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The Marcus Garvey and UNIA Papers Project-A UCLA African Studies Center Projects-Extracts
The Marcus Garvey and UNIA Papers Project-A UCLA African Studies Center Projects-Extracts
The Marcus Garvey and UNIA Papers Project-A UCLA African Studies Center Projects-Extracts
The Marcus Garvey and UNIA Papers Project-A UCLA African Studies Center Projects-Extracts
The Marcus Garvey and UNIA Papers Project-A UCLA African Studies Center Projects-Extracts
The Marcus Garvey and UNIA Papers Project-A UCLA African Studies Center Projects-Extracts
The Marcus Garvey and UNIA Papers Project-A UCLA African Studies Center Projects-Extracts
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The Marcus Garvey and UNIA Papers Project-A UCLA African Studies Center Projects-Extracts

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The Marcus Garvey and UNIA Papers Project-A UCLA African Studies Center Projects-Extracts

The Marcus Garvey and UNIA Papers Project-A UCLA African Studies Center Projects-Extracts

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  • 1. RBG Blakademics August, 2010 Document edited and designed by RBG Street Scholar for sharing, study and download. The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers Project A Research Project of the James S. Coleman African Studies Center  Introduction  American Series Source page / portal of entry:  African Series http://www.international.ucla.edu/africa/mgpp/  Caribbean Series  Marcus Garvey: Life & Lessons  Photo Gallery  Sound Library  Project Information Introduction  Ordering Information Introduction Marcus Garvey: An Overview Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) form a critical link in black Americas centuries-long struggle for freedom, justice, and equality. As the leader of the largest organized mass movement in black history and progenitor of the modern "black is beautiful" ideal, Garvey is now best remembered as a champion of the back-to-Africa movement. In his own time he was hailed as a redeemer, a "Black Moses." Though he failed to realize all his objectives, his movement still represents a liberation from the psychological bondage of racial inferiority. Garvey was born on 17 August 1887 in St. Anns Bay, Jamaica. He left school at 14, worked as a printer, joined Jamaican nationalist organizations, toured Central America, and spent time in London. Content at first with accommodation, on his return to Jamaica, he aspired to open a Page 1
  • 2. RBG Blakademics August, 2010 Tuskegee-type industrial training school. In 1916 he came to America at Booker T. Washingtons invitation, but arrived just after Washington died. Garvey arrived in America at the dawn of the "New Negro" era. Black discontent, punctuated by East St. Louiss bloody race riots in 1917 and intensified by postwar disillusionment, peaked in 1919s Red Summer. Shortly after arriving, Garvey embarked upon a period of travel and lecturing. When he settled in New York City, he organized a chapter of the UNIA, which he had earlier founded in Jamaica as a fraternal organization. Drawing on a gift for oratory, he melded Jamaican peasant aspirations for economic and cultural independence with the American gospel of success to create a new gospel of racial pride. "Garveyism" eventually evolved into a religion of success, inspiring millions of black people worldwide who sought relief from racism and colonialism. To enrich and strengthen his movement, Garvey envisioned a great shipping line to foster black trade, to transport passengers between America, the Caribbean, and Africa, and to serve as a symbol of black grandeur and enterprise. The UNIA incorporated the Black Star Line in 1919. The lines flagship, the S.S. Yarmouth, made its maiden voyage in November and two other ships joined the line in 1920. The Black Star Line became a powerful recruiting tool for the UNIA, but it was ultimately sunk by expensive repairs, discontented crews, and top-level mismanagement and corruption. By 1920 the UNIA had hundreds of chapters worldwide; it hosted elaborate international conventions and published the Negro World, a widely disseminated weekly that was soon banned in many parts of Africa and the Caribbean. Over the next few years, however, the movement began to unravel under the strains of internal dissension, opposition from black critics, and government harassment. In 1922 the federal government indicted Garvey on mail fraud charges stemming from Black Star Line promotional claims and he suspended all BSL operations. (Two years later, the UNIA created another line, the Black Cross Navigation and Trading Co., but it, too, failed.) Garvey was sentenced to prison. The government later commuted his sentence, only to deport him back to Jamaica in November 1927. He never returned to America. In Jamaica Garvey reconstituted the UNIA and held conventions there and in Canada, but the heart of his movement stumbled on in America without him. While he dabbled in local politics, he remained a keen observer of world events, writing voluminously in his own papers. His final move was to London, in 1935. He settled there shortly before Fascist Italy invaded Ethiopia and his public criticisms of Haile Selassies behavior after the invasion alienated many of his own remaining followers. In his last years he slid into such obscurity that he suffered the final indignity of reading his own obituaries a month before his 10 June 1940 death. Page 2
