Chicago Tribune: Kwanzaa Founder a "Scholar," But What Else?

December 27th, 2005 10:31 PM
Today's Chicago Tribune notes that Kwanzaa was created "by African-American scholar Maulana Karenga." A check of the Tribune's own archives discloses that he could have been characterized somewhat differently.

On October 7, 1970 the newspaper reported: "Black militant Ron Karenga was arrested with three of his followers today on charges he tortured two young women with a soldering iron and a vise. . .Investigators said the women were held at gunpoint, forced to disrobe and were beaten. At one point, it was charged, Karenga forced a hot soldering iron inside the mouth of one of the victims while the other woman's toe was squeezed in a vise."

Karenga, who later changed his first name, was found guilty on some of the charges and went to prison for several years.

Surely his violent and criminal background is as relevant as his academic credential as a professor of the Department of Black Studies at California State University.