Kwanzaa Celebration is Tuesday in East St. Louis

December 11, 2013 

The Eugene B. Redmond Writers Club will present its 27th annual Kwanzaa Celebration on Tuesday with a candle lighting ceremony, music, dancing and a gift bazaar.

The family-friendly celebration is at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Room 2083 of Building B of the East St. Louis Higher Education Campus, 601 J.R. Thompson Drive.

Kwanzaa is an African-American and Pan-African holiday that honors family, community and culture. Its origins lie in the first-harvest celebrations of Africa, from which it takes its name. Tuesday's celebration will be a multi-arts "souljourn" from Umoja (Unity) to Imani (Faith).

The Kwansaba Candle-lighting Ritual will be performed by the Soular Systems Ensemble, including Susan "Spit-Fire" Lively-Eames, Darlene Roy, Roscoe Crenshaw and others, under the leadership of Eugene Redmond, SIUE professor emeritus of English Language and Literature, poet laureat of East St. Lois and co-founder of the writer's club.

Sylvester "Sunshine" Lee's drum troupe and dances by members of his Community Performance Ensemble will perform an "invocation."

In addition to "A Suite of Kwansabas for 2013," an open-mike session and a bazaar with books, gifts and fabrics also are on the program.

The kwansaba, invented by the club in 1995, is a poetic form consisting of seven lines of seven words each, with no word containing more than seven letters. Exceptions to the seven-letter rule are proper nouns and foreign words.

For more information, call the SIUE Department of English Language and Literature at 618-650-3991 or write EBR Writers Club, P.O. Box 6165, East St. Louis, IL 62201-6165 or email

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