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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Kwanzaa Stay in our Neighborhoods?
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
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.
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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Blacks in Hispanic Literature: Critical Essays
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,
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'."
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
The World and Africa, 1965
By W. E. B. Du Bois
W. E. B. Du Bois’
Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization
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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
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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg
Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804
January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of
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update 17 February 2012