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Early Childhood Center
833 Hughes Street
The Early Childhood Learning Center has been there for about twenty-three years. Joyce Boggess, before she managed the Early Childhood Learning Center, worked as a school nurse. The center has a series of celebrations and parties throughout the year. The first celebration they have is for Martin Luther King, Jr., and other black leaders that aren’t as well known. She says “If Rosa Parks hadn’t sat down, Martin wouldn’t have had a reason to stand up.” She said no one has ever vandalized or tried to break into the center because the neighbors tell people, “You don’t go near Ms. Joyce’s.” She says, “The neighborhood helps the neighborhood.”
Early Child Learning Center
Mrs. Joyce is what
The kids call her
Founded the Early Child Learning Center
She had 3 children
Adopted a boy
In the yearly
They made a quilt for all to enjoy
During Black History month they turn the main room into a kind of gallery by putting up photos of all kinds of African American political or spiritual leaders. During that month they tell each other what they know about that person and if nobody knows anything about him or her then they research them.
Christmas at the Early Child Learning Center
Christmas is coming
A party soon
Of a child
Makes macaroni and cheese
Which is NOT
Out of a box
Is a vegetarian
At the party
That doesn’t mean
There is no good food
Yue-Wah Oriental Foods
2328 South Park Street
Down each aisle comes a new and exotic smell
Spices and durians and mangos, and meats,
Eggplants, and coconuts, and chili, and sweets.
The smells fill my nostrils
They roll off the air
All through the store.
Smells are here and there
Smells they are sharp, strong and sweet
Smells they float by in one waving sheet
The scents are carried on the breeze
Of mochi, and peppers, and all kinds of teas
The smells are everywhere
Of foods that are rare
Wherever they may be
Smells are important to me.
In Yue Wah there was a lot of food, and they sell like coconut cookies, marshmallow, rowadosa, yanyan, yellow panda, and they had eight kinds of peppers. They have Thai red chili, Serrano, Jamaican chili, jalapeno, banana pepper, poblano, and finger hot chili. I know some pepper is spicy, and some is not spicy at all. They also have lots more food… You should go to Yue Wah, and get something to eat or drink.
is like entering another world
a world of food
all of it…
frozen black chicken
make it what it is
Woody and spiky
Huge and pointy
Back at the back
Is the durian at Yue Wah
Which obviously needs
To be peeled!
Entering you see
A world to be discovered
There are many different cultures
You’ll find the others
Boys & Girls Club
2001 Taft Street
At the Boys and Girls Club, we interviewed David Giffey about the murals he painted. David Giffey is sixty-two years old. Not only is he an artist, he is also a journalist. He started painting in 1986. He called his murals the “Decades Mural Project.” He has four murals hanging in the gym.
I can’t remember what the first mural was called, but I can remember what it looked like. In the upper left-hand corner, there was a picture of slaves chained together—they are being kidnapped and brought over to the U.S. When they got here, they were forced to work.
He also had a picture of some Europeans coming to America, just like African Americans. Unlike the African Americans, however, they came of their own free will… The main colors on these murals are black, red, and green—symbolic colors for Africans.
The second mural showed how Black people weren’t allowed to buy houses, lots of famous African American leaders, a burning cross, and a corner of the Statue of Liberty. The third showed important Black people of the south Madison area, the south side Raiders football team, the old Boys and Girls Club burning down, and part of the Statue of Liberty.
[One mural] he showed us was called “Community Life 1970s.” The first block party happened in 1973. In the mural, they had Marian Anderson. She was the first African American to perform in the White House.
When I walked
Into the Boys
And Girls Club
And saw the murals
When David finished explaining them
Style & Grace Salon
1610 Gilson Street
The Style and Grace Hair Salon is a place down a little bit of Park Street. It is, in a way, a kind of neighborhood gathering place, just to hang out and listen to stories or just talk. The stories are usually pretty humorous, and sometimes very short like the one one of the barbers told us.
“When I was a kid,” he said, suppressing a laugh, “I was so fast that I could turn off my light, and be in bed and asleep before the light was out.” And then he began laughing with one of the other barbers there, who is… the oldest barber in Madison.
Now the people who work there all have specialties that they do for the customers. For instance, one of the people who works there does all of the fancy braids when she is there.
Some of the time the store is rapidly changing what styles they do, so that people will keep coming. The store has 2 sides, one where women go to get their styles done, and another side for men. If you’re looking to get your hair done, I would recommend this store to you.
I was amazed to see how much culture could be in a barber shop/salon. After we sat down and got settled, we met Marique, a barber. He told us about how they make hairstyles, and which ones were most common. Also, we met another person named Smitty. Smitty is the oldest barber in Madison. At age eighty, he looks like he is fifty. He said the most common hair cut is the bald side (not actual name). The bald side is like a flat top with no hair one-half to two inches above the ears. After about ten or fifteen minutes, we went over to the salon side of the shop. The most common hairstyle there is tight braids or “corn rows.” The woman there had them herself. She said you can braid designs in to your hair, and if you want an elaborate design, it can take up to six hours! (You do get a break).
