The Complete Kwanzaa: Celebrating Our Cultural Harvest
"All ethnic groups seek acceptance in society and their place in the universal order," writes educator Dorothy Winbush Riley. "And each group, through holidays, demonstrates its interpretation of human experience." For millions of African Americans, the week after Christmas is a time to celebrate Kwanzaa by reflecting upon seven principles, among them creativity, cooperation, and faith, which are considered the foundation of successful societies. Riley elaborates upon each of these principles through a combination of first-person narratives, poetry, folktales, quotations, and proverbs. The section on Kujichaguila (self-determination), for example, includes poems from Riley, Nikki Giovanni, and Serena Gordon, and excerpts from Booker T. Washington's Up from Slavery and Michael Jordan's Rare Air. Ultimately, Riley says, the principles of Kwanzaa cannot be relegated to seven days at the end of the year; if we really want to take Kwanzaa to heart, we must live it in every moment. Kwanzaa is an African American holiday that began in 1966 as the brainchild of a black studies professsor, Dr. Maulana Karenga. It's an occasion celebrated from December 26 to January 1 and organized around seven principles-unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. In this work, which is helpful in understanding the custom, Riley (My Soul Looks Back 'Less I Forget, LJ 8/93) has illuminated each Kwanzaa principle with chapters replete with poetry, life stories of noted personalities who have benefited from using that particular system, quotations, folktales, and proverbs. Numerous books have been written on this practice, many for children. Two to consider are Karenga's The African American Holiday of Kwanzaa (Univ. of Sankore Pr., 1989) and Haki R. Madhubuti's Kwanzaa (Third World Pr., 1987). A good source, especially for young adult collections.Ann Burns, "Library Journal"Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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