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Random Facts About Marcus Garvey

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“Becoming naturally restless for the opportunity of doing something for the advancement of my race, I was determined that the black man would not continue to be kicked about by all the other races and nations of the world…I saw before me then, even as I do now, a new world of black men, not peons, serfs, dogs and slaves, but a nation of sturdy men making their impress upon civilization and causing a new light to dawn on the human race.” – Marcus Mosiah Garvey

 

  1. Upon Marcus Garvey’s deportation to Jamaica in 1927, the Daily Gleaner at the time wrote: “It is with profound regret that we view the arrival of Marcus Garvey back to Jamaica, and it is with even more profound regret that we picture any leader of thought and culture in the island associating himself with a welcome given him. But Kingston has reached such a level of degeneracy that there is no knowing what she will do. Mr. Garvey’s arrival…was perhaps the most historic event that has taken place in the metropolis of the island…no denser crowd has ever been witnessed in Kingston.”
  2. Marcus Garvey serves as the inspiration for every major black movement that took place in the 20th century.
  3. “…In July 1914, Garvey launched the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League, commonly abbreviated as UNIA. Adopting the motto of “One Aim. One God. One Destiny”, it declared its commitment to “establish a brotherhood among the black race, to promote a spirit of race pride, to reclaim the fallen and to assist in civilising the backward tribes of Africa.” Initially, it had only few members. Many Jamaicans were critical of the group’s prominent use of the term “Negro”, a term which was often employed as an insult; Garvey, however, embraced the term in reference to black people of African descent.”
  4. Marcus Garvey is the first national hero of Jamaica, and his image is used on the local $20 coin and 25-cent coin. August 17 was declared “Marcus Garvey Day” by the Jamaican government in 2012.
  5. Marcus Garvey’s ideas spread far and wide through the use of his spectacular oratory skills, as well as his experience using the printing press. According to his son Julius Garvey, Jomo Kenyatta had this recollection to share: “In 1921, Kenya nationals unable to read would gather round a reader of Garvey’s newspaper, the Negro World, and listen to an article two or three times. Then they would run various ways through the forest carefully to repeat the whole, which they had memorized, to Africans hungry for some doctrine which lifted them from the servile consciousness in which Africans lived.”
  6. Marcus Garvey formed the People’s Political Party (PPP) on September 9, 1929. This was Jamaica’s first modern political party in the sense that it was intentionally a move towards becoming independent. He was charged with public contempt after reading the PPP manifesto in public and served three months in prison. However he won the municipal by-election for the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation during this time, and although he lost this seat due to his inability to attend meetings, he was re-elected unopposed to his seat after his release.
  7. Marcus Garvey married Amy Ashwood in 1919, but separated after three months. Although Garvey obtained a divorce in Jackson County, Missouri, Ashwood contested the legality of this arrangement and always maintained that she was Garvey’s real wife until the time of her passing.
  8. Marcus Garvey passed on June 10, 1940. He had been recovering from a stroke, but rumours had been spread that he was already dead. This led to media outlets worldwide announcing the event in their obituaries, which Garvey had the avid misfortune of reading. According to Amy Jacques-Garvey, his second wife and secretary: “…When he saw the coloured American press clippings…in which the editors, in vicious glee had drawn on their own evil imaginations, he uttered a loud groan, held his head and slumped in his chair. When he was revived and attended to by the doctor, he made signs that he wanted to dictate a message to the Press, but his speech was almost gone, and he shook with anguish at his inability to answer back his gloating enemies.” (Liz Mackie, “The Great Marcus Garvey”, pg. 51)

 

I implore you to read far and wide on this history of this very great man.

Blessings in abundance!

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