Marcus Garvey: Man of the Year

Jamaican Political Leader

Who Was Marcus Garvey?

Marcus Garvey was a powerful African American leader during the 1920's. He was hailed as Jamaica's first national hero, and the profit of the Rastafarian Religion. He founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) while stationed in Jamaica in 1914. (3) Marcus was a proponent of the Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism movements; through his support he inspired the Nation of Islam and the Rastafarian movement. (1) Marcus Garvey was born in Saint Ansbay, Jamaica on August 17th, 1887. He originally worked as a printer's apprentice at just 14 years old. He believed in black pride and helping black people to understand and value their race. He had hopes of returning African Americans to Africa in order to create a strong black nation. Although he was a great organizer, he was not very keen on his business skills. Some of Garvey's ideas fell in line with the KKK philosophy, which dampened some people's feelings toward his movement and harmed his reputation of a peaceful. Garvey had a seizure and died in Florida on June 10th, 1940. (2)
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What Did He Do?

Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr.

Garvey advocated a mass migration of African Americans back to Africa.In 1918, he began publishing the Negro World Newspaper. Shortly after, in 1919, he launched the Negros Factories Organization. In that same year, he head-started a shipping company called The Black Star Line, which he planned to use to send African Americans back to Africa. (3) Marcus was the owner of several buildings and had a fleet of trucks in New York. He had over 1,000 black people working in his business. In spite of his successes, he had many nay-sayers whom tried to plot against him. In 1919, J. Edgar Hoover hired the FBI's first black agent in order to infiltrate the UNIA. The steamship company went bankrupt in 1923, and Marcus was convicted of using the United States mail to fraudulently collect money for investment in a ship that was never acquired. Due to this incident, he spent roughly 4 years in Prison, then was deported back to Jamaica. (7) Marcus's next and final big move was to support the greater Liberia Act, created by white suprematist, Theodore Bilbo, in 1938. Garvey had a stroke in 1940 which left him partially paralyzed, and he died shortly after in Florida on June 10th of the year. Since his death, he inspired evry major black movement in the 20th century, both in Africa and America. People such as Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Junior, and Nelson Mandela were all prompted to engage because of him.(2)
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Marcus Garvey, the head of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and provisional president of the Republic of Africa

Quotes by Garvey

"People without the knowledge of their past history, origin, and culture is like a tree without roots."

"With confidence, you have won before you have started."

"If you have no confidence in self, you are twice as defeated in the race of life."

"Up you mighty race, accomplish what you will!"

"What so ever things common to man has done, man can do."

"Look to Africa, for there a king will be crowned."

"Glorious shall be the battle when the time comes to fight for our people and our race."

"Real men laugh at opposition; real men smile when enemies appear."

"There shall be no solution to this race problem until you, yourselves, strike the blow for liberty."

"Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds!" (4)