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Marcus Garvey

Marcus Garvey


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Marcus Garvey - HISTORY

The Buy Black Movement is inspired by the vision and accomplishments of Marcus Garvey, one of the greatest Black leaders in history.

Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr. was born in St. Ann's Bay, Jamaica on August 17, 1887. In 1910, he began traveling throughout Central America, the Caribbean and Europe. In his travels, he saw that Black people of the time owned nothing, regardless of where he went in the world, and were not united. He was determined to do something about it.

So, in 1914, he returned to Jamaica and founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association (U.N.I.A.). The purpose of the organization was "to unite all people of African ancestry of the world to one great body to establish a country and absolute government of their own".

Garvey moved to Harlem in 1916. He started speaking on street corners at night and lecturing at various halls and churches, spreading his powerful message of unity, social freedom, political freedom and economic freedom for Black people. Garvey had an amazing ability to communicate his ideas in a way that Black people could "feel" and relate to. In May of 1916, Garvey began a historic 38-state tour and took the United States by storm.

In May of 1917, Garvey started the New York Division of the U.N.I.A. with 13 members. After only three months, the organization's dues-paying membership reached 3,500. By June 1919, the membership of the U.N.I.A. had grown to over 2 million members. By 1920, the U.N.I.A. had 1,100 chapters in 40 countries around the world. By 1926, the membership of the U.N.I.A. had grown to over 6 million members. Marcus Garvey built the largest Black organization in history.

Marcus Garvey's built huge businesses, encouraged entrepreneurship, and got millions of people buying from Black-owned business. He taught us all to be proud of our race and to unite as a people. In his own words, he taught us all to "Be Black, Buy Black, Think Black, and all else will take care of itself!". Those words have become a motto for the Buy Black Movement, a century later.

The impact of Marcus Garvey has been huge. Inspired by his ideas, over 30 African countries have declared their freedom, and many sport Garvey's red, black and green colors in their flag. Many Black leaders like the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King, Minister Louis Farrakhan and more, have all publicly stated that they were inspired by Marcus Garvey. In 1969, the parliament of Jamaica proclaimed Marcus Garvey as the country's first national hero.

Today, TAG TEAM Marketing is continuing the important work of Black economic independence, began by Marcus Garvey almost a century ago. Through the work of the members of the Buy Black Movement, Garvey's economic vision lives on.


Marcus Garvey's Black Businesses

1920's Advertisements For Several Garvey Businesses

Marcus Garvey has been called the angel of Black success. Garvey believed economic success was the quickest and most effective way to independence.

The Negro World was established in January 1918 as a weekly newspaper to express the ideas of the organization. Garvey contributed a front-page editorial each week in which he developed the organization's position on different issues related to people of African ancestry around the world, in general, and the U.N.I.A., in particular. Eventually reaching a circulation of five hundred thousand, the newspaper was printed in several languages. It contained a page specifically for women readers, documented international events related to people of African ancestry, and was distributed throughout the African diaspora until publication ceased in 1933.

In 1919 the U.N.I.A. purchased the first of what would be numerous Liberty Halls (the name given to all U.N.I.A. meeting places). Located at 114 West 138th Street in New York City, the New York City Liberty Hall had a seating capacity of six thousand. It was dedicated on July 27, 1919. Garvey held nightly meetings at Liberty Hall that drew up to six thousand people at a time. Later that year the Association organized the first of its two steamship companies and a separate business corporation.

In 1919 he also established the Negro Factories Corporation and offered stock for African Americans to buy. He raised one million dollars for the project. He wanted to produce everything that a nation needed so that African Americans could completely rely on their own efforts. It generated income and provided jobs by its numerous enterprises, including a chain of grocery stores and restaurants, steam laundry, tailor shop, dress making shop, millinery store (clothing, fashion, hats, accessories, etc.), publishing house and doll factory.

In New York City alone, Garvey owned several buildings, owned a fleet of trucks and had over 1,000 Black people working in his businesses.

Marcus Garvey's U.N.I.A. also operated the Phyllis Wheatley Hotel and Booker Washington University (3-13 West 136th Street, New York, NY).


One of Marcus Garvey's Stores In New York City

S.S. Yarmouth, one of Marcus Garvey's four
Black Star Line steam ships
His most famous business venture was a shipping company known as the Black Star Line. Garvey started the shipping company in 1919 as a way to promote trade but also to transport passengers to Africa. He believed it could also serve as an important and tangible sign of Black success. The Black Star Line, Inc. was incorporated in Delaware as a U.S. domestic corporation on June 27, 1919. It began with ten million dollars in investment capital. It sold shares individually valued at five dollars to both U.N.I.A. members and non-members alike. Proceeds from stock sales were used to purchase first the S.S. Yarmouth and then the S.S. Shadyside. The Shadyside was used by the Association for summer outings and excursions, as well as rented out on charter to other organizations. The Black Star Line later purchased the Kanawha as its third vessel. This small yacht was intended for inter-island transportation in the West Indies and was rechristened the S.S. Antonio Maceo.

