Marcus Garvey Political Activist

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Marcus Garvey is a political activist from Jamaica. He was an activist, publisher, journalist, orator, and founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League. He was the first President of both organizations and declared Provisional President of Africa. This is an overview of his life and contributions.


The career of Marcus Garvey is very diverse. He was a publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, orator, and political activist. He founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association and became the first president of the African Communities League. He also served as the Provisional President of Africa. Garvey's achievements are outlined below.

At the age of fourteen, Garvey began working as a printer's apprentice. This experience led him to get involved with trade unions. He later took part in a printers' strike, which sparked his interest in political activism. After a stint in Jamaica, he moved to London. While studying philosophy at Birkbeck College, he worked for a pan-Africanism newspaper and led debates at Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park.

Garvey's early life was spent in Jamaica. His father was a stonemason and his mother was a domestic servant. His father was an avid reader and a strong influence. The young Garvey was able to learn to read at home.

Influence on Rastafari movement

The influence of Marcus Garvey on the Rastafari movement was significant. Rastas were originally drawn from the African-Jamaican underclass. However, Garvey's political movement grew among the emerging black middle class. The roots of a political movement play a crucial role in determining its ideological framework and evolution.

Garvey's plight for nationalism gave blacks a sense of identification with Africa. His emphasis on self-reliance also contributed to the emergence of the Rastafari movement. This movement linked the future of black people to the redemption of Africa.

The early Rastas were closely connected with Garvey's Back-to-Africa movement in Jamaica. However, their religious beliefs were also heavily influenced by another movement known as the Afro-Athlican Church. These beliefs were embodied in the religious text, called the Holy Piby. Garvey's ideas were often referenced in reggae music.

In his speeches, Garvey quoted Hebrew prophecies. However, he did not intend for these prophecies to be interpreted literally. As a result, the Rastafari movement merged biblical texts with Africanist beliefs, giving rise to the cultural Rastafari movement. However, Garvey's words were widely criticized by Christians and others, who were quick to condemn him.

Influence on black separatism

In 1914, Marcus Garvey founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNA), which soon became the largest mass movement in African-American history. By the early 1920s, the UNIA had 700 branches spread across 38 states. Its mission was to bring about unity and self-help among black people. The organization's influence also spread to the Caribbean and Africa.

In addition to the UNIA, Garvey founded a number of black-owned companies. The Black Star Line was one of these, and it was a shipping company that was widely known. During the 1920s, Garvey had 35,000 investors purchase $5 shares. The company, however, failed, and Garvey was convicted of mail fraud and deported. Despite this setback, his legacy lives on in black nationalist circles today.

Garvey's message of black nationalism encountered considerable resistance from other black leaders. Many of them, including A. Philip Randolph and James Weldon Johnson, were sceptical of his beliefs. Garvey also met with the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan in 1923, and both men believed that they shared the same views on segregation. Garvey's ultimate goal was to create a separate state for blacks.

Influence on UNIA

The United Nations Industrial Association (UNIA) was founded by Marcus Garvey. He sought to create an organization that would promote economic and social justice for the Black population. UNIA held regular public meetings in Liberty Hall and organized large parades through Harlem. He also promoted Black business ownership, mutual aid societies, and educational endeavors. His organization developed retail sales networks, cooperatives, and entrepreneurial initiatives, including the Black Star Line Steamship Corporation.

The UNIA was born from the convergence of contrasting traditions of racial and social consciousness. Garvey preached about black nationalism in economic, political, and social terms. His ideas of race conservation and social mobility shaped UNIA's mission. He was a prophet of the people and, in his own words, "a man of the people."

In 1933, Garvey began publishing a new newspaper. In March 1935, he crossed the Atlantic to London, where he continued to promote UNIA's activities. Despite the opposition of some of his fellow UNIA members, he nevertheless continued to spread his ideas and influence. However, he was accused of taking positions that many UNIA members found difficult to digest. For example, in his newspaper, he criticized the Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie I for refusing to meet him in exile in Bath. While the Ethiopian emperor had not been officially colonized, he was revered in the Americas as the representative of a Biblical dynasty and leader of an uncolonized nation.

September 20, 2022




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