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Early Visionaries:
Washington, DuBois, and Garvey
Breakout Groups
• Explain any relevant biographical info about this historical figure.
• Highlight key quotes or passages that your classmates should know.
• What did this figure argue about the nature of race relations in the
United States?
• What did he believe was the best strategy (approach) to advancing
Black liberation in America? What tactics (tools) did he advocate?
• How do you think his message was received by Black Americans? By
white Americans?
Booker T. Washington (1856-1915)
• Born enslaved in Virginia.
• Educated at the all-Black Hampton Institute.
• At age 25, helped to est. Tuskegee Institute
in Alabama, a vocational school focused on
practical training to promote “self reliance”
and success in industry.
Washington’s Strategy: Accommodation
• Believed that Black equality could be achieved over time by gaining
economic independence and becoming “productive” members of
society. Emphasized industrial or agricultural training among Black
Americans, particularly in the South.
• Argued that demands for civil rights, social equality, higher education,
and political power should wait until Black economic security was
attained.
• This strategy of pragmatic gradualism was known as
“accommodation.”
The Tuskegee Institute
• At the age of 25, Washington was recommended by the principal of the Hampton Institute to help
establish and lead a new Black teacher’s college in Tuskegee, Alabama.
• In addition to training Black educators, Washington’s philosophy emphasized “self-reliance” and
“practical” education in skills he saw as immediately useful in the changing Southern economy.
• Many students did work-studies, running Tuskegee’s farm and constructing and maintaining the campus.
• Scientist George Washington Carver was recruited by Washington to teach at Tuskegee, which also
produced the Tuskegee Airman of World War II heroism.
• Tuskegee also partnered with the U.S. Public Health Service in its infamous syphilis study (1932-1972),
which documented the progression of untreated syphilis among Black men, long after penicillin was
identified as a successful medical intervention.
• Tuskegee remains in operation and is among the most significant and well-known of all historically black
colleges and universities (HBCUs).
Washington’s Atlanta Compromise Speech
(Sep 1895)
“In all things that are purely social we
can be as separate as the fingers, yet one
as the hand in all things essential to
mutual progress.”
--Washington, speaking to a conservative, all-
white audience at the Cotton States and
International Exposition in Atlanta
“…[I]t is well to bear in mind that whatever other sins the South may be
called to bear, when it comes to business, pure and simple, it is in the
South that the Negro is given a man’s chance in the commercial world,
and in nothing is this Exposition more eloquent than in emphasizing this
chance. Our greatest danger is that in the great leap from slavery to
freedom we may overlook the fact that the masses of us are to live by
the productions of our hands, and fail to keep in mind that we shall
prosper in proportion as we learn to dignify and glorify common labour
and put brains and skill into the common occupations of life; shall
prosper in proportion as we learn to draw the line between the
superficial and the substantial, the ornamental gewgaws [decorations] of
life and the useful. No race can prosper until it learns that there is as
much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem. It is at the bottom of
life we must begin, and not at the top. Nor should we permit our
grievances to overshadow our opportunities.”
“…The wisest among my race understand that the agitation of questions
of social equality is the extremest folly, and that progress in the
enjoyment of all the privileges that will come to us must be the result of
severe and constant struggle rather than of artificial forcing. No race
that has anything to contribute to the markets of the world is long in any
degree ostracized [sic]. It is important and right that all privileges of the
law be ours, but it is vastly more important that we be prepared for the
exercises of these privileges. The opportunity to earn a dollar in a
factory just now is worth infinitely more than the opportunity to spend a
dollar in an opera-house….”
• Washington’s address was widely applauded by
white leaders around the nation, as well as many
leading Black citizens. It cemented his position as
the most influential Black educator from the turn of
the 20th century until his death in 1915.
• Washington’s strategy was viewed by many white
Southerners in particular as non-threatening to the
racial status quo. As a result, Washington held
positions of influence in the presidential
administrations of Theodore Roosevelt and
William Howard Taft, influencing the appointment
of Black candidates for low-ranking, traditionally
Black political positions.
