medical right, thumb and Tomiko Davis dance during a Kwanzaa celebration at the African-American Art and History Center Tuesday night.” src=”http://www.blackeconomicdevelopment.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/kwanzaacelebration_Holland374269.jpg” alt=”” width=”374″ height=”269″ />By MEGAN SCHMIDT The Holland Sentinel
Holland — Harriett Tubman. Coretta Scott King. Rosa Parks.
Gatherers took a moment to honor each of these memorable figures in African-American history on Tuesday at a Kwanzaa celebration in Holland.
But as the libation ceremony drew to a close, look Denise Kingdom Grier also remembered friends and family.
“For all the mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers whose blood has spilled but whose stories have never been told,” the Holland pastor said.
The libation ceremony — which includes pouring a drink for ancestors from a unity cup — was one of several Kwanzaa traditions the Center of African-American Art and History explored Tuesday night.
Kwanzaa is an African-American and pan-African holiday that speaks to what it means to be not only African, but human, said Maulana Karenga, the Africana studies professor who founded Kwanzaa in 1966. Tuesday was the second day of the weeklong Kwanzaa holiday, which ends Sunday.
The Center of African-American Art and History celebrated with food, music and dance. It was the first time the museum opened its doors to the public — although most of the exhibits are under wraps until the Jan. 16 grand opening.
Museum director Ruth Coleman said she was thrilled to have an audience gather in the building — especially for an event such as Kwanzaa.
As a girl growing up in Holland, Coleman loved Dutch-inspired events such as Tulip Time, but longed to learn more about her own ancestors, too.
“To see African dancers in Holland — I love it,” Coleman said, following a lively, improvised performance by two women dressed in traditional African costumes.
Coleman was pleased to see several families — of different races — brought their children to the Kwanzaa event.
“We want kids to learn (about diversity) as they’re growing up,” she said. “They don’t have to wait until they’re grown up to learn about African American culture.”