In Praise of Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa was conjured up in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, then chair of the black studies department at California State to "reaffirm and restore our rootedness in African culture."

Kwanzaa's principles are expressed in Swahili, the co-opted language of the '60s black radical. But they still reflect what most experts on the black condition scream are missing from our homes: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. Sure, some of these echo Christian tenets. Some, though, speak to the educational, financial, and familial repair that is needed specifically in black communities. My simple defense of Kwanzaa is that in the short time that we celebrated the holiday, it brought my family together.

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