Kwanzaa 2019 VBH Recap

The original Mosaic Templars building which is located on West 9th Street, experienced a fire in 2005. The cornerstone sustained. Historical documents regarding the organization’s founding were placed in the cornerstone in 1913. (see the rectangular shaped cut out on the top of cornerstone? That is where the historical records were stored).⁣

Written by: Sophia V. Nelson

From December 26, 2019 – January 1, 2020 original images and video collected over the past two years, I recognized the seven principles of Kwanzaa (Nguzo Saba) on our instagram page. 

Umoja = Unity ”To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.⁣

Black fraternal organizations were formed in the 19th century, to provide mutual aid to African American families. Pictured are artifacts displayed at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center in Little Rock, Arkansas. The Mosaic Templars of America was founded in 1883. The organization grew to include ”a building and loan association, a publishing company, a business college, a nursing school, and a hospital.” ⁣

Mosaic Templars was founded in Little Rock, Arkansas but grew to be an international organization, with chapters throughout the U.S. and Barbados.⁣ ⁣

Replicas of documents found in the cornerstone. One of which is letterhead for the Windham Brothers Construction Company. Windham was a black-owned construction company that built the original Mosaic Templars of America Building.⁣
bronze B.B. King statue located inside the Memphis Tennessee Visitors Center. ⁣

Kujichagulia = Self-determination = To define and name ourselves, as well as to create and speak for ourselves.⁣

I find answers to life’s pressing questions in history books, documentaries, and museums. I view them as case studies. Through the lens of biographical works on self-determined greats like Zora Neale Hurston, Sammy Davis Jr, and Shirley Chisholm, I was able to see that the pursuit of one’s life purpose is not easy. But it is worth it. ⁣

Pictured is ”The King of Blues” B.B. King. King got his first guitar when he was 12 years old which led to him becoming a self taught guitarist. He performed at area churches and various radio stations in Greenwood, Mississippi – Memphis, Tennessee – and West Memphis, Arkansas. He grew a dedicated audience from there. It is reported that King played 342 shows in 1956.⁣

Lucille/B.B. King artwork located outside Beale Street’s B.B. King’s Blues Club.⁣
ATM Machine located outside Beale Street ‘s B.B Kings Blues Club.⁣ ⁣

Ujima = collective work and responsibility.⁣

A girl from North Carolina would make her way up 95-north headed back to DC’s Howard University. She would pass through a city that she would later make her home. That city is Richmond, Virginia. Ms. Janine Bell has since committed to a life of work intended to help broaden the public’s understanding of Richmond, VA’s African and African American history. ⁣

Saturday December 28 Elegba Folklore Society hosted its annual Capital City Kwanzaa Festival at Richmond, VA’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School 1 – 8 PM. According to EFS Inc website, they have hosted the Capital City Kwanzaa Festival since 1990. Check @efsinc Instagram page for additional information.

Ms. Janine Bell gave an interview in September of this year. In this clip, Ms. Bell shares a story about Capital City Kwanzaa Festival’s cultural impact. (clip from interview titled, ”Elegba Folklore Society: A Legacy of Community Building” by Ali’a B. Edwards)⁣

Historic Black Districts pillow designed by Don’t Sleep Interiors Brand. Photographed at Madame CJ Walker Museum in Atlanta.

Ujamaa = Cooperative economics – Working to build shops and businesses. ⁣⁣

4th Avenue Historic District signage. Located in Birmingham, AL. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982, the district is recognized, ”as a center for Black-owned businesses which served Black customers.”⁣⁣
side view of the Colored Masonic Temple.⁣⁣
Mr. & Mrs. Al & Peggy Logan. Husband wife duo that established Historic 4th Avenue Shirts after retirement. If you’re in the area stop in to talk with them about Birmingham’s social history, get a flavored shaved ice, browse, and buy from their selection of retail items.


additional photos and Kwanzaa principles can be seen by visiting


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