• Washington’s approach was also highly favored by
wealthy white philanthropists like Andrew
Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller, giving him great
power as a fundraiser for the Tuskegee Institute
and in influencing funding for Black institutions
across the South.
“Booker T. and W.E.B.” (1969)
by Dudley Randall
It seems to me,” said Booker T.,
“It shows a mighty lot of cheek
To study chemistry and Greek
When Mister Charlie needs a hand
To hoe the cotton on his land,
And when Miss Ann looks for a cook,
Why stick your nose inside a book?”
“I don’t agree,” said W.E.B.,
“If I should have the drive to seek
Knowledge of chemistry or Greek,
I’ll do it. Charles and Miss can look
Another place for hand or cook.
Some men rejoice in skill of hand,
And some in cultivating land,
But there are others who maintain
The right to cultivate the brain.”
“It seems to me,” said Booker T.,
“That all you folks have missed the boat
Who shout about the right to vote,
And spend vain days and sleepless nights
In uproar over civil rights.
Just keep your mouths shut, do not grouse,
But work, and save, and buy a house.”
“I don’t agree,” said W.E.B.,
“For what can property avail
If dignity and justice fail.
Unless you help to make the laws,
They’ll steal your house with trumped-up clause.
A rope’s as tight, a fire as hot,
No matter how much cash you’ve got.
Speak soft, and try your little plan,
But as for me, I’ll be a man.”
“It seems to me,” said Booker T.—
“I don’t agree,” Said W.E.B.
W.E.B DuBois (1868-1963)
• Born after emancipation in Great Barrington,
Mass.
• Attended relatively integrated schools as a child.
First encountered the open bigotry of Jim Crow as
a student at Fisk University in Tennessee.
• First Black person to earn a doctorate from
Harvard.
• Trained as a historian and sociologist; his work
focused on Black culture, communities, and
history, including a foundational work about the
period of Reconstruction. Sought to use social
sciences scholarship to advance racial progress.
• Demanded full civil rights immediately. Believed
education was key to advancement.
DuBois’ Strategy:
Confrontation and Agitation for Civil Rights
• Demanded full participation of Black people in American society.
• Called for leadership by an educated Black elite (“The Talented
Tenth”), which he believed would pave the way for those that
followed.
• Argued that Black Americans must demand their rights insistently and
continuously in order to achieve racial justice.
• Worked to educate the American public about African culture, promote
Black artists, and advance the idea that “Black Is Beautiful.”
• Was a founder of the Niagara movement (est. 1905), which became the
NAACP (est. 1909), and edited its publication The Crisis (1910-1934).
• An early proponent of Pan-African unity.
The Souls of Black Folk (1903)
• Collection of 14 essays.
• Identified “the color line” as the
defining problem of the 20th
century.
• Established metaphors of “double-
consciousness” and “the veil” to
describe the political and cultural
condition of being Black in
America.
DuBois on Washington
DuBois was a vocal critic of Washington’s accommodationist strategy,
which DuBois argued would doom Black Americans to subservience
and second-class citizenship indefinitely.
In The Souls of Black Folk (1903), DuBois wrote:
“Mr. Washington represents in Negro thought the old attitude of
adjustment and submission.…[His] programme practically accepts
the alleged inferiority of the Negro races.”
“In the history of nearly all other races and peoples the doctrine preached at such
crises has been that manly self-respect is worth more than lands and houses, and
that a people who voluntarily surrender such respect, or cease striving for it, are not
worth civilizing.
In answer to this, it has been claimed that the Negro can survive only through
submission. Mr. Washington distinctly asks that black people give up, at least for
the present, three things, —
First, political power,
Second, insistence on civil rights,
Third, higher education of Negro youth,–
and concentrate all of their energies on industrial education, the accumulation of
wealth, and the conciliation of the South. This policy has been courageously and
insistently advocated for over fifteen years, and has been triumphant for perhaps
ten years….”
--DuBois, Souls of Black Folk
“…As a result of this tender of the palm-beach, what has been the return? In
these years there have occurred:
The disfranchisement of the Negro.
The legal creation of a distinct status of civil inferiority for the Negro.
The steady withdrawal of aid from institutions for the higher training of
the Negro.
