The founder of Kwanzaa is a deranged criminal named Ronald
Everett, alias Ron Karenga. In the mid-1960s, Everett created a Los
Angeles-based black militant group called United Slaves (US) for the purpose of igniting a "cultural revolution" among American blacks.
Bill Clinton was the first U.S. president to extend official recognition to the so-called holiday of "Kwanzaa," a seven-day annual "African"
festival that runs from December 26th to New Year’s Day. Mr. Clinton has described Kwanzaa as "a vibrant celebration of African culture" that
"transcends international boundaries … link[ing] diverse individuals in a unique celebration of a dynamic heritage." In fact, Kwanzaa is a
product of violent black separatism, and Dr. Karenga states that he created it at the height of the black liberation movement as part of a
"re-Africanization" process – "a going back to black."
Karenga created Kwanzaa (named after a Swahili term for "first fruits") as a way of evangelizing on behalf of his revolution. In his
book Kwanzaa: Origins, Concepts, Practice, "Karenga" claims that the spurious holiday offers blacks "an opportunity to celebrate themselves
and history rather than simply imitate the practice of the dominant society." He dropped the Everett name, adopted the Swahili one, which
means "master teacher," shaved his head, and began wearing traditional African clothing.
"Karenga’s" so-called Nguzo Saba (seven principles) for his "new black value system" are little more than Marxism transposed into an
afrocentric key: Umoja (unity); Kujichagulia (self-determination), which, according to "Karenga," refers to afrocentricity; Ujima (collective work
and responsibility); Ujamaa (cooperative economics), which "Karenga" describes as "essentially a commitment to the practice of shared
social wealth"; Nia (purpose), which refers to "collective vocation" for black people; Kuumba (creativity); and Imani (faith). However, in "The
Quotable Karenga", a book that laid out "The Path of Blackness," the sevenfold path is described simply as, "think black, talk black, act
black, create black, buy black, vote black, and live black."
To provide a tangible symbol of his seven principles, "Karenga" took the menorah from Judaism, adorning it in Kwanzaa’s seasonal colors
(red, black, and green) and re-naming it the "kinara." No Kwanzaa celebration is complete without the recitation of the Kwanzaa pledge: "We
pledge allegiance to the red, black, and green, our flag, the symbol of our eternal struggle, and to the land we must obtain; one nation of
black people, with one God of us all, totally united in the struggle, for black love, black freedom, and black self-determination."
"Karenga" and his black nationalist holiday have been eagerly embraced by the apostles of multiculturalism and tolerance. In his presidential
messages commemorating Kwanzaa, Bill Clinton has stated that "Karenga’s" seven principles "ring true not only for African Americans, but
also for all Americans … bring[ing] new purpose to our daily lives." In recent years the mainstreaming of Kwanzaa has proceeded at an
astonishing pace. The U.S. Postal Service issued a commemorative stamp in 1997, and the Smithsonian Institution sponsors an annual
celebration. There is even an article in the World Book Encyclopedia that legitimized Dr. Karenga as a "black cultural leader." He wrote the
On several occasions, factional quarrels between "Karenga’s" US organization and the Black Panthers erupted into open gunplay, which
resulted in the death of several people. US members, similarly attired, often clashed with other black militant groups such as the Black
Panthers. The fighting was about which group would control the new Afro-American Studies Center at UCLA.
In 1970, "Karenga" and two of his followers were arrested and charged with conspiracy and assault in the torture of Deborah Jones and Gail
Davis, two of his female followers. Believing that the women had tried to poison him, "Karenga" forced the women to disrobe at gunpoint and
had them beaten. "Vietnamese torture is nothing compared to what I know," he informed his victims, whereupon he forced a hot soldering
iron into the mouth of one while the other had a toe squeezed in a vice. Both women were also forced to consume detergent and a caustic
liquid as part of their "discipline."
According to the July 27, 1971 Los Angeles Times, a psychological profile of "Karenga" described him "as a danger to society who is in need
of prolonged custodial treatment in prison." The profile noted that "Karenga," while legally sane, was "confused and not in contact with
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. 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. Reporter Paul Mulshine
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 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,
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."
Neither his criminal record nor his insuperable difficulties with reality has impeded "Karenga’s" career prospects, however: He is presently
professor and chair of the department of Black Studies at California State University-Long Beach.
No one remembers the part about "re-Africanization" or the sevenfold path of blackness that Dr. Karenga once espoused. Hardly anyone
remembers the shootings, the beatings,the tortures and the prison terms that were once the center of his life. It's just not PC to bring that
sort of stuff up now that Kwanzaa is commercialized and making big bucks.
Dr. Karenga does his part to promote the holiday and forget the past. In December, he goes on his annual "Kwanzaa circuit" of speeches and