With the growth of its membership from 1918 through 1924, as well as, income from its various economic enterprises, U.N.I.A. purchased additional Liberty Halls in the USA, Canada, Costa Rica, Belize, Panama, Jamaica, and other countries. Furthermore, U.N.I.A. purchased farms in Ohio and other states. U.N.I.A. also purchased land in Claremont, Virginia with the intention of founding Liberty University.

By 1920 the U.N.I.A. had over 1,100 chapters in more than 40 countries. Most of the chapters were located in the United States, which had become the U.N.I.A.'s base of operations. There were, however, offices in several Caribbean countries, with Cuba having the most. Chapters also existed in such diverse countries as Panama, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Venezuela, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia, India, Australia, Nigeria, Namibia and Azania/South Africa.

In September, 1926 the U.N.I.A. celebrated the opening Liberty University. They acquired Smallwood-Corey Industrial Institute located in Claremont, Virginia. The school property included several buildings and sixty-six acres of land along the St. James River. 56 young U.N.I.A. members became students there beginning with the fall session in 1926.


Garvey's U.N.I.A. Convention In August, 1920

Convention Address by Honorable Marcus Garvey Delivering Constitution for Negro Rights at Liberty Hall in New York City

For the entire month of August 1920, Marcus Garvey's U.N.I.A.-ACL organization held its first international convention in New York City. Most events were held at the New York Liberty Hall. It's biggest events were held at New York City's world-famous Madison Square Gard en . An estimated 25,000 Black people attended the convention from all around the world. Delegations from 25 African countries were in attendances as well.

During the convention, they discussed and created a revolutionary document called The Declaration of Rights of the Negro Peoples of the World. It was one of the earliest and most complete documents advocating human rights and detailing the abuses against Black people worldwide. It also sought the uplift of the Black race and encouraged self-reliance and nationhood.

On August 13, 1920, they voted and made the declaration official. One of the most notable declarations of this document was one proclaiming the red, black and green flag the official banner of the African race.

The red, black and green flag has become a symbol of Black unity and pride all over the world. Many African countries sport the colors in their flags, symbolizing their inspiration by Marcus Garvey, including Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia and others. The red, black and green flag became a symbol of Black pride, Black power, and Black nationalism in the 1960s. The African American holiday Kwanzaa, founded in 1966, uses the colors red, black and green as well. We proudly sport the red, black and green flag in the Black Business Network.


Garvey Parades In Harlem, New York

Marcus Garvey and members in a U.N.I.A. Parade

Marcus Garvey understood the importance of gathering Black people together to experience Black unity and instill race pride. Garvey held phenomenal conventions, the likes of which had never been seen before. Garvey opened his conventions with parades in Harlem that featured 100,000 Black people marching down Harlem streets. In these parades, members of the various U.N.I.A. programs wore their uniforms and marched proudly as the finest examples of Black excellence, discipline and unity most people had ever seen. The parades featured the Black Cross Nurses, Universal African Motor Corps, the Universal African Legion, The Juveniles, U.N.I.A. cultural/artistic groups and other auxiliaries, bands, and international division representatives, all in full ceremonial dress, carrying banners with the inscriptions: "Africa for the Africans!", "The Negro Wants Liberty!", and "Liberty or Death!" They were the greatest parades ever staged anywhere in the world by Black people.

Marcus Garvey wore a purple and gold uniform with a feathered helmet.

Members of the U.N.I.A.'s male Universal African Legion dressed in striking dark blue military uniforms. They studied military discipline as well as the geography of Africa, mathematics, reading and writing and other subjects . They were the most striking group of Black men ever seen by most Black people of the day.

Garvey's African Black Cross Nurses were modeled after the Red Cross. Although some members had formal medical training, most worked with practical training in first aid and nutrition. The auxiliary performed benevolent community work and provided public health services to black neighborhoods, specializing in infant health and home care. In U.N.I.A. parades, the Black Cross Nurses made a striking appearance in long hooded white robes or green nursing uniforms.

Sisters Marching In U.N.I.A. parade in Harlem, NY

Members of the female Universal African Motor Corps were trained in automobile driving and repair, as well as military discipline and marched in the parades in beautiful red, black and green uniforms.

Members of Garvey's Black Eagle Flying Corps were trained as airplane pilots. They also wore red, black and green uniforms.

The Juvenile Divisions, the youth corps of the Garvey movement, were divided into classes according to age. The infant class (ages one through seven) studied the Bible, the doctrine of the U.N.I.A., and the history of Africa. After the age of seven, the children were segregated by sex. Girls were taught sewing, boys woodcraft, and both received further instruction in Black history, economics and etiquette. After the age of thirteen, boys received military training to prepare them for membership in the African Legion, while girls learned hygiene and domestic science in order to prepare them to be Black Cross Nurses. In the U.N.I.A. parades, the boys marched in blue uniforms and the girls in green dresses.


