Many Kwanzaa revelers choose to overlook founder’s criminal past

Today marks the first day of Kwanzaa, the weeklong holiday invented in 1966 by Dr. Ronald Everett, aka Maulana Karenga. While relatively few people celebrate Kwanzaa, many of those who are celebrating are likely not considering the history of its founder.

But what kind of man was he?

Karenga has a long criminal record. In 1971, for instance, Everett served time in jail for assault. By then Everett had changed his name to Maulana Ron Karenga and began to affect a pseudo African costume and act the part of a native African — even though he had been born in the USA.

It wasn’t mere assault Karenga was convicted of, either. It was the sexual assault and even torture that he perpetrated against some of his own female followers. At the time, The L.A. Times reported that he placed a hot soldering iron in one woman’s mouth and used a vise to crush another’s toe, of all things.

Despite knowing about Karenga’s violent background, some people see nothing wrong with reveling in his legacy:

It doesn’t? Really?

It’s a bit difficult to detach a violent, misogynistic rapist from what his admirers view as his crowning achievement. Karenga does not deserve to be honored.

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