Courtesy of NC State Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity
Anna Carlson | Correspondent
NC State’s African American Cultural Center (AACC) joined the United States Postal Service in dedicating the newest Kwanzaa Forever stamp. The dedication commenced in the Sankofa room of Witherspoon Student Center on October 10.
The dedication kicked off with a greeting from the AACC’s director, Moses T. Alexander Greene. The ceremony reflected the celebratory subject of Kwanzaa by honoring past NC State faculty and alum for laying the foundation of the AACC’s work.
Greene credited the significance of having such a momentous event take place on our campus to the accomplishments of the AACC. “The honor of this first day of issue ceremony being held here belongs to our alum and our current scholars,” Greene said.
Kwanzaa is a seven day holiday observed every year between December 26th and January 1st. Since its creation between 1966 and 1967, Kwanzaa has celebrated family, unity and culture within the African-American community.
Over the years, Kwanzaa has come to mean a lot to those who consider themselves a part of the African-American diaspora, and the AACC strove to reflect this importance through the event.
“It’s been a true pleasure putting this together,” said John Miller IV, the program coordinator of the AACC and NC State alum. “Not only [are we] celebrating the Kwanzaa stamp, but we’re also bringing the spirit of Kwanzaa and what Kwanzaa means to folks of color, to black folks, [and] to the diaspora.”
In addition to the reveal of the stamp and its official dedication by Stephanie Childs, the executive director of Government Relations and Public Policy for the United States Postal Service, the event featured remarks from distinguished guests and performances from renowned artists coming from all over the country.
These speakers included Toni Thorpe, now-retired first program coordinator of the AACC, Kevin Howell, NC State’s vice chancellor for External Affairs, Partnerships, and Economic Development and Dr. Blair LM Kelley, assistant dean of Interdisciplinary Studies and International Programs.
Each person spoke on the various ways this event was important to themselves as individuals, to the community impacted by the AACC and to the general NC State community.
Dr. Kelly is also an associate professor of history and chose to highlight how the ideals of Kwanzaa reflect the efforts of slaves brought to the Americas many decades ago to create unity and community.
“In spite of that intention [to strip the enslaved of their identity],” said Dr. Kelly, “Africans, who became African Americans, could not lose that sense of who they were. They continued to make community. They continued to make families. Even in the awful bellies of those slave ships, they reconnected with one another.
“They started that process of becoming a new people in a new place, drawn from all the cultures from which they had come… Kwanzaa represents one of those rebuildings of community.”
With many schools competing to host this event, faculty at NC State shared their excitement for being chosen by the US Postal Service.
“The unveiling of the Kwanzaa stamp is really something that schools all across the country competed for,” said Dr. Mullen, “so it was an honor for NC State to be chosen as the site for the dedication.”
Dr. Mullen also expressed his hope for the future of the stamps and their impact. “I hope … folks learn more about [Kwanzaa] and go out and buy the stamps,” Mullen said.
The US Postal Services’ newest Kwanzaa Forever Stamp can now be purchased at your local post office and participating retailers.