Marcus Garvey Youth Parade


Marcus Garvey's U.N.I.A. Parade In Harlem, NY

Marcus Garvey's red, black & green flag. In 1920 at the U.N.I.A. convention, delegates from 25 African countries voted it the official flag of the African race.


Marcus Garvey walking on left


Marcus Garvey and other U.N.I.A. leaders in front of U.N.I.A. Publishing House in Harlem, New York in 1922

Marcus Garvey chairing a session of a
U.N.I.A. Convention, August 5, 1924


Marcus Garvey in a U.N.I.A. Parade


Marcus Garvey's Wedding Photo, December 25, 1919


Marcus Garvey (right) with Prince Kojo Tovalou-Houenou of Dahomey (center), called the "Garvey of Africa", and George O. Marke (left) in 1924


Marcus Garvey in 1922


Marcus Garvey's African Corps, 1924


Marcus Garvey's African Corps


Garvey and Delegation Watching U.N.I.A. Parade


Marcus Garvey


Marcus Garvey in U.N.I.A. Parade in 1921

Marcus Garvey in Uniform

Inspired by the vision and accomplishments of Marcus Garvey, TAG TEAM Marketing International, Inc. is committed to carrying forward his vision by moving the global Black community into economic power. As Marcus Garvey said, "A race without power is a race without respect". And as he also said, "Why should not Africa give to the world its Black Rockefeller, Rothschild and Henry Ford? Now is the opportunity. Now is the chance for every Negro to make every effort toward a commercial, industrial standard that will make us comparable with the successful business men of other races."

TAG TEAM Marketing created the Black Business Network to get millions of Black people buying from Black people consistently, booming Black-owned businesses and creating true Black economic independence, just as Marcus Garvey envisioned almost a century ago.

Marcus Garvey's storm is brewing. His whirlwind is spinning. The economic movement he began is stirring once again.


(1921) Marcus Garvey “Address to the Second UNIA Convention”

By 1921 the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) was well on its way to becoming the largest predominately black organization in the world. Marcus Garvey, the UNIA’s founder, however, already recognized W.E.B. Du Bois and the NAACP as its chief rival. In his closing night speech to the second UNIA convention in New York, Garvey lays out his vision of globally emancipated Africans. Garvey’s speech appears below.

May it please your Highness the Potentate, Right Honorable Members of the Executive Council, Deputies and Delegates to the Second International Convention of Negroes of the World, Ladies and Gentlemen: – We are assembled here tonight to bring to a close our great convention of thirty-one days and thirty-one nights. Before we separate ourselves and take our departure to the different parts of the world from which we came, I desire to give you a message one that you will, I hope, take home and propagate among the scattered millions of Africa’s sons and daughters.

We have been here, sent here by the good will of the 4000,000,000 Negroes of the world to legislate in their interests, and in the time allotted to us we did our best to enact laws and to frame laws that in our judgment, we hope, will help solve the great problem that confronts us universally. The Universal Negro Improvement Association seeks to emancipate the Negro everywhere, industrially, educationally, politically and religiously. It also seeks a free and redeemed Africa. It has a great struggle ahead it has a gigantic task to face. Nevertheless, as representatives of the Negro people of the world we have undertaken the task of freeing the 4000,000,000 of our race, and of freeing our bleeding Motherland, Africa. We counseled with each other during the thirty-one days….and out of all we did, and out of all we said, we have come to the one conclusion – that speedily Africa must be redeemed! We have come to the conclusion that speedily there must be an emancipated Negro race everywhere and on going back to our respective homes we go with our determination to lay down, if needs be, the last drop of our blood for the defense of Africa and for the emancipation of our race.

The handwriting is on the wall. You see it as plain as daylight you see it coming out of India, the tribes of India rising in rebellion against their overlords. You see it coming out of Africa, our dear motherland, Africa the Moors rising in rebellion against their overlords, and defeating them at every turn. According to the last report flashed to this country from Morocco by the Associated Press, the Moors have again conquered and subdued the Spanish hordes. The same associated Press flashes to us the news that there is a serious uprising in India, and the English people are marshaling their troops to subdue the spirit of liberty, of freedom, which is now permeating India. The news has come to us, and I have a cable in my pocket that comes from Ireland that the Irish are determined to have liberty and nothing less than liberty.

