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Celebrate Black History Month

By Staff | Feb 4, 2010

Black History Month will be celebrated throughout February with a series of events presented by two nonprofit organizations: African Americans on Maui Association and Arts Education for Children Group.

Events will include free presentations, a fashion show, musical performances, the release of a newly published book, an awards ceremony and historical exhibit.

The fifth annual Black History Month Exhibit will be on display at Wailuku Public Library throughout the month of February. The exhibit features African Americans and includes African artifacts, jewelry and masks. Also on display will be the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. exhibit — a ten-foot-long span of photographs of the slain civil rights leader.

The schedule of events will begin on Saturday, Feb. 6, at noon with a video presentation and talk story session about Black Indians by Earl Sundance Shepperd at Borders Books & Music in Kahului.

On Sunday, Feb. 7, a fashion show featuring African garb provided by Lucien Kouassi will be presented by Nubian Pageant Systems with George and Terry Rainey of Honolulu. The fashion show will take place from noon to 2 p.m. at Borders.

Black History Month events will continue on Saturday, Feb. 13, from 1 to 2 p.m. at Barnes & Noble in Lahaina with music and presentations by Sodengi, Ayin Adams and Drums of Passion.

An informational session about Black scientists and inventors with Yoellah Yuhudah will take place on Sunday, Feb. 14, at Borders Books & Music in Kahului beginning at noon.

A new book, “African Americans in Hawai‘i: A Search for Identity,” compiled and edited by Ayin M. Adams, Ph.D., will be released at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center from 4:30 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 20. Adams is a performance artist, inspirational teacher, spiritual healer and author. She has written more than five volumes of poetry books, including the acclaimed, “The Woods Deep Inside Me.”

The essays and interviews in Adams’ new book document the challenges and contributions of African Americans in Hawaii.

“The reader of this book will be left with fresh images and respect for Blacks in Hawaii after learning of their 19th century migrations, leadership roles and contributions to the whaling industry, medicine, business, education, science, civil service, the arts, social work, the military and politics,” said Adams.

As part of the evening, a ceremony honoring members of Hawaii’s African American community will follow the book launch. John “Stan” Rippy will be presented with the Community Achievement Service Award, and Dr. Kathryn Waddell Takara will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Rippy, the owner of Rippy’s Construction Company, has been making improvements in Wailuku Town for more than 20 years and shares his positive attitude regarding personal growth every day.

Takara taught at the University of Hawaii at Manoa for more than 31 years in the Ethnic Studies Department, where she created and developed courses in African American politics, history and culture. The two-time Fulbright Scholar is the daughter of one of the oldest living Buffalo Soldiers, Dr. William Waddell (1908-2007).

Also scheduled to speak at the book release event are former Maui County officials Alan Arakawa and Lynn Araki-Regan. Kahu Alalani Hill will assist with the blessings.

Black History Month events will continue on Sunday, Feb. 21, at Borders Books & Music in Kahului. Adams will read from her new book and sign copies for purchasers. Gloria Purter of the African Heritage Culture Center of Kauai will be one of the speakers.

The public is invited to attend a free dinner dance on Friday, Feb. 26, from 5 to 9 p.m. at Kahului Community Center. Organizers ask attendees to bring a sample of their own cultural ethnic dish or drink. For more information, e-mail yo77art@yahoo.com.

The month-long celebration will end at Borders Books & Music in Kahului on Sunday, Feb. 28, with a poetry reading by Adams and African drumming and dancing by Drums of Passion starting at noon.

For more information, call 283-3578 or visit www.aecg.org.