ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes

   

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Let us move forward, then .  .  . to challenge and expand

the social and moral imagination of society and the world.

 

 

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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Annual Founders Kwanzaa Message
1966—40th Anniversary—2006
Nguzo Saba: The Principles and Practice of Bringing Good into the World


Dr. Maulana Karenga

 

The season of Kwanzaa has come again, this celebration and season of joyous harvesting and sharing of good in the world.  This year marks the 40th anniversary of the recovery and reconstruction of this ancient celebration which has found a valuable and enduring place in the hearts, homes and daily lives of over 28 million people throughout the world African community. This year's theme is, of necessity, focused on the Nguzo Saba as a vital source of principles and practices to bring, increase and sustain good in the world.  Indeed, they represent values and vital teachings of our ancestors about how we are to live good lives, rightfully relate to each other and the world, and teach our children by word and deed what it means to be an African man and woman in the world.

The Nguzo Saba begins with the principle and practice of Umoja (Unity). This speaks to the ancient African ethical understanding that we come into being and flourish in relationship and that being of and with each other, logically and morally leads us to being for each other in real and mutually rewarding ways. Thus, the principle and practice of unity cultivates in us a sense of oneness with each other and a responsibility to each other, our people, humanity and the world. It is also this principle which calls on us
to stand in solidarity with the suffering, oppressed and struggling peoples of the world in their rightful resistance to oppression and their just quest for the good life we all want and deserve.  And it is this principle that makes us ever conscious of our obligation to care for the environment as sacred space and to preserve and promote its health, wholeness and
flourishing.

The Second Principle of the Nguzo Saba, Kujichagulia (Self-determination), obligates us to respect our own cultural way of being human in the world and to avoid self-deforming and dignity-denying imitations of others.  Moreover, it urges us to define ourselves by the life-and-dignity affirming ways we walk and work in the world, and to name ourselves in deep-rooted respect for our identity as bearers of dignity and divinity.  And it calls on us to create for ourselves in the good-producing and world-preserving ways of our ancestors, and to speak for ourselves in ways that reveal our rootedness in our own culture and our commitment to the uniqueness and goodness of being African in the world.

The Third Principle of the Nguzo Saba, Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility) encourages us to commit ourselves to work and struggle to build the caring family, the moral community, the just society and the good world we all want and deserve to live in.  It teaches us to constantly search for and sustain common ground in the best of our moral values, to engage in cooperative projects for the common good. Thus, we are called on
to increase our efforts in the struggle to confront and solve the persistent and pervasive human problems of poverty, homelessness, hunger, disease and needless deaths, and war which disfigures the face and future of humanity.

The Fourth Principle of the Nguzo Saba is Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics). It is a principle and practice of shared work and shared wealth of the world.  It calls for and cultivates economic practices which demonstrate due respect for the dignity and life-affirming necessity of work, the right to a life of dignity and decency and thus a right to an equitable share of the good and goods of the world. Moreover, as a project of cooperative creation and sharing of good, Ujamaa seeks care and support of the vulnerable and a rightful relationship with the environment that protects it from the evils
of plunder, pollution and depletion.

Nia (Purpose) is the Fifth Principle of the Nguzo Saba and it speaks to us of our collective vocation to do good in and for the world, and to restore our people to their traditional greatness defined by this ongoing creation and pursuit of the good. For in this practice, we follow the path of service like the great ones before us who gave their lives so we could live fuller, freer and more meaningful ones. This is the essential lesson of Dr. Martin Luther King's teaching on service as the substance of greatness, Min. Malcolm X's teaching on offering one's life as a testimony of some social value, and Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune's teaching that we must so live our lives that at the end we are able to stand tall on the platform of service.

The Sixth Principle of the Nguzo Saba, Kuumba (Creativity), calls on us to always do as much as we can in the way we can in order to leave our community and the world more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it. In this principle and practice, we reaffirm the ancient African ethical commitment to constantly heal, repair and transform the world, called serudjta in ancient Egyptian. It requires us to revere life and to apply the
active arm and healing hand to end the social injustice and persistent suffering around us and throughout the world. And it challenges us to become and be examples of the new world we struggle to bring into being.