What do they want
A hair-do to stay
For about 2-3 weeks
So they can come again
And chat while they get their
Barbers, Hair Stylists
Shape your hair
Do corn rows
And bald cuts
Rose and Mali and Smitty
Shape your hair
St. Mark's Lutheran Church
605 Spruce Street
[Pastor Mary Pharmer] told us that St. Mark’s was very diverse, because Latino, Asian, African , and Caucasian all come to St. Mark’s. She also told us that their church sang songs from different cultures.
The day we were there, they were going to have a church dinner for the homeless. We helped set up their dining hall, and most of us donated a canned good or toiletries. About 300 poor/homeless people find food at St. Mark’s each week. The food pantry is stacked wall high with cans of food. Mary Pharmer makes sure that the people who come to get food get healthy food.
St. Mark’s has an after school program, called Promise Kids. Promise Kids have raised an organic food garden, and grew a rain garden.
The Pastor of St. Mark’s Church is Pastor Mary Pharmer. Pastor Mary has been Pastor for seven years, and the church has been around for fifteen years.
One of the main things they do at St. Mark’s for the community, they have a food pantry there. Most kids brought donations for it. In the food pantry, they used to not have beans, rice, and cooking oil, but then a lot of people with Hispanic origins came and of course they needed those ingredients, because they are part of the main diet, so St. Mark’s in response to that problem, got those ingredients.
There are 170 members of the church, and 300 people each week get food from it. Also, on Friday, they have a weekly community dinner.
When we went to what is called a Sanctuary, I was surprised how big it was. The Sanctuary is a place that early in the day on Sunday, people come there for worship. Worship is not the only thing they do in the Sanctuary. They also sometimes come to make important decisions or to have meetings. On September 11, people came for a meeting about it.
They have a loom room, where they make peace weavings. Also, they have a garden, which is entirely organic, with no pesticide whatsoever, so they can eat what they grow. Right now, in the garden, they’re trying to make it wheelchair accessible.
St. Mark’s church, led by Pastor Mary, works to make the community a better place.
540 West Olin Avenue
At Romnes, we first split up into small groups, and talked to people that lived at Romnes. We talked with Mary and Beth. They have both lived there for seven years.
Mary was born in Pennsylvania. Her mother passed away in 1973. When that happened, she moved to Madison, and met her husband.
At Romnes, people do all kinds of crafts, and play games. When she moved there, she felt safe. Now there are security officers walking up and down the halls every night.
Where Romnes is, there used to be a big hill. If the circus came, they would set up there. In the winter, kids would slide down the hill.
Romnes is a two-story, one-quarter of a mile-long building that is shaped like a horseshoe so it only takes up one square block.
One person lives in a multi-room apartment with the option of patio or a balcony (depending on what floor you are on).
Long, winding hallways
I looked at it
I see it.
Yasmin's Halal Market
1114 South Park Street
[Yasmin’s Halal Meat Market] is owned by a Muslim man named Salih. He comes from southwest Wisconsin… He was raised as a Catholic. He didn’t know there were such people as Muslims, until he came to Madison. He met his wife, who is also a Muslim, here. Her name is Yasmin, and she is from Somalia. She was single. He asked her why, and she told him that she had to marry a Muslim man. It said so in the Koran, a sacred book for the Muslims. Salih went back to southwest Wisconsin, and bought a Koran, and realized it was much like a bible, on which he had been raised. He became a Muslim soon after he read the Koran. He returned to Madison, but Yasmin had gone north, to Canada. When she came back, they married. Salih told us, “In Islam, I found peace is peaceful submission to the will of God.” Now he needed to learn how to pray.
There are five pillars that “support” Islam. The first is the oneness of God and Mohammed, his messenger to the Muslims. The second is prayers. There are five daily prayers; the first at sunrise, the second at noon, the third in late afternoon, the fourth at sunset, and the last after night has fallen. He has a prayer rug, and when he prays on it, he faces eastward, because that’s where the Kabah, or house of God is. Before he prays, he washes himself, so as to wash away the sins he might have said or done. To pray, first you stand, and then you bow, then go down and do a full prostration. The third pillar is Ramadan’s fasting. It is controlled by the lunar calendar, and is 29-30 days long. You can’t eat or drink at all during the day, but at night you can feast before the sun comes up, “and that is enough to keep you going through the day, actually,” says Salih. The fourth pillar is Zakat, which is giving to the poor. If you have had wealth that year, you need to give them at least 2.5% of your wealth. Finally, the fifth is Haij, which is a journey to the Kabah in Mecca at least once in your lifetime.
