UMass Amherst Celebrates Kwanzaa
The Malcolm X Cultural Center hosts the annual Kwanzaa Celebration.
This event is one of several signature cultural celebratory events for the campus community and the general public.
Its origins date back to Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor and chairman of Black Studies at California State University, Long Beach, who created Kwanzaa in 1966. After the Watts riots in Los Angeles, Dr. Karenga searched for ways to bring African-Americans together as a community. He founded US, a cultural organization, and started to research African "first fruit" (harvest) celebrations. Karenga combined aspects of several different harvest celebrations, such as those of the Ashanti and those of the Zulu, to form the basis of Kwanzaa.
At the University of Massachusetts, Kwanzaa is co-supported by local African Diaspora Alum, faculty, staff and student organizations who lend their talents, scholarship and creative voices as a means of acknowledging current contributions by Africans, African Americans, Afro-Caribbean, and Afro Latinos to the global community.
Kwanzaa also serves as a remembrance of the challenges faced and survived across the African Diaspora, affirmation of the commitment to the continued resilience of individuals and communities to not only survive through oppressive times, but to continue to contribute gifts to humanity despite obstacles as well as the embodiment of the Kwanzaa principles for inclusiveness of diverse African Diaspora cultures while engaging in community building.