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Black History Month

Join in the cultural celebration.

February 4, 2010
Trisha Smith

The African Americans on Maui Association and Arts Education for Children Group events will include free presentations, a fashion show, music showcases, a book release, art exhibits and much more.

The fifth annual Black History Month exhibit will be on display at the Wailuku Public Library throughout February, featuring artifacts, jewelry and masks of African descent. The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. display will feature a large exhibition of photographs of the civil rights leader.

Begin your cultural journey on Saturday, Feb. 6, at noon with a video presentation and talk story session about Black Indians by Earl Sundance Sheppard at Borders Books & Music in Kahului.

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Join Ayin M. Adams, Ph.D., at various events across the isle during Black History Month as she celebrates the release of African Americans in Hawai‘i: A Search for Identity. The essays and interviews in Adams’ new book detail the difficulties and challenges and the contributions of African Americans in the Aloha State.

The following day, discover the chic diva within you at a fashion show from noon to 2 p.m. at Borders, featuring African garb provided by Lucie Kouassi and presented by Nubian Pageant Systems with George and Terry Rainey of Honolulu.

On Saturday, Feb. 13, from 1 to 2 p.m. at Barnes & Noble in Lahaina, enjoy music and presentations by Sodengi, Dr. Ayin M. Adams and Drums of Passion. An informational session regarding black scientists and inventors conducted by Yoellah Yuhudah will take place on Sunday, Feb. 14, at Borders in the Maui Marketplace beginning at noon.

Adams will hold a book release for African Americans in Hawai‘i: A Search for Identity from 4:30 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 20, at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center.

“The reader of this book will be left with fresh images and respect for blacks in Hawai‘i 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, who will also hold a book reading and signing session at Borders on Sunday, Feb. 21.

A performance artist, inspirational teacher and spiritual healer, Adams has been published in numerous magazines, e-zines, and online publications. She is the author of more than five volumes of poetry books, including the critically acclaimed The Woods Deep Inside Me. Adams was chosen as “Teacher of the Year 2008” by the International Peace Poem Awards Committee and is the recipient of many other honors for literary excellence.

To round out Saturday evening’s festivities, a ceremony honoring members of Hawai‘i’s African American community will follow the book launch. Maui business owner John “Stan” Rippy will be presented with the Community Achievement Service Award and educator Dr. Kathryn Waddell Takara will accept the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Rippy, owner of Rippy’s Construction, is applauded for his continual efforts to make improvements to Wailuku Town over the last 20 years, and for sharing “his positive attitude regarding personal growth.”

A woman of many titles and accomplishments, Dr. Takara is considered a community hero. She has taught within the Ethnic Studies Department of the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa for over three decades and created several courses in African American studies. She is also the daughter of an actual Buffalo Soldier—a term synonymous with African American military regiments.

Attend a free dinner-dance on Friday, Feb. 26, from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Kahului Community Center. Attendees are encouraged to bring samples of thier own cultural and ethnic dishes and drinks. For more information, email

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



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