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Malone, Annie Turnbo (1869-1957)


Entrepreneur and philanthropist Annie Turnbo Malone was born to Robert Turnbo and Isabella Cook in Metropolis, Illinois on August 9, 1869. Her
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Kwanzaa/Nguzo Saba: Blueprint for the Restoration of the Souls of Black Folks

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  • Kwanzaa/Nguzo Saba: Blueprint for the Restoration of the Souls of Black Folks

    The following is the preface to my little book,
    "Kwanzaa and the Nguzo Saba: Something Sacred for & from the Souls of Black Folks"
    (A Blueprint for the Restoration of the Souls of Black Folks)

    Preface
    It is said that knowledge is power. But knowledge fails to become power until it is put to effective use to promote, protect and perpetuate the greatest good and well being of those who choose to use it. The same logic is pertinent when it comes to wisdom. What is said to be wisdom fails to be wisdom, if those for whom it was developed and preserved fail to honor, respect and build upon it, even as they enjoy the sounds of the words whenever they are uttered.

    The above is pertinent when it comes to the (following) words of wisdom that have been developed and proven by our African ancestors and have come to us in an hour of great need: It takes a whole village to raise a child (the children) so the child (the children) can return to raise the village!

    It takes a network of intelligent, conscious, determined people who share an abiding commitment to a set of values and expectations in order to provide and sustain the environment in which our children can grow to realize and manifest the fullest measures of the excellence and greatness – the GOD-given potential– that resides inherently within them. It takes a whole village . . .

    It is time to remember. It is time to rise up. It is time to put those words of knowledge and wisdom to effective use – to inspire and empower ourselves to be and become the whole Village(s) of vision and victory wherein our children can grow to manifest an abundance of cultural, spiritual and academic excellence and success. It is time . . .

    All of the above is extremely pertinent when it comes to the knowledge and wisdom embodied in the Kwanzaa/Nguzo Saba tradition which has been with us for over forty years. But it is still waiting to be truly appreciated, embraced and actualized as the cornerstone for the Villages of knowledge, wisdom and liberation for the world African community. While it has been hailed as the fastest growing phenomena of its kind in modern times, with celebrants all over the world African community(as many as 40 million-plus, by some estimates), too much of that growth has been limited merely to week-long, holiday-whooping, superficial sentimentalities.

    There are many notable exceptions to this reality. But the sacred ancestors who developed and proved the eternal worthiness of the principles, precepts and practices that are embodied in the Kwanzaa/Nguzo Saba tradition are surely left to feel something akin to what led Sister Harriet Tubman to say: “I could have freed many more, if I could have convinced them that they were enslaved” (this in regard to the magnificence of her many Underground Railroad expeditions). The ancestors must be truly grieved that too many of us cannot see that the Kwanzaa/Nguzo Saba tradition is a blueprint for the restoration of the souls of Black folks!

    That our souls stand in need of restoration is beyond debate, with a growing list of heinous and horrific, dysfunctional and devastating characteristics and behaviors rearing their ugliness in our families, communities and nations –urban, suburban, rural; Motherland, Diaspora, et al. If this was a physical disease, a state of emergency would have been declared (in the U.S.A.) when more than one per cent (1 out of 100) of the population became infected. Can we allow cultural-spiritual-social decay and disorder to rampage through the hearts and souls of our people without declaring that emergency? It is time to remember . . . time to rise up . . . time to restore ourselves, our souls, to our traditional greatness. If we ever needed restoration before, we sure do need it now!

    It is necessary to echo the words of Dr. Maulana Karenga, (perhaps) the chief innovator of the Kwanzaa/Nguzo Saba tradition: “Kwanzaa is not a religious holiday, but a cultural celebration with inherent spiritual qualities; a common ground of African culture which we all can share and cherish.”* I like to call it a seven-day cultural-spiritual African humanity birthday celebration. It is an African American innovation that has drawn from the vast number of harvest and thanks festivals known to virtually every African civilization over the ages. From December 26 to January 1 each year, it is a celebration of the on-going birth and fruition of the blessings of life that come when we live and according to the principles and precepts of our great traditions.

    Like those first fruits celebrations of the Motherland, Karenga reminds us, Kwanzaa has five major aims and objectives:

    1) The Ingathering of the people: Bringing together our most valuable fruit or harvest– the people, our families and communities – for the renewing of the bonds between them.

    2)To express reverence for the Creator and Creation: To give thanks to the Creator for a good harvest and a good life; to give praise and pray for a good and long life for all; to seek to renew right and harmonious relationship with the divine, natural and social orders.

    3)Commemoration of the past: To express reverence and respect for worthy ancestors, those who were models of ethical life and purposeful diligence – important manifestations in the Creator’s plan; to grow in realizing that to honor them and their achievements is to honor the best of what we are and can become.

    4)To recommit ourselves to cultural ideals: Seeking renewal and rededication in terms of thought and practice relative to the principles and values that serve as grounding and social glue for family and community; to reassess and adjust them(and ourselves!) as needed to provide for continued progress toward the greatest good for the greatest number.

    5)To celebrate the good: The goodness of Creator, Creation and life; ourselves as a people, our history and culture, and all the good “harvests” – those realized and those yet to come.

    *(Following our Jan. 1, 2010 Imani celebration [in Amelia Courthouse, Virginia], a deacon of one of our local churches, a man of serious intelligence and integrity, shared with me his appreciation for the spirit and substance of Kwanzaa and his hope that future celebrations would attract a larger number of participants from within our rural community. This was only the second season that Kwanzaa was ever celebrated in this community, and I shared with him our perception that many folks feel that this tradition is a religion which is competitive with and contrary to their spiritual convictions and practices. In response, he shared this with me: “To be honest I had some of those concerns, but the more I see of it, the more I understand that it is not a contradiction but an enhancement.”That experience serves to deepen and strength my commitment to do all I can, in every way I can, to make his experience the eternally growing experience among our people of every spiritual persuasion; that we all grow to know and the Kwanzaa/Nguzo Saba tradition as the “common ground of African culture which we all can share and cherish.” Let’s pull together –Harambee! Let’s make this our reality throughout the U.S. and all over the world African community.)

    The following words (my book) are presented with the hope of aiding in the development of a critical mass of our people who will give deep thought and consideration to the revolutionary, soul-restoring potentials embodied in the Kwanzaa/Nguzo Saba principles and precepts, and be moved to the Kujichagulia and Nia(Self-determination and Purpose) that they call for -- to develop the villages of visions and victories that our future fulfillment and well-being require, defined by our own perceptions of reality and commanding the respect of all others. This critical mass would be individuals, families, communities and nations -- each one teaching one to be diligently pro-active, 24/7/365, to respect, support, inspire, encourage and celebrate one another on the bases of these principles and precepts; with a particular focus on providing stable and stimulating, loving and creative, confidence-building communal experiences for our children. That would be power! That would be a whole village!

    Asante sana! / Thank you very much.
    Ankh, Udja, Seneb! / Life, Prosperity, Health.
    Mxolisi Ozo-Sowande / Mxolisi T

    (More to come from me and you, I trust.)
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