DIAMOND — There will be a big lineup of things to do, music to hear, films to watch and speakers who will entertain and inform, at the annual Carver Day celebration on Saturday, July 14.

DIAMOND — There will be a big lineup of things to do, music to hear, films to watch and speakers who will entertain and inform, at the annual Carver Day celebration on Saturday, July 14.
At one of the most popular and well-attended events of the year, the Carver staff pulls out all the stops to make it a full day. Carver Day celebrates the life and work of George Washington Carver. It also marks the establishment, on July 14, 1943, of a national monument which showcases the first African American to be so honored by the National Park Service.
The event runs from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. and all events are free to the public.
For many, the highlight of the day will be the return of Paxton Williams, a former director of the Carver Birthplace Association. Williams will hold two performances of his one-person play, "Listening to the Still Small Voice: The Story of George Washington Carver."
Williams has performed this play more than 300 times in the United States and abroad. He wrote and first performed the play when he was a student at Iowa State University. His two performances on Saturday will be at 11 a.m. and at 1:30 p.m.
A special guest speaker this year will be Dr. Gary R. Kremer, Executive Director of the State Historical Society of Missouri. He is also a scholar of African American history and has written several books on the subject, including "George Washington Carver: In His Own Words."
Dr. Kramer will speak at noon.
Another favorite activity at Carver Day is music. George Washington Carver loved music and he loved gospel music and songs that originated from the African American community.
Performing this year will be blues singer, Bruce "Sunpie" Barnes and the Louisiana Sunspots. Barnes, a talented football player who played for the Kansas City Chiefs, joined the National Park Service after football. He and his band have been featured on television, in movies and has opened for such stars as Paul Simon and Sting. The Sunspots performance will be at 1:30 p.m.
Another musician will be Rev. John Wilkins who will perform at noon. Wilkins has toured the world, performing the works of his father as well as gospel classics. He has played with the New Orleans Jazz Festival and King Biscuit. He records on the Fat Possum label.
The highly popular marimba band, Kufara, will perform at 11:15 a.m., doing traditional music from South Africa, Zimbabwe and the Americas. Their music includes traditional marimba music as well as songs made popular by Harry Belafonte and Paul Simon.
Other music will be provided by Arlecia Elkimil from Pittsburg, Kan. who will perform at 10:30 a.m. and the Neosho Second Baptist Church Choir which will take the stage at 10 a.m.
Carver Day is co-sponsored by the Carver Birthplace Association, the National Park Foundation's African American Experience Fund and the Joplin Convention & Visitors Bureau.
All activities are free. The Diamond Lions Club will be selling hamburgers and hot dogs on the grounds.