Then Salih went on to talk about Halal meat. Halal meat is not pork, since Muslims do not eat pork. But to be Halal meat, the animal must not be raised on other animal meat, and other animals cannot see it being killed. Also, Salih told us that after the September 11th attack, people had many prejudices against Muslims; they thought they were all terrorists! Salih is certainly NOT a terrorist. But, to get through it all, the Muslims just have to remember the oneness of God, he says. Then he recited a passage from the Koran: I have created you, men and women, to get to know each other. The best one among you is the one who sees through the eyes of God…
Islam law prevents all Muslim people from eating pork. It is Haram. Impermissible. Like alcohol or profanity or unnecessary violence. All other meats though are halal. Good fro the mind, the soul, and the body.
[After finishing the interview at Yasmin’s Halal Meat Market] we went to walk to Miracle’s house. She’s a classmate in our class.
Entering her home we found so much art hanging on all the walls… There was Chinese writing on the board they had. Miracle said her mom and dad teach her and her sister how to read and speak Chinese.
Mary (Miracle’s mother) gave us a wonderful Chinese snack, that I enjoyed. She gave us some sort of chips, oranges, and some sort of beans…
Mary, Miracle, and Miracle’s sister sang a song to us in Chinese… Now as you all know we didn’t understand one single thing they had sang. It was beautiful the smooth way they sang. I just wished I knew what they were saying… The way they sing, write, speak, I like everything. I wonder what it would be like to live like a Chinese American.
29 South Mills
Neighborhood House is a place where kids go mostly after school… Kids come ages seven through nineteen which is first grade through high school. Mostly kids from nearby come but some kids who really like it and have been coming for years might live further away.
Some of the money needed comes from fundraisers like talent and variety shows for which they charge admission but most money comes from city grants.
The Neighborhood House is actually the oldest community enter in Madison and has been around since 1916.
…Over all, I think Neighborhood House is a very nice community center because it helps kids and their families. You could just tell the kids enjoy it by the looks on their faces.
The art room has a lot of neat stuff, like paints, crayons, markers, and of course, paper. The people from every year make a newspaper about Neighborhood House. They are thinking of making a movie!
I thought it was really fun going to the Neighborhood House. Maybe I’ll go there again.
Close to the end of our trip, we stopped to rest at Neighborhood House, a day care and after school get together place for low income kids. There is a big open gym with a huge mural on the wall with black and white boys and girls playing together. We played dodge ball with some of the kids in the gym. The kids have dinner sometimes at the neighborhood house, and they can eat wherever they want.
There is a game room where you can play foosball, pool, ping-pong, and other things. Also, in that room are some sofas, an armchair, and a TV. They said that apart from the gym, that it is the most popular room in the building. I liked the Neighborhood House. I hope that we do more studies on it.
Time for Neighborhood Center
First a time for eating,
Now its time for
Italian Workmen's Club
914 Regent Street
Later, we went to the Italian Workman’s Club. I liked this too. Our presenters were Gianna Miceli Jeffries, from Sicily, and Tony Bruno, of Italian heritage. The people of the Italian Workman’s Club were workers! This was where they met, and formed a club. They’d help each other out through unemployment and compensation. Every year, they would give some money to the club, so if someone got hurt, they’d have interest to pay for care. At first, they met on the other side of Park Street, in someone’s garage.
The first Italians here were stone workers, and they helped build the Capitol. They also built the shelter at Hoyt Park in the Depression. Most people didn’t want Italians, so they lived in the Greenbush with the Blacks and the poor Jews. There were four clubs, and they were divided by where the families came from in Italy. In this club, people were from around Palermo and Pianodel Greci. People knew Sicilian dialect and Albanian. Sicilian is very different from standard Italian. “For example,” Giovanni said in her Italian accent, “Bambino is standard Italian for boy. In Sicilian, we would say Aggui, or piceriggio.”
The club has a Fiesta Italia each year for three days. Also, on Columbus Day, they give a scholarship to a high school student of Italian heritage.
There is a men’s club and a women’s club. And the women have made especially sure to keep Italian recipes alive. The clubs have different presidents. Tony Bonanno is the men’s’ club president.
Some Italians didn’t want their kids to learn their language, like Tony Bruno’s parents. But every Saturday morning there’s an Italian class for kids, and every Monday night, there is the same thing for adults.
I think the trip was a success. I had fun, I learned a lot, even about my own culture! I’d like to do another trip like this soon.
The Italian Workman’s Club:
A community of Italians
To help each other
Through the hardships of life
On Park Street
Through unemployment and compensation
They stick like glue, holding on,
Preserving their culture
The family potluck was at the end of our fabulous Park Street Cultural tour. First, every family member of room 208 came to the Italian Workman’s Club (where the potluck was being held), bringing with them some food.
Most of you would think that there wouldn’t be much culture at a family potluck. You are dead wrong.
The thing that probably reveals the most about our families’ culture is the food that people brought. You were meant to bring a favorite family dish, so what people brought revealed the aesthetics of food in their cultures.
Food isn’t the only thing that reveals culture at a family potluck. Isn’t it culture whether you sit with your parents, or you don’t want to be seen with them when all your classmates are there?
At the potluck there was also a brief slideshow of photos taken on our Park Street trip.
And watching a slideshow
Flashing cameras all around
Oops, they heard us downstairs