Maulana Ndabezitha Karenga, previously known as Ron Karenga, (born July 14, 1941) is an African-American professor of Africana studies, activist and author, best known as the creator of the pan-African and African-American holiday of Kwanzaa. Karenga was active in the Black Power movement of the 1960s and 1970s, and co-founded with Hakim Jamal the black nationalist group US Organization.
Born in Parsonsburg, Maryland to an African-American family, Karenga studied at Los Angeles City College and the University of California, Los Angeles. During his student years, he involved himself in activism and joined the Congress of Racial Equality. Through his activism, he became involved in violent clashes with the Black Panther Party. In 1971, he was convicted of felonious assault and false imprisonment. He was imprisoned in California Men's Colony until he received parole in 1975. He received his PhD shortly afterward and began a career in academia.
He is also known as Ronald McKinley Everett, Maulana Ndabezitha Karenga and Ron Karenga.