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Page updated Nov 23, 2015 3:55 PM

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The Black CandleGet ready for Kwanzaa in time to celebrate it this year with two special programs on Saturday, December 10, at the Alexandria Black History Museum, 902 Wythe Street.

The Family Kwanzaa Celebration program from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. is ideal for children and their parents. Conducted by Culture Kingdom Kids, educator Jessica Smith will teach families fun and creative ways to celebrate the seven days of Kwanzaa through a variety of interactive performances, hands-on activities and crafts. “Culture Queen,” the superhero mascot of Culture Kingdom Kids, will also make a special appearance. Families will be culturally enriched and better prepared to celebrate Kwanzaa in their homes and communities. Admission is $5 per person, and advance reservations are recommended.

Then, at 4:30 p.m., attend a free screening of “The Black Candle: A Kwanzaa Celebration.” This vibrant documentary from M.K. Asante uses Kwanzaa as a vehicle to explore and celebrate the African-American experience. Filmed across the United States, Africa, Europe and the Caribbean, “The Black Candle” is a timely illumination on why the seven principles of Kwanzaa are so important to African Americans today. Narrated by Maya Angelou, it traces the holiday's growth out of the Black Power Movement in the 1960s to its present-day reality as a global, pan-African holiday embraced by over 40 million celebrants. This viewing is part of “Movies with a Mission,” a series of films about the African Diaspora that seek to inform and inspire dialogue.

Kwanzaa, a seven-day cultural celebration that begins December 26 and ends January 1, was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga who designed the celebration as a way for African Americans to reaffirm their heritage, culture, and community bonds.  Dr. Karenga chose the Swahili word “Kwanzaa,” meaning “first fruits of the harvest,” to identify the celebration and to express seven principles that came from the African American value system for life: Unity (Umoja), Self-Determination (Kujichagulia), Collective Work and Responsibility (Ujima), Cooperative Economics (Ujamaa), Purpose (Nia), Creativity (Kuumba), and Faith (Imani).

For more information, visit or call 703.746.4356.

Office of Historic Alexandria 

Administration Offices

Lloyd House
220 North Washington Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
Fax: 703.838.6451

Office Hours
Monday - Friday
8 a.m. to 5 p.m.