These movements are not, to be sure, direct results of Mr. Washington’s
teachings; but his propaganda has, without a shadow of doubt, helped their
speedier accomplishment. The question then comes: Is it possible, and
probable, that nine millions of men can make effective progress in economic
lines if they are deprived of political rights, made a servile caste, and allowed
only the most meagre chance for developing their exceptional men? If history
and reason give any distinct answer to these questions, it is an emphatic No.”
--DuBois, Souls of Black Folk
The Niagara
Movement
• In 1905, DuBois and William Monroe Trotter, activist and
founder of the Boston Guardian, convened a group of 29
Black men from 14 states who opposed Washington’s
stance. They met in July in Ontario, Canada, near Niagara
Falls and became known as the “Niagara Movement.”
• In its “Declaration of Principles,” the Niagara movement
asserted, “We refuse to allow the impression to remain that
the Negro-American assents to inferiority, is submissive
under oppression and apologetic before insults…Persistent
manly agitation is the way to liberty, and toward this goal
the Niagara Movement has started and asks the
cooperation of all men of all races.”
• Its membership grew to 170 members from 34 states
within a year, but its effectiveness was limited by
opposition from Washington and his supporters, as well as
internal differences between DuBois and Trotter, including
over whether to admit women.
The NAACP
• The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
(NAACP) was founded by members of the Niagara movement.
• Opposed the view that the federal government should have a limited role in
protecting the health and safety of citizens. Employed the tactic of
litigation, aiming to utilize the court system to protect civil rights.
• Worked to publicize incidents of lynching and racial violence, particularly
in the South, focusing from 1909 to 1939 on passage of a federal anti-
lynching law, which was finally accomplished in 2022.
• Unsuccessfully moved to restrict screenings of The Birth of a Nation on the
grounds that it provoked violence against Black Americans. These efforts
brought more support to the the NAACP.
• Early members included several leading Black activists such as Ida B.
Wells, Mary Church Terrell, and James Weldon Johnson, as well as white
progressives such as Mary White Ovington.
The Crisis (est. 1910)
• DuBois was the founding editor
of the NAACP’s magazine, The
Crisis, a role he held until 1934.
• At the time The Crisis was
founded, Du Bois noted, “it was
the rule of most white papers
never to publish a picture of a
colored person except as a
criminal and the colored papers
published mostly pictures of
celebrities who sometimes paid
for the honor…” W.E.B. Du Bois and Staff, Editorial Offices of The Crisis, 1912,
Ebony Pictorial History of Black America, Vol. 2, p. 98
DuBois’ Later Life
• Did not believe that integration was the best or only way to achieve
civil rights.
• Disillusioned by capitalism during the Great Depression; joined the
Communist party in 1961.
• Renounced his U.S. citizenship and in 1961 immigrated to Ghana,
where he died on the eve of the March on Washington in 1963.
• Hugely inspirational for scores of activists, esp. during the 1950s and
1960s.
• Born in colonial system of Jamaica.
• Inspired by Booker T. Washington’s message of
industry and racial uplift.
• Established the United Negro Improvement
Association (UNIA) in Jamaica in 1914 and
reestablished it in Harlem in 1916.
• Articulated a sense of Black dignity and identity
through elaborate parades and demonstrations.
“Action, self-reliance, the vision of self and the future
have been the only means by which the oppressed
have seen and realized the light of their own
freedom.”
Marcus Garvey (1887-1940)
Garvey’s Strategy:
Black Nationalism
• Garvey was uninterested in integration and had a contentious
relationship with other Black leaders like labor organizer A. Philip
Randolph and organizations like DuBois’ NAACP.
• Promoted Black entrepreneurship and saw economic issues and
independent institutions as central to freedom.
• Believed in destiny of self-rule for Black peoples around the world.
Early 20th c. Black Nationalism
Garvey and the UNIA advocated
Black economic independence and
Black pride, urging Black Americans
to “return to Africa” during the
1920s and early 1930s. The UNIA
was among the most popular mass
movements of the 20th century.
