Kwanzaa was created in 1966 as the first specifically African American holiday by Maulana Karenga. It gives African Americans an alternative holiday and opportunity to celebrate ourselves and history, rather than simply imitating the practice of the dominant society.

Kwanzaa has its roots in the Black Nationalist movement of the 1960s and was established as a means to help African Americans reconnect with their African cultural and historical heritage by uniting in meditation and study of African traditions and Nguzu Saba, the “seven principles of African Heritage,” which is a "communitarian African philosophy”.

The seven principles consist of a philosophy of “the best of African thought and practice in constant exchange with the world.”

The seven principles enforce things like: striving for and maintaining unity in the family, community, nation and race. To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves—stand up…To build and maintain our community together and make our brother’s and sister’s problems our problems, and to solve them together…To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together. To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness!

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