Sunday, December 30, 2012


On this 5th day of Kwanzaa we celebrate Nia, Purpose.  This day we focus on making our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

 Find out more about Kwanzaa:

The Kwanzaa candles and harvest
Symbols of Kwanzaa

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Ujamaa... Cooperative Economics

On today this fourth day of Kwanzaa, we celebrate Ujamaa, Cooperative Economics. We are encouraged to build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses, and to profit from them together.

In the spirit of Ujamaa, I wanted to highlight a few black owned small businesses that I personally patron across the country.

Virtual Leap
Trinita McCormick, Owner
Raleigh, North Carolina
Virtual Leap is a virtual administrative professional company where we give you the JUMP on the competition! What is one of the biggest obstacles to overcome in the day of a business owner? They need more time to get everything accomplished! Our primary goal at Virtual LEAP is to free up more TIME in the day of small business owners, entrepreneurs and busy individuals to focus on true revenue generating activity. How do we create more time? We create more time by performing the administrative tasks that while necessary to support the business, do not alone generate profit for the business owner.

The Cookie Lady's Bakery & Cafe
Necola Adams, Owner
Merced, California
Mrs. Adams is back, creating "COOKIES WITH AN ATTITUDE" as well as delicious lunch menu for dining in or carry out. You can even enjoy our most convenient free delivery service. MRS ADAMS has tried her recipes from MERCED to HOLLYWOOD, serving gourmet & deli delights to family, friends and to the STARS!!

Divine Creations Hair Designs

Kay Owens, CEO and Expert Stylist
Kesalynn Wiley, CFO
Tira Merrick (not the owner but my favorite stylist in the salon:) )
Divine Creations Hair Designs…the dream of two sisters, who turned their vision into reality.
Fifty years ago their grandmother, Lady Eloise, worked hard to open her first salon called Reed's Beauty Salon. It didn't take long for hair to become second nature to eldest sister, Kay, who spent her days growing up in the salon and attained a passion for it. Ten years later, Kay struck out on her own, knowing her younger sister shared the dream of running her own business and had a vision for success. With Kay's experience as an expert stylist and Kesalynn's (Kesa) education as a Finance major, the siblings collaborated and opened Divine Creations Hair Designs. Their goal was to offer unique services, otherwise lacking in other salons and open 7 Days a Week.  Together with each other's expertise, they generated a formula for success. Today, Divine Creations is a viable business ran and managed by Kay Owens, Expert Stylist & CEO and Kesalynn Wiley, middle sister & CFO. Thus, from the hard work of a grandmother, to the dream of sisters, through more hard work and prayer…they turned their vision into reality.

The Kwanzaa candles and harvest
Symbols of Kwanzaa
Find out more about Kwanzaa:

Friday, December 28, 2012

Ujima...Collective Work and Responsibility

Today, on the third day of Kwanzaa, reflect on Ujima.

Ujima, pronounced "oo-GEE-mah" means Collective Work and Responsibility where we are encouraged to build and maintain our community together and make our brother's and sister's problems our problems and to solve them together.  This day reminds us of our obligation to the past, present and future, and that we have a role to play in the community, society, and world.

The Kwanzaa candles and harvest
Symbols of Kwanzaa

In the Symbols of Kwanzaa picture to the left, the crops are the Mazao which are symbolic of African harvest celebrations and of the rewards of productive and collective labor.

Find out more about Kwanzaa:

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Kugichagula....Day of Self-Determination

The Kwanzaa candles and harvest
Symbols of Kwanzaa
Today is the second day of Kwanzaa where we focus on
Kugichagula which is Self-Determination.

In the Symbols of Kwanzaa picture to the right, the candle holder is the Kinara which is symbolic of our roots, our parent people -- continental Africans.

Kugichagula...Day of Self-Determination

Kugichagula, pronounced "koo-jee-cha-goo-LEE-ah" means to define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.

Find out more about Kwanzaa:

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Umoja...Day of Unity

Happy Kwanzaa!!!

