Self-Determination/Kujichagulia: Second Day of Kwanzaa

December 26, 2012

HAPPY KWANZAA

A Celebration of Family, Community, and Culture

The Kujichagulia Principle:: ‚ÄúCommitment, duty, and responsibility to speak and act in the interest of African Americans and the human good.‚ÄĚ

Kujichagulia Theme: Dignity and Respect

Today is the second day of Kwanzaa. Family (and friends) come together to celebrate the Self-Determination principle. At the core of the self-determination principle is history and culture, i.e., African American’s contribution and special place in the world, which is indelibly linked to their collective dignity and respect.  This principle makes clear that African Americans have a duty and responsibility to know and their history and culture. The Harlem Renaissance is a powerful illustration of the Kujichagulia Principle.

The Harlem Renaissance Creating National Culture

We create and recreate ourselves as a people through our national or classic culture. This is the way the world knows and respects us as a people, who have and are contributing to the vast reservoir of human knowledge. The Harlem Renaissance illustrates the principle and practice of self-determination. Nathan Irvin Huggins writes the Harlem Renaissance movement was the birth of African Americans as a people.

It is a rare and intriguing moment when a people decide that they are the instruments of history-making and race-building. It is common enough to think of oneself as part of some larger meaning in the sweep of history, a part of some grand design. But to presume to be an actor and creator in the special occurrence of a people’s birth (or rebirth) requires a singular self-consciousness. In the opening decades of the twentieth century, down into the first years of he Great Depression, black intellectuals in Harlem had just such a self-concept.

Thus, today we want to reaffirm and celebrate our collective identity as a free, proud, productive people by emulating the artist and leaders of this defining movement, a cultural movement which gave America its popular and classic music and enriched and expanded the cultural production in America.

Ingathering Activity: Today we come together as family (and friends) to talk about the principle Kujichagulia and how we have observed this principle in practice throughout the year. As with the principle Umoja, the practice of Kujichagulia begins in the home-how much African (American) art, music, literature do have in our homes, and how often do we talk about black history. For as the Father of Black History, Carter G Woodson taught us, ‚ÄúThose who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history.‚ÄĚ Woodson goes on to say, ‚ÄúThe mere imparting of information is not education. Above all things, the effort must result in making a man think and do for himself.‚ÄĚ

Remembrance Activity: Like Umoja Day, families may in various ways raise the names of love ones who have passed on.  In speaking their names and talking about their deeds, service, and accomplishment, we evoke their spiritual presence and ensure that they will live on forever.

Libation: Optional

Candle Lighting Activity: On the second day of Kwanzaa the family lights the red candle. This candle is symbolic of struggle- continuous effort and work. The placement and order of the Kwanzaa candles teach and reinforce valuable lessons for the family. The lesson here is that we light the red candle to reinforce the value and priority we place struggle as the method for creating progress.

Assessment and Commitment: Family members take inventory and discuss what efforts they have made toward keeping their Kujichagulia commitment and recommit themselves to the practice of this principle in 2013.

Kwanzaa Journal (Optional): Record you Kujichagulia commitment in your journal

Karamu (Feast) and Celebration: Enjoy yourself and the delicious food; this is time for celebrate the joy of living, love among family and friends and the achievement of which have been attained throughout the year.

Note: Gifts may be given on any of the seven days of Kwanzaa.

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