Black Nationalism and the
“Back to Africa” Movement
• Garvey’s “Back to Africa” movement called for
some Black people to return to Africa to establish a
nation there, namely in Liberia. Emphasized
importance of Black cultural identity and
community, with affirmation of African heritage.
• Established the “Black Star Line” for trade and
travel between the Caribbean and North America,
funded by small mail-in investments. The venture
failed.
• Garvey was a poor businessman and was arrested
for mail fraud after an FBI investigation. Was
convicted in 1923 and deported to Jamaica in 1927.
• Did not establish successful models of Black
economic self-sufficiency but left strong legacy of
Black political consciousness. The UNIA was one of
the largest mass movements of the 20th century with
an especially significant influence in the Caribbean
and parts of Africa.
Garvey’s Last Speech Before Incarceration
(17 Jun 1923, Liberty Hall, New York)
“…The tiger is already loose, and he has been at large for so long that it is no longer
one tiger, but there are many tigers. The spirit of the Universal Negro Improvement
Association has, fortunately for us, made a circuit of the world, to the extent that
harm of injury done to any one, will in no way affect the great membership of this
association or retard its great program. The world is ignorant of the purpose of this
association. The world is ignorant of the scope of this great movement, when it
thinks that by laying low any one individual it can permanently silence this great
spiritual wave, that has taken hold of the souls and the hearts and minds of
400,000,000 Negroes throughout the world. We have only started; we are just on our
way; we have just made the first lap in the great race for existence, and for a place in
the political and economic sun of men….”
“…I repeat that if they think they can stamp out the souls of
400,000,000 black men, they make a tremendous and terrible mistake.
We are no longer dogs; we are no longer peons; we are no longer
serfs—we are men. The spirit that actuated George Washington in
founding this great republic—the spirit that actuated the fathers of this
great nation, is the spirit that actuates 6,000,000 black men who are…at
the present time members of the Universal Negro Improvement
Association; it is the spirit that will actuate 400,000,000 Negroes in the
redemption of their motherland, Africa. Tell us about fear; we were not
born with fear. Intimidation does not drive fear into the soul of Marcus
Garvey. There is no fear, but the fear of God. Man cannot drive fear into
the heart of man, because man is but the equal of man. The world is
crazy and foolish if they think that they can destroy the principles, the
ideals of the Universal Negro Improvement Association….”

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1.19.23 Early Visionaries: Washington, DuBois, and Garvey.pptx

  • 2. Breakout Groups • Explain any relevant biographical info about this historical figure. • Highlight key quotes or passages that your classmates should know. • What did this figure argue about the nature of race relations in the United States? • What did he believe was the best strategy (approach) to advancing Black liberation in America? What tactics (tools) did he advocate? • How do you think his message was received by Black Americans? By white Americans?
  • 3. Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) • Born enslaved in Virginia. • Educated at the all-Black Hampton Institute. • At age 25, helped to est. Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, a vocational school focused on practical training to promote “self reliance” and success in industry.
  • 4. Washington’s Strategy: Accommodation • Believed that Black equality could be achieved over time by gaining economic independence and becoming “productive” members of society. Emphasized industrial or agricultural training among Black Americans, particularly in the South. • Argued that demands for civil rights, social equality, higher education, and political power should wait until Black economic security was attained. • This strategy of pragmatic gradualism was known as “accommodation.”