The handwriting is on the wall, and as we go back to our respective homes we shall serve notice upon the world that we are also coming coming with a united effort coming with a united determination, a determination that Africa shall be free from coast to coast. I have before me the decision of the League of Nations. Immediately after the war a Council of the League of Nations was called, and at that Council they decided that the territories wrested from Germany in West Africa, taken from her during the conflict, should be divided between France and England – 608,000 square miles – without even asking the civilized Negroes of the world what disposition shall be made of their own homeland, of their own country. An insult was hurled at the civilized Negroes of the world when they thus took upon themselves the right to parcel out and apportion as they pleased 608,000 square miles of our own land for we never gave it up we never sold it. It is still our[s]. They parceled it out between these two nations – England and France – gave away our property without consulting us, and we are aggrieved, and we desire to serve notice on civilization and on the world that 400,000,000 Negroes are aggrieved.

And we are the more aggrieved because of the lynch rope, because of segregation, because of the Jim Crowism that is used, practiced and exercised here in this country and in other parts of the world by the white nations of the earth, wherever Negroes happen accidentally or otherwise to find themselves. If there is no safety for Negroes in the white world, I cannot see what right they have to parcel out the homeland, the country of Negroes, without consulting Negroes and asking their permission so to do. Therefore, we are aggrieved. This question of prejudice will be the downfall of civilization, and I warn the white race of this, and of their doom. I hope they will take heed, because the handwriting is on the wall. No portion of humanity, no group of humanity, has an abiding right, an everlasting right, an eternal right to oppress other sections or portions of humanity. God never gave them the right, and if there is such a right, man arrogated it to himself, and God in all ages has been displeased with the arrogance of man. I warn those nations that believe themselves above human justice. You cannot long ignore the laws of God you cannot long ignore the commandments of God you cannot long ignore human justice, and exist. Your arrogance will destroy you, and I warn the races and the nations that have arrogated to themselves the right to oppress, the right to circumscribe, the right to keep down other races. I warn them that the hour is coming when the oppressed will rise in their might, in their majesty, and throw off the yoke of ages.

The world ought to understand that the Negro has come to life, possessed with a new conscience and a new soul. The old Negro is buried, and it is well the world knew it. It is not my purpose to deceive the world. I believe in righteousness I believe in truth I believe in honesty. That is why I warn a selfish world of the outcome of their actions towards the oppressed. There will come a day, Josephus Daniels wrote about it, a white statesman, and the world has talked about it, and I warn the world of it, that the day will come when the races of the world will marshal themselves in great conflict for the survival of the fittest. Men of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, I am asking you to prepare yourselves, and prepare your race the world over, because the conflict is coming, not because you will it, not because you desire it, but because you will be forced into it. The conflict between the races is drawing nearer and nearer. You see it I see it I see it in the handwriting on the wall, as expressed in the uprising in India. You see the handwriting on the wall of Africa you see it, the handwriting on the wall of Europe. It is coming it is drawing nearer and nearer. Four hundred million Negroes of the world, I am asking you to prepare yourselves, so that you will not be found wanting when that day comes. What a sorry day it will be. I hope it will never come. But my hope, my wish, will not prevent its coming. Al that I can do is to warm humanity everywhere, so that humanity may change its tactics, and warn them of the danger. I repeat: I warn the white world against the prejudice they are practicing against Negroes I warn them against the segregation and injustice they mete out to us, for the perpetuation of these things will mean the ultimate destruction of the present civilization, and the building up of a new civilization founded upon mercy, justice and equality.

I know that we have good men in all races living at the present time. We have good men of the black race, we have good men of the white race, good men of the yellow race, who are endeavoring to do the best they can to ward off this coming conflict. White men who have the vision, go ye back and warn your people of this coming conflict! Black men of vision, go ye to the four corners of the earth, and warn your people of this coming conflict. Yellow men, go ye out and warn your people of this coming conflict, because it is drawing nearer and nearer nearer and nearer. Oh! If the world will only listen to the heart-throbs, to the soul-beasts of those who have the vision, those who have God’s love in their hearts.

I see before me white men, black men and yellow men working assiduously for the peace of the world for the bringing together of this thing called human brotherhood I see them working through their organizations. They have been working during the last fifty. years. Some worked to bring about the emancipation, because they saw the danger of perpetual slavery. They brought about the liberation of 4,000,000 black people. They passed away, and the others started to work, but the opposition against them is too strong the opposition against them is weighing them down. The world has gone mad the world has become too material the world has lost its spirit of kinship with God, and man can see nothing else but prejudice, avarice and greed. Avarice and greed will destroy the world and I am appealing to white, black and yellow whose hearts, whose souls are touched with the true spirit of humanity, with the true feeling of human brotherhood, to preach the doctrine of human love, more, to preach it louder, to preach it longer, because there is great need for it in the world at this time. Ah! If they could but see the danger – the conflict between the races – races fighting against each other. What a destruction, what a holocaust it will be! Can you imagine it?

