Members of the West Philadelphia community gathered in the newly renovated Lucien E. Blackwell Community Center, located on 47th Street between Aspen and Brown, on Dec. 4 for the One Africa One Nation Uhuru Flea Market’s first-ever holiday pop-up market, featuring handcrafted items from Black artists.
From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., event-goers were encouraged to buy Black and support local businesses. Vendors sold a variety of handcrafted items including candles, tea, woven rugs, barbecue sauce and spiritual items.
While the organization typically holds its annual flea markets during the summer months, Tiffany Murphy, the event’s organizer and a representative at the National African People’s Education and Defense Fund, decided to create a holiday market to help Black artists earn extra money before the holiday season, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic, Murphy said.
“The pandemic has affected the Black community in so many different ways, in terms of lack of resources, lack of access to jobs and personal safety,” Murphy said. “It was just really important for us to have this to support our regulars.”
During the planning of this year’s event, the Uhuru Flea Market decided to include handcrafted artists to highlight the creativity of the Black community that often gets overlooked, Murphy said.
Textile artist Hannah Wallace, owner of Loom Woven Rugs and a 2016 African American studies alumna, has worked with the Uhuru organization many years as a vendor. She keeps returning to the organization because of the sense of community, Wallace said.
“There’s such a strong Black crafting culture out here, and we have always been here.” Wallace said. “We’re just happy to support one another and give to each other during the holidays.”
The dedication to lifting and creating a community among Black artists and business owners was one of the many reasons why Veronica Jones, a resident of Clementon, New Jersey, made the trip out to West Philadelphia on Saturday.
“It’s a celebration of our African heritage and just supporting our community. You know, we support all the communities all the time,” Jones said. “This is an opportunity to support our own.”