FEATURE OF THE MONTH
Each month, the editors of the Oxford African American Studies Center provide insights into black history and culture, showing ways in which the past and present interact by offering socially and historically relevant short articles, picture essays, and links that will guide the reader interested in knowing more. This month the feature highlights the holiday Kwanzaa.
Created by Maulana Karenga in the late 1960s, Kwanzaa has become a holiday, not only for African Americans, but for displaced African peoples throughout the world. Established to fill the void of an African American holiday in a time of energized racial pride and awareness, Kwanzaa has become an observance of traditional African values and morals meant to act as guidelines for living for African Americans. Among other values Kwanzaa celebrates ancestry, solidarity, originality, perseverance, and economic organization. These principles not only highlight the values that are important and unique to the African and African American experience, they also demonstrate how to lead to a productive life and fortify a positive self-identity for African Americans. Kwanzaa culturally enriches the lives of black people by bringing them closer to their African heritage, and offers all those who celebrate it a chance to learn from African history, so that they can look to the future with hope. Read full essay
The following articles have been selected to help guide readers who want to learn about the history of Kwanzaa in the United States. (Access to the following articles is available only to subscribers.)