is an African in America celebration
based on African agricultural/harvest celebrations and collective
principles which contribute to the unity and development our
community in the United States. This
is the 51st
anniversary of Kwanzaa and the 48th
year of its
celebration in Chicago.
was created to introduce African people in America to new values.
Kwanzaa is a seven day celebration that is held from December 26 to
January 1. These new values are called the Nguzo
the seven principles of Blackness, “if practiced would give
them (us) a set of priorities and commitments which would enhance
their (our) human possibilities and lead to their (our) liberation
and a higher level of human life.”
United States economy is suffering from the white supremacy arrogance
of centuries of brutal exploitation of the world’s resources
and its people.
era of United States history demands that African people in America
place a greater degree of emphasis on our collective economic
salvation. Once again, the old truth that “Black people are the
last hired and the first fired,” is surfacing itself throughout
the major employment centers in this country.
this economic crisis, the Kwanzaa season helps us place the question
of economics on the agenda of our struggle. The eradication of our
economic slave condition must continue to be a major challenge as we
enter the twenty-first-century.
cannot be stated enough that we are far too dependent on Europeans
and Asians for our food, clothing and
principle we commemorate during the Kwanzaa season that speaks to
this issue is Ujamaa (Cooperative
Economics). This principle encourages African people in America "to
build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to
profit from them together." On the fourth day of Kwanzaa,
Thursday, December 29th, this principle is celebrated.
this regard, it is important, once again, to state Malcolm X’s
economic philosophy of Black nationalism. Malcolm said:
must be re-educated to the importance of controlling the economy in
which we live by owning and operating the business in the community
we live in and developing some industry that will employ our people
so we won’t have to boycott and picket other people in other
communities to get a job. We must understand the importance of
spending money in the community in which we live.”
went on to say that, “The neighborhoods in which you spend your
money become richer and richer and the neighborhoods in which the
money is taken out of becomes poorer and poorer. This creates slums-
all the wealth leaves.”
speaking on the topic of economic philosophy of Black nationalism,
Malcolm continues by pointing out:
when we try to spend money in our own community we don’t.
Business is controlled by outsiders who don't live in the community
because we don't know the importance of owning and operating
businesses ourselves. So money leaves the community in a basket at
sundown. We must control our own economy.”
important activity African American people should practice during the
Kwanzaa season is doing business with each other, thus continuing
this practice throughout the year.
In next to the final chapter of Dr. Chancellor Williams classic book, Destruction of Black Civilization,
he addresses the issue of “Organizing A Race For Action.” Dr. Williams
explains that this organizing for racial action should have as a major
component, “The Division of Economic Planning and Development.” He
Division of Economic Planning and Development should be the
foundation of the organized efforts and a principal source of support
and promotion of the most important activities of the whole race. A
guiding principle should be that all promoted community enterprises
shall be cooperatively owned and controlled by the people of the
community and that each enterprise be highly trained management and
competent service personnel.”
this connection, Dr. Williams makes this observation:
second great understanding should be that economic activities are so
fundamental in any truly upward movement, so clearly indispensable at
this stage in history, that it should be unnecessary to state it
we are ever to become a free and independent people, we must organize
the race for action.