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Friday, April 18, 2014

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What's Happening At The Gantt

The Classic International Black Cinema Series - Willie Dynamite

June 8 - (1974) Willie Dynamite is miles above the average "blaxploitation" films made in the 1970's by it's not glorifying the title character in any way but showing him as a ruthless as well as tragic and misguided person. Diana Sands ste...

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I SEE YOU: The Politics of Being

January 26, 2014 - June 1, 2014 - This exhibition presents the work of six contemporary artists who expand the constructs of female identity in the 21st century. Surveying the range of ideas and illusions of the feminine mystique, this exhibition explores how women of the African Di...

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Event Details

  • Celebrations

Kwanzaa 2012: Celebrating Ujamaa/Cooperative Economics
December 29, 2012, 9:30 AM - 5:00 PM

Costs: $5 per person

Spend the day at Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture in the spirit of Ujamaa/cooperative economics: to build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together. Admission is only $5.00 for all ages and includes a host of activities listed below. Tickets may be purchased in the Museum Gift Shop starting at 9:30 am. Self-guided tours of the America I AM: The African American Imprint Exhibition begin at 10:00 am with audio wands featuring commentary from Tavis Smiley and Cornel West available for rental.

Learn about the origin of the holiday as well as the seven principles of Kwanzaa by participating in candle lighting & libation ceremonies. You’ll also create Kwanzaa-themed arts and crafts. We’ll round out this multi-generational family day with an African dance performance, a genealogy workshop and the film The Black Candle narrated by Maya Angelou.

While Kwanzaa celebrates African and African-American culture, other people can and do enjoy the holiday, just as people of other cultures participate in Cinco de Mayo and Chinese New Year.

Schedule of Events

  Time Event   Location
10:00 am - 11:00 pm Opening Ceremony
Includes welcome message, song performances, Harambee dance, libation statement, lighting of the Kinara, explanation principles and symbols of Kwanzaa and farewell statement
  Performance Suite
10:30 am - 11:30 am Screening: The Black Candle
The Black Candle is a documentary film that uses Kwanzaa as a vehicle to explore and celebrate the African-American experience. Narrated by world renowned poet Maya Angelou and directed by award-winning author and filmmaker MK Asante, The Black Candle is an extraordinary, inspirational story about the struggle and triumph of family, community, and culture. Filmed across the United States, Africa, Europe and the Caribbean, The Black Candle is a timely illumination on why the seven principles of Kwanzaa (unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith) are relevant today.The Black Candle is more than a film about a holiday: it's a celebration of a people!  
  Rooftop Pavilion
11:45 am - 1:45 pm We Dig Roots
A beginning Genealogy class provided by the African-American Genealogy Interest Group. This two-hour session will cover creating a pedigree chart/family tree; researching documents including using the internet and the U.S. Census; tackling slavery; finding your "other folks" as well as organizing and preserving your work.

Registration Required: Space for this class is limited to 30 participants. To attend this class, registration is required by 12/27. Click here to RSVP for this class.
  Rooftop Pavilion
2:30 pm - 4:30 pm Kwanzaa Crafting Bazaar
Join us at different stations to create a variety of festive crafts.

Registration Required: Space for this class is limited to 30 participants. To attend this class, registration is required by 12/27. Click here to RSVP for this class.
  Rooftop Pavilion
4:30 pm - 5:00 pm Celebration of Kuumba Through Movement and Rhythm
Oneaka Dance Company featuring Freddie Rivera will be sharing the spirit of movement with the community! Participants will learn the movements of Gahu - Kpalango to close our celebration.
  Performance Suite

About Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa is an African American and Pan-African holiday which celebrates family, community, and culture. Celebrated annually from December 26th thru January 1st, Kwanzaa is the world's fastest growing holiday with over 20 million celebrants worldwide. Kwanzaa seeks to enforce a connectedness to African cultural identity, provide a focal point for the gathering of African peoples, and to reflect upon the Nguzo Saba, or the seven principles. People of all religious faiths and backgrounds practice Kwanzaa. As Maya Angelou explains in The Black Candle, "It is a time when we gather in the spirit of family and community, to celebrate life, love, unity, and hope."

The first Kwanzaa celebration was held on Dec. 26 1966 in Los Angles California. Established by Dr. Maulana Karenga in the midst of the Black Freedom Movement, it was conceived and established to reaffirm and restore our rootedness in African culture and serve as a regular communal celebration to reaffirm and reinforce the bonds between us as a people. Kwanzaa began here in the United States, but its roots reach back to African harvest festivities called First Fruits Celebrations. The word Kwanzaa comes from the phrase matunda ya kwanza which means first fruits in the Pan-African language Swahili. First Fruits Celebrations date as far back as ancient Egypt and Nubia.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Kwanzaa a religious holiday?

No. Kwanzaa is a cultural holiday, celebrated by people of all faiths, based on African harvest festivals; the word Kwanzaa is based on the Swahili phrase matunda ya kwanza ("first fruits"). It's most popular among African Americans but has also been embraced by other people of the African diaspora as a way to celebrate pan-African history and encourage pride in the black community.

Is Kwanzaa an alternative to Christmas?

Kwanzaa and other December holidays, including Christmas, are not mutually exclusive. Kwanzaa's official edicts say it was specifically created as a cultural and not a religious observation, although the holiday's official Website states that "one can accept and revere the religious message and meaning [of Christmas] but reject its European cultural accretions of Santa Claus, reindeer, mistletoe, frantic shopping, alienated gift-giving, etc." Most early practitioners of Kwanzaa did not celebrate Christmas, but the division between the two holidays has faded in recent decades.

Expensive gift-giving is not a tenet of the holiday. Although the seventh symbol of Kwanzaa is "gifts," exchanges mostly happen between immediate family members and often include handmade gifts or books that celebrate African culture. According to The Complete Kwanzaa, the purpose of this modest gift-giving is "to avoid the chaos of shopping and conspicuous consumption during the December holiday season."

Can people who are not of African descent celebrate Kwanzaa?

Yes. While Kwanzaa is a holiday that celebrates African and African-American culture, other people can and do celebrate it just like people of other cultures participate in and enjoy Cinco de Mayo besides Mexicans; Chinese New Year besides Chinese and Native American Pow Wows besides Native-Americans.

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