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By celebrating Kwanzaa we are made conscious of the cultural unity not only on the

African continent but also the importance of re-establishing it throughout the Diaspora.




Books by Maulana Karenga

Introduction to Black Studies  /  Selections from Husia: Sacred Wisdom of Ancient Egypt  /  The Book of Coming Forth by Day 

Kwanzaa: A Celebration of  Family, Community, and Culture  /  Million Man March: Day of Absence 

Handbook of Black Studies  /  Maat, the Moral Idea in Ancient Egypt  /  Kemet and the African Worldview

Kawaida Theory:  An African Communitarian Philosophy

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The Practical Significance of Kwanzaa

By Junious Ricardo Stanton


As we begin this Kwanzaa season let us expand our understanding of the implications of Kwanzaa for impacting our world. The Akan of Ghana in West Africa have a word Sankofa which means “go back to the past and fetch what we need.” Kwanzaa is a cultural celebration that is observed by people of African descent all around he world is consistent with the concept of Sankofa. By learning and practicing the Nguzo Saba the Seven Principles which are based upon traditional African values we can build a foundation that can be used to reunite, resurrect and revitalize the global African community and set us on our way towards the liberation of not only ourselves but in due time, the whole planet. 

What is it we are going back to fetch? First and foremost we must return (re-member or reconnect) to our humanity, rediscover what it means to be a fully functioning human being. We have the opportunity to alter our status and self-image first in our own minds then outwardly so we are in a better position to withstand the coming onslaught of racism and predatory global dominance of the New World Order. As the West under the leadership of AmeriKKKa moves to ferret out and expropriate the world’s resources, and wealth while subjugating its people, the salvation against  it will be a fully conscious self-loving people who know who we are, know our people’s legacy of accomplishment and who are willing to defend to the death our freedom to be ourselves. 

By celebrating Kwanzaa we are made conscious of the cultural unity not only on the African continent but also the importance of re-establishing it throughout the Diaspora. At a time when European neo-fascist imperialism led by the United States of AmeriKKKa is sweeping the globe, we need an alternative set of values to prevent us from being inundated by white supremacist pathology, materialism and culturally induced self-negation. Kwanzaa, if we practice the values inherent in the celebration all year round,  will help us realize our connectedness to our brothers and sisters all over the world languishing under the cultural and geo-political hegemony of Caucasians. 

These values based upon ancient African reciprocal We/I/Us obligations can and will provide a safe place psychologically for us to regroup, rebound and go forward amidst the storms and gales of both subtle and overt racial oppression. Kwanzaa also is a way for us to come together, meet and mingle, celebrate ourselves, gain strength from one another and plan for our resurgence as a people.

Sankofa is an admonition for us to acknowledge and return to what was ours, what made us great as a people, fetch it; meaning retrieve it and apply it to twenty-first century realities and circumstances to empower, ennoble and encourage us to continue the struggle against economic exploitation, racial oppression, the wanton desecration of the planet and the genocide against its people. Kwanzaa is a time to celebrate but it is also a call to action.

Sankofa, is a command “go back and fetch!” it is not some idle quote. We must be active if we are indeed to alter the present course of history. If we slack off, it we choose not to respond to the ancestral admonition to fetch that which is our’s, reconnect with it (our African humanity identity and heritage), know it, bring it to our bosom and make it a part of us, we shall continue down the road to insanity in a hell hole created by aliens who have no concept of what it means to be human. In fact their goal is to dehumanize humanity so they can rule over us! 

Kwanzaa is a time to celebrate the timeless wisdom of our ancestors, a time for us to recommit to each other and the CREATOR by pledging to be all that we can be together realizing none of us can be whole without the support, nurturing and encouragement of the community from which we sprung. The concept- it takes a whole village to facilitate the actualization of each member is real, however we must recognize the village is sick from the relentless bombardment of Euro-centric values and white supremacist oppression. 

The pathologies in our communities are culturally induced. Our healing lies in our past, we must go back and fetch it, relearn what it means to integrate mind body and spirit and interact with our environment and community in ways that uplift, protect and edify all. Celebrating means practicing and implementing the values inherent in Kwanzaa. It’s the way to make ourselves whole, sane and rebuild our communities.

posted 30 December 2002

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Promoting Cooperative Economics Education and Practice through Kwanzaa—Ajamu Nangwaya—24 December 2011— We have the chance to move from a celebratory approach to Kwanzaa as a holiday to one that integrates its essence, values or principles in organizing the economic development of the community. Ujamaa or cooperative economics is usually advanced by some celebrants of Kwanzaa as the way to African American economic empowerment. However, it is our contention that the ideas behind this principle are little understood by those promoting it.

For many Kwanzaa practitioners, it is the mere buying of goods and services from African American-owned companies. This practice does not speak to the ownership and governance structures of the enterprises that are patronized. Wealth from economic production is a collective endeavor, as it is virtually impossible for the individual to create it single-handedly. Under the dominant economic system of the day, the people (the workers) who create wealth are generally not the ones who own and enjoy the use of it. Furthermore, the popular perception of the Ujamaa principle does not have a dialogue with the notion of “shared social wealth”, and the economic model that would best manifest this idea and practice.

