African American


Heri za Kwanzaa (Happy Kwanzaa) from the African American Gallery
 Exhibit Opening Sun.,Nov. 16 and through Sun., Dec. 21
 
Kwanzaa is an African American and Pan-African holiday which celebrates family, community and culture.  Kwanzaa means "first fruits" in Swahili, a Pan-African language that is a most widely spoken African language. Kwanzaa was established in 1966 during the Black Freedom Movement to serve three functions: restoring rootedness in African culture, communal celebration to reaffirm bonds between African Americans and Africans in the world community and reinforces seven basic values of African culture- Unity, Self-determination, Collective Work and Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, Purpose, Creativity, and Faith.

See the beautiful clothed and matted table in this gallery and candle holder with seven candles representing the Seven Principles. Crops and ears of corn are placed on this table as well. The corn represents the children of the family. A Unity cup is also present to represent pouring libation to remember and honor ancestors. Visitors will also see African art objects and books symbolizing commitment to heritage and learning.Kwanzaa gifts are mainly for children and include a book and heritage symbol.

Celebrating Kwanzaa is a cultural choice, not a religious one, and can be celebrated in addition to the religious holiday. The religious holiday of Christmas is reflected in the display of nativity figures and the Christmas tree in this African American Gallery.