  • 3. RBG Blakademics August, 2010 Marcus Garvey and the UNIA Marcus Garvey and the UNIA Historians of Africa and the Caribbean are coming to regard Garvey as a pivotal figure in the awakening of modern nationalist movements opposed to European colonial domination. At a conference celebrating Garveys centenary held in Jamaica in 1987, Horace Campbell emphasized this very point: The UNIA . . . was the most dynamic mass movement across territorial borders among the African peoples [during] this century. Now, one hundred years after the birth of Garvey and seven decades after the founding of the UNIA, it is still possible to say that Garveyism occupies a central place in the struggle for democracy, dignity and social transformation. (Rupert Lewis and Patrick Bryan, eds., Garvey: His Work and Impact [Mona, Jamaica: Institute of Social and Economic Research, 1988], p. 171) No single black movement has represented a greater enigma to scholars than Garveys irredentist "African Redemption." While many ideas that Garvey espoused---black pride, economic development, African independence---were not original, the way in which he expressed them, his incomparable ability to get people to listen, made him different. This talent was recognized early by a West African newspaper: There are many who have said these self same things, but none have said them with such vigor, with such directness and with such persuasiveness as Marcus Garvey. (Gold Coast Leader, 29 May 1926) Historians familiar with Garveys career generally regard him as the preeminent symbol of the insurgent wave of black nationalism that developed in the period following World War I. Although born in Jamaica, Garvey achieved his greatest success in the United States. He did so despite the criticism of many African-American leaders and the covert opposition of the United States Department of Justice and its Bureau of Investigation (forerunner of the FBI). As a young man, Garvey had preached accommodation and disavowed political protest, advocating loyalty to the established colonial government. His views, however, underwent a radical transformation shortly after he arrived in the United States in 1916. The emergence of the radical New Negro movement, which supplied the cultural and political matrix of the celebrated Harlem Renaissance, to a large extent paralleled Garvey and his post-World War I "African Redemption" movement. Garvey established the first American branch of the UNIA in 1917--1918 in the midst of the mass migration of blacks from the Caribbean and the American South to cities of the North. It was also a time of political awakening in Africa and the Caribbean, to which Garvey vigorously encouraged the export of his movement. In the era of global black awakening following World War I, Garvey emerged as the best known, the most controversial, and, for many, the most attractive of a new generation of New Negro leaders. Representative Charles B. Page 3
  • 4. RBG Blakademics August, 2010 Rangel of New York has noted that "Garvey was one of the first to say that instead of blackness being a stigma, it should be a source of pride" (New York Times, 5 April 1987). Black expectations aroused by participation in World War I were dashed by the racial violence of the wartime and postwar years, and the disappointment evident in many black communities throughout the U.S., Africa, and the Caribbean allowed Garvey to draw dozens of local leaders to his side. Their ideas were not always strictly compatible with Garveys, but their sympathy with his themes of "African redemption" and black self-support was instrumental in gathering support for the movement from a vast cross-section of African-American society. Similarly, Garveys message was adopted by a broad cross-section of educated and semi-literate Africans and West Indians hungry for alternatives to white rule and oppression. The post--World War I years were thus a time when a growing number of Africans and West Indians were ready for change. In most colonial territories, Africans, like African Americans, were disappointed when expected postwar changes failed to materialize. The Garveyist message was spread by sailors, migrant laborers, and travelling UNIA agents, as well as by copies of its newspaper, the Negro World, passed from hand to hand. In the Caribbean, what has been termed the "Garvey phenomenon" resulted from an encounter between the highly developed tradition of racial consciousness in the African-American community, and the West Indian aspiration toward independence. It was the Caribbean ideal of self-government that provided Garvey with his vocabulary of racial independence. Moreover, Garvey combined the social and political aspirations of the Caribbean people with the popular American gospel of success, which he converted in turn into his gospel of racial pride. Garveyism thus appeared in the Caribbean as a doctrine proposing solutions to the twin problems of racial subordination and colonial domination. By the early 1920s the UNIA could count branches in almost every Caribbean, circum- Caribbean, and sub-Saharan African country. The Negro World was read by thousands of eager followers across the African continent and throughout the Caribbean archipelago. Though Caribbean