Joyous Kwanzaa! 1973-1978

Three archival videos on Open Vault invite you to learn about the development of Kwanzaa and its roots in Black Power and black nationalism in the United States. Developed by Maulana Ron Karenga in the late 1960s, Kwanzaa is a harvest festival honoring African American history and culture. Over seven nights, seven candles are lit to observe the seven principles of Kwanzaa:

  1. Umoja Unity
  2. Kujichagulia Self-Determination
  3. Ujima Collective Work and Responsibility
  4. Ujamaa Cooperative Economics
  5. Nia Purpose
  6. Kuumba Creativity
  7. Imani Faith

Three excerpts from Say Brother, WGBH’s longest running public affairs television program by, for and about African Americans, celebrate and explain the meaning of Kwanzaa:

In a 1973 clip, “Ron Karenga and the origin of Kwanzaa,” Brother Imara discusses the validity of Kwanzaa and how the holidays was created. The next year, Brother Imara came back to Say Brother to teach the principles of Kwanzaa as seen in “The meaning of Kwanzaa.”

Finally, a 1978 Say Brother segment “The Art of Black Dance and Music perform dances from the harvest festival Kwanzaa” demonstrates the artistic expression of Kwanzaa.

You may be also interested in this 2003 Interview with Maulana Ron Karenga on NPR’s Tavis Smiley Show. Nearly 30 years after the founding of Kwanzaa, Karenga discusses how the rituals and messages of the holiday have sustained their significance for the black community.

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