Just take your idea from the last bloody war, wherein a race was pitted against itself (for the whole white races united as one from a common origin), the members of which, on both sides, fought so tenaciously that they killed off each other in frightful, staggering numbers. If a race pitted against itself could fight so tenaciously to kill itself without mercy, can you imagine the fury, can you imagine the mercilessness, the terribleness of the war that will come when all the races of the world will be on the battlefield, engaged in deadly combat for the destruction or overthrow of the one or the other, when beneath it and as a cause of it lies prejudice and hatred? Truly, it will be an ocean of blood that is all it will be. So that if I can sound a note of warning now that will echo and reverberate around the world and thus prevent such conflict, God help me to do it for Africa, like Europe, like Asia, is preparing for the day.

You may ask yourselves if you believe Africa is still asleep. Africa has been slumbering but she was slumbering for a purpose. Africa still possesses her hidden mysteries Africa has unused talents, and we are unearthing them now for the coming conflict. Oh, I hope it will never come therefore, I hope the white world will change its attitude towards the weaker races of the world, for we shall not be weak everlastingly. Ah, history teaches us of the rise and fall of nations, races, and empires. Rome fell in her majesty Greece fell in her triumph Babylon, Assyria, Carthage, Prussia, the German Empire – all fell in their pomp and power the French Empire fell from the sway of the great Napoleon, for the dominion of the indomitable Corsican soldier. As they fell I the past, so will nations fall in the present age, and so will they fall in the future ages to come, the result of their unrighteousness.

I repeat, I warn the world, and I trust you will receive this warning as you go into the four corners of the earth. The white race should teach humanity. Out there is selfishness in the world. Let the white race teach humanity first, because we have been following the cause of humanity for three hundred years, and we have suffered much. If a change must come, it must not come from Negroes it must come from the white race, for they are the ones who have brought about this estrangement between the races. The Negro never hated at no time within the last five hundred years can they point to one single instance of Negro hatred. The Negro has loved even under the severest punishment. In slavery the Negro loved his master he protected his master he safeguarded his master’s home. “Greater love hath no man than that he should lay down his life for another.” We gave not only our services, our unrequited labor we gave also our souls, we gave our hearts, we gave our all, to our oppressors.

But, after all, we are living in a material world, even though it is partly spiritual, and since we have been very spiritual in the past, we are going to take a part of the material now, and will give others the opportunity to practice the spiritual side of life. Therefore, I am not telling you to lead in humanity I am not telling you to lead in the bringing about of the turning of humanity, because you have been doing that for three hundred years, and you have lost. But the compromise must come from the dominant races. We are warning them. We are not preaching a doctrine of hatred, and I trust you will not go back to your respective homes and preach such a doctrine. We are preaching, rather, a doctrine of humanity, a doctrine of human love. But we say love begins at home “charity begins at home.”

We are aggrieved because of this portioning of Africa, because it seeks to deprive Negroes of the chance of higher national development no chance, no opportunity is given to us to prove our fitness to govern, to dominate in our own behalf. They impute so many bad things against Haiti and against Liberia, that they themselves circumvented Liberia so as to make it impossible for us to demonstrate our ability for self-government. Why not be honest? Why not be straight-forward? Having desired the highest development, as they avowed and professed, of the Negro, why not give him a fair chance, an opportunity to prove his capacity for governing? What better opportunity ever presented itself than the present, when the territories of Germany in Africa were wrested from her control by the Allies in the last war – what better chance ever offered itself for trying out the higher ability of Negroes to govern themselves than to have given those territories to the civilized Negroes, and thus give them a trial to exercise themselves in a proper system of government? Because of their desire to keep us down, because of their desire to keep us apart, they refuse us a chance. The chance that they did give us is the chance that we are going to take. Hence tonight, before I take my seat, I will move a resolution, and I think it is befitting at this time too pass such a resolution as I will move, so that the League of Nations and the Supreme Council of the Nations will understand that Negroes are not asleep that Negroes are not false to themselves that Negroes are wide awake, and that Negroes intend to take a serious part in the future government of this world that God Almighty created him and placed him in it. This world owes us a place, and we are going to occupy that place.

We have a right to a large part in the political horizon, and I say to you that we are preparing to occupy that spot.

Go back to your respective corners of the earth and preach the real doctrine of the Universal Negro Improvement Association – the doctrine of universal emancipation for Negroes, the doctrine of a free and a redeemed Africa!

Be it Resolved, That we, the duly elected representatives of the Negro peoples of the world, assembled in the Second Annual Convention, do protest against the distribution of the land of Africa by the Supreme Council and the League of Nations among the white nations of the world. Africa, by right of heritage, is the property of the African races, and those at home and those abroad are now sufficiently civilized to conduct the affairs of their own homeland. This convention believes in the right of Europe for the Europeans Asia for the Asiatics, and Africa for the Africans, those at home and those abroad. We believe, further, that only a close and unselfish application of this principle will prevent threatening race wars that may cast another gloom over civilization and humanity. At this time humanity everywhere is determined to reach a common standard of nationhood. Hence 4000,000,000 Negroes demand a place in the political sun of the world.


