Dr. Naim Akbar, the psychologist and author known for hisAfrican-centeredapproach to modern psychology, will speak at West Virginia Universitys Kwanzaa celebration at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 5, in the Mountainlair Ballrooms.
It is sponsored by WVU s Center for Black Culture, the Black Graduate Student Association and National Panhellenic Council.
Akbar has been hailed by Essence magazine asone of the worlds preeminent psychologists and a pioneer in the development of an African-centered approach to modern psychology.
Currently on the psychology faculty of Florida State University, hes authored or co-written several scholarly and popular books dealing with the politics and particulars of African-American life.
Those works includeBreaking the Chains of Psychological Slavery,Know ThyselfandBrothers of the Academy: Up-and-Coming Black Scholars Earning Our Way in Higher Education.
He has also served on the editorial board for the Journal of Black Studies and is a former associate editor of the Journal for Black Psychology.
Akbar has lectured across the U.S., South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. In 1995, he was bestowed the title ofDevelopment Chiefat Abono Lakeside Village near Kumasi, Ghana.
He earned degrees from the University of Michigan and held teaching and administrative posts at Morehouse College and Norfolk State University.
Todd McFadden, the Center for Black Cultures associate director, said Akbars message is one for all people, regardless of their pigmentation.
Were obviously thrilled to have him here for our celebration,McFadden said.Anyone can learn from his insights and observations. Hes an academic and a scholar, but hes also a communicator who can talk to people on all levels.
Communication was what Kwanzaa was all about, when the holiday was founded in Los Angeles in 1966.
It was one year after devastating race riots in the citys Watts neighborhood. Black soldiers were starting to die with grim regularity in the jungles of Vietnam. And civil rights champions Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were both just two years away from assassinsbullets that would end their lives.
With its simple reverence, Kwanzaa, McFadden said, was a spiritual balm of healing for those raw days.
Kwanzaa, which takes its name from the Swahili phrase,matunda ya kwanza,or,first fruits,is even more relevant today than when it was founded four decades ago, McFadden said.
The principles of Kwanzaa are a wonderful model for any community,he said.
WVU s celebration includes a traditional Kwanzaa feast and music and the lighting of the seven-candled Kinarawhich represents the holidays seven core values of unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.