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Kwanzaa Celebrates First Fruits

Dec. 8- Nearly 100 guests celebrated family, community and culture during an event to draw attention to the principles of Kwanzaa, an African-American celebration with a focus on the traditional African values of family, community, responsibility, commerce, and self-improvement.

The audience joined in "Libation," an act of pouring a liquid ceremonially in honor and remembrance of, in this case, the ancestors and freedom-fighters of African-Americans. After the ceremony, the audience enjoyed a Southern dinner, relished by conversation pertaining to the anticipated lecture from the night's prestigious speaker, Dr. Eddie Glaude.

Dr. Eddie Glaude, an Associate Professor of Religion and African American Studies at Princeton University, cut to the chase in his introduction in simply saying, "I'm here to shake you." He charged the audience to view Africa "as a resource, not a reference," and when on to question, "What does it mean to celebrate Kwanzaa in its commodity form?" Many of his assertions and questions left the audience stunned, yet thirsty for more knowledge and enlightened. "[We are to] form an image of ourselves to which the future ought to correspond," a challenge he made to the audience to take the initiative in affecting change.

Kwanzaa is a reaffirmation of African-American people, their ancestors and culture. Kwanzaa, which means "first fruits of the harvest" in the African language Kiswahili, was founded in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga. Kwanzaa is based on the Nguzo Saba (seven guiding principles), one for each day of the observance, and is celebrated from December 26th to January 1st.

Dr. Eddie Glaude is the Associate Professor of Religion and African American Studies at Princeton University. Dr. Glaude is a graduate of Morehouse College and later received his master's degrees in African American studies from Temple University, and in religion from Princeton University. He earned his doctorate in religion from Princeton University. With areas of specialization in the history of African-Americans, religion, and American pragmatism, Dr. Glaude is the author of Exodus! Religion, Race, and Nation in Early 19th Century Black American (2000).

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