The Seventh and final Principle of the Nguzo Saba is Imani (Faith). It is a faith founded in the ancient ethical and spiritual teachings of our ancestors, forged in struggle, and reaffirmed in the reality of every day life directed toward doing good in the world. So against all sense of despair, cynicism and the enduring evidence of evil in the world, we believe in the eventual triumph of Good in the world.  We dare to believe that eventually thru hard work, long struggle and acts of deep and enduring loving-kindness, Africa will come into its own again, and that the people of Darfur, the Congo and Haiti, and the survivors of Katrina and all other suffering and oppressed peoples will be liberated, recover and rebuild their lives and forge a future of expansive freedom, justice and forward movement.

Let us move forward, then, confident in our right and responsibility to challenge and expand the social and moral imagination of society and the world. And let us keep the good faith of our forefathers and mothers, steadfastly devoted to justice, self-consciously open to sharing and profoundly committed to that ancient and ongoing ethical mandate to
constantly strive and struggle to make good ever more present and powerful in the world. Heri za Kwanzaa (Happy Kwanzaa).


Dr. Maulana Karenga, Professor of Black Studies, California State University-Long Beach, Chair of The Organization Us, Creator of Kwanzaa, and author of Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community and Culture, www.Us-Organization.org   and www.OfficialKwanzaaWebsite.org

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

Gramsci"s Black Marx

Whither the Slave in Civil Society?

 

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books

For July 1st through August 31st 2011
 

Fiction

#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 Eroticanoir.com 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

Non-fiction

#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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Blacks in Hispanic Literature: Critical Essays

Edited by Miriam DeCosta-Willis 

Blacks in Hispanic Literature is a collection of fourteen essays by scholars and creative writers from Africa and the Americas. Called one of two significant critical works on Afro-Hispanic literature to appear in the late 1970s, it includes the pioneering studies of Carter G. Woodson and Valaurez B. Spratlin, published in the 1930s, as well as the essays of scholars whose interpretations were shaped by the Black aesthetic. The early essays, primarily of the Black-as-subject in Spanish medieval and Golden Age literature, provide an historical context for understanding 20th-century creative works by African-descended, Hispanophone writers, such as Cuban Nicolás Guillén and Ecuadorean poet, novelist, and scholar Adalberto Ortiz, whose essay analyzes the significance of Negritude in Latin America. This collaborative text set the tone for later conferences in which writers and scholars worked together to promote, disseminate, and critique the literature of Spanish-speaking people of African descent. . . . Cited by a literary critic in 2004 as "the seminal study in the field of Afro-Hispanic Literature . . . on which most scholars in the field 'cut their teeth'."

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Greenback Planet: How the Dollar Conquered

the World and Threatened Civilization as We Know It

By H. W. Brands

In Greenback Planet, acclaimed historian H. W. Brands charts the dollar's astonishing rise to become the world's principal currency. Telling the story with the verve of a novelist, he recounts key episodes in U.S. monetary history, from the Civil War debate over fiat money (greenbacks) to the recent worldwide financial crisis. Brands explores the dollar's changing relations to gold and silver and to other currencies and cogently explains how America's economic might made the dollar the fundamental standard of value in world finance. He vividly describes the 1869 Black Friday attempt to corner the gold market, banker J. P. Morgan's bailout of the U.S. treasury, the creation of the Federal Reserve, and President Franklin Roosevelt's handling of the bank panic of 1933. Brands shows how lessons learned (and not learned) in the Great Depression have influenced subsequent U.S. monetary policy, and how the dollar's dominance helped transform economies in countries ranging from Germany and Japan after World War II to Russia and China today. He concludes with a sobering dissection of the 2008 world financial debacle, which exposed the power--and the enormous risks--of the dollar's worldwide reign.  The Economy

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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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Enjoy!

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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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posted 26 December 2006 / update 25 November 2011

 

 

 

Home  Education & History   Religion & Politics

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

Justice for the Poor   Karenga Reiterates the Importance of Kwanzaa