Ujamaa/Cooperative Economic: Fourth Day of Kwanzaa

December 28, 2012

HAPPY KWANZAA

“A Celebration of Family, Community, and Culture”

Ujamaa/Cooperative Economic: “Commitment, duty, and obligation to promote and help build and maintain cooperative enterprises and initiatives the services of the family, neighborhood, and the human good.”

Ujamaa Theme: “Sharing and Caring”

Today is the fourth day of Kwanzaa. Family (and friends) come together to celebrate the Ujamaa principle. This principle is grounded in the unselfish concern for and devotion to the material well-being of others. To be sure, this principle sets in motion a “thick set of concentric circles of obligations and responsibilities evolving round levels of relationships radiating from the biological and extended family to the wider circumference of the neighborhood and others. In our own history, we have a compelling model of cooperative economic- Negro” Baseball Leagues. We would do well to study and emulate this model.

A Model of Cooperative Economics: “Negro” Baseball Leagues

During the period of American history known as “Jim Crow,” one of the most thriving institutions in black life was the Black Baseball Leagues. The leagues were among the largest black businesses in the United States. The roots of black baseball’s organizational structure coincided with the rise of mutual aid societies in the 1840s. Mutual aid societies were essential in conjunction with the church, in forming the nucleus for the modern black community.

What is fascinating and instructive about the formation of the “Negro Leagues” was that they had to operate their “established segregated enterprise within the fabric of a national economy. As Michael E. Lomax notes: Black baseball magnates utilized a business concept know as cooperative enterprises…From the outset, early black entrepreneurs recognized that any success in developing black businesses to some sense of stability could occur through economic cooperation. Thus, the consolidation of resources became a means to establish black enterprises.” To be sure, the Black Baseball Leagues serve as a compelling and instructive model of cooperative economics.

Ingathering Activity: Today we come together as family to talk about the principle Ujamaa and how we have observed this principle in practice throughout the year. Like the Ujima, Ujamaa is a multiplier principle in that it impacts and reinforces the other principles. The model for cooperative economic must begin in the family. That is to say, the value and commitment for sharing is created and cultivate in the home. Therefore, today we discuss ways of revenue sharing in the family. From the family we want to discuss the possibility of expanding to the larger community. We already have some forms of revenue sharing such as investment clubs. Employing the principle Ujamaa in the family unit and extended family is a small step toward addressing the economic well-being of African Americans.

Remembrance Activity: Family members 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 fourth 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 Ujamaa commitment and recommit themselves to the practice of this principle in 2013.

Kwanzaa Journal (Optional): Record you Ujamaa 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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