Marcus Garvey • Marcus Mosiah Garvey was born in St. Ann’s Bay, Jamaica, in 1887. • His father was a well-read man of maroon descent; his mother a modest Christian. • Garvey moved to Kingston, worked as a journalist, and became involved in politics. • By 1910 Garvey was traveling around to Caribbean and Latin American plantations. • Fueled by desire to help fellow blacks.
Marcus Garvey • Garvey traveled to England, attended Birbeck college, and spoke out (on a Hyde Park corner) about the poor conditions of West Indians. • In London he read Booker T. Washington’s Up From Slavery.
Marcus Garvey • “Where is the Black man’s government, where is his king and kingdom? Where is his president, his country, and his ambassador, his army, his navy, his men of big affairs? I could not find them and I declared I would help to make them.” • Garvey returned to Jamaica in 1914 and founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association. Its motto was “One God! One Aim! One Destiny!”
Marcus Garvey • Garvey sought to create an institute like Tuskegee, but found little interest from young Jamaicans. • Garvey went to NY in 1916; embarked on 5 month, 38 state tour, and in 1918 established a UNIA branch in Harlem.
Marcus Garvey • NY had Black Cross nurses, legions, and other divisions celebrating blackness and racial pride at UNIA parades. • “We must liberate ourselves.”
Marcus Garvey • The Declaration of Rights of the Negro Peoples of the World was written in the 1920. • The same convention also produced the Universal Ethiopian Anthem and the red, black, and green African flag.
Marcus Garvey • In 1920 Garvey staged a UNIA convention in New York. • The event attracted 25,000 black ‘Garveyites’ from around the world. • Delegates (not just Garvey) wore military regalia and appeared to onlookers as “an African government in exile.”
Marcus Garvey • The largest endeavor of the UNIA was the Black Star Steamship Line. • The Black Star was intended to provide means for blacks to return to Africa. • Was also going to enable black people to exchange goods on the Atlantic.
Marcus Garvey • “The UNIA employs 1000s of black girls and black boys. Girls who could only be washer women in your home, we made clerks….. You will see from the start we tried to dignify our race.”
Marcus Garvey • In 1920 The Black Star Line sold stock for $5 a share; Garvey used this money to purchase three ships—The Yarmouth, the Kanawha, and the Booker T. Washington.
MarcusGarvey • The Black Star Line never transported anyone to Africa. • Garvey was most likely aware it was unrealistic to have all blacks in the Western hemisphere move to Africa. • He did truly believe that the UNIA would help end colonialism in Africa. • The UNIA sought settlements in Liberia and Tanzania; Britain, France, and the United States kept these plans from coming to fruition.
Marcus Garvey • Hoover and the Bureau of Investigation infiltrated the Universal Negro Improvement Association. • The black agents obtained information with the aim of deporting Garvey, who never became an American citizen. • Garvey was indicted on fraudulent use of the mail to sell Black Star stock. • In 1927 President Coolidge deported him.
Marcus Garvey • Marcus Garvey was never allowed to return to the United States. • He died in 1940 in London, England. • The UNIA basically died when Garvey left. • However the energy and memory of the man live on to this day. • The Reverend Earl Little ended his meetings quoting Garvey’s famous command “Up you mighty race, you can accomplish anything.”
Marcus Garvey • The Jamaican Rastafarian movement and the Nation of Islam grew out of and have been influenced by the UNIA. • Jamaica named Garvey its first national hero. • Black Man and Negro World continued publication into the 1930s.
Marcus Garvey Further Reading • The African-American Odyssey • The African-American Century • Africana • PBS.ORG Garvey's Wife