Museum celebrates Kwanzaa - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Museum celebrates Kwanzaa

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MONROE, La (KNOE 8 NEWS) - Whether you celebrated Christmas, or Hanukah, or you're just ready for the new year, today marks the third day of another holiday: Kwanzaa.

Former state senator Charles Jones is at the Northeast Louisiana Delta African American Heritage Museum to celebrate Kwanzaa

A relatively new holiday, it started during the American Civil Rights Movement in 1966...

Gwendolyn Dickson said many African Americans can't trace their heritage past this continent.

"We celebrate this holiday so we can learn more about our ancestors and the hard time they went through," Dickson said.  

There are seven days of Kwanzaa. Each day marked by a principal: unity, self-determination, work and responsibility, cooperation, purpose, creativity and faith.

"Unity, we do something together like go to the mall together or eat out. Cooperation, we may cook a meal together," Dickson said.  

Museum Director Loraine Slacks said Kwanzaa not only teaches African American linage, but it also teaches character.

"This is for traits, character traits, the kinds of things we want to be good citizen. The kind of things we were taught when we were younger and we don't want to forget," Slacks said.

Slacks explained some Kwanzaa traditions, like lighting seven candles to represent each day and giving gifts. She said it's a cultural holiday, not a religious one.

Both Dickson and Slacks are strong supporters of cultural education. They say anyone of any race can celebrate Kwanzaa because the more we know about each other, the better we are as a whole.

And while celebrating Kwanzaa, Slacks also unveiled a new art exhibit called Faces of Freedom.

The artist, Ranson Rambo said he has always been fascinated by people who have overcome some sort of oppression, no matter the race. But for this exhibit, he said he chose African Americans that fought for freedom and civil rights.

"We have all been in bondage in one way or another in our life and it's not a good feeling. So I try to paint these heroic people these pioneers in black history," Rambo said.

The exhibit will be on display now through February.

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