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Contact: Mindi Rambo, 212-668-2208
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New York, NY—Celebrate Kwanzaa on Dec. 30 with the National Park Service (NPS). Kwanzaa is a weeklong African American holiday observed from Dec. 26 through Jan. 1. The name Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase, “matunda ya kwana,” which means “first fruits” in Swahili.
The holiday was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, a professor of Africana Studies at California State University, Long Beach. The African Burial Ground will be honoring the principle Nia which means purpose.
The celebration will take place at the African Burial Ground National Monument, which is located on the first floor of the Ted Weiss Federal Building at 290 Broadway in Lower Manhattan. All workshops and performances will focus on celebrating family, community and culture. The morning and afternoon festivities are free, however, space is limited and reservations are required.
“Uncovering the Story of the African Burial Ground through Archeology” is a workshop that is designed to help students learn more about archeology by examining replica artifacts from the African Burial Ground. It will be led by NPS Ranger Melissa Magnuson-Cannady. This workshop is being offered at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
A Kuba cloth workshop will be presented by Vickie Frémont. In this workshop Fremont 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 a.m. and 1 p.m.
A writing workshop will be given by Wilkes University professor Rashidah Ismaili AbuBakr. Each family or participant is encouraged to write recollections of family history, places, and things in their lives that have shaped who and what they are today. Bring photographs and small important objects such as jewelry or cloth to weave into your story. These stories/memoirs will be written with the hope that participants will continue to tell their families stories. This workshop is being offered at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.
An African dance and drumming workshop will be conducted by Khadyjah Alleyne. She is a native New Yorker, born in Brooklyn and raised in Queens. At 17, Alleyne started her own dance company, called the Olujimi Dance Company, for children under 18. She has studied dance in Africa and was the only African-American Master Drummer in the group Amazones, an all female drumming company. Participants will learn about drumming rhythms and traditional African dance. This workshop will be offered only once at 2:30 p.m.
An evening performance infused with African music will conclude the Kwanzaa celebration. Music of the African Diaspora has chronicled the experiences of Africans world wide and has influenced others. Africans and African American traditions have helped to create and influence music of the United States.
Lonnie Youngblood and Blood Brothers band as well as Lady Cantrese and Friends will take the audience on a musical journey. While not exhaustive, this program provides a brief glimpse into a rich musical tradition of the African Diaspora. The 7 p.m. performance is free, but reservations are required.
If you would like more information about how to make reservations for the Kwanzaa Celebration please call (212) 637-1995 or visit www.nps.gov/afbg.
About African Burial Ground National Monument
From the 1690s until the 1790s, both free and enslaved Africans were buried within a 6.6 acre burial ground in Lower Manhattan, outside the boundaries of the settlement of New Amsterdam, later known as New York. Lost to history due to landfill and development, the grounds were rediscovered in 1991 as a consequence of the planned construction of the Ted Weiss Federal Office building, located at 290 Broadway. A memorial at the African Burial Ground National Monument, dedicated in October of 2007, honors the memories of the approximately 15,000 Africans buried within the 6.6 acre boundary of the original cemetery. The visitor center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, except for Federal holidays. The memorial, located on the corner of Duane Street and African Burial Ground Way (Elk Street), is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.
How to Get There: The African Burial Ground National Monument is located at 290 Broadway, 1st Floor. The 4, 5, 6,R, W, J, M and Z trains (Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall) are one block from the site, the A train is three blocks away (Chambers Street) and the 1 train is 4 blocks away (Chambers Street) and the 2 and 3 trains are 2 blocks away (Park Place). The A, C and E are 3 blocks away (Chambers/World Trade Center). The M15, M22 and B51 City Hall bus routes all terminate within walking distance, and the M1 and M6 South Ferry route passes nearby. Ask the driver for the stop closest to Broadway and Duane Street.
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