Black History Month Celebration 2023

Join the Cornelius Parks & Recreation Department, Smithville CommUNITY Coalition, and Cain Center for the Arts as we celebrate Black History Month.  

  • Saturday, February 25
  • 12-2 p.m.
  • Cain Center for the Arts (21348 Catawba Ave)
  • This is a free community event!

View the photo album from our 2022 celebration.

Black History Month Logo
Black History (7)
 This year's program will feature:
  • Keynote speakers Ron Potts, Sammie Knox, Raquel Ramseur, and Lisa Mayhew-Jones of the Smithville CommUNITY Coalition, who will take us through the history of the Smithville Community, as it celebrates 50 years since being annexed
  • Art exhibit by John R. Miles III
  • Poetry readings
  • Musical performances by Union Bethel AME Zion Church and Torrence Chapel AME Zion Church
  • Children's activities
  • Post-event light refreshments

Special Art Exhibit: John R. Miles III

John R. Miles III is a collage/mixed-media artist, born March 2, 1975 to John R Miles Jr. and Arie G. Miles. John, better known as Trey, attended Western Carolina University, located just a few hundred miles west of his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. While attending Western Carolina, Trey began to gain a deeper love and understanding for the arts, graduating with a BFA in art, concentrating in graphic design.

After graduating, he accepted a job with the Mecklenburg County School System as a high school art teacher. Trey's earlier pieces focused on the aesthetic relationships between shape, form, and color, and his current works are heavily influenced by the political struggles set forth by society towards blacks both past and present.

Trey's artwork will be available for viewing, starting February 6, as follows:

  •  Cornelius Town Hall during regular business hours (Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.)
  • Cain Center for the Arts during their public viewing hours (Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.)

Visit to learn more!

Guest Artist, John R. Miles III

John Miles III Photo 1
SCC Logo

Founded in 1910, Smithville is one of the oldest African American communities in Mecklenburg County, with roots dating back to the 1880s in Cornelius. Smithville Community Inc. was originally formed as a nonprofit in 1968 by long-time leaders in the Smithville community before its annexation to Cornelius. The coalition was re-formed as the Smithville CommUnity Coalition in 2012 and became a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 2015. The SCC vision is to revitalize and transform their community into a vibrant, safe and attractive place to live and work that builds pride in its residents and attracts new developments of affordable homes and businesses, focusing on empowering all individuals and strengthening families.