Photo Credit: The Universal Negro Improvement Association
Marcus Garvey was a Jamaican-born black nationalist who created a 'Back to Africa' movement in the United States. He became an inspirational political activist, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator whose ideals pre-figured the later Civil Rights Movement. He founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) with chapters established beyond the borders of the United States to the Caribbean, Canada, and Africa.
Garvey believed African Americans would not take action if they did not change their perceptions of themselves, he championed radical racial pride by celebrating the African past and encouraging African Americans to be proud of their heritage, melanated skin, and kinky coily hair.
Photo Credit: Henrietta Vinton Davis's Weblog
While racial pride and unity played important roles in Garvey's black nationalism seeking to establish independent Black states around the world, he touted capitalism as the tool that would establish African Americans as an independent group. In the spirit of Black economic independence, in 1919 Garvey founded the Black Star Line to provide transportation to Africa. The shipping line was founded to facilitate the transportation of goods and eventually Black people living throughout the / back to African to create a global economy.
Photo Credit: PanAfrican Connection
Along with the Black Star Line, Garvy also established The Negro Factories Corporation to build and operate factories in the big industrial centers of the United States, Central America, the West Indies, and Africa with the intent to manufacture every marketable commodity. The NFC was home to a chain of grocery stores, a restaurant, a steam laundry, a tailor and dressmaking shop, a millinery store, and a publishing house for the Negro World newspaper.
Photo Credit: UCLA
Despite his controversial reputation and being rebuffed by many of his peers like W.E.B. Du Bois, Garvey's legacy continued to instill pride and inspiration among many black people throughout the diaspora. His ideology has influenced many members of the Nation of Islam, the Black Power movement, and the Rastafari movement. Marcus Garvey is credited with coining the phrase "Black is beautiful", a running theme that summarizes his work and his words. The following quotes are a reflection of Garvey's teachings.
1. "Progress is the attraction that moves humanity." - Marcus Garvey
2. "If you haven't confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life. With confidence, you have won even before you have started." - Marcus Garvey
3. "Intelligence rules the world, ignorance carries the burden..." - Marcus Garvey
4. "It is your mind that rules the body. You cannot go further than that mind to seek truth and to know truth and to react to truth." - Marcus Garvey
5. "A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots." - Marcus Garvey
Photo Credit: UCLA
6. "The Black skin is not a badge of shame, but rather a glorious symbol of national greatness." - Marcus Garvey
7. "The first dying that is to be done by the Black man in the future will be done to make himself free." - Marcus Garvey
8. "Liberate the minds of men and ultimately you will liberate the bodies of men." - Marcus Garvey
9. "Chance has never yet satisfied the hope of a suffering people." - Marcus Garvey
10. "I have no desire to take all black people back to Africa; there are blacks who are no good here and will likewise be no good there." - Marcus Garvey
11. "Men who are in earnest are not afraid of consequences." - Marcus Garvey
Photo Credit: NYC Gov Parks
12. "God and Nature first made us what we are, and then out of our own created genius we make ourselves what we want to be. Follow always that great law. Let the sky and God be our limit and Eternity our measurement." - Marcus Garvey
13. "Therefore, remove yourself as far as possible from ignorance as seek as far as possible to be intelligent." - Marcus Garvey
14. "We are not engaged in domestic politics, in church building, or social uplift work, be we are engaged in nation building." - Marcus Garvey
15. "We must canonize our own saints, create our own martyrs, and elevate to positions of fame and honor Black men and women who have made their distinct contributions to our racial history … I am the equal of any white man; I want you to feel the same way." - Marcus Garvey
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