The History of Kwanzaa

This week’s winter holiday post is a look at the history of Kwanzaa, the non-religious African American holiday that celebrates family, community and culture.

Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, a professor of black studies at California State University. Following the Watts Riots in Los Angeles in 1965, Dr. Karenga was inspired to create the celebration as a way to bring African American communities together by recognizing African culture and historical heritage. The name Kwanzaa is taken from the Swahili phrase “matunda ya kwanza”, meaning “first fruits.”

For more on the celebration of Kwanzaa, visit the History Channel special feature The History of Kwanzaa.

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