Congo Square Market

Open Fridays, 4:00-8:00pm, May to September 2012!

Ithaca's Congo Square Market opened on June 12, 2009 at Southside Community Center.  Named for the famous Congo Square in New Orleans, this market honors African-American history.  In the early days of US slavery, recently enslaved African and others could gather in Congo Square on Sundays for music, dance, and stories. The market will operate between 4:00 pm and 8:00 pm on Friday evenings from June through September at the Southside Community Center, 305 South Plain Street, Ithaca.

The Congo Square Market aims to recreate this historical gathering in the Southside Community, with its purpose being:
1.   to build a stronger and more self-reliant local community,
2.   to develop Southside's economic base, and
3.   to encourage community and personal health.

Congo Square Market is for the empowerment of our local community and is a collaboration between Southside Community Center, Ithaca Youth Bureau's Paul Scheurs Memorial Program, and the Whole Community Project at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County. Jhakeem Haltom, a staff member of the Paul Scheurs Program, is the market founder and manager. The Robert S. Smith Award provided a portion of start-up funds.

Congo Square Market features a weekly fruit and vegetable stall with seasonal local produce and other produce that is in high demand in the community.  Vendors during the first summer included Diaspora Gallery, Sashal clothing designs, Urban Wear, and several food stalls including smoothies, homemade empanadas, La Paladar Cuban food, Tucker's Catering, and home-style soul food prepared by the members of the Bethlehem Church of Jesus Christ.  Live, local music is also featured.  All proceeds from the fruit and vegetable stand and all vendor fees are reinvested in the Congo Square Market as needed and in Southside Community Center programming.  Those interested in vending should contact Mr. Haltom at 607-351-7602. People new to vending are especially welcome and start-up support will be provided.

Youth Employment Services employed local youth to work with market founder Jhakeem Haltom during the first summer.  The youth learned and demonstrated managerial, accounting and customer service skills.  They also spent time at Stick-and-Stone Farm, learning about agriculture and farming.

Jhakeem Haltom, Congo Square Market Founder and Manager
Email: Phone: 607-351- 7602

Jemila Sequeira, Whole Community Project Coordinator
Email: Phone: 607-272-2292 ext. 157



Last Updated: June 5, 2012

Last updated: June 5th 2012 - 3:26pm