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Happy Kwanzaa
FrontPage Magazine ^ | December 24, 1999 | Paul Mulshine

Posted on 01/01/2002 2:30:50 PM PST by Spiff


Happy Kwanzaa

by Paul Mulshine | December 24, 1999
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ON DECEMBER 24, 1971, the New York Times ran one of the first of many articles on a new holiday designed to foster unity among African Americans. The holiday, called Kwanzaa, was applauded by a certain sixteen-year-old minister who explained that the feast would perform the valuable service of "de-whitizing" Christmas. The minister was a nobody at the time but he would later go on to become perhaps the premier race-baiter of the twentieth century. His name was Al Sharpton and he would later spawn the Tawana Brawley hoax and then incite anti-Jewish tensions in a 1995 incident that ended with the arson deaths of seven people.

Great minds think alike. The inventor of the holiday was one of the few black "leaders" in America even worse than Sharpton. But there was no mention in the Times article of this man or of the fact that at that very moment he was sitting in a California prison. And there was no mention of the curious fact that this purported benefactor of the black people had founded an organization that in its short history tortured and murdered blacks in ways of which the Ku Klux Klan could only fantasize.

It was in newspaper articles like that, repeated in papers all over the country, that the tradition of Kwanzaa began. It is a tradition not out of Africa but out of Orwell. Both history and language have been bent to serve a political goal. When that New York Times article appeared, Ron Karenga's crimes were still recent events. If the reporter had bothered to do any research into the background of the Kwanzaa founder, he might have learned about Karenga's trial earlier that year on charges of torturing two women who were members of US (United Slaves), a black nationalist cult he had founded.

A May 14, 1971, article in the Los Angeles Times described the testimony of one of them: "Deborah Jones, who once was given the Swahili title of an African queen, said she and Gail Davis were whipped with an electrical cord and beaten with a karate baton after being ordered to remove their clothes. She testified that a hot soldering iron was placed in Miss Davis' mouth and placed against Miss Davis' face and that one of her own big toes was tightened in a vise. Karenga, head of US, also put detergent and running hoses in their mouths, she said."

Back then, it was relatively easy to get information on the trial. Now it's almost impossible. It took me two days' work to find articles about it. The Los Angeles Times seems to have been the only major newspaper that reported it and the stories were buried deep in the paper, which now is available only on microfilm. And the microfilm index doesn't start until 1972, so it is almost impossible to find the three small articles that cover Karenga's trial and conviction on charges of torture. That is fortunate for Karenga. The trial showed him to be not just brutal, but deranged. He and three members of his cult had tortured the women in an attempt to find some nonexistent "crystals" of poison. Karenga thought his enemies were out to get him.

And in another lucky break for Karenga, the trial transcript no longer exists. I filed a request for it with the Superior Court of Los Angeles. After a search, the court clerk could find no record of the trial. So the exact words of the black woman who had a hot soldering iron pressed against her face by the man who founded Kwanzaa are now lost to history. The only document the court clerk did find was particularly revealing, however. It was a transcript of Karenga's sentencing hearing on Sept. 17, 1971.

A key issue was whether Karenga was sane. Judge Arthur L. Alarcon read from a psychiatrist's report: "Since his admission here he has been isolated and has been exhibiting bizarre behavior, such as staring at the wall, talking to imaginary persons, claiming that he was attacked by dive-bombers and that his attorney was in the next cell. … During part of the interview he would look around as if reacting to hallucination and when the examiner walked away for a moment he began a conversation with a blanket located on his bed, stating that there was someone there and implying indirectly that the 'someone' was a woman imprisoned with him for some offense. This man now presents a picture which can be considered both paranoid and schizophrenic with hallucinations and elusions, inappropriate affect, disorganization, and impaired contact with the environment."

The founder of Kwanzaa paranoid? It seems so. But as the old saying goes, just because you're paranoid it doesn't mean that someone isn't out to get you.


