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Wichita Marks 50th Anniversary Of Kwanzaa

A Kwanzaa celebration in 2012.

Kwanzaa events will take place across the country, including in Wichita, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the week-long observance.

Kwanzaa, which means "first fruit" in Swahili, highlights African and African-American heritage and culture. Founded in 1966, Kwanzaa is celebrated annually from Dec. 26 through Jan. 1.

Credit Courtesy
The African American Council of Elders lights the first candle of Kwanzaa during a previous celebration.

A member of the African American Council of Elders will light the first of seven candles representing the principles of Kwanzaa: unity, self determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.

"When you look at the principles of Kwanzaa, you understand how if you practice those principles in your life and in your community and within your village then you have a greater sense of communal living," says council member Wakeelah Martinez. "But more importantly I believe that your self-confidence and self-efficacy to resolve your own problems will come forward."

Credit The African American Council of Elders

A kuumba, or creativity salad, will be prepared for the event with greens provided by the elders and the community bringing in their favorite toppings.

The Kwanzaa event will be held Monday at Wichita's Urban Preparatory Academy from 1 to 4 p.m.

The Wichita Griots will also present a Kwanzaa concert.

Credit Oletha Faust-Goudeau / Facebook
The Urban Preparatory Academy held a Kwanzaa event on Monday afternoon.

"We’ve had a long history, dating back to the 50’s, of civil rights activism in our own neighborhood and in Wichita. So it is absolutely right that the Griots will be celebrating Kwanzaa’s 50th anniversary at our church, says " says church board member Anne Welsbacher.

The event take place on Friday, Dec. 30 at 6:30 p.m. at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Wichita, which is located at 7202 E 21st N.


Carla Eckels is assistant news director and the host of Soulsations. Follow her on Twitter @Eckels.

To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.

Carla Eckels is Director of Organizational Culture at KMUW. She produces and hosts the R&B and gospel show Soulsations and brings stories of race and culture to The Range with the monthly segment In the Mix. Carla was inducted into The Kansas African American Museum's Trailblazers Hall of Fame in 2020 for her work in broadcast/journalism.