African Burial Ground National Monument – Kwanzaa celebration
African Burial Ground National Monument will host a special day-long workshop on December 30 in honor of Kwanzaa, an African American and Pan-African holiday which celebrates family, community, and culture. Celebrated from December 26 through January 1, its origins are in the first harvest celebrations of Africa from which it takes its name. The name Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits” in Swahili, the most widely spoken African language. The workshop will feature hands-on activities that celebrate the cultural traditions of the African Diaspora.
Uncovering the Story of the African Burial Ground through Archeology is designed to help students learn more about archeology by examining replica artifacts from the African Burial Ground. This workshop is being offered at 11:00 am and 1:00 pm.
A Kuba cloth workshop will be given by Vickie Frémont. She will talk to participants about the art of African cloth and give participants the opportunity to create their own piece of Kuba cloth. This workshop is being offered at 10:00 am and 1:00 pm.
Wilkes University professor Rashidah Ismaili AbuBakr will present a writing workshop that encourages each family or participant to document recollections of family history, places, and things in their lives that have shaped who and what they are. All participants are asked to bring photographs and small important objects such as jewelry or cloth to weave into your story. These stories and memoirs will be written with the hope that participants will continue to tell their families’ stories.
This workshop is being offered at 10:00 am and 1:00 pm.
An African dance and drumming workshop is being conducted by Khadyjah Alleyne, a native New Yorker trained in Senegal and Guinea and the only African American Master Drummer in the group Amazones, an all female drumming company. In this workshop, participants will learn about drumming rhythms and traditional African dance. This workshop will be offered at 2:30 pm.
Evening Performance: Lonnie Youngblood and the Blood Brothers Band
T. Rasul Murray will read excerpts from his poem The Procession which uses the celebration of the return of the ancestral remains from Howard University in 2003 as a lens to view the lives of Africans who lived when the burial ground was in use from the 1690s until 1794. The evening performance is free, however reservations are required. This program begins at 7:00 pm.
Lady Cantrese and Friends will take the audience on a musical journey. This evening’s program will provide a brief glimpse into a rich musical tradition.
For more information, please contact Mindi Rambo at 212/668-2208 or 646/341-2825 or see the 2008 Kwanzaa flyer published by NPS.