and African Garveyism may not have coalesced into a single movement, its diverse followers adapted the larger framework to fit their own local needs and cultures. It is precisely this that makes Garvey and the UNIA so relevant in the study of the process of decolonization in Africa and the Caribbean. As if in confirmation of the success with which Garveyism implanted itself in various social settings, when Garvey himself proposed to visit Africa and the Caribbean in 1923, nervous European colonial governors joined in recommending that his entry into their territories be banned. Many modern Caribbean nationalist leaders have acknowledged the importance of Garveyism in their own careers, including T. Albert Marryshow of Grenada; Alexander Bustamante, St. William Grant, J. A. G. Smith, and Norman Washington Manley of Jamaica; and Captain Arthur Cipriani, Uriah Butler, George Padmore, and C. L. R. James of Trinidad. Before the Garvey and UNIA Papers project was established, the only attempt to edit Garveys speeches and writings was the Philosophy & Opinions of Marcus Garvey, a propagandistic apologia compiled in two successive volumes in the early 1920s by his second wife, Amy Jacques Garvey. As Lawrence Levine notes, "It is always unwise to rely too exclusively upon a Page 4
  • 5. RBG Blakademics August, 2010 collection edited by the subject, especially in the light of recent indications that the Garveys altered a number of speeches and articles to conform with his later views" (Levine, op. cit.). While the Philosophy & Opinions volumes served to plead Garveys legal case, they also created a politically distorted picture of the UNIA, an image that for a long time severely handicapped research. In this context, the Marcus Garvey and UNIA Papers provides a full, objective account of the movement and its leader, as it chronicles how the movement achieved a global dimension by awakening the political consciousness of African and Caribbean peoples to the goals of racial self-determination and national independence. Fact Sheet on Marcus Garvey Fact sheet on Marcus Garvey Full Name: Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr. Parents:  Malcus ("Marcus") Mosiah Garvey, a mason  Sarah Jane Richards, a domestic servant and produce grower Born: 17 August 1887, at St. Anns Bay, north coast of Jamaica Died: 10 June 1940, London, England Buried: Marcus Garvey Memorial, National Heroes Park, Kingston, Jamaica Citizenship:  British colonial subject  applied for American citizenship in 1921 Education:  Standard 6, Church of England school, Jamaica Page 5
  • 6. RBG Blakademics August, 2010  audited courses, Birkbeck College, London, 1914 Employment:  printer  journalist  publisher Marriages:  Amy Ashwood (1897--1969), co-founder of the UNIA in Jamaica, journalist, feminist, playwright, business manager of UNIA offices in Harlem, 1919 (married to Garvey 1919- -1922)  Amy Jacques (1896--1973), legal assistant in Jamaica before migrating to U.S., where she became business manager and personal secretary to Garvey in 1920, associate editor of the Negro World 1924--1927, and Garveys unofficial representative during his incarceration in 1925--1927, becomes main propagandist of the Garvey movement with Philosophy and Opinions, published in 2 volumes, 1923, 1925 (married to Garvey 1922-- 1940) Children:  Marcus Garvey Jr. (1931--)  Julius Winston Garvey (1933--)  both by Amy Jacques; both born in Jamaica, now U.S. residents Countries of residence:  Jamaica, 1887--1910  Panama, 1910  Costa Rica, 1911  Jamaica, 1912  England, 1912--1914  Jamaica, 1914--1916  United States, 1916--1927  Jamaica, 1927--1935  United Kingdom, 1935--1940 Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) Career:  founds UNIA in Jamaica, July 1914  forms branch in New York City, May 1916 (January 1918?)  incorporates movement in New York state, June 1918  starts Negro World newspaper, August 1918  starts Black Star Line shipping company, 1919  starts Negro Factories Corp., 1920 Page 6
  • 7. RBG Blakademics August, 2010  announces Liberian Colonization Plan, 1920  sends first delegation to Monrovia, Liberia, 1921  makes organizational tour of Caribbean and Central America, 1921  arrested and indicted on Mail Fraud Charges, 1922  meets with Acting Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, causing backlash of opposition from other black leaders, 1922  second UNIA delegation sent to Liberia, 1923  starts Black Cross Navigation and Trading Co. to replace defunct Black Star Line;  UNIA purchases Smallwood-Corey School ("Liberty University") in Claremont, Virginia  tours Europe, 1928  becomes proprietor of Edelweiss Park, a social center for blacks in Kingston  tries to establish political career in Jamaica  begins publishing the Blackman, 1929  begins publishing the New Jamaican  begins publishing the Black Man, 1933  bankrupt, announces move to London, 1934  teaches School of Arican Philosophy to UNIA leaders in Toronto, 1937  cerebral hemorrhage, January 1940  dies 10 June 1940  James Stewart elected UNIA president, August 1940  headquarters of UNIA moved to Cleveland, Ohio Mail Fraud Trial:  Begins May 1923  convicted June 1923  appeal denied February 1925 Imprisonment: February 1925--November 1927, federal penitentiary, Atlanta, Georgia Deportation: December 1927 Page 7

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