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Many Kwanzaa revelers choose to overlook founder’s criminal past


Today marks the first day of Kwanzaa, the weeklong holiday invented in 1966 by Dr. Ronald Everett, aka Maulana Karenga. While relatively few people celebrate Kwanzaa, many of those who are celebrating are likely not considering the history of its founder.

He gave us a great gift. He’s a hero. “@zoeblaq: @liberatedking @tomjburrell Ron Karenga created Kwanzaa in 1966. He was a family friend.”

— GC (@Liberatedking) December 26, 2012

Today is the first day of Kwanzaa. I am thankful to Maulana Karenga for this holiday.

— Chi Chi LeRue  (@MadameLerue) December 26, 2012

Thank Dr. Maulana Karenga in your prayers.. If it weren’t for him, #KWANZAA wouldn’t exist. #thankful

— Chris (@ChrisAdams_15) December 26, 2012

But what kind of man was he?

Karenga has a long criminal record. In 1971, for instance, Everett served time in jail for assault. By then Everett had changed his name to Maulana Ron Karenga and began to affect a pseudo African costume and act the part of a native African — even though he had been born in the USA.

It wasn’t mere assault Karenga was convicted of, either. It was the sexual assault and even torture that he perpetrated against some of his own female followers. At the time, The L.A. Times reported that he placed a hot soldering iron in one woman’s mouth and used a vise to crush another’s toe, of all things.

Maulana Karenga, the founder of Kwanzaa was convicted in 1971 of felonious assault and false imprisonment after torturing two females.

— Jeff Frederiksen (@JeffFrederiksen) December 24, 2012

Despite knowing about Karenga’s violent background, some people see nothing wrong with reveling in his legacy:

Why do we hate on Kwanzaa though?? (Your thoughts on Karenga aside.) It’s an entirely positive celebration.

— kolluminati (@kokupuff) December 26, 2012

i still think Karenga is suspect but i rock with the principles of Kwanzaa.

— stephen hicks (@stephenhicks) December 26, 2012

I absolutely LOVE the principles of Kwanzaa, but Karenga…don’t like the man at all. I will try to celebrate w/o thinking of the messenger.

— BSharise (@BShariseMoore) December 26, 2012

Can we take the good from Kwanzaa and celebrate it principles and not focus so much on the founder? Not nary soul is perfect. Nope not one.

— Nguzo Saba (@sugahoneynectar) December 26, 2012

I know that the person (Dr. Karenga) who created it had rape charges but that doesn’t deminish what this holiday represents #Kwanzaa

— Khalilah(@DollyDagger99) December 26, 2012

It doesn’t? Really?

“@novagiovanni: Happy Kwanzaa, gullible idiots. twitter.com/NovaGiovanni/s…” – this is why i say you have to detach Karenga from the concept.

— Barry Kelley (@barrykvs) December 26, 2012

It’s a bit difficult to detach a violent, misogynistic rapist from what his admirers view as his crowning achievement. Karenga does not deserve to be honored.

If you participate in #kwanzaa activites, fine. I have taken the boy. But don’t act like Karenga has always been a friend of our people.

— Ms. Brooks™ (@TheREAL_MBrooks) December 26, 2012

A rapist founder tho 🙁 RT @kim_tastiic: Kwanzaa is such a positive holiday, with no pagan roots either! 🙂 haha

— Thundercleese (@RARE_KING) December 26, 2012

Please…I love the principles of Kwanzaa, but Karenga was/is a POS. And I can say that with conviction.Whatever.

— BSharise (@BShariseMoore) December 26, 2012

Read more: http://twitchy.com/2012/12/26/many-kwanzaa-revelers-choose-to-overlook-founders-criminal-past/

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