Robert H. Dickerson, is the co-founder, creator and C.E.O of the Universal African Dance & Drum Ensemble, at the Unity Community Center of S.J. Inc., headquartered in Camden, New Jersey which he also created and started in 1983. Mr. Dickerson, a 9th Degree Grand Master Black Belt, has been training, practicing and studying the Martial Arts (Karate) and Boxing since 1968. He is a recognized professor of the Martial Arts, author and a teacher who specialize in programs that develop self-discipline and moral character for the community, especially the youth. Mr. Dickerson created The World Champion UPK Pasha Generals, who specializes in close order discipline military-style drilling. The purpose of the UPK Pasha Generals is to serve as a model of what young people can achieve if they understand the principles of love and discipline.
Since 1968 he has been a member of African-American organizations in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, dedicated to helping and teaching at-risk or inner-city youth and the community the Martial Arts (Karate) and African-American History. In the late 1960's he was a leader and President of Black History programs in High School, and carried his leadership skills in the communities of Darby and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He strives very hard to be a positive role-model and a righteous contributor in uplifting humanity for his family and community. Mr. Dickerson was raised as a Christian; however he attributes his love and dedication for the community to the Honorable Elijah Muhammad's Nation of Islam and the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. Because of the assassination of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King in April of 1968, Mr. Dickerson says this gave all of the Black Nationalist organizations another meaningful platform to recruit new young members. Mr. Dickerson and his two brothers George and Warren became members of the Nation of Islam in 1968 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as teenagers and received their official X in 1971.
From his life experiences in religions, he has learned the universal approach to truly uplifting humanity and has taught his students the value of working with and understanding all peopleís ways of life. His ultimate goal was a universal and spiritual approach to continue the beauty of uplifting humanity while at the same time teaching African Americanís their roots, pride and the history of the African Diaspora.
Mr. Dickerson, a cultural activist who loves history and specializes in the collection of historical information, literature, tapes, photos, audio and video education of African-American leaders and organizations. He continues to teach the young people the value of living, loving, and respecting their culture, family, community and of course African-American leaders who have made great accomplishments in helping the Community, America and the World.
Since 1983, Mr. Dickerson has instituted in his African Dance & Drum classes as well as the Martial Arts (Karate) classes, the reciting, practicing and living the NGUZO SABA (The Seven Principles) founded by the creator of KWANZAA, Dr. Maulana Karenga. It is a joy to hear children ages one to our elders over 70 years recite the seven principles after every class. Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity) and Imani (Faith). In July of 2007 Robert and Wanda Dickerson were given their beautiful African names from Dr. Maulana Karenga while attending the Kawaida Institute of Pan-African Studies 30th Annual Seminar in Los Angeles, California. Robert was given the name Mshujaa (Warrior) and Wanda's name Mpaiji (Generous one).
Mr. Robert Dickerson has received many awards and accolades from World Renowned Historians, Scholars, World Leaders, Senators, Governors, Freeholders, Mayors, City Councils, Educators, Religious, Business and Community Organizations.
Mr. Robert and his wife, Wanda Dickerson, has been together since 1973, and has been married since September of 1975, raising their wonderful two sons (Jamal and Nasir) and two daughters (Atiya and Ayanna) and blessed with eleven Grandchildren and two Great Grandchildren.. Together they have developed a safe haven for our youth in the Camden, New Jersey and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area. They have also produced one of the best performing arts organizations in the United States of America.
One of their goals, in the Universal African Dance & Drum Ensemble is to help African Americans or Black People understand the importance of honoring their place of origin, AFRICA (The Motherland), while at the same time helping our African Family appreciate that there are African Americans or Black People helping to build between the two, UNITY, through emphasizing the AFRICAN DIASPORA, HISTORY, EDUCATION and the PERFORMING ARTS, in order to receive respect and honor in America and all over the world.
A people without the knowledge of their
past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.
"African Dance and African Drum is
"The Understanding of LOVE & DISCIPLINE is the KEY"