Posted by: nancyisanders | December 26, 2007

African American History: Did You Know…?

In 1966, Kwanzaa was first celebrated in Los Angeles, California, by Dr. Maulana Karenga, a professor of black studies, with his family and friends. With the vision of introducing a special holiday to celebrate the cultural heritage of African Americans, Dr. Karenga created Kwanzaa. More and more families celebrate Kwanzaa each year.

Did you know that today is the first day of Kwanzaa? This seven-day celebration starts on December 26 and ends on January 1.

During the celebration of Kwanzaa, you might want to wear a kufi. A kufi is a round hat made from soft fabric with an African design. You can make a kufi from felt to wear during this important holiday.

Strips of red, yellow, black, and green felt, 2 by 24 inches
Sharp scissors
8 safety pins

Wrap a black strip of felt around your head for the headband. Overlap the edges 1 inch, cutting away the extra felt. Use a safety pin to hold the ends together. Use a needle and thread to stitch the headband together.

With the headband on your head, use a yellow strip to measure from one side of the headband, across the top of your head, and to the other side of the headband. Cut this strip to the correct length for the top of your hat. Cut one strip of red felt, green felt, and black felt to match the same length as the yellow strip. You should now have four shorter strips of felt.

Following the illustration as a guide, arrange the four felt strips so they overlap in the center like spokes on a wheel. Stitch through the center with your needle and thread. Use the safety pins to pin the edge of each felt strip around the headband so that all the strips are evenly spaced. Try on your kufi to see if it fits. Trim any strips that seem too long and adjust the safety pins as needed. Stitch each strip of felt to the headband, removing the safety pins as you go.
-excerpt from A KID’S GUIDE TO AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY (Second Edition, Chicago Review Press, 2007)

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