunity to expand their horizons," Davidson said.

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