Kuumba: Creativity or Defining Community

Black communities were created through various systemic and migrant imagepatterns over a course of two centuries. Variables such as jobs, freedom status, state legislation, segregation codes, economic opportunities and restrictions, and political accessibility all impacted the development toward residential geographic Black communities. In light of demographic and cultural similarities, rural and city-line Black communities in the south were markedly different than their counterparts within the north and and western inner-cities. However, the unanimous congruency across the nation is the existence of a geographical Black district/community, usually formed by segregation, which occupied high concentrations of poor and working class African Americans.

At the core of Dr. Karenga’s 6th principle, “Kuumba” is the notion to improving our community aesthetically and institutionally to leave it better than we inherited. The operative concept is “community.” What are the elements of a geographic Black community in the 21st century? Does it consist of a number of Black home owners or renters, Black businesses and churches, and Black social and educational centers within a 2 -3 mile radius? What is the economic perimeter of the Black constituents? African Americans have to redefine what elements constitute a “community.” The make up of the Black community, when Dr. Karenga envisioned the Nguzo Saba, is not entirely the depiction of today’s neighborhoods. For instance, Blacks that once concentrated in the Phyllis Wheatley, Rondo, and Sabathani communities are now dispersed and displaced in the surrounding neighborhoods and suburbs. Many variables continue to play a role in this phenomenon. Consequently, the Black “community” is not entirely a geographic location.

imageIf we are to use “creativity” to build our community to a position worth inheriting, we first need to define what “our community” is in the modern. There has to be an honest discourse to determine what we own and the capacity needed to creatively improve it. Further, its essential that we uncover the possible ‘desirability’ amongst us to obtain and posses a Black geo-community. Without such conversation Kuumba becomes an empty rhetorical principle with no grounds for strategic implementation.

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