Locals celebrate Kwanzaa, reflect on history, culture

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JACKSON, Tenn. — Between Christmas and New Year’s, thousands of people across the country celebrate Kwanzaa. The weeklong, nonreligious event is based on African festivals and was created to celebrate family, culture and community. The name comes from the Swahili for “first fruits.” “You know a lot of African-Americans aren’t aware of the struggles and everything that we as African-Americans and forefathers have gone through,” Gertrude Copeland said. The Society for African-American Cultural Awareness held a celebration in Jackson. Community leaders spoke to nearly 100 people about the history and what it truly means to be an African-American. “You understand what togetherness is, you understand what unity is,” Copeland said. “You understand what it means to help your fellow man.” Kwanzaa was created in 1965. This is the 26th year SAACA held a local celebration, and they are preparing for an even bigger celebration next year for the 50th anniversary of Kwanzaa.

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