Box 19, Folder 6, Document 38

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Key to the struggle for human rights that Afro-americans are en-
gaged in, is the development of internal strength. Throughout the history
of the struggle this need for internal strength has been phrased in many
ways: Identity, Dignity, Pride, Black Consciousness, The question then,
is how is fulfillment of this need structured and programmed ?

The culture of a people -- what defines a people internally, is not
seen and is constantly in flux, Music, art works, recorded history are
all cultural expressions but not culture itself. A positive awareness of
the expressions of culture as clues to the nature of what one is is necesary
to the vitality of any people. Perhaps the most tragic effect of the racism
directed against Afro-americans has been the systematic destruction of
our cultural identity. A concerted effort must be made to search out pro-
grams that can deal with this denial,

ny program which seeks to rectify close to 400 years of cultural
denial must of necessity be long ranged, Using their history, /:fro-
arnericans must define themselves in terms of their aspirations as a

community for the future,

The Idea:

The Afro-american Giltural and Education Center would serve two
specific functions. During the day, it would operate for the benefit of pre~
school children, Through programs in dance, music, reading and recrea-

tion, it would seek to instill at an early age a positive self-awareness.

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Part of this pre-school program would be designed to involve the parents

of these children as much as possible, Community support from financial
to participation, would be solicited and hopefully, this program will be self-
supporting in one year,

In the evening, the center would be run as an /fro-american coffee
house, The evening program would feature folk music and jazz musicians,
poets, movies, lectures, discussions and debates, Coffee, tea, sandwiches
and pastries would be sold and a small admission fee would be charged,

The concept pf the coffe house is to provide entertainment for the communi-
ty while at the same time engaging in a social program with the community.
Whatever funds are pained from this effort, will be turned into the develop-

ment of another such center in a different section of the 21 +» community.


In December of 1965, a small coffee shop was opened up in Atlanta
on Hynter Street called the Lovin' Spoonful," It sought to provide the
ghetto community of Northwest Atlanta with the opportunity to go to a place
where both enjoyment of the Afro-american's contribution in many areas of
art could be appreciated and discussions of various social issues could be
pursued in a relxed and informal atmosphere, The high overhead and the
unwillingness of the managers to be prohibitive in terms of money, made it
impossible to sustain the coffee house, Rent plus the cost of living even
minimally, eventually forced the closing of the ' Lovin' Spoonful."' Since

closing of the Lovin' Spoonful, several persons from the Atlanta community

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have been discussing the reopening of a similar coffee house. One person
has committed himself to the full time operation of it if funds can be found
to guarantee one year's existence without the worry of rent and feed costs,
Several other persons have volunteered part time help if ever the coffee
house is reopened, Lecturers and entertainers can be gotten for the cost of
transportation at most, Location of the center will be on Hunter Street, the
main street of the Northwest /tlanta ghetto,

There is a group of young parents and students who have expressed
interest in the pre-school program. Volunteer help can be gotten from this
group anc at least two full time staff personnel, The main cost in operating
this program is material, much of which will have to be developed. The
Stud ent Voice, Incorporated, an Afro-american publishing house in Atlanta,
is now laying plans for publishing children's material and it will be avail-
able at low cost, Other effective material will have to be searched into
through institutions such as the Ban Street School in New York and indivi-

dual educators.

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