Tag Archives: African American culture

Reflections on Kwanzaa at Fifty – A timely message

Kujichagulia (self determination) is the principle honored today, the second day of Kwanzaa. Kuichagulia calls on us to define and name ourselves, as well as to create and speak for others. Today many Americans of every race celebrate the seven-day holiday, first celebrated by people of African descent around the globe. This year marks the “golden” (50th) anniversary of Kwanzaa.

Founded by Maulana Karenga, (http://www.maulanakarenga.org) then a graduate student, Kwanzaa encourages people to reflect and rejoice in their family, their community and their African culture. Each day focuses on one of seven principles (Nguzo Saba): On the first day, the focus is on Umoja (unity), today we reflect on self-determination. In the days that follow, the emphasis is on these principles, named in Swahili, the recognized language of Pan-Africanism:

  • Day 3 – Ujima (collective work and responsibility)
  • Day 4 – Ujamaa (cooperative economics)
  • Day 5 – Nia (purpose)
  • Day 6 – Kuumba (creativity) and
  • Day 7 – Imani (faith)

To be politically correct remember that the appropriate greeting for each day of Kwanzaa is unique, reflective of the principle of the day.

To learn more about Kwanzaa you might want to view the documentary that Maya Angelou narrated The Black Candle. Learn more here: http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Dr-Maya-Angelou-on-Kwanzaa

This site features a bit from a Sesame Street Kwanzaa video.http://heavy.com/news/2016/12/kwanzaa-2016-meaning-candles-founder-days-history-maulana-karenga/

More Kwanzaa basics here: http://www.infoplease.com/spot/kwanzaa1.html Or here http://www.infoplease.com/spot/kwanzaa1.html#principles

Needless to say, there are countless books about Kwanzaa written for children – here is one list selected by librarians, not book sellers: http://www.libraryaware.com/697/NewsletterIssues/ViewIssue/95f60a68-8c5b-48c0-b019-ff903cb1ea2e?postId=e2bf81ea-bdfb-4158-bc2f-831542405b35

To learn more about African American history, culture and leaders on an ongoing basis, you might want to follow the Schomburg Library here: https://www.facebook.com/Schomburgcenter/

Note: In this Post Truth era know that there are unconfirmed rumors about Karenga that cast a shadow on what has come to be celebrated as a joyous week to reflect on the important things in life.