ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) - The Harrison Museum of African American Culture kicked off Black History Month Sunday with a Gospel Extravaganza.
The Harrison Museum is using its space to allow for these voices and others - the Africans and African Americans who've shaped the America and the Roanoke we know today.
"You got to feel what you're singing, and if you don't feel it, I tell any gospel singer don't sing it," said Milton Hardy of the local gospel group Bishop Hardy and the Sons of Thunder.
The museum board president, Charles Price, said song has been part of black history since slavery and is still important today.
"You can relax and feel that there, your ancestors may be with you or other people may be with you," he said. "But it's very uplifting."
AndSunday the museum opened its doors to the public for free.
'You want folks to know that you're open and trying to provde insight into the history of African Amerians and Africans over history and even to today," Price said.
That's why they invited Bishop Hardy and the Sons of Thunder to perform here.
Hardy began singing as a youngster.
"Following the young ladies to church one day..." he said, chuckling to his shoes.
But he said it's shaped who he is today.
"Gospel music is my life."
Hardy said he hopes to use his voice all year long to help create harmony on stage and in life.
"To show the community, hey we are here with you all, we support one another and whatever means necessary, let's keep singing."
The Harrison Museum will also host a Historically Black College and University fair for local middle and high school students.
It will be at William Fleming High School on Saturday, Feb. 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.