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African American businesses in this country are plagued with financial instability due to racial and economic disparities,

commercial widespread commercialization of Kwanzaa in stores like Target, Wal-Mart would keep the Kwanzaa dollars afloat,

many argue, but these small African American businesses would not financially profit from this sort of commercial popularity

albeit it would be  another acknowledgment of  African Americans’ unique contribution  to the larger U.S. economy.

 

 

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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Should Kwanzaa Stay in our Neighborhoods?

 

By Irene Monroe

Immediately following Christmas this year will mark Kwanzaa ’s thirty eighth anniversary. From December 26th through January 1st,  millions of African Americans, like myself, will start their week-long celebration  by greeting families and friends with the Swahili term Harbari gani! which means “What’s happening!”.  Much of what will be happening will be talk  about  whether the commercialization and takeover by larger retailers of this holiday celebration violates the seven principles (the Nguzo Saba) of Kwanzaa.

Kwanzaa which means “the first fruits of the harvest” was founded in 1967 by Dr. Maulana “Ron” Karenga, then chairman of the African American Studies department at California State University at Long Beach. Thought to be a black version of Christmas, Kwanzaa is neither   a religious holiday nor a substitute for  Christmas. It is a spiritual and cultural holiday whose seven principles of unity (umoja) , self-determination (kujichagulia), collective work and responsibility (ujima), cooperative economics (ujamma) , purpose (nia), creativity (kuumba),  and faith (imani)  represent and reaffirm traditional African American values that extends to all Americans .

The practice of black economic power and self - reliance have kept the holiday of Kwanzaa financially afloat.  Unlike Christmas which is characterized by rampant commercialism and the accumulation of material objects, Kwanzaa’s emphasis is on human relationships and on the spiritual ties and responsibilities to African  Americans first  have to one another, and then to the larger society.

However, gifts, called zawadi, do play an important role during Kwanzaa.  Gifts exchanged  are either handmade or purchased from African American vendors in keeping with the fourth principle of Kwanzaa known as cooperative  economics.

As a small but thriving business, Kwanzaa keeps black dollars afloat longer in African American enclaves across the country  than any other  national holiday.  Because its products like the kinara (the candle holder for seven candles, one black, three red and three green), the Kikombe Cha Umoja (communal unity cup), the  Mkeka (place mat), and the bendea (the African American  national flag) can only be found in neighborhood Afrocentric  curio shops, African American consumers shop there instead of outside  their communities. An example of this concern was exhibited during the dedication ceremonies which unveiled the Kwanzaa stamp in 1997.  Prepaid phone cards,  lapel pins, book markers and greeting cards with the Kwanzaa stamp logo on them were all made in China. On the hold, these communities profit modestly because Kwanzaa  items  are sold all year long.

Also, because African American businesses in this country are plagued with financial instability due to racial and economic disparities, commercial widespread commercialization of Kwanzaa in stores like Target, Wal-Mart would keep the Kwanzaa dollars afloat, many argue, but these small African American businesses would not financially profit from this sort of commercial popularity albeit it would be  another acknowledgment of  African Americans’ unique contribution  to the larger U.S. economy.

And in watching how  the dollar trail leaves small community owned businesses and pours into huge conglomerate  store chains how do any of the small own businesses  across the country survive  against these corporate  Goliaths?

And if Kwanzaa , in particularly, goes corporate can it still maintain  its  unique character and not lose it’s soul?

This Kwanzaa holiday I’ll head out to the neighborhood store to purchase my red, black and green candles for the kinara, because I know that the strength of the U.S. economy is found in its multicultural small owned businesses that reflect our nation’s diversity that has become part of the American pie.  And in so doing, I would also be honoring the fourth principle of Kwanzaa which is cooperative economics.

posted 24 December 2005  /

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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


 

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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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 17 February 2012

 

 

 

Home  Education & History  Irene Monroe  Table   Irene Monroe  Bio

 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