Two days after President Bush sent “greetings to those observing Kwanzaa, celebrated by millions across the world, honoring history and heritage of Africa,” the Washington Post’s Phnuong Ly reported that Kwanzaa “was created by a California educator and activist in 1966, during the height of the ‘black pride’ movement.”
But neither the president nor the Post identified this “California educator and activist.”
WorldNetDaily, however, has identified him. CEO and broadcaster Joseph Farah has noted that Kwanzaa was invented in 1966 – by convicted felon Ron Karenga.
Five years after he invented Kwanzaa, Karenga was sentenced to prison “for torturing two black women by whipping them with electrical cords and beating them with a karate baton after stripping them naked. He placed in the mouth of one of the victims a hot soldering iron, also scarring her face with the device. He put one of her big toes in a vise, and detergent and running water in both their mouths.”
At the time he was inventing Kwanzaa, Karenga had also organized a terrorist group at UCLA called “US” (for “United Slaves”). In 1969, Karenga’s followers killed two Black Panthers.
While he was in prison, Karenga converted to Marxism. This was regarded by California State University at Long Beach as evidence of his being rehabilitated. So they made him director of their black-studies program.
While I was an Episcopal parish priest in Northern California in the 1960s, I was challenged to debate Malcolm X – which I accepted.
When I arrived at an all-black audience in West Oakland (home of the Black Panthers), I discovered that a substitute had been made for Malcolm.
Mr. Karenga was the most foul-smelling person I had ever sat next to – which, I strongly suspect, was part of his debating technique.
Karenga’s argumentation was equally foul – an exceptionally hostile recitation of extremist black-power claims, which I found to be utterly preposterous. And I said so, and explained why.
That led to ominous sounds from this all-black audience – that Karenga began to manipulate.
Suddenly, there came a strong vocal intervention – by the Rev. Booker T. Anderson, pastor of the Easter Hill United Methodist Church, in nearby Richmond, Calif.
Booker was my fellow participant in the California delegation on the final day of the Selma March into Montgomery, Ala. And he told this angry crowd that I had “not only talked-the-talk, but walked-the-walk” with him.
That very probably saved me from either serious or fatal injury.
Booker faced another angry crowd, at a huge rally for Malcolm X – where he dared to direct the following to Malcolm himself: “I am a black Christian minister – and I say that all whites are not devils! All persons are to be loved!”
And Malcolm neither denounced, nor, at that point, disagreed with Pastor Anderson. For he was no doubt impressed with the courage of one lone clergyman who dared to stand up to him, in the midst of a huge racial hate rally.
That was but one of the reasons why the city of Richmond not only elected him mayor, but also dedicated a community center and a park in his memory.
Most sadly, Booker died young, of cancer, at age 55 in 1982. And I still mourn.
I salute this brave man’s memory in the words of the prophet Isaiah:
They that wait upon the Lord
Shall renew their strength
They shall mount up with wings,
They shall run and not be weary;
They shall walk and not faint.
God bless him.