BY ALLEN A. BUCHANAN, Staff Writer
ST. PETERSBURG – Millions of those within the African community celebrated Kwanzaa from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1, and St. Pete was no different. There was food, decorations, cultural objects, African drumming and dancing. It was a time for communal self-affirmation.
In 1966, Maulana Karenga, an African-American professor of Africana studies, activist and author, created the pan-African holiday of Kwanzaa. The word Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase “matunda ya kwanza,” which means “first fruits” in Swahili, the most widely spoken African language.
Kwanzaa is a celebration with its roots in the Black Nationalist Movement of the 1960s. Karenga established it after the Watts Riots in Los Angeles to help African Americans reconnect with their African cultural and historical heritage by uniting in meditation and study of African traditions.