Marcus Mosiah Garvey

Marcus Mosiah Garvey was born in St. Anne’s Bay, Jamaica on August 17, 1887. He was a decendant of the Maroons, Jamaica’s first freedom fighters, and he was said to be proud of his "pure black blood." At the age of 14 he left school for financial reasons and moved to Kingston to become a printer and educate himself outside the classroom.

Garvey is often referred to as the "Black Moses" because he was a great leader to his people in a day when the struggle for freedom was a task. He started the back-to-Africa movement urging black people to get on the road to rebuttal against the years of oppression and racism they had endured. At age 27 years old, in 1914 he started the United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) in Jamaica. This program did exactly what the name says. It turned into an international organization to help black people economically, to protect their culture, in self-help and all kinds of racial discrimination. In 1916 he made his first trip to the USA to preach his ideas. He was invited to come by the famous Booker T. Washington. Sadly before Marcus could arrive in America Mr. Washington died.

When he arrived in D.C. he began to encourage Americans to join his "universal movement". He lived in Harlem for many years stirring the minds of African-Americans. At The time the Harlem Renaissance was at its height and his participation made it soar. There was a strong black culture focus area of black intelligentsia, literature and art in Harlem, he felt this was the place to get the people moving, and he did.

Garvey had many philosophies. He was never afraid to share them. He poems address the opression of blacks world-wide. He had a vision of black power and saw his people were being severely overshadowed as the lowly people of the world. He lived at a time when most black people, throughout the diaspora were poor and disadvantaged. Black people didn’t feel good about themselves because they had no rights, expectations and nothing to look forward to. The white people who had power and money did not value African cultures. By the power of speech and persuasion he talked to his people and helped them understand their beauty and gave them hope. "He encouraged us to be self-reliant, and have pride in our history and ourselves. He inspired millions of people all over the world to press for better conditions and independence.

He used an idea called New Thought that came out of the Gilded Ages that focused on mental healing. Garvey used these teachings along with Christian Science ideas to guide Black people to change their attitude and conduct. On a tour in the Caribbean Garvey was quoted saying, "I have come to you in Jamaica, to give new thoughts to the eight hundred thousand black people in this land."

Another form of teaching Garvey really believed in was literature and poetry. To him poetry was a way to enter your own soul and think about the truth therein. The reader is therefore able to see the passion being projected by the writer. Garvey wrote many inspirational poems and gospels for the New Black theory inspiring his people to become strong and self sustainable. His writings also show his ability to communicate with an audience using oral tradition.

By 1919, his following had reached 2,000,000. That same year he established the shipping company, the Black Star Line and the Negro Factories Corporation. He also opened a chain of restaurants, grocery stores, laundries, a hotel, and a printing press.

The U.S. government began to notice Garvey’s activities. In 1919, the Bureau of Investigation started to monitor his actions. With the intent to eventually deport him, the bureau began to gather evidence of his actions that related to the Black Star Line. Despite his following, Garvey’s ideology of racial purity and separatism failed to gain the support of black leaders such as W.E.B. Du Bois. In addition, in 1922, the Black Star Line was dissolved. Garvey’s other businesses also failed. Garvey received an additional blow when he was indicted for mail fraud for the sale of Black Star Line stock. In 1923, he was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison. In 1925, he began serving his prison sentence. After President Calvin Coolidge commuted his sentence in 1927, he was deported to Jamaica.

Many Reggae artists have celebrated Marcus in their music. Many songs directly use his name and make specific references to him. He is celebrated for his use of oral tradition and reggae remembers him through the same means of musical storytelling. As many people predicted after he had died, that his memory would live on and his voice would still be heard from the past, through black people in the present.


Marcus Garvey

Marcus Garvey was born in 1887 on the north coast of British-controlled Jamaica. In 1914 Garvey formed the Universal Negro Improvement and Conservation Association and African Communities League (which was later shortened to the United Negro Improvement Association, UNIA). Garvey immigrated to the United States during World War I, and soon established an American branch of UNIA in New York City. Seeking to unite peoples of African descent throughout the world into one large racial movement, Garvey organized, encouraging pride among Africans everywhere along the way. Garvey's message of black pride and racial separatism was extremely attractive to blacks, gaining him the largest grass roots following of any movement of African Americans in United States history. From the late 1910s to the early 1920s, his movement raised millions of dollars from small donations provided by working-class blacks eager for social and economic change.

