Location: Redding’s – KY and the Curb, Atlantic City
On the first day of Kwanzaa my true love gave to me…. Umoja… which stands for Unity.
My friend Jose Rivera Sinclair and I jumped at the opportunity to attend Tuesday night’s Kwanzaa Celebration (Dec. 27) at Redding’s Restaurant sponsored by the Atlantic City Arts Commission.
We had never been to a Kwanzaa celebration, and really didn’t know what it entailed. In fact, my greatest understanding of Kwanzaa came from an article fellow acweekly.com columnist Turiya S.A. Raheem had written last week.
Kwanzaa is often mistaken for many things it’s not. Kwanzaa is not a replacement for Christmas; it is not a religious holiday.
Kwanzaa is an African-American holiday bringing together many principles inherent to our purpse, specifically as it relates to community.
The seven principles of Kwanzaa, bring us back to the village. The same village from which we all evolved — whether my German and Irish ancestors in their villages, Jose’s Honduran family in their villages, or people in the villages of Tibet, they bring forth our core, our essence, our spirit.
M. K. Thomas, chairman of the Arts Commission opened the festivities, and presented a series of skits showcasing each of the seven principles.
1st – Umoja – Unity – to strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
2nd – Kujichagulia – Self Determination – to define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.
3rd –Ujima – Collective Work and Responsibility – to build and maintain our community together and make our brother’s and sister’s problem’s our problems.
4th – Ujamaa – Cooperative Economics – to build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together.
5th – Nia – Purpose – to make our vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
6th – Kuumba – Creativitiy – to do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to eave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
7th – Imani – Faith – to believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.
Let’s focus on a story that was presented exhibiting Ujamaa – Cooperative Economics - in Atlantic City’s past, and how Ujamaa must work again in Atlantic City’s future.
Miss Audrey Hart, treasurer of the Arts Commission, and founder and president of the Atlantic City Business and Community Association presented this portion.
Miss Audrey is known to everyone in Atlantic City. As a young white woman from England, she emigrated to the United States in the early '60s to be nanny for the Malamut family, long-standing hoteliers in Atlantic City.
Her first city of residence was Margate, where she cared for children who are now adults and remember her fondly. She married a black man, and moved to the Northside of Atlantic City, which is how it was done in the 1960s.
There was a reason why I dedicated my book, Growing Up in the Other Atlantic City: Wash’s and the Northside, to all the families in Atlantic City, in addition to my own grandparents and children — I knew they had similar stories to tell.
Today, most funding comes from city grants, local businesses and casino donations.
Judge Nelson Johnson's latest book 'The Northside,' on Atlantic City's history of African-Americans, is missing key components says community leader. Johnson's previous book Boardwalk Empire was turned into the 2010 HBO series, the second season of which is filming now.
His white hair tufted beyond tolerance, the minister stepped into the barbershop and its buzz of bonhomie. Combs raked scalps, scissors snipped furiously, and the scent of lilac water suffused the air. Twenty minutes later, the clergyman stood from the pedestal-chair and surveyed his reshaped dome. The dark skin of his forehead glistened below the white fringe. He paid the barber and paused on the black rubber mat. “Am I good for another dime?” The barber grinned. “You bet.” And so he did — 10 cents on number 357, a wager to be rewarded only if the digits corresponded, respectively, to the last number on each of the day’s win-place-show handles at Aqueduct Racetrack, some 90 miles to the north. The “numbers,” or “policy,” game was a lottery before lotteries were legal. Nearly everyone in town played it even...
Current redevelopment talks about Atlantic City are centered on the overall aspects of the city being improved. This is a noteworthy objective and those who are involved are deserving of our cooperation. As has been noted, Mayor Lorenzo Langford and developers David Cordish and George Lynn have put together committees of business and community leaders, elected and appointed officials, casino executives and others with a background to lead the way in coming up with a program that will effectively make Atlantic City what it should be. However, there is a dire need to improve the neighborhoods of the city itself. This is where the residents live and work. It must be noted that there are pockets of problems in all six of the city’s wards. They need to be addressed. There are residents living in areas where gangs hang out, drugs are openly being sold, prostitutes selling their bodies, houses boarded up that become residences for the homeless, unsightly...
Let’s set the record straight: Kwanzaa is truly African-American. It is NOT a religious holiday.
With the new TV series based on early Atlantic City, Boardwalk Empire, coming this fall to HBO, I was glad when I received Turiya Raheem’s book Growing Up In the Other Atlantic City: Wash’s and the Northside. Finally there is a book that researches and documents the sights and sounds of A.C. from the African-American/Kentucky Avenue perspective. In other books and TV specials, places like Chicken Bone Beach, Club Harlem and the Wonder Gardens are footnotes to stories about places like the 500 Club and/or the Steele Pier. In Raheem’s book these places are more than just background. The long-gone...
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