Maulana Karenga received a standing ovation after delivering his address during the Black History Convocation in Jake Gaither Gymnasium on Thursday.
Karenga, the creator of Kwanzaa and its seven principles – the Nguzo Saba – engaged the audience with his message.
“The greatest thing is our ethical legacy in which we gave the world the earliest concept of humans as possessors of inherent dignity,” Karenga said.
Karenga urged African-Americans to use Black History Month as a time to reflect on the struggles and accomplishments of their ancestors. He also believes that African-Americans should always contribute to the good in the world in spite of the injustices they may experience.
“Sometimes we need a reminder of our great legacy and those who came before us,” said Daaim Shabazz, associate professor in the School of Business and Industry.
While Black History Month is a highlighted occasion on the campuses of historically black institutions, some students said others overlook the great accomplishments of African civilizations before attending Florida A&M.
“People don’t realize that European people stole from us,” said Endrea Murail, a second-year psychology student from Orlando. “A lot of black students don’t understand that we came from excellence, despite what everyone says.”
Jonathan Moses, a third-year business administration student from Miami, said Karenga offered a “wealth of knowledge and information” that he hadn’t heard before.
Attendees were inspired by Karenga’s message.
“I think that for the crowd that was here, his speech will be beneficial for years to come,” said Bill Proctor, Leon County commissioner and professor at FAMU.