  • 5. The Tuskegee Institute • At the age of 25, Washington was recommended by the principal of the Hampton Institute to help establish and lead a new Black teacher’s college in Tuskegee, Alabama. • In addition to training Black educators, Washington’s philosophy emphasized “self-reliance” and “practical” education in skills he saw as immediately useful in the changing Southern economy. • Many students did work-studies, running Tuskegee’s farm and constructing and maintaining the campus. • Scientist George Washington Carver was recruited by Washington to teach at Tuskegee, which also produced the Tuskegee Airman of World War II heroism. • Tuskegee also partnered with the U.S. Public Health Service in its infamous syphilis study (1932-1972), which documented the progression of untreated syphilis among Black men, long after penicillin was identified as a successful medical intervention. • Tuskegee remains in operation and is among the most significant and well-known of all historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
  • 6. Washington’s Atlanta Compromise Speech (Sep 1895) “In all things that are purely social we can be as separate as the fingers, yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress.” --Washington, speaking to a conservative, all- white audience at the Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta
  • 7. “…[I]t is well to bear in mind that whatever other sins the South may be called to bear, when it comes to business, pure and simple, it is in the South that the Negro is given a man’s chance in the commercial world, and in nothing is this Exposition more eloquent than in emphasizing this chance. Our greatest danger is that in the great leap from slavery to freedom we may overlook the fact that the masses of us are to live by the productions of our hands, and fail to keep in mind that we shall prosper in proportion as we learn to dignify and glorify common labour and put brains and skill into the common occupations of life; shall prosper in proportion as we learn to draw the line between the superficial and the substantial, the ornamental gewgaws [decorations] of life and the useful. No race can prosper until it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem. It is at the bottom of life we must begin, and not at the top. Nor should we permit our grievances to overshadow our opportunities.”
  • 8. “…The wisest among my race understand that the agitation of questions of social equality is the extremest folly, and that progress in the enjoyment of all the privileges that will come to us must be the result of severe and constant struggle rather than of artificial forcing. No race that has anything to contribute to the markets of the world is long in any degree ostracized [sic]. It is important and right that all privileges of the law be ours, but it is vastly more important that we be prepared for the exercises of these privileges. The opportunity to earn a dollar in a factory just now is worth infinitely more than the opportunity to spend a dollar in an opera-house….”
  • 9. • Washington’s address was widely applauded by white leaders around the nation, as well as many leading Black citizens. It cemented his position as the most influential Black educator from the turn of the 20th century until his death in 1915. • Washington’s strategy was viewed by many white Southerners in particular as non-threatening to the racial status quo. As a result, Washington held positions of influence in the presidential administrations of Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft, influencing the appointment of Black candidates for low-ranking, traditionally Black political positions. • Washington’s approach was also highly favored by wealthy white philanthropists like Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller, giving him great power as a fundraiser for the Tuskegee Institute and in influencing funding for Black institutions across the South.
  • 10. “Booker T. and W.E.B.” (1969) by Dudley Randall It seems to me,” said Booker T., “It shows a mighty lot of cheek To study chemistry and Greek When Mister Charlie needs a hand To hoe the cotton on his land, And when Miss Ann looks for a cook, Why stick your nose inside a book?” “I don’t agree,” said W.E.B., “If I should have the drive to seek Knowledge of chemistry or Greek, I’ll do it. Charles and Miss can look Another place for hand or cook. Some men rejoice in skill of hand, And some in cultivating land, But there are others who maintain The right to cultivate the brain.” “It seems to me,” said Booker T., “That all you folks have missed the boat Who shout about the right to vote, And spend vain days and sleepless nights In uproar over civil rights. Just keep your mouths shut, do not grouse, But work, and save, and buy a house.” “I don’t agree,” said W.E.B., “For what can property avail If dignity and justice fail. Unless you help to make the laws, They’ll steal your house with trumped-up clause. A rope’s as tight, a fire as hot, No matter how much cash you’ve got. Speak soft, and try your little plan, But as for me, I’ll be a man.” “It seems to me,” said Booker T.— “I don’t agree,” Said W.E.B.
  • 11. W.E.B DuBois (1868-1963) • Born after emancipation in Great Barrington, Mass. • Attended relatively integrated schools as a child. First encountered the open bigotry of Jim Crow as a student at Fisk University in Tennessee. • First Black person to earn a doctorate from Harvard. • Trained as a historian and sociologist; his work focused on Black culture, communities, and history, including a foundational work about the period of Reconstruction. Sought to use social sciences scholarship to advance racial progress. • Demanded full civil rights immediately. Believed education was key to advancement.
  • 12. DuBois’ Strategy: Confrontation and Agitation for Civil Rights • Demanded full participation of Black people in American society. • Called for leadership by an educated Black elite (“The Talented Tenth”), which he believed would pave the way for those that followed. • Argued that Black Americans must demand their rights insistently and continuously in order to achieve racial justice. • Worked to educate the American public about African culture, promote Black artists, and advance the idea that “Black Is Beautiful.” • Was a founder of the Niagara movement (est. 1905), which became the NAACP (est. 1909), and edited its publication The Crisis (1910-1934). • An early proponent of Pan-African unity.
