Kwanzaa Creator Keynotes Black History Convocation [SLIDE SHOW]

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Updated by: Lanetra Bennett
February 14, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - FAMU held its annual Black History Month Convocation Thursday.

Evan Bailey, FAMU's Student Senate President Pro Tempore, says, "I think it's also important for us to understand where we come from. If you don't know where you're coming from, it's hard to tell where you're going."

This year's keynote speaker at FAMU Black History Month Convocation was Maulana Karenga, Ph.D. He is the creator of the pan-African cultural holiday, Kwanzaa.

Kwanzaa is a celebration of family, community, and culture.

Dr. Karenga says, "I created Kwanzaa in the context of trying to use my knowledge to advance the movement and to create a context to enhance the capacity of our people for liberation."

The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa are:
Kujichagulia--self determination
Ujima--collective work and responsibility
Ujamaa--cooperative economics

Dr. Karenga says, "People who want to enhance their capacity to relate rightfully to themselves, to others, and the world can benefit from celebrating these principles."

As FAMU celebrates African American history this month, Dr. Karenga encourages everyone to apply the principles to their daily lives.

The Kwanzaa holiday is celebrated each year from December 26 through January first.

FAMU Release

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Maulana Karenga, creator of the pan-African cultural holiday Kwanzaa and the Nguzo Saba (The Seven Principles), will serve as the keynote speaker for Florida A&M University’s (FAMU) Black History Month Convocation on February 14 at 10:10 a.m. in the Gaither Gymnasium.

Karenga, a professor and chair of Africana Studies at California State University—Long Beach, holds two Ph.D.’s, one in political science (United States International University) and another in social ethics (University of Southern California) as well as an honorary doctorate from the University of Durban, South Africa.

Karenga is also the author of numerous scholarly articles and books – including Maat, The Moral Ideal in Ancient Egypt: A Study in Classical African Ethics; Selections From The Husia: Sacred Wisdom of Ancient Egypt; The Book of Coming Forth By Day: The Ethics of the Declarations of Innocence; Odu Ifa: The Ethical Teachings; and Introduction to Black Studies, 4th Edition. Karenga is the author of the authoritative text, Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community and Culture.

He is also the recipient of numerous awards for scholarship, leadership and service. He is the recipient of the National Council for Black Studies’ Paul Robeson-Zora Neale Hurston Award for Scholarly Work Significantly Contributive to the Understanding, Development and Appreciation of African World Culture; the C.L.R. James Award for Outstanding Publication of Scholarly Works that Advance the Discipline of Africana and Black Studies; the National Leadership Award for Outstanding Scholarly Achievements in Black Studies; and the President’s Award for Scholarship and Service in the Development of Black Studies, African Heritage Studies Association.

Karenga is the subject of the newly released book by Molefi Asante titled Maulana Karenga: An Intellectual Portrait. Karenga is currently writing a book on the social and ethical philosophy of Malcolm X titled The Liberation Ethics of Malcolm X: Critical Consciousness, Moral Grounding and Transformative Struggle.

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