The shaky holiday of Kwanzaa was created by a man convicted of felonious assault and false imprisonment after torturing two women, so says Warner Todd Huston as does Wikipedia.
The Dartmouth Review reports:
The founder of Kwanzaa, Ron Everett, a.k.a. Maulana Ron Karenga, stood at the forefront of the black power movement in the 1960s. Karenga distinguished himself as a “cultural nationalist” as opposed to a traditional Marxist. In 1965 Karenga founded the United Slaves Organization (US), a group that would rival the Black Panthers on the UCLA campus. The US was more radical than the Panthers, setting off quarrels between the two.
The biggest dispute between the US and the Panthers centered around the leadership of the new Afro-American Studies department at UCLA; both groups backed a different candidate. On January 17, 1969, 150 students gathered to discuss the situation. Panthers John Jerome Huggins and Alprentice Carter used the meeting to verbally attack Karenga, much to the dismay of his followers. Two US members, George and Larry Stiner, confronted Huggins and Carter in a hallway after the meeting and shot and killed them.Here's the Review on the torture:
[T]he Los Angeles Times described the events: “Deborah Jones, who once was given the title of an African queen, said she and Gail Davis were whipped with an electrical cord and beaten with a karate baton after being ordered to remove their clothes. She testified that a hot soldering iron was placed in Miss Davis' mouth and placed against Miss Davis' face and that one of her own big toes was tightened in a vice. Karenga, head of US, also put detergent and running hoses in their mouths, she said.”And then the turn as reported by the Review:
The shooting at UCLA caused Karenga to become deeply paranoid and spurred his bizarre behavior. At his trial, the question of Karenga's sanity arose. The psychiatrist's report stated, “This man now represents a picture which can be considered both paranoid and schizophrenic with hallucinations and elusions, inappropriate affect, disorganization, and impaired contact with the environment.” The psychiatrist observed that Karenga talked to his blanket and imaginary persons and believed that he had been attacked by dive-bombers.
Eight years later California State University at Long Beach made Karenga the head of its Black Studies Department. Karenga had toned down his rhetoric and abandoned his cultural nationalism for straightforward Marxism. As an academic Karenga has authored various books on such topics as Egyptian art and has guest lectured at Stanford...
Initially, Kwanzaa proceeded from Karenga's hostility toward Western religion, which, he wrote in his 1980 book, Kawaida Theory, “denies and diminishes human worth, capacity, potential and achievement. In Christian and Jewish mythology, humans are born in sin, cursed with mythical ancestors who've sinned and brought the wrath of an angry God on every generation's head.” He similarly opposed belief in God and other “spooks who threaten us if we don't worship them and demand we turn over our destiny and daily lives.”
Thus, Karenga explained in his 1977 Kwanzaa: Origin, Concepts, Practice, “Kwanzaa is not an imitation, but an alternative, in fact, an oppositional alternative to the spookism, mysticism and non-earth based practices which plague us as a people and encourage our withdrawal from social life rather than our bold confrontation with it.” The holiday “was chosen to give a Black alternative to the existing holiday and give Blacks an opportunity to celebrate themselves and history rather than simply imitate the practice of the dominant society.”
Since then, the holiday has gained mainstream adherents, and Karenga has altered its justification so as not to alienate practicing Christians: “Kwanzaa was not created to give people an alternative to their own religion or religious holiday,” he writes in Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community, and Culture, published in 1997.
Still, some charge that the holiday and its official black, green, and red flag promotes racial separatism and violence. Says the official Kwanzaa Information Center: “red, or the blood, stands as the top of all things. We lost our land through blood; and we cannot gain it except through blood. We must redeem our lives through the blood. Without the shedding of blood there can be no redemption of this race.”-RW