  • 13. The Souls of Black Folk (1903) • Collection of 14 essays. • Identified “the color line” as the defining problem of the 20th century. • Established metaphors of “double- consciousness” and “the veil” to describe the political and cultural condition of being Black in America.
  • 14. DuBois on Washington DuBois was a vocal critic of Washington’s accommodationist strategy, which DuBois argued would doom Black Americans to subservience and second-class citizenship indefinitely. In The Souls of Black Folk (1903), DuBois wrote: “Mr. Washington represents in Negro thought the old attitude of adjustment and submission.…[His] programme practically accepts the alleged inferiority of the Negro races.”
  • 15. “In the history of nearly all other races and peoples the doctrine preached at such crises has been that manly self-respect is worth more than lands and houses, and that a people who voluntarily surrender such respect, or cease striving for it, are not worth civilizing. In answer to this, it has been claimed that the Negro can survive only through submission. Mr. Washington distinctly asks that black people give up, at least for the present, three things, — First, political power, Second, insistence on civil rights, Third, higher education of Negro youth,– and concentrate all of their energies on industrial education, the accumulation of wealth, and the conciliation of the South. This policy has been courageously and insistently advocated for over fifteen years, and has been triumphant for perhaps ten years….” --DuBois, Souls of Black Folk
  • 16. “…As a result of this tender of the palm-beach, what has been the return? In these years there have occurred: The disfranchisement of the Negro. The legal creation of a distinct status of civil inferiority for the Negro. The steady withdrawal of aid from institutions for the higher training of the Negro. These movements are not, to be sure, direct results of Mr. Washington’s teachings; but his propaganda has, without a shadow of doubt, helped their speedier accomplishment. The question then comes: Is it possible, and probable, that nine millions of men can make effective progress in economic lines if they are deprived of political rights, made a servile caste, and allowed only the most meagre chance for developing their exceptional men? If history and reason give any distinct answer to these questions, it is an emphatic No.” --DuBois, Souls of Black Folk
  • 17. The Niagara Movement • In 1905, DuBois and William Monroe Trotter, activist and founder of the Boston Guardian, convened a group of 29 Black men from 14 states who opposed Washington’s stance. They met in July in Ontario, Canada, near Niagara Falls and became known as the “Niagara Movement.” • In its “Declaration of Principles,” the Niagara movement asserted, “We refuse to allow the impression to remain that the Negro-American assents to inferiority, is submissive under oppression and apologetic before insults…Persistent manly agitation is the way to liberty, and toward this goal the Niagara Movement has started and asks the cooperation of all men of all races.” • Its membership grew to 170 members from 34 states within a year, but its effectiveness was limited by opposition from Washington and his supporters, as well as internal differences between DuBois and Trotter, including over whether to admit women.
  • 18. The NAACP • The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded by members of the Niagara movement. • Opposed the view that the federal government should have a limited role in protecting the health and safety of citizens. Employed the tactic of litigation, aiming to utilize the court system to protect civil rights. • Worked to publicize incidents of lynching and racial violence, particularly in the South, focusing from 1909 to 1939 on passage of a federal anti- lynching law, which was finally accomplished in 2022. • Unsuccessfully moved to restrict screenings of The Birth of a Nation on the grounds that it provoked violence against Black Americans. These efforts brought more support to the the NAACP. • Early members included several leading Black activists such as Ida B. Wells, Mary Church Terrell, and James Weldon Johnson, as well as white progressives such as Mary White Ovington.
  • 19. The Crisis (est. 1910) • DuBois was the founding editor of the NAACP’s magazine, The Crisis, a role he held until 1934. • At the time The Crisis was founded, Du Bois noted, “it was the rule of most white papers never to publish a picture of a colored person except as a criminal and the colored papers published mostly pictures of celebrities who sometimes paid for the honor…” W.E.B. Du Bois and Staff, Editorial Offices of The Crisis, 1912, Ebony Pictorial History of Black America, Vol. 2, p. 98
  • 20. DuBois’ Later Life • Did not believe that integration was the best or only way to achieve civil rights. • Disillusioned by capitalism during the Great Depression; joined the Communist party in 1961. • Renounced his U.S. citizenship and in 1961 immigrated to Ghana, where he died on the eve of the March on Washington in 1963. • Hugely inspirational for scores of activists, esp. during the 1950s and 1960s.
