Black History Month Spotlight: Marcus Garvey

Marcus Garvey


Marcus Garvey was born in Jamaica on August 17th, 1887. He was an orator, philosopher, entrepreneur, journalist, publisher and political leader. He believed in Pan Africanism and founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) and African Communities Leagues. Their manifesto was One God, One Aim, One Destiny. He wrote that all those of African descent must hold together. “Our union must know no clime, no boundary or nationality …to, let us hold together under all climes and in every country.”
In the 1902’s Garvey most famously said “Black people will never be successful depending on white people or other races. We must come together and do for self.”
Garvey built factories which made clothing and Black dolls with which children could identify and play. He built a chain of grocery stores, trucking companies, schools , restaurants, printing presses. He started 3 newspapers. One of which, ‘The Negro World’ was published in 3 languages. His organization had three ships and began work on international trade. The UNIA purchased an auditorium, Liberty Hall.
In 1922, the UNIA had 6 million members and 900 branches in 40 different countries. His businesses employed over 1,000 people.
Garvey started his own political party, the Peoples Political Party. He was the first Black man to preach to African Americans about loving themselves and being proud of the way God made his people.
Garvey did all of this with only a formal eighth grade education. He was well read and attended college classes later in his life. He was basically a self educated man.
Garvey was an influence to many including Dr. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, The Black Panther Party, Elijah Muhammad, Kwame Nkrumah the first President of Ghana, Julius Neyere the first President of Tanzania, Jomo Kenyatta the first President of Kenya and Carter G Woodson the creator of Black History Month.
Garvey’s achievements stand as a testament to self-empowerment. His achievements were made without the assistance of the government or people other his own. §