The idea was a simple one: Black women, entrepreneurs, acting in unity for the benefit of the individual entrepreneur, the collective and the community. Integral to this concept was the inclusion of a green marketplace that would benefit the Hill District community physically, economically, socially and spiritually.
At first, the response to the call to action was slow. However, Ujamaa soon experienced an exponential growth that expanded its intent into a multi-faceted collective idea, with input from many voices and visions.
Celeta Hickman is the founder of Ujamaa Collective. Since 2007 she has vended her jewelry and cards throughout the region and always maintained a small garden and/or composting system with hopes of improving soil conditions in her community and moving to commercial production. She is a cultural historian focusing on Africana Studies in general and more specifically in African functionalism. A significant portion of her professional career was with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh as a library assistant in the Foundation Center and Africana Collection at the main branch in Oakland and at the Carnegie Museum of Art as a cataloger and oral historian for the Charles “Teenie” Harris Archive. Her work as a fine artist has graced the exhibits held by the Women of Vision and the Society of Yoruba Bead Artists. Celeta is a retired performer who was a principle dancer for Nego Gato Capoeria de Angola, Shades of Black Movement and the Legacy Arts Project. She uses the arts and history to inspire challenged communities and those serving them to work for the higher good. In addition, she has a long history as a teaching artist (Western PA Wolf Trap, Culturally Responsive Arts Education, and Lincoln Center Model of Aesthetic Education).
Some of these programs and exhibits include:
- 1st Annual Holistic Parenting Conference
- Youngstown African American Cultural Festival
- Annual Black Family Reunion
- Kwanzaa Window Exhibit at the August Wilson Center
- Annual Kwanzaa in the Hill District
- The Softer Side Seminar
- Three Rivers Bioneers
- The East End Food Coop Art Harvest
- The Women's Walk for Peace
- August Wilson's Birthday Celebration for Daisy Wilson House
Ujamaa has also accumulated thousands of hours in volunteer time, worth more than $300,000.
The groundbreaking for the Ujamaa Collective Marketplace was in the Spring of 2010, located right in the heart of Centre Avenue. The Ujamaa Boutique also opened it's doors in 2010, offering the high-quality and handmade goods of the women of the Ujamaa Collective, local and international artisans to the Pittsburgh Region.
Click the button below
to receive news and
updates about Ujamaa