This Day in Black History: Dec. 26, 1966

On Dec. 26, 1966, the first Kwanzaa was celebrated by creator Dr. Maulana Karenga.

Karenga is a professor and chair of Africana Studies at California State University, Long Beach. He created the holiday to preserve, continually revitalize and promote African-American culture.

Kwanzaa is a week-long African-American holiday that runs from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1 and combines different aspects of “first fruits” celebrations from the Ashanti and Zulu cultures. The holiday is based on seven principles (nguzo saba) of unity (umoja), self-determination (kujichagulia), collective work and responsibility (ujima), cooperative economics (ujamaa), purpose (nia), creativity (kuumba) and faith (imani). The principles correspond to each day of the holiday, and families observe and interact according to each day’s theme.

Kwanzaa is the only distinct African-American holiday.  For more information on Kwanzaa, visit

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