Kwanzaa: A Celebration of African American Family, Community and Culture
The Dr. Maulana Karenga

  Dr. Maulana Karenga

  Dr. Maulana Karenga is professor of Africana Studies at California State University, Long Beach. He is also chair of the President's Task Force on Multicultural Education and Campus Diversity at California State University, Long Beach. Dr. Karenga holds two Ph.D.'s; his first in political science with focus on the theory and practice of nationalism (United States International University) and his second in social ethics with a focus on the classical African ethics of ancient Egypt (University of Southern California). He also holds an honorary doctorate of philosophy from the University of Durban-Westville, South Africa.

Moreover, he is the director of the Kawaida Institute of Pan-African Studies, Los Angeles, and national chairman of The Organization Us, a cultural and social change organization, so named to stress the communitarian focus of the organization. Dr. Karenga has had a profound and far-reaching effect on Black intellectual and political culture. Through his organization Us and his philosophy, Kawaida, he has played a vanguard role in shaping the Black Arts Movement, Black Studies, the Black Power Movement, Black Student Union Movement, Afrocentri­city, rites of passage programs, the study of ancient Egyptian culture as an essential part of Black Studies, the independent Black school movement, African life-cycle ceremonies, the Simba Wachanga youth movement, and Black theological and ethical discourse.

Dr. Karenga is also widely known as the creator of Kwanzaa, an African American and Pan-African holiday celebrated throughout the world African community on every continent in the world. He is the author of the authoritative book on the subject: Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community and Culture and lectures regularly and extensively on the vision and values of Kwanzaa, especially the Nguzo Saba (The Seven Principles), in various national and international venues.

Dr. Karenga has also played a key role in national united front efforts, serving on the founding and executive committee of the Black Power Conferences of the 60's, the National Black United Front, the National African American Leadership Summit, the Black Leadership Retreat, the National Association of Kawaida Organizations (NAKO) and on the national organizing committee of the Million Man March/Day of Absence as well as authored the Mission Statement for this joint project.

Dr. Karenga is author of numerous scholarly articles and books, including: Introduction to Black Studies, the most widely used intro text in Black Studies; Selections From The Husia: Sacred Wisdom of Ancient Egypt; The Book of Coming Forth By Day: The Ethics of the Declarations of Innocence;Kawaida: A Communitarian African Philosophy; and a translation and ethical commentary on the classical Yoruba text titled, Odu Ifa: The Ethical Teachings. His most recent publication is Maat, The Moral Ideal in Ancient Egypt: A Study in Classical African Ethics from Routledge Press. An activist-scholar of national and international recognition, he has lectured on the life and struggle of African peoples on the major campuses of the U.S.A. and in Senegal, Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa, the People's Republic of China, Cuba, Trinidad, Britain and Canada.

He also served as chairman of the African American delegation to the Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture, Lagos, Nigeria, 1977; the spokesman for a delegation of African American Educators of Independent Schools to the People’s Republic of China; 1977; member of the Planning Committee for the Pan-African Festival of Arts and Culture, Dakar, Senegal, 1986; chairman of the delegation of educators/activists of the Organization Us to Cuba, 1986; co-planner and co-convener of the Annual Ancient Egyptian Studies Conference of the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations, Cairo, Egypt, 1987; Inaugural Lecturer for the initiation of Black History Month, London, England, 1987, Honorary Doctorate Recipient and Commencement Speaker, University of Durban-Westville, South Africa, 1998 and Official Guest and Lecturer, 160 th Anniversary of Emancipation, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, 1998.

Moreover, he is the recipient of numerous awards for scholar­ship, leadership and community service including: the National Leadership Award for Outstanding Scholarly Achievements in Black Studies from the National Council for Black Studies; the Diop Exemplary Leadership Award from the Department of African American Studies-Temple University; the Richard Allen Living Legend Award from the African Methodist Episcopal Church; the Pioneer Award from the Rainbow PUSH Coalition and Citizenship Education Fund; the Executive Committee Award for a Lifetime of Achievements, Department of Africology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; the Outstanding Humanitarian Award, the Nigerian Community of Southern California and Associated Groups; the C.L.R. James Award for Outstanding Publication of Scholarly Works that Advance the Discipline of Africana and Black Studies, the National Council for Black Studies; and the Distinguished Africanist Award, the New York African Studies Association.

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