UNIA purchased ships to trade with African nations and to allow African-Americans to return to their homeland. "Back to Africa" emerged as a popular slogan of the organization. Unlike Du Bois, who argued for full political and social integration, Garvey thought that African-Americans should establish their own separate social and economic organizations outside of white America. Although Garvey approved somewhat of Washington's focus on economic advancement, the Jamaican immigrant favored complete independence from entanglements with white America. Washington, by contrast, used the popularity of his accommodationist and gradualist approach to inequality to acquire significant patronage and support from white American business leaders and politicians. Before leaving Jamaica, Garvey gave a speech in which he called upon his fellow "Afro-West Indians" to unite in order to make "history for the race":

For God's sake, you men and women who have been keeping yourselves away from the people of your own African race, cease the ignorance unite your hands and hearts with the people of Africa, Sons and daughters of Africa, I say to you arise, take on the toga of race pride, and throw off the brand of ignominy which has kept you back for so many centuries. Dash asunder the petty prejudices within your own fold.


Black Nationalist Marcus Garvey recognized that his Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) would find its most enthusiastic audience in the United States, despite the organization’s professed worldwide mission. After fighting World War I, ostensibly to defend democracy and self-determination, thousands of African-American soldiers returned home to find intensified discrimination, segregation, racial violence, and hostile relations with white Americans. Sensing growing frustration, Garvey used his considerable charisma to attract thousands of disillusioned black working-class and lower middle-class followers and became the most popular black leader in America in the early 1920s. The UNIA, committed to notions of racial purity and separatism, insisted that salvation for African Americans meant building an autonomous, black-led nation in Africa. To this end, the movement offered in its “Back to Africa” campaign a powerful message of black pride and economic self-sufficiency. In Garvey’s 1921 speech, “If You Believe the Negro Has a Soul,” he emphasized the inevitability of racial antagonism and the hopelessness of interracial coexistence.

Marcus Garvey: Fellow citizens of Africa, I greet you in the name of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League of the World. You may ask, “what organization is that?” It is for me to inform you that the Universal Negro Improvement Association is an organization that seeks to unite, into one solid body, the four hundred million Negroes in the world. To link up the fifty million Negroes in the United States of America, with the twenty million Negroes of the West Indies, the forty million Negroes of South and Central America, with the two hundred and eighty million Negroes of Africa, for the purpose of bettering our industrial, commercial, educational, social, and political conditions. As you are aware, the world in which we live today is divided into separate race groups and distinct nationalities. Each race and each nationality is endeavoring to work out its own destiny, to the exclusion of other races and other nationalities. We hear the cry of “England for the Englishman,” of “France for the Frenchman,” of “Germany for the German,” of “Ireland for the Irish,” of “Palestine for the Jew,” of “Japan for the Japanese,” of “China for the Chinese.” We of the Universal Negro Improvement Association are raising the cry of “Africa for the Africans,” those at home and those abroad. There are 400 million Africans in the world who have Negro blood coursing through their veins, and we believe that the time has come to unite these 400 million people toward the one common purpose of bettering their condition. The great problem of the Negro for the last 500 years has been that of disunity. No one or no organization ever succeeded in uniting the Negro race. But within the last four years, the Universal Negro Improvement Association has worked wonders. It is bringing together in one fold four million organized Negroes who are scattered in all parts of the world. Here in the 48 States of the American Union, all the West Indies islands, and the countries of South and Central America and Africa. These four million people are working to convert the rest of the four hundred million that are all over the world, and it is for this purpose, that we are asking you to join our land and to do the best you can to help us to bring about an emancipated race. If anything stateworthy is to be done, it must be done through unity, and it is for that reason that the Universal Negro Improvement Association calls upon every Negro in the United States to rally to this standard. We want to unite the Negro race in this country. We want every Negro to work for one common object, that of building a nation of his own on the great continent of Africa. That all Negroes all over the world are working for the establishment of a government in Africa, means that it will be realized in another few years. We want the moral and financial support of every Negro to make this dream a possibility. Our race, this organization, has established itself in Nigeria, West Africa, and it endeavors to do all possible to develop that Negro country to become a great industrial and commercial commonwealth. Pioneers have been sent by this organization to Nigeria, and they are now laying the foundations upon which the four hundred million Negroes of the world will build. If you believe that the Negro has a soul, if you believe that the Negro is a man, if you believe the Negro was endowed with the senses commonly given to other men by the Creator, then you must acknowledge that what other men have done, Negroes can do. We want to build up cities, nations, governments, industries of our own in Africa, so that we will be able to have a chance to rise from the lowest to the highest position in the African Commonwealth.

Source: Courtesy of the Marcus Garvey and the UNIA Papers Project at the University of California, Los Angeles. Recording courtesy of Michigan State University, G. Robert Vincent Voice Library.


