A friend of mine just shot me an email telling me to tune into KPFK 90.7 fm radio out of Los Angeles to chill out to some very soothing music and he was right. Thanks to his thinking of me I found yet another cool holiday event that seems worth all your attention. The 5th Annual Kwanzaa Heritage Parade and Festival kicks off December 30, 2006 from 10am-7pm in Leimert Park Village. For those who aren’t quite hip to the African American holiday which takes place every year from December 26th to January 1st, it was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga and is derived from the Swahili word KWANZA, meaning first fruit. Though the roots of the holiday are African an extra ‘A’ was added by Dr. Maulana Karenga to distinguish differences between African and Afro-Americans.
Having never gone to a Kwanzaa parade or any event for that matter in my past it sounds like a great cultural learning experience if all else. They break down the meaning behind each day. The first is Umoja or Unity where individuals strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race. Find out what the other six days represent and make plans to attend if you’re around So. Cal.
As you may have noticed by now most of my travel over the last few weeks has been throughout the Mid-West and in the Mid-West you tend to find nothing, but museums built around the history of the Mid-West. Makes good sense right? Well after so many stops at these places the history all starts to sound the same and another buffalo or Indian tale begins to become a little on the played out side. For this reason I decided to skip any state focused museum and check out a more specific one. That is how I found myself at the Idaho Black History Museum.
The museum which used to be an old church is nothing huge, but the little information found tucked inside the four walls goes a long way. Their current exhibit, the Invisible Idahoan 1805-Present shows how few Blacks there are in Idaho and highlights the major achievements made by many of them. One of the things that stood out in my mind is a map showing all the active hate groups across the U.S. as of 2004. What I saw was not only shocking, but incredibly sad. It was the first time I had seen a map with such information. On my way out I was told by the curator that I must return next year as some very exciting things are planned. There will be a big Black History month celebration in February, an evening with the Regina Carter Quintet and the 49th Annual Ebony Fashion Fair will all be happening next year.
So far Idaho has not popped up on my 2007 radar, but just in case it should come up on yours you may want to look at their event calendar now.
The Idaho Black History Museum is located at 508 Julia Davis Dr. (Julia Davis Park), Boise, ID 83702. Ph. 208.433.0017