"Thanksgiving Day literally is a holiday celebrating the beginnings of the almost total extermination of an entire race of people, commonly called "Indians" and the enslavement, continued oppression and genocide of the Afrikan, by European settlers....For over 100 years now Black folks in the United States have joined with the descendants of the same European murder[er]s who enslaved them and systematically all but destroyed the Amer-Indian, in feasting and giving thanks to God for the "opportunity" to live in one of the most racist, imperialist, and oppressive countries on earth....Black People celebrating Thanksgiving Day is like the Americans celebrating the bombing of Pearl Harbor, or the so-called Jews celebrating the rise of the Third Reich, or the Palestinians celebrating the intrusion of the settler colony of Zionist Israel, or moreover the millions of Zulu descendants who are being murdered by the thousands each day, celebrating the establishment of the Union of South Africa..."
Damn, he was talking about me. And since members of my family have always acknowledge a native American heritage, in honor of them too, I wasn't supposed to be celebrating Thanksgiving. So my brother and I, both cultural nationalist began to boycott the day. We would either fast of just avoid the family on that day. Later some of us began celebrating Umoja Karamu, meaning unity feast as an alternative to "Turkey Day." The unity feast was designed to be a ritual of solidarity for the Afrikan family. It was created by Edward Simms, Jr. in 1971 as a practiced in The Temple of the Black Messiah. It was held on the fourth Sunday in November, 3 days after Thanksgiving.
In addition, to this Thanksgiving alternative, I initiated the celebration of my parent's wedding anniversary as another, and our nuclear family's real Thanksgiving Day. Sadly after these various attempts to replace Thanksgiving, I finally just gave in. I was unable to turn the tide within my family (not enough cultural nationalists). In the end, the solidarity of my family and my love for my family brought me back to the family on that last Thursday in November.
The celebration is one of family, and though it has its origins in all that Dr Barashango documents, it means something else to Afrikan people. We do not connect it to the Pilgrims or native Americans--we connect it to survival and family, and it is an amazing time for fellowship and in-gathering.
The Umoja Karamu celebration is based on five major epochs in the lives of Afrikans in America and each represented by a distinct color. The feast should include foods representing the color of each epoch.The prayers, libations, historical readings and films should also center around these events:
1st Epoch – Afrikans prior to the invasions and influence of Europeans and Arabs. The color Black, is used to delineate the unity of the Afrakan people.
2nd Epoch – Captivity of Afrikans during which the Maafa occurs. The color white symbolizes the adversary and their role in the attempted destruction of Afrikan culture.
3rd Epoch – Self Emancipation. The fight against forced labor and captivity in the United States of America through revolts, Civil Rights and the Black Power movements. The color red is used to represent those who lived and died in service of freeing captive Afrikans.
4th Epoch – National Liberation. The fight for decolonization of Afrakan countries the formation of the Organization for Afrikan Unity and the Diasporic Afrikan liberation movements. The chosen color is green, symbolic of land and all that comes from it.
5th Epoch – The Future of Afrika and Afrikans. An Afrikan centered perspectives for the future. The color gold is chosen for the future is a most valuable asset.