We believe it is time for African Americans and all those who want a better economic life in this country to promote the knowledge of cooperatives as organizational models and tools for economic and social development. Cooperative education is a necessary, but not a sufficient condition for its adoption by the community. It must be put on display and experienced, as a practical way to meet the material and self-actualizing needs of the people. In order to disseminate the information about cooperatives, we should utilize the public forums that are used to celebrate the holiday as educational instruments. We may use each principle to highlight particular and relevant aspects of the structure and operation of cooperatives. In the community organizing phase of our educational effort we should experiment with different spaces (living room meetings, public meetings, street corner, places of worship, etc.) to reach the people.—


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 Karenga on Malcolm   Justice for the Poor  Kwanzaa 2004   Kwanzaa Message 2006 

The 10 Best Black Books of 2010 (Non-Fiction)

Gramsci”s Black Marx

Whither the Slave in Civil Society?

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#1 – Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark #2 – Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree #3 – Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane #4 – Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper #5 – Stackin’ Paper 2 Genesis’ Payback by Joy King #6 – Thug Lovin’ (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark #7 – When I Get Where I’m Going by Cheryl Robinson #8 – Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby #9 – The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 – Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 – Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 – Don’t Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 – For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 – For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 – Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 – The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 – Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 – Purple Panties: An Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 – Stackin’ Paper by Joy King

#20 – Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 – The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 – Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 – Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 – I Dreamt I Was in Heaven – The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter


#1 – Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable #2 – Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans #3 – Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane #4 – Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper #5 – Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant #6 – Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey #7 – The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight #8 – The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing #9 – The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 – John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 – Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 –The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 – The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 – The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 – Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can’t Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 – Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 – Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 – A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 – John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 – Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 – Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 – 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino #23 – Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul by Tom Lagana #24 – 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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Predator Nation

Corporate Criminals, Political Corruption, and the Hijacking of America

By Charles H. Ferguson

If you’re smart and a hard worker, but your parents aren’t rich, you’re now better off being born in Munich, Germany or in Singapore than in Cleveland, Ohio or New York. This radical shift did not happen by accident.  Ferguson shows how, since the Reagan administration in the 1980s, both major political parties have become captives of the moneyed elite.  It was the Clinton administration that dismantled the regulatory controls that protected the average citizen from avaricious financiers.  It was the Bush team that destroyed the federal revenue base with its grotesquely skewed tax cuts for the rich. And it is the Obama White House that has allowed financial criminals to continue to operate unchecked, even after supposed “reforms” installed after the collapse of 2008. Predator Nation reveals how once-revered figures like Alan Greenspan and Larry Summers became mere courtiers to the elite.

Based on many newly released court filings, it details the extent of the crimes—there is no other word—committed in the frenzied chase for wealth that caused the financial crisis.  And, finally, it lays out a plan of action for how we might take back our country and the American dream.—Read Chapter 1

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The Gardens of Democracy: A New American Story

of Citizenship, the Economy, and the Role of Government

By Eric Liu and Nick Hanaper

American democracy is informed by the 18th century’s most cutting edge thinking on society, economics, and government. We’ve learned some things in the intervening 230 years about self interest, social behaviors, and how the world works. Now, authors Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer argue that some fundamental assumptions about citizenship, society, economics, and government need updating. For many years the dominant metaphor for understanding markets and government has been the machine. Liu and Hanauer view democracy not as a machine, but as a garden. A successful garden functions according to the inexorable tendencies of nature, but it also requires goals, regular tending, and an understanding of connected ecosystems. The latest ideas from science, social science, and economics—the cutting-edge ideas of today—generate these simple but revolutionary ideas: The economy is not an efficient machine.

It’s an effective garden that need tending. Freedom is responsibility. Government should be about the big what and the little how. True self interest is mutual interest. We’re all better off when we’re all better off. The model of citizenship depends on contagious behavior, hence positive behavior begets positive behavior.

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

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Maulana Karenga: An Intellectual Portrait

By Molefi Kete Asante

In this book, the most prolific contemporary African American scholar and cultural theorist Molefi Kete Asante leads the reader on an informative journey through the mind of Maulana Karenga, one of the key cultural thinkers of our time. Not only is Karenga the creator of Kwanzaa, an extensive and widespread celebratory holiday based on his philosophy of Kawaida, he is an activist-scholar committed to a “dignity-affirming” life for all human beings. Asante examines the sources of Karenga’s intellectual preoccupations and demonstrates that Karenga’s concerns with the liberation narratives and mythic realities of African people are rooted in the best interests of a collective humanity. The book shows Karenga to be an intellectual giant willing to practice his theories in order to manifest his intense emotional attachment to culture, truth, and justice. Asante’s enlightening presentation and riveting critique of Karenga’s works reveal a compelling account of a thinker whose contributions extend far beyond the Academy.

Although Karenga began his career as a student activist, a civil rights leader, a Pan Africanist, and a culturalist, he ultimately succeeds in turning his fierce commitment to truth toward dissecting political, social, and ethical issues. Asante carefully analyzes Karenga’s important works on Black Studies, but also his earlier works on culture and his later works on ethics, such as The Husia, and Odu Ifa: The Ethical Teachings.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

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update 9 July 2012




Home  Education & History  The Du Bois-Malcolm-King   Positively Black Table

Related files: Should Kwanzaa Stay in our Neighborhoods    Kwanzaa 2004   Kwanzaa Message 2006  Maulana Karenga Bio   Ron Karenga   Karenga on Malcolm  

Justice for the Poor