Palomar College Library

Subject Guide with Search Tips for Kwanzaa
Books and Media | Articles | Internet

Getting Started

Kwanzaa is a celebration of the African-American and Pan-African community and family that takes place December 26 – January 1.  Kwanzaa originated in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Ron Karenga in reaction to the Watts riots in Los Angeles the preceding year.

These sources provide a good beginning.  Some contain general discussion or an overview.  This kind of background will often suggest topics, jargon, or keywords for further research.

The folklore of American holidays by Hennig Cohen and Tristram Potter Coffin, eds. Reference San Marcos GT4803 .F65 1999
This book contains an article on the origins and traditions of Kwanzaa.

The African-American experience on file by C. Carter Smith, ed.
Reference San Marcos E185 .A2533 1999
This volume has an article on Kwanzaa traditions and history.

Books and Media

Use the Library Catalog to find books, periodicals, and media on your topic.  You can enter keywords of your own choosing, or you can identify the specific subject headings that the library catalog uses to group related materials together. 

            Suggested Subject Headings
Kwanzaa fiction
            Kwanzaa decorations

Seven spools of thread: a Kwanzaa story by Angela Shelf Medearis
PZ7 .M51274 2000, SAN MARCOS, Circulating

Kwanzaa crafts: gifts and decorations for a meaningful and festive celebration by Marcia Odle McNair
TT900 .K92 M38 1999, SAN MARCOS, Circulating

Kwanzaa music [sound recording] Mahlathini
ML3556 .K94 1994, SAN MARCOS, Circulating Media

Kwanzaa [video recording] / Schlessinger Video Productions; [produced and directed by Fabian-Baber Communications]
GT4403 .K83 2004, SAN MARCOS, Circulating Media


Articles are usually identified by using online research databases or printed indexes.  Printed indexes are especially helpful for older material.  Journal, magazine, and newspaper articles can supply the latest information on a topic and often contain details not available elsewhere. NOTE: Passwords required to use off-campus

·         EBSCOhost

EBSCOhost provides access to several databases including magazine, journal and newspaper articles.  For a guide on how to search EBSCOhost, go to Using EBSCOhost at


Pleck, E. (2001, Summer). Kwanzaa: The making of a Black Nationalist tradition, 1966—1990.  Journal of American Ethnic History, 20(4), 3-29.  Retrieved November 13, 2006, from EBSCOhost (Religion and Philosophy Collection) database.


Basic internet Search Strategies - Use a directory, subject portal, or search engine to focus your Internet search.   In addition to those listed below, find more sites on the Palomar Library Subject Links site at Information on evaluating websites can be found at


Information on Citation Styles – In order to create a bibliography for your research paper, you will need to follow the rules of a specific style.  For a list of styles and information on how to use them, go to

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