By: Charles A. Jackson Bey #600271
Marcus Garvey was a man who had a vision to see the Asiatic race operating at our fullest potential, he was born August 17th in the year 1887 in St. Ann’s Bay on the Island of Jamaica. As a young man growing up in Jamaica, he left school at the age of 15 to work as a fulltime printer.
This wouldn’t be his career job, as he eventually moved to Kingston, Jamaica at 18 and by the time he was 22 years of age he had become active in Kingston’s intellectual circle. He left Kingston in the year 1910 to examine the conditions of his people in other parts of the world due to the fact that he saw a lack of so-called black persons in positions of power and authority.
The questions that he asked were: where is the black man’s government? Where is His President, His Country, His Ambassador, His Army, His Navy, and His Men of big Affairs? Because during the 19th century he saw European Nations such as Great Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, Portugal and Italy dominating the continent of Africa.
Many might not know that there was a conference held for these Europeans powers to meet, which was at the Berlin Conference of 1884-85. The purpose of this conference was to establish the boundaries of their colonial states. Now, during their domination of Africa, the purpose of it was to bring Civilization and Christianity to a Godless and Backward People! Heathens and savages of the Dark Continent.
Marcus Garvey traveled to other Nations such as Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Colombia, Venezuela and other Latin American Nations. While in Panama he helped build the Panama Canal.
In the year 1914, on August 1st the U.N.I.A was formed by Garvey, which is the United Negroes Improvement Association. The purpose of the U.N.I.A was to unite Jamaica’s Black population behind a spirit of Racial Pride and have programs of Educational and Economical opportunity, and to establish an independent Black-ruled Nation in Africa.
Marcus Garvey flew a flag that we all are familiar with that has the colors red, green and black. Red is for the blood, black is for the skin color and green for the lush African forest. Now Marcus Garvey came to America on March 23rd, 1916 and the city he settled in was Harlem, New York. Marcus Garvey’s initial reason for coming to the U.S. was to have a few thousand African Americans to move to Africa to establish an Independent Nation committed to fighting for the rights of blacks everywhere, and also to get help with opening up trade schools.
While in Harlem, he established the first UNIA chapter known in this country but didn’t have much success due to the fact that the people didn’t like his speeches.
After the attempt to assassinate Garvey, he raised ten million dollars. Garvey was blessed to escape serious injuries because he was only struck in the leg and one bullet grazed his forehead.
Marcus Garvey started other known organizations other than the Universal Negro Improvement Association, such as the African Communities League, African Legions, Women’s Auxiliary, Negro Factory, Eagle Flyings and African Motor.
Garvey started many black owned businesses in and around Harlem, from a chain of grocery stores, laundries, clothing stores, restaurants, a doll factory and a publishing house.
He told a crowd in Chicago, “I have seen Negro Banks in Washington and Chicago. Stores, cafés, restaurants, theaters, and real estate agencies that fill my heart with joy to realize that his purpose of race have sufficient pride to do things for themselves”. He also told one audience, “I came from surroundings not better than many of you, but my mind lifted me out of my surroundings. Nobody helped me toward that objective, except my own mind and God’s will”.
Sadly, Marcus Garvey was harassed by the FBI and the Department of Justice and got framed for mail fraud which led to his arrest in January 1922. Then he was indicted by a Federal Grand Jury on February 15, 1922, went on trial May 18, 1923 and was found guilty of the charge on June 21, 1923. Garvey was granted Executive Clemency by President Calvin Coolidge, but the condition of that pardon was that he never set foot on U.S. soil again, and then he was deported back to Jamaica.
Marcus Garvey had a following of two million in the year 1919 and the U.S. knew in those times that was too much power for a so-called black man! Because our race could rise up and be Free, Proud and Powerful!
In closing, Marcus Garvey said, “when I am dead wrap the mantle of the red, black and green around me, look for me in the whirlwind of the storm, look for me all around you, for with me countless millions of black slaves who have died in America and the West Indies and the millions in Africa to aid you in the fight for Liberty, Freedom and Life”.
This is one of the many prominent so-called black individuals who has had a big influence on me, and I encourage the readers of this to read philosophy and opinions of Marcus Garvey to learn more about him and his life’s work.
Feel free to contact me at jpay.com or write:
Charles A. Jackson Bey #600271
Thumb Correctional Facility
3225 John Conley Dr.
Lapeer, MI 48446