6 Annual Kwanzaa Celebrations at MSIs

by Carol Sandoval

The month of December is full of festivities that concurrently ring in the new year. Many communities, organizations, and universities all over the world also celebrate Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa is an African celebration that rejoices the “first fruit of the harvest” and the seven principles of African thought and culture. This year it is scheduled for December 26, 2016, through January 1, 2017. Before students return home for winter break, these six MSIs are guaranteed to celebrate the African community, traditions, and values along their peers.

1) Texas College (HBCU)—Tyler, Texas


The Texas College choir partakes in an annual concert to celebrate Kwanzaa. Using melodic tunes and spiritual music, they show appreciation for the African culture. The choir also raises awareness of the holiday by inviting the entire college community to their concert.

2) Hampton University (HBCU)—Hampton, Virginia


The museum at Hampton University sets up a marketplace to celebrate Kwanzaa. The market includes an array of African and African-American gifts available for purchase and various art activities for kids. The museum also puts on a live jazz show and an evening celebration to honor the week of Kwanzaa.

3) University of Southern California (AANAPISI)—Los Angeles, California


Because USC students leave for winter break in early December, the director of the Center for Black Cultural and Student Affairs says that it has been difficult to plan their annual pre-Kwanzaa celebration. However, this does not discourage him from decorating the Center with Kwanzaa colors to unite the 40 different African American organizations on campus.

4) University of the Pacific (AANAPISI)—Stockton, California


Since 2011, University of the Pacific has hosted its first Kwanzaa celebration. The event consists of a keynote speaker, soul food, and various performances.

5) Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (HBCU)—Tallahassee, Florida


The Educational Research Center for Child Development at Florida A&M incorporates African principles to their academic curriculum. Each of the seven fundamentals of Kwanzaa are used as themes for every month of the program. In December, the Center organizes a Kwanzaa celebration to consolidate the values into one event.

6) California State University, Long Beach (AANAPISI)—Long Beach, California


The Department of Africana Studies at California State University, Long Beach organizes an event with music and poetry. They also provide “karamu,” which is the traditional Kwanzaa feast that will often include yams, black-eyed peas, and catfish.

Are there other Minority Serving Institutions that will be celebrating Kwanzaa? Let us know in the comments!

One thought on “6 Annual Kwanzaa Celebrations at MSIs

  1. At Florida Memorial University (HBCU) we celebrate “Mpema (early) Kwanzaa” for a designated week each November during which we host a daily campus wide observance and events that highlight two principles per day ending with a karamu feast. Student organizations and academic departments feature special programs to emphasize each principle. 2016 was our fifth annual celebration.


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