NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- Kwanzaa celebrations are getting going around the Lowcountry as several groups have plans to bring the community together.
“Kwanzaa is an addition to Christmas. Kwanzaa is what we call celebrating in the community our togetherness, our oneness and making determinations so we can survive in the community. Kwanzaa is not only a celebration it’s an educational experience,” said Louis Smith, the Executive Director of The Community Resource Center.
Smith’s group will be honoring several former students who attended segregated schools in the Lowcountry this week. Attendees from Burke High School, Bonds Wilson High School and Alston High School will be recognized at events from Tuesday through Thursday.
“We had old books, some of the pages were missing. But we did our best. We had all segregated teachers,” said Violet Smith-Saylor, a former Aslton High School attendee. “
Smith-Saylor said that her high school had their own sports team as well as curriculum about African-American history.
“We had the opportunity to stay (at the segregated school) until 1970 and if we wanted to go to Summerville High School we could go. When they went to the integrated school our history wasn’t pronounced.”
The Original Charleston Lowcountry Kwanzaa Planning Committee is also holding events throughout the week.
Monday in North Charleston community leaders taught young children about the seven principles of Kwanzaa.
“Today is Kujichagulia which means self determination,” said Sara Nesbit, who lead the lesson. “Last evening it was Umoja which is unity.”
The lesson also included showing the children what a ceremonial Kwanzaa table looks like with items such as the kinara, which holds the seven candles, and the ears of corn, which represents the number of children in a household.
The other principles of Kwanzaa are Ujamaa which stands for cooperative economics, Nia which stands for purpose, Kuumba or creativity and ends with the principle Imani.
“The last principle is Imani which means faith. The faith in our mankind, the faith in each and every one of us,” said Nesbit.