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Keith Mayes - Large

African-American Studies professor Keith Mayes' new book, "Kwanzaa: Black Power and the Making of the African-American Holiday Tradition," is the first to look at black holiday traditions as part of a greater cultural movement.

U of M Kwanzaa expert discusses past, future of African-American holiday

December 22, 2009

Kwanzaa, a seven-day cultural holiday starting Dec. 26 and ending Jan. 1, is an African-American tradition that has been celebrated for more than 40 years.

A University of Minnesota expert who can talk about the facts, myths and cultural significance of this holiday is:

Keith Mayes, U of M African-American studies professor

Mayes is available for interviews and is the author of a new book, "Kwanzaa: Black Power and the Making of the African-American Holiday Tradition," the first scholarly work of its kind to look at black holiday traditions as part of a greater cultural movement.

A product of the Black Power movement of the 1960s, participation in Kwanzaa has leveled off in recent decades, says Mayes. Out of about 40 million Americans identified by the U.S. Census as black (including those who are multiracial), Mayes estimates that one half-million to one million people still celebrate Kwanzaa.

To see a video of Mayes discussing this holiday tradition, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdO_Enf0RNE.

Download the video at right here.

A podcast of Mayes speaking on his new book is also online at http://podcast.bookstores.umn.edu/mayes.m4a.

To interview Mayes, contact Ryan Maus at (612) 624-1690 or maus@umn.edu.


Expert Alert is a service provided by the University News Service. Delivered regularly, Expert Alert is designed to connect university experts to today's breaking news and current events. For an archive and other useful media services, visit www.unews.umn.edu.

 

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Related Links

"Calendar Politics" (Feature story from U of M College of Liberal Arts homepage)

Mayes discusses new book (U of M Bookstores podcast)

History and traditions of Kwanzaa - video interview (YouTube)

Kwanzaa celebrations continue, but boom is over (Associated Press)