Marcus Garvey & the UNIA • By: Lara Cornelius Critical Race Relations
Do Now: READ OUT LOUD A PORTION OF AN EDITORIAL BY MARCUS GARVEY “AFRICAN FUNDAMENTALISM”
The Black Moses Born: August 17, 1887 St. Ann's Bay, Jamaica Died: June 10, 1940 London, England Jamaican activist and African nationalist • "I do not speak carelessly or recklessly but with a definite object of helping the people, especially those of my race, to know, to understand, and to realize themselves.“--Marcus Garvey, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1937 • In the United States Garveyism was central to the development of the black consciousness and pride at the core of the twentieth-century freedom-movement.-1910 Garvey began a series of travels that transformed him from an average person concerned about the problems of those with less opportunity, to an African nationalist determined to lift an entire race from bondage. - He visited Costa Rica, Panama, and Ecuador, and worked as an editor for several radical newspapers and that was a big part of where his leadership began. In each country he visited, he noted that the black man was in an inferior position, subject to the ever-changing ideals of stronger races.
- After briefly returning home, he proceeded to England, where contacts with African nationalists stimulated in him a keen interest in Africa and in black history.- At his time Garvey met Duse Mohammed Ali, a Sudanese-Egyptian and strong supporter of African self-rule. Garvey began writing for Ali's small magazines and was introduced to other black activists.- On his return to Jamaica in 1914 from England, Garvey formed the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL). These organizations were intended "to work for the general uplift of the Negro peoples of the world," and would become the centerpiece for his life's work.
His Place In History • Garvey's UNIA was bigger than the Civil Rights Movement. • Garvey's influence extended well beyond the borders of the United States to the Caribbean, Canada, and Africa. • His message had a tremendous influence on later groups such as the Rastafarians and the Nation of Islam is also important. • Much of what he said concerning racial pride and the potential for great racial success can be heard in later figures such as Malcolm X and even Stokely Carmichael, leader of SNCC (Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee). • Garvey, Malcolm, and Carmichael are all considered more radical than the mainstream civil rights protesters.
The Universal Negro Improvement Association • A black nationalist frat organization founded by Marcus Garvey. • The organization was strongest in the 1920s, prior to Garvey's deportation from the United States of America. • Since 1949, there have been two organizations claiming the name. • According to the preamble of the 1929 constitution as amended, the UNIA is a “social, friendly, humanitarian, charitable, educational, institutional, constructive and expansive society, and is founded by persons desiring to do the utmost to work for the general uplift of the people of African Ancestry of the world.” • And the members pledge themselves to do all in their power to conserve the rights of their noble race and to respect the rights of all mankind, believing always in the Brotherhood of Man and the Fatherhood of God. • The motto of the organization is 'One God! One Aim! One Destiny!' Therefore, let justice be done to all mankind, realizing that if the strong oppresses the weak, confusion and discontent will ever mark the path of man but with love, faith and charity towards all the reign of peace and plenty will be heralded into the world and the generations of men shall be called Blessed."
The Black Star Line • The Black Star Steamship Line, was an enterprise intended to provide a means for African Americans to return to Africa while also enabling black people around the Atlantic to exchange goods and services. • The company had three ships (one called the SS Frederick Douglass) that were owned and operated by black people and made travel and trade possible between their United States, Caribbean, Central American, and African stops. • The economically independent Black Star Line was a symbol of pride for blacks. • Because of large financial obligations and managerial errors, the Black Star Line failed in 1921 and ended operations. Early in 1922 Garvey was indicted on mail fraud charges regarding the Black Star Line's stock sale. • Garvey was convicted but released after serving three years in federal prison. He was then deported to Jamaica.
Assessment • Read about the Black Star Line look at the advertisement for it, Support the Black Star Line and Build a Great Merchant Machine. (a) How did Garvey raise money for the Black Star Line? (b) What arguments did he use in his money-raising efforts? (b) Explain why the Black Star Line, despite its poor management, was a powerful symbol for blacks in the United States and elsewhere.
NEGROES SHOULD LINK STRENGTH MORALLY, FINANCIALLY, EDUCATIONALLY AND PHYSICALLY Support the Black Star Line and Build A Great Merchant Marine The Commercial Future of the Continent of Africa Pictured Now that the world is organizing itself into Race groups, and men everywhere are realizing the value of organized movements, we of the UNIA, appeal to Negroes everywhere to reorganize, link up your strength, morally, financially, educationally, and physically, because out of this combination of strength will ultimately come the freedom of Africa. Let us buy and build new steamships. Let us float them on the bosom of the seven seas. Let us send them to the farthest ends of the world, carrying out commerce, and our trade. Let us link up, America, South and Central America, and the West Indies. Let us link up America with the great continent of Africa through the steamships of the Black Star Line. The Untold wealth of Africa is yet unexploited. Africa still awaits the Negro explorer. Africa still has her hands outstretched beckoning to her children scattered the world over to come to succor her, and to be the fellow citizens of the scattered sons and daughters of Africa. The disunited units everywhere must first come together, and first pledge themselves to support one great and noble policy, and that policy today is no other than the Universal Negro Improvement Association. Let us support this great Organization everywhere. Let us rally to the colors of the Black Star Steamship Company. Let us prepare today, for the tomorrows in the lives of the nations will be so eventful that Negroes everywhere will be called upon to play their part in the survival of the fittest human group. Marcus GarveyNew York City, February 22, 1921 Excerpt from The Negro World, Vol. X, No. 2. New York, Saturday, February 26, 1921.
Bibliography • - Printed in the Negro World, 6 June 1925, as a front-page editorial; written in Atlanta Federal Penitentiary. Original headlines omitted. Creed reprinted in slightly revised form, under the title "African Fundamentalism," as a UNIA poster, sold by mail order through the Negro World by Amy Jacques Garvey, 1925. • http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/tserve/twenty/tkeyinfo/garvey.htm • http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/a_f/dumas/garveyblackstar.htm • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_Negro_Improvement_Association_and_African_Communities_League