Personal Life

Garvey was the last child of a family of eleven children born to a mason father and a domestic worker mother. Unfortunately, only he and his sister survived to adulthood. Garvey gained his reading interests from his father’s large library and became a victim of racial discrimination in school. As a teenager, he involved himself in printing and joined union activities within the industry. These union activities gave him a passion for politics and his subsequent travels to Europe and Central America introduced him to many civil rights activists. Garvey married twice, the first marriage lasting four months and the second one playing a key role in his campaigns.


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Little Known Black History Fact: Marcus Garvey’s Attempted Assassination

On this day in 1919, Marcus Garvey, the Jamaican-born founder of the United Negro Improvement Association, survived an attempt on his life due in part to his first wife shielding him from his assailant. Garvey was shot and wounded twice by a man rumored to be sent by a powerful government enemy who was then found dead the next day.

Garvey, co-founded the UNIA alongside fellow Jamaican national and leader of its women’s faction, Amy Ashwood. His promotion of Pan-Africanism and Black independence and unity made him one of the early civil rights leaders once he moved from Jamaica to New York. His work attracted the attention of New York assistant district attorney Edwin P. Kilroe. Kilroe’s attempts to make trumped up charges stick failed and he become an enemy of Garvey’s.

On October 14, 1919, George Tyler entered Garvey’s Harlem office asking for the leader. While it has been rumored that Tyler told Garvey he was sent there by Kilroe to assassinate him, that account has never been officially confirmed. In author Colin Grant’s 2008 book, Negro With A Hat: The Rise and Fall of Marcus Garvey, Garvey’s second wife, Amy Jacques shared her recollection of the events.

Tyler might have been an investor in Garvey’s Universal Restaurant who was allegedly rebuffed by the UNIA. Tyler burst into Garvey’s Harlem office by kicking in the downstairs door and demanding an audience. When Garvey went to investigate, Tyler opened fire. Garvey was struck once in the scalp and twice in the leg but was shielded from further injury by Ashwood.

After a scuffle, Tyler ran off but was arrested. The next day, Tyler reportedly tried to escape by jumping through a window but fell 30 feet to his death. Some historians consider his death a homicide.

Despite being bandaged and still recovering from the wounds, Garvey made it to a speaking engagement in Philadelphia the next day, solidifying his growing support. That December, Garvey and Ashwood wed. They would divorce three years later, with Garvey marrying Jacques, who was Ashwood’s best friend and her maid of honor.


Marcus Garvey - HISTORY

Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr. was born on the 17th of August 1887 as the youngest of eleven children in St. Ann’s Bay, Jamaica, to Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Sr. who was a mason, and Sarah Jane Richards, a domestic worker. Only his sister Indiana and Marcus survived to adulthood. His family was financially stable given the circumstances of this time period. At age 14, Marcus became a printer’s apprentice. In 1903, he travelled to Kingston, Jamaica, and soon became involved in union activities.

In 1907, he took part in an unsuccessful printer’s strike and the experience kindled in him a passion for political activism. Marcus Garvey was a politician, journalist and an entrepreneur among other things. After years of working in the Caribbean, Garvey left Jamaica to live in London from 1912 to 1914, where he attended Birkbeck College, taking classes in law and philosophy.

In 1914 Garvey returned to Jamaica, where he organized the UNIA. Historian Rashid suggests that the UNIA motto, “One God, One Aim, One Destiny”, Garvey named the organization the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities (Imperial) League.

In 1919 at 32 years old, Garvey married his first wife, Amy Ashwood. His former secretary, she had saved Garvey in the Tyler assassination attempt by quickly getting medical help. Garvey separated from her just four months after being married. He later marry again to Amy Jacques, they had two sons together.

He is known as a leading political figure because of his determination to fight for the unity of African Americans by creating the Universal Negro Improvement Association and rallying to gather supporters to fight. With this group he touched upon many topics such as education, the economy and independence.

In 1922, Marcus Garvey and some of his UNIA associates were charged with mail fraud involving the Black Star Line. On June 23, 1923, Garvey was convicted and sentenced to prison for five years. Claiming to be a victim of a politically motivated miscarriage of justice, Garvey appealed his conviction, but was denied.

In 1927 he was released from prison and deported to Jamaica.His message of pride and dignity inspired many in the early days of the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s. In tribute to his many contributions, Garvey’s bust has been displayed in the Organization of American States’ Hall of Heroes in Washington, D.C.

Garvey died in London on June 10, 1940, at age 52 after suffering two strokes. Twenty years later, his body was removed from the shelves of the lower crypt and taken to Jamaica, where the government proclaimed him Jamaica’s first national hero and re-interred him at a shrine in the National Heroes Park.

He also had a tremendous affect on the creation of Rastafarianism. Even though he could not find enough support for his movement to succeed in Jamaica, Garvey gave Rasta’s the guidance they needed to rise above their oppressors which led them to create a movement for the black race in Jamaica.

When Marcus Mosiah Garvey passed away his words were not forgotten. His message is still alive in reggae music and his actions have greatly impacted the black race.



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