In January 1992, a two-page yellow and black publication of UMOJA was titled the African American Community Calendar for the Greater Madison Area, Volume 3, Number 1.
Hats off to the achievements of community members including Pia James, promotion at the Madison Police Department. Jim and Yvonne Thomas opened Positive Images, an art gallery. Marilyn and Pick Winters for “a beautiful wedding and reception for their daughter, Monique, at St. Paul’s in December.”
It acknowledged attorney Ritchie Sturgeon for joining the Madison law firm of Axley Brynelson. UMOJA applauded Dianna Hayes, Pat Wells, Robin McAlister, Freddie Rice, Willie B. Johnson Jr., and Pat Glen for being hired as bus drivers for Madison Metro. And, noted the City of Madison’s Minority Affairs Committee for bringing people together at Kirbie and Jeff Mack’s home on UMOJA, the third day of Kwanzaa.
A thank you was mentioned to Carolyn Ewing for starting UMOJA and the Holiday Fair for two years.
UMOJA addresses a taboo in the Black community: HIV/AIDS. Page after turning page stories of love, acceptance and faith triumphs over the epidemic. African Americans represented half of all new cases in the United States. National headlines report how the AIDS rate skyrockets in Black women.
UMOJA ran articles titled AIDS: A Personal Story of a Double Life; AIDS: A Personal Story of a Woman on a Mission; AIDS: From drugs to HIV; AIDS: A Mother and Her Children; and, AIDS: If We Pull Together, We Can Make a Difference. The issue offered tips to reduce the risk of HIV infection.
New sections like Teen Spotlight and Changes highlighted the many accomplishments and promotion of Black Madison residents.
The annual finance issue discusses money management with tips from J. Wayne Hyler, president of the Hyleco Group. There was a profile on accountant Jerry Ruffin; a feature on corporate auditor Azure Hart; and, tips on personal money management. UMOJA readers even learned about stock trading.
That year, the Madison chapter of the NAACP hosted a banquet from then national NAACP CEO and President Kweisi Mfume. The event’s theme was Speaking Truth the Power.
Elton Crim accepted an appointment in the UW School of Human Ecology as director of diversity and equity services. Mona Winston was named first manager of Lussier Teen Center/Loft. And, Trent Jackson resigned from his position as executive director of the Boys and Girls Club in South Madison to work for the UW Foundation. That year, Lilada Gee ran the Nefertiti Debutante Scholarship Cotillion.
The publisher, Milele Chikasa Anana, attended the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Convention for the first time. It was held in Milwaukee. It served as a fresh source for ideals. She also met artist, John W. Jones, whose tribute to the Buffalo Soldier Squad graced the issue’s cover. The historical artist painted six soldiers filled with dignity and discipline.
The issue showcased triathlete Peggy Moore; Madison Police Chief Richard Williams; and Anthony Brown, a philosopher and golfer. John Yancy Odom received the 2002 Human Rights Award. And, Erroll Davis, then president and CEO of Alliant Energy, was named Fortune magazine’s 50 Most Powerful Black Executives in America.
There was also an article titled Playground Grew Right Before Your Eyes, that reported how 110 volunteers built a playground at the Boys and Girls Club. A partnership between BGC, KaBoom and Home Depot made the site possible.
UMOJA dedicated the issue to musicians in the village. There were dozens of new musicians in the Madison area. This group was described as younger. Hip hop, although it was on the national radar, had not found its place in Madison.
There’s a feature on Jazz artist, Hanah Jon Taylor; the Rob Dz Experience, an eclectic music group; contemporary musician, Adem Tesfaye; pianist Leotha Stanley, and gospel singer Laverne Kimball, to name a few.
The publisher, Milele Chikasa Anana, met two of the musicians, Arthur Richardson and Rick Flowers, during a bus ride to the Million Man March in 1998.
The issue also includes a four-page spread of photos from the Juneteenth celebration. Rev. Thomas Flint became head pastor of St. Paul AME Church. And, the Wolfpack Motorcycle Club was also featured.
The issue’s art on the cover, titled Soulful Strut, was painted by Macaulay Eteli, a Nigerian born artist who lived in Canada. He painted UMOJA’s first art cover in 1996. Eteli takes geometric lines ꟷparticularly the triangle ꟷ and shapes them into an artistic figure.
African American/Black Business Association (AABBA) honored business owner Ray Allen and Richard Harris, founder of the Genesis Development Corp., with the Visionary Award. Larry and Carmen Sain, State Farm Insurance Agency owners, received the Black Diamond Award.
The magazine was devoted to women making a difference. Features included attorney Nia Trammell and author Amani Latimer.
The Black Student Union held a “funeral” for the n-word. The program, titled The Burial, was held at Regina Chapel at Edgewood College Chapel. Initiated and organized by people under 25, the obituary was described as a powerful narrative of the disgraceful life of the n-word.
President Barack Obama served a year of his first term in office. A stunning oil painting of Lena Horne, by Merryl Jaye, was featured on the cover. Horne, a singer, actress and Civil Rights activist, known for her trademark song, “Stormy Weather, passed away that year. The issue included an article detailing her life as a social justice advocate.
Three teachers of color retired and acknowledged for their contributions to educating children. Former members of the Negro Baseball League made a special appearance during the Madison Mallards baseball team. The sports legends included Dennis Biddle, Johnny Washington, Hank Presswood and Nathan Weston.
The magazine also had a section the highlighted former Madisonians who were back for visits to attend graduations, funerals and award ceremonies. There were more than 45 ads including Dane Dances, African Fest and various banks and hospitals.
The Black History Month issue proudly displayed a portrait of President Barack Obama by Jerry Jordan.
The issue features profiles of architects. They ideal came about when Mt. Zion Baptist Church as expanding and building a new sanctuary. “It took me a while, but to my delight I found that six architects now exist in our Village,” Milele Chikasa Anana wrote.
Five pages were devoted to information on obtaining college scholarships. Tips on choosing a college major was also provided. The issue also provided a progress report on charter schools.
A section titled Nourish Your Mind provided words of wisdom from Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Maya Angelou. “As long as you are convinced you have never done anything, you can never do anything.” ~ Malcolm X
UMOJA tackles another tough issue. Gun violence. The cover, created by artist Gilbert Young, has a direct and literal message about respecting life and oneself. It urges using hands to be creative rather than destroy. It is a plea for sanity in a world filled with news of insane atrocities day after day.
That year, for the first time in Madison, African Americans occupied frontline positions in human resource departments. The five new faces have the ability to influence personnel policy and serve as watchmen to diversity barriers.
The October issue featured the Urban League’s Cabaret, Black Women’s Wellness Day and the rise of African American scientists at Madison Area Technical College.
An emotional article chronics two young Madisonians who traveled to Ferguson, Missouri, during the upheaval following the police-shooting death of Mike Brown. The trip, made by Jasmine Timmons and Monica Winston, was in response to a call to action by the Black Lives Matter coalition. “Finally, we reached the protest site. All I could see were lights flashing. My senses began to distort. I tasted fear. I heard stillness. I felt nothing..I had gone numb,” Monica wrote.