  • 21. • Born in colonial system of Jamaica. • Inspired by Booker T. Washington’s message of industry and racial uplift. • Established the United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) in Jamaica in 1914 and reestablished it in Harlem in 1916. • Articulated a sense of Black dignity and identity through elaborate parades and demonstrations. “Action, self-reliance, the vision of self and the future have been the only means by which the oppressed have seen and realized the light of their own freedom.” Marcus Garvey (1887-1940)
  • 22. Garvey’s Strategy: Black Nationalism • Garvey was uninterested in integration and had a contentious relationship with other Black leaders like labor organizer A. Philip Randolph and organizations like DuBois’ NAACP. • Promoted Black entrepreneurship and saw economic issues and independent institutions as central to freedom. • Believed in destiny of self-rule for Black peoples around the world.
  • 23. Early 20th c. Black Nationalism Garvey and the UNIA advocated Black economic independence and Black pride, urging Black Americans to “return to Africa” during the 1920s and early 1930s. The UNIA was among the most popular mass movements of the 20th century.
  • 24. Black Nationalism and the “Back to Africa” Movement • Garvey’s “Back to Africa” movement called for some Black people to return to Africa to establish a nation there, namely in Liberia. Emphasized importance of Black cultural identity and community, with affirmation of African heritage. • Established the “Black Star Line” for trade and travel between the Caribbean and North America, funded by small mail-in investments. The venture failed. • Garvey was a poor businessman and was arrested for mail fraud after an FBI investigation. Was convicted in 1923 and deported to Jamaica in 1927. • Did not establish successful models of Black economic self-sufficiency but left strong legacy of Black political consciousness. The UNIA was one of the largest mass movements of the 20th century with an especially significant influence in the Caribbean and parts of Africa.
  • 25. Garvey’s Last Speech Before Incarceration (17 Jun 1923, Liberty Hall, New York) “…The tiger is already loose, and he has been at large for so long that it is no longer one tiger, but there are many tigers. The spirit of the Universal Negro Improvement Association has, fortunately for us, made a circuit of the world, to the extent that harm of injury done to any one, will in no way affect the great membership of this association or retard its great program. The world is ignorant of the purpose of this association. The world is ignorant of the scope of this great movement, when it thinks that by laying low any one individual it can permanently silence this great spiritual wave, that has taken hold of the souls and the hearts and minds of 400,000,000 Negroes throughout the world. We have only started; we are just on our way; we have just made the first lap in the great race for existence, and for a place in the political and economic sun of men….”
  • 26. “…I repeat that if they think they can stamp out the souls of 400,000,000 black men, they make a tremendous and terrible mistake. We are no longer dogs; we are no longer peons; we are no longer serfs—we are men. The spirit that actuated George Washington in founding this great republic—the spirit that actuated the fathers of this great nation, is the spirit that actuates 6,000,000 black men who are…at the present time members of the Universal Negro Improvement Association; it is the spirit that will actuate 400,000,000 Negroes in the redemption of their motherland, Africa. Tell us about fear; we were not born with fear. Intimidation does not drive fear into the soul of Marcus Garvey. There is no fear, but the fear of God. Man cannot drive fear into the heart of man, because man is but the equal of man. The world is crazy and foolish if they think that they can destroy the principles, the ideals of the Universal Negro Improvement Association….”

Editor's Notes

  1. https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/15U8-k494q6UQikQDqHcLnVVrbScg3AVKeRPzffMmQAs/edit?usp=sharing
  2. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1FCuS-Nd7Lqu8InYwJ-o1Td0pvFTJvEZO_TekXoJSXGk/edit?usp=sharing
  3. Tuskegee’s campus, 1916. Young students in a classroom at the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute