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Louisiana Museum Hosts Kwanzaa Celebration on Sunday

The Northeast Louisiana Delta African American Heritage Museum in Monroe will be hosting Kwanzaa centered events Sunday in celebration of the African-American holiday.

Museum executive director Lorraine Slacks told that it’s important to educate young African-Americans about their heritage in order to pass down this knowledge to future generations.

“It has an emphasis on the role of family and community in the African-American culture, and this should carry over in their everyday lives,” Slacks said.

Slacks commented that so often African-Americans are not able to honor their past.

“We seem to have lost sight of that in certain circles,” she said. “That’s what we aim to avoid here. We work very hard to have our students understand this about African-American culture and heritage. The things they were taught in the home years ago, it seems, we’ve lost some of that.”

Kwanzaa officially begins December 26th and goes until January 1st. Traditionally people who celebrate the holiday light a candle each day to represent one of the holiday’s principles, which are Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity) and Imani (faith).

Each principle has a Swahili name. The name Kwanzaa comes from the Swahili phrase, “matunda ya kwanza,” meaning “first fruits.”

Though Kwanzaa was first celebrated in Los Angeles in 1966, it roots date back to African harvest festivities called First Fruits Celebrations, which date as far back as ancient Egypt and Nubia.

Ceremonies often involve performances of music and discussions of African-American history.

The Northeast Louisiana Delta African American Heritage Museum’s Kwanzaa celebration will be held 2 p.m. Sunday and will include traditional African food and guest speakers and youth leaders from Bethel Baptist Church who will discuss the history of the holiday and African culture.


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