Keith Mayes-UMinnesota

Kwanzaa expert Keith Mayes

Photo courtesy of: University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

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Pre-Kwanzaa celebration is Nov. 2

University of Minnesota professor Keith Mayes is speaker

Kwanzaa specialist and author Keith A. Mayes is the featured speaker during a pre-Kwanzaa celebration at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 2, in the Baker University Center Theatre. A reception will follow the speech.

Mayes will deliver "A Holiday of Our Own: Kwanzaa, Cultural Nationalism and the Promotion of a Black Power Holiday."

Mayes, an assistant professor in the Department of African American and African Studies at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, specializes in African-American history, Kwanzaa and black holidays, and the Civil Rights and Black Power Movement.

The Princeton University graduate is the author of four publications pertaining to Kwanzaa and the Civil Rights Movement. He is the recipient of multiple awards including the President's Multicultural Research Award at the University of Minnesota and the Arthur "Red" Motley Exemplary Teaching Award.

Kwanzaa was created in 1966 out of the Black Power Movement and has since become a widely recognized black holiday practiced by almost three million African Americans.

Since 1990, Kwanzaa has been celebrated on the Ohio University campus. During the program, students will light the seven candles in the kinara signifying the seven principles of Kwanzaa: Unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith.

The event, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Programs and the Black Student Cultural Programming Board.