ACCORDING TO COURT DOCUMENTS, Karenga's real name is Ron N. Everett. In the '60s, he awarded himself the title "maulana," Swahili for "master teacher." He was born on a poultry farm in Maryland, the fourteenth child of a Baptist minister. He came to California in the late 1950s to attend Los Angeles Community College. He moved on to UCLA, where he got a Master's degree in political science and African Studies. By the mid-1960s, he had established himself as a leading "cultural nationalist." That is a term that had some meaning in the '60s, mainly as a way of distinguishing Karenga's followers from the Black Panthers, who were conventional Marxists.

Another way of distinguishing might be to think of Karenga's gang as the Crips and the Panthers as the bloods. Despite all their rhetoric about white people, they reserved their most vicious violence for each other. In 1969, the two groups squared off over the question of who would control the new Afro-American Studies Center at UCLA. According to a Los Angeles Times article, Karenga and his adherents backed one candidate, the Panthers another. Both groups took to carrying guns on campus, a situation that, remarkably, did not seem to bother the university administration. The Black Student Union, however, set up a coalition to try and bring peace between the Panthers and the group headed by the man whom the Times labeled "Ron Ndabezitha Everett-Karenga."

On Jan. 17, 1969, about 150 students gathered in a lunchroom to discuss the situation. Two Panthers—admitted to UCLA like many of the black students as part of a federal program that put high-school dropouts into the school—apparently spent a good part of the meeting in verbal attacks against Karenga. This did not sit well with Karenga's followers, many of whom had adopted the look of their leader, pseudo-African clothing and a shaved head.

In modern gang parlance, you might say Karenga was "dissed" by John Jerome Huggins, 23, and Alprentice "Bunchy" Carter, 26. After the meeting, the two Panthers were met in the hallway by two brothers who were members of US, George P. and Larry Joseph Stiner. The Stiners pulled pistols and shot the two Panthers dead. One of the Stiners took a bullet in the shoulder, apparently from a Panther's gun.

There were other beatings and shooting in Los Angeles involving US, but by then the tradition of African nationalism had already taken hold—among whites. That tradition calls for any white person, whether a journalist, a college official, or a politician, to ignore the obvious flaws of the concept that blacks should have a separate culture. "The students here have handled themselves in an absolutely impeccable manner," UCLA chancellor Charles E. Young told the L.A. Times. "They have been concerned. They haven't argued who the director should be; they have been saying what kind of person he should be." Young made those remarks after the shooting. And the university went ahead with its Afro-American Studies Program. Karenga, meanwhile, continued to build and strengthen US, a unique group that seems to have combined the elements of a street gang with those of a California cult. The members performed assaults and robberies but they also strictly followed the rules laid down in The Quotable Karenga, a book that laid out "The Path of Blackness." "The sevenfold path of blackness is think black, talk black, act black, create black, buy black, vote black, and live black," the book states.

In retrospect, it may be fortunate that the cult fell apart over the torture charges. Left to his own devices, Karenga might have orchestrated the type of mass suicide later pioneered by the People's Temple and copied by the Heaven's Gate cult. Instead, he apparently fell into deep paranoia shortly after the killings at UCLA. He began fearing that his followers were trying to have him killed. On May 9, 1970 he initiated the torture session that led to his imprisonment. Karenga himself will not comment on that incident and the victims cannot be located, so the sole remaining account is in the brief passage from the L.A. Times describing tortures inflicted by Karenga and his fellow defendants, Louis Smith and Luz Maria Tamayo:

"The victims said they were living at Karenga's home when Karenga accused them of trying to kill him by placing 'crystals' in his food and water and in various areas of his house. When they denied it, allegedly they were beaten with an electrical cord and a hot soldering iron was put in Miss Davis' mouth and against her face. Police were told that one of Miss Jones' toes was placed in a small vise which then allegedly was tightened by one of the defendants. The following day Karenga allegedly told the women that 'Vietnamese torture is nothing compared to what I know.' Miss Tamayo reportedly put detergent in their mouths, Smith turned a water hose full force on their faces, and Karenga, holding a gun, threatened to shoot both of them."

Karenga was convicted of two counts of felonious assault and one count of false imprisonment. He was sentenced on Sept. 17, 1971, to serve one to ten years in prison. A brief account of the sentencing ran in several newspapers the following day. That was apparently the last newspaper article to mention Karenga's unfortunate habit of doing unspeakable things to black people. After that, the only coverage came from the hundreds of news accounts that depict him as the wonderful man who invented Kwanzaa.


LOOK AT ANY MAP OF THE WORLD and you will see that Ghana and Kenya are on opposite sides of the continent. This brings up an obvious question about Kwanzaa: Why did Karenga use Swahili words for his fictional African feast? American blacks are primarily descended from people who came from Ghana and other parts of West Africa. Kenya and Tanzania—where Swahili is spoken—are several thousand miles away, about as far from Ghana as Los Angeles is from New York. Yet in celebrating Kwanzaa, African-Americans are supposed to employ a vocabulary of such Swahili words as "kujichagulia" and "kuumba." This makes about as much sense as having Irish-Americans celebrate St. Patrick's Day by speaking Polish. One possible explanation is that Karenga was simply ignorant of African geography and history when he came up with Kwanzaa in 1966. That might explain why he would schedule a harvest festival near the solstice, a season when few fruits or vegetables are harvested anywhere. But a better explanation is that he simply has contempt for black people.

That does not seem a farfetched hypothesis. Despite all his rhetoric about white racism, I could find no record that he or his followers ever raised a hand in anger against a white person. In fact, Karenga had an excellent relationship with Los Angeles Mayor Sam Yorty in the '60s and also met with then-Governor Ronald Reagan and other white politicians. But he and his gang were hell on blacks. And Karenga certainly seems to have had a low opinion of his fellow African-Americans. "People think it's African, but it's not," he said about his holiday in an interview quoted in the Washington Post. "I came up with Kwanzaa because black people in this country wouldn't celebrate it if they knew it was American. Also, I put it around Christmas because I knew that's when a lot of bloods would be partying." "Bloods" is a '60s California slang term for black people.

That Post article appeared in 1978. Like other news articles from that era, it makes no mention of Karenga's criminal past, which seems to have been forgotten the minute he got out of prison in 1975. Profiting from the absence of memory, he remade himself as Maulana Ron Karenga, went into academics, and by 1979 he was running the Black Studies Department at California State University in Long Beach.

This raises a question: Karenga had just ten years earlier proven himself capable of employing guns and bullets in his efforts to control hiring in the Black Studies Department at UCLA. So how did this ex-con, fresh out jail, get the job at Long Beach? Did he just send a résumé and wait by the phone? The officials at Long Beach State don't like that type of question. I called the university and got a spokeswoman by the name of Toni Barone. She listened to my questions and put me on hold. Christmas music was playing, a nice touch under the circumstances. She told me to fax her my questions. I sent a list of questions that included the matter of whether Karenga had employed threats to get his job. I also asked just what sort of crimes would preclude a person from serving on the faculty there in Long Beach. And whether the university takes any security measures to ensure that Karenga doesn't shoot any students. Barone faxed me back a reply stating that the university is pleased with Karenga's performance and has no record of the procedures that led to his hiring. She ignored the question about how they protect students.

Actually, there is clear evidence that Karenga has reformed. In 1975, he dropped his cultural nationalist views and converted to Marxism. For anyone else, this would have been seen as an endorsement of radicalism, but for Karenga it was considered a sign that he had moderated his outlook. The ultimate irony is that now that Karenga is a Marxist, the capitalists have taken over his holiday. The seven principles of Kwanzaa include "collective work" and "cooperative economics," but Kwanzaa is turning out to be as commercial as Christmas, generating millions in greeting-card sales alone. The purists are whining. "It's clear that a number of major corporations have started to take notice and try to profit from Kwanzaa," said a San Francisco State black studies professor named "Oba T'Shaka" in one news account. "That's not good, with money comes corruption." No, he's wrong. With money comes kitsch. The L.A. Times reported a group was planning an "African Village Faire," the pseudo-archaic spelling of "faire" nicely combining kitsch Africana with kitsch Americana.

With money also comes forgetfulness. As those warm Kwanzaa feelings are generated in a spirit of holiday cheer, those who celebrate this holiday do so in blissful ignorance of the sordid violence, paranoia, and mayhem that helped generate its birth some three decades ago in a section of America that has vanished down the memory hole.


© 1999


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial

1 posted on 01/01/2002 2:30:52 PM PST by Spiff
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To: Spiff
And now I'll post my updated KounterKwanzaa Link List...Well, at least part of it. FR today has been burping on posts over a certain, relatively small size. So, I've got to cut it in half and make two posts.

Kwanzaa Links

We Wish You A Phony Festival - Report (Canadian Magazine)

So This Is Kwanzaa -

Ann Coulter on Kwanzaa - TownHall.Com

Mona Charen on Kwanzaa - Jewish World Review

Tony Snow on Kwanzaa - Jewish World Review

The TRUE Spirit of Kwanzaa - The New American magazine

The Story of Kwanzaa - The Dartmouth Review

The Truth About Kwanzaa - A Christian Viewpoint

A Momentary Loss of Reason - Binghamton Review

Kwanzaa & The White House - NY Post Editorial, 1997 ( thread)

Michael Savage on Kwanzaa - NewsMax

Happy Kwanzaa - FrontPage Magazine - Link may not work, if it doesn't click here for the Free Republic thread.

I'm Dreaming of a White Kwanzaa - - Link may not work, if it doesn't click here for the Free Republic thread.

Letter to Editor - Ypsilanti Courier

What is Kwanzaa? - File Passed Around On Internet About Kwanzaa

Happy Kwanzaa by Patrick S. Poole

2 posted on 01/01/2002 2:42:03 PM PST by Spiff
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To: Spiff
The rest of the KounterKwanzaa Link List:

Ron Everett (aka. Maulana Karenga) / US Links

The Black Panthers and the Police: A Pattern of Genocide? - NEW YORKER MAGAZINE - February 13, 1971 (Includes great detail of the murders committed by Karenga's thugs)

PBS Interview with black radical Ron Everett (aka Maulana Karenga) - the guy that invented Kwanzaa 5 years before being sent to prison for torturing two young women

Ron Karenga - Dialog from the Black Radical Congress - December 1999

US, the organization the Ron Everett founded in 1965, the organization that murdered 5 members of the rival Black Panther Party is back Their website is here.

Graphic used on Official Kwanzaa Website for the Nguzo Saba (The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa)
Graphic used on Official US Website (US is Karenga's Gang that Murdered Members and Leaders of Rival Gangs) as their logo

The two members of the US gang who murdered the two Panthers after they dissed Karenga at a Black Studies meeting on the UCLA campus were Larry and George Stiner. Both were convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. They escaped in 1974. Larry turned himself in to the FBI in 1994, but George Stiner is still at large. He is on California's 10 Most Wanted list which can be found here. There is also and International Crime Alert on this fugitive who is considered armed and extremely dangerous here.

Afrocentrism Links

Clarence Walker Encourages Black Americans to Discard Afrocentrism

Pride & Prejudice by Dinesh D'Souza, Vol. 6, American Enterprise, 09-01-1995, pp 51 (Google Cached Version)

Fighting Fiction With Fact by Mary Lefkowitz (Google Cached Version)

Fallacies of Afrocentrism - Grover Furr

The Skeptics Dictionary - Afrocentrism

TEACHING REVERSE RACISM A strange doctrine of black superiority is finding its way into schools and colleges

The Skeptics Dictionary Review of Mary Lefkowitz' Book "Not Out Of Africa"

Review of Mary Lefkowitz' Books on Afrocentrism Myth "Not Out Of Africa" and "Black Athena Revisited"

The Trap of Ethnic Identity - New York Times - Jan 1997

AFROCENTRISM The Argument We're Really Having

3 posted on 01/01/2002 2:43:02 PM PST by Spiff
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To: Spiff
4 posted on 01/01/2002 2:43:11 PM PST by Bogey78O
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To: Spiff
I prefer to celebrate Festivus. It has a much deeper and culturally significant history.
5 posted on 01/01/2002 2:44:01 PM PST by Bogey78O
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To: Spiff
Happy Kwanzaa

Thanks, but no thanks.

6 posted on 01/01/2002 2:51:27 PM PST by Valin
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To: Spiff
You've worked hard. I wonder what drives you. Is it really just love of the truth?
7 posted on 01/01/2002 3:02:01 PM PST by withteeth
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To: Spiff
zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzz zzz who cares
8 posted on 01/01/2002 3:11:14 PM PST by KQQL
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To: withteeth
Exposing BS is not enough of a driver for you?
9 posted on 01/01/2002 3:13:27 PM PST by Pharmboy
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To: Spiff
Wouldn't 'sprize me if this bunch is directly tied in some way to their terrorist Muzzzzlum brethren.

Just thinking out proof of course ;-)

10 posted on 01/01/2002 3:16:32 PM PST by evad
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Comment #11 Removed by Moderator

To: Spiff
Kwanzza - A celebration created by discontent blacks who have never been to Africa trying to spiff up a culture now permeated by filthy rap music, a celebration of criminal behavior, drugs and gratuitous sex.

Oh ya I forgot, we are stronger by our diversity.

12 posted on 01/01/2002 3:39:44 PM PST by ASTM366
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To: Spiff

mr "soul on ice" cleaver; went back to africa; n found out; it wasn't home....
13 posted on 01/01/2002 3:59:11 PM PST by hoot2
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To: Spiff
Thanks for reminding me about Ron Karenga.

Gawd, it all seems a long time ago.;^)

14 posted on 01/01/2002 4:06:34 PM PST by headsonpikes
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To: evad
Yo! Dude, why you be playa-hate'n? Sup wi dat, huh? Che'kis ou - you be trippin w'du dissin, I be dancin on yo hed - word!
15 posted on 01/01/2002 4:24:00 PM PST by Sgt_Schultze
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To: sixtycyclehum
Yes, but one of the other points that was not made in any of the posts, is that the supposed "ten tenets of Kwanzaa", are in fact not swahili in origin, they are in fact taken directly from the tenets of the Symbionese Liberation Army.

I have to correct you here. It's the 7 principles of Kwanzaa (the Nguzo Saba), they never were Swahili in origin (though the Kwanziites like to use Swahili for each), and the Symbionese Liberation Army came around years after Karenga and his US gang invented Kwanzaa.

However, it is still fact that US, Karenga, and the Kwanziites even today share the same 7 principles as the terrorist Symbionese Liberation Army.

16 posted on 01/01/2002 4:53:00 PM PST by Spiff
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To: Sgt_Schultze
go dog
17 posted on 01/01/2002 5:26:09 PM PST by evad
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To: Bogey78O
Happy Festivus.Hilarious episode.
18 posted on 01/01/2002 5:37:08 PM PST by Patrick
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To: Spiff
Why not celebrate Kwanzaa on the First of April? That would have lot of public backing.
19 posted on 01/01/2002 5:42:01 PM PST by Eternal_Bear
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To: Sgt_Schultze
Oh my gosh! Are you making fun of the African American gutter "language"?

It took years of cultural development for this "language" evolve under the repressive boot of the white race.

You must be racist white man.

20 posted on 01/02/2002 1:29:28 PM PST by ASTM366
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