The Kwanzaa candles and harvest
Symbols of Kwanzaa
Today is the first day of Kwanzaa, an annual seven day cultural festival celebrating the African American people, their culture and their heritage.  Derived from the Swahili phrase "matunda ya kwanza" which means "first fruits", Kwanzaa has its roots in the ancient African first-fruit harvest celebrations. However, its modern history begins in 1966 when it was developed by Dr. Maulana Ron Karenga. Inspired by the civil rights struggles of the 1960's, Dr. Karenga conceived a holiday that would bring African Americans together in celebration of their black culture.  Each day of Kwanzaa represents the seven principles of Kwanzaa...the first is Umoja.

In the Symbols of Kwanzaa picture above, the cup is the Unity Cup or Kikombe cha Umoja, which is symbolic of the foundational principle and practice of unity which makes all else possible.

Umoja...Day of Unity

Umoja, pronounced "oo-MOE-jah", is a day of unity in which we are encouraged to strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.  On Umoja, we are reminded that each member of the family, and by extension the community, is constituted by a web of interpersonal relationships. The health and possibilities of the family and community, therefore, is dependent upon the quality of relationship within the family and community.

Here is the link to the original Kwanzaa website:
Link to previous EH blogposts on Kwanzaa:

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas around the Diaspora

Here's wishing you all a very Merry Christmas from Experiencing History!

Swazi Flag Christmas Ornament
How to say Merry Christmas in several African countries:
In Akan (Ghana) Afishapa
In Zimbabwe Merry Kisimusi
In Afrikaans (South Africa) Geseënde Kersfees
In Zulu (South Africa) Sinifisela Ukhisimusi Omuhle
In Swazi (Swaziland) Sinifisela Khisimusi Lomuhle
In Sotho (Lesthoto) Matswalo a Morena a Mabotse
In Swahili (Tanzania, Kenya) Kuwa na Krismasi njema
In Amharic (Ethiopia) Melkam Yelidet Beaal
In Egyptian (Egypt) Colo sana wintom tiebeen
In Yoruba (Nigeria) E ku odun, e hu iye' dun!

While most of us in America will be eating a traditional American Christmas meal of turkey or hen or's what some will be eating across the diaspora:

A traditional Christmas meal in Ghana:
The traditional Christmas Eve Dinner consists either of a specially cooked rice and goat or chicken stew or soup and is eaten before the Annual Christmas Worship Service and all friends and relatives as well as strangers are invited. The food consumed at the Christmas Day dinners may include rice, chicken, goat, lamb, and fruits of various kinds. There may be mangoes, oranges, pawpaw or cashew fruits. The families always brightly decorate the houses with beautiful paper ornaments specially made for the occasion. A tree in the center of the courtyard is also decorated. It may be a mango tree or a guava tree or a cashew tree. Usually the children and the young people in each family do this. Not only homes but also schools and neighborhoods are brightly decorated with colorful crepe paper while we look forward to the Christmas Eve Services at the various churches.  Read more about Christmas in Ghana here:

Christmas in Nigeria
In Yoruba, meals usually consist of Iyan (pounded yam) eba or amala, served over with peppery stewed vegetables. Inevitably people find themselves eating this meal three to four times a day, due to visiting family and friends and being offered this tradition meal in their houses. In Yoruba it is frowned upon and is very rude to decline food upon offering.

There are many other dishes well prepared on Christmas Eve. A chicken and rice stew, similar to an Indian curry stew. Some families would prepare a delicacy called Moin-moin; which is blended black eyed beans, mixed with vegetable oil and diced liver, prawns, chicken, fish and beef. This fulfilling mouth watering concoction is then wrapped inside large leaves and steamed until cooked.

On Christmas day almost everyone attends church. It is tradition to decorate churches, homes and compounds with woven and unwoven palm fronds, Christmas trees and Christmas lights. There is lots of energy in the streets; festive jubilation's consist of loud crackling of an array of firework displays, luminous starry fire crackers going off. Colorful tradition masquerades on stilts parade around the events. Of course everyone have their best clothes on and children mill around playing amongst the fun.  Read more about Christmas in Nigeria here:

Christmas letter to my Motherland, Nigeria by Azuka Onwuka
"your inner strength is amazing, Great Mother. In spite of all the injuries and pains inflicted upon you, you remain strong. .... You have looked on in faith that some day it will be well with your home. You have remained hopeful that one day, your children will make you a proud mother....May it be well with you, Mother, in the morning. May it be well with you in the afternoon. May it be well with you at night. May your children who don't wish you well have a change of heart. May there be justice, peace and laughter in your home....As this year winds down, may 2013 usher in a new phase for you: a phase of peace, growth, prosperity and happiness. Merry Christmas to a special and longsuffering Mother. It shall be well with you, Nigeria!"

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Zuma Retains ANC Leadership

Jacob Zuma re-elected head of ANC
Jacob Zuma
South Africa's populist but often criticized president has been re-elected head of the ruling party, which makes him likely to win another term as the nation's leader in 2014. Delegates of the African National Congress voted overwhelmingly for five more years of Jacob Zuma.  Read more here:

Monday, December 17, 2012

I'm Black and I'm Proud...Racial Pride in the African-American Community

"Our study provides empirical evidence that the longstanding practice in the African American community of cultivating racial pride and preparing children to face racial bias in society should be considered among appropriate and beneficial practices in parenting Black children"  
Ming-Te Wang

I've been working on leadership development curriculum that includes identity development, specifically racial identity development in youth. As a precursor to this, I plan to launch a racial identity series here on this blog in the spring.

Interesting enough, I ran across an article today online published on, "Can instilling racial pride in black teens lead to better educational outcomes?" The article talks about a University of Pittsburgh study published this fall in the journal Child Development. Titled "Parental Racial Socialization as a Moderator of the Effects of Racial Discrimination on Educational Success Among African American Adolescents," the research article shows that when African American parents use racial socialization—talking to their children or engaging in activities that promote feelings of racial knowledge, pride, and connection—it offsets racial discrimination's potentially negative impact on students' academic development. They plan to carry out the same study among Latino and Asian communities as well. Read the entire article here:

Sunday, December 9, 2012

John Mahama declared winners of Ghana's Presidential Election

John Mahama, President of Ghana
Today's Ghana election results were announced.  John Mahama was declared the President of Ghana  Mahama took office in July after the unexpected death of President John Atta Mills.

John Dramani Mahama (/məˈhɑːmə/; born 29 November 1958) is a Ghanaian politician who has been President of Ghana since July 2012. He was the Vice President of Ghana from 2009 to 2012, and he took office as President on 24 July 2012 following the death of his predecessor, President John Atta Mills. He was re-elected in December 2012 following an election tainted by opposition claims of widespread fraud on the part of the Election Commission. A respected communications expert, historian, and writer, Mahama was a Member of Parliament from 1997 to 2009 and Minister of Communications from 1998 to 2001.

John Evans Fiifi Atta Mills
John Evans Fiifi Atta Mills (21 July 1944 – 24 July 2012) was a Ghanaian politician, a legal scholar and a tax expert who was President of Ghana from 2009 until his death in 2012. He was inaugurated on 7 January 2009, having defeated the ruling party candidate Nana Akufo-Addo in the 2008 election. He was vice-president from 1997 to 2001 under President Jerry Rawlings, and stood unsuccessfully in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections as the candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC). He is the first Ghanaian Head of State to die in office.

Official election results from

Sunday, December 2, 2012

African-American Voters...More Than a Fluke

“In 2008, for the first time in our history, African Americans voted at the same rate as white voters. We spent the next four years hearing that that high turnout was a fluke. “Experts” told us we would lose our enthusiasm. We’d be daunted by new voting laws. We’d want to protest marriage equality. We’d think our votes don’t count.

Those “experts” were wrong. African Americans turned out to vote in record numbers on Election Day, many of us waiting in long lines and going through plenty of red tape to do so.”

Read the entire article here:

Watch Dick Morris' explanation (about 1 min 45 sec in the video) on how demographics have changed...Oh and Jon Stewart's take on Morris is comical as well...

The Daily Show with Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Post Democalypse 2012 - America Takes a Shower - Fox News Meltdown
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

It seems that many of the conservative responses to why the President won this election was not that people voted, but that now their vote matters because demographics have permanently changed?

What do you think?

I personally spoke with several young African-Americans who were eligible to vote for the first time and and voted and realized how their vote mattered.  The fact is, people gave their lives for the right to vote for all Americans and it would be foolish to waste it.  Now if we can extend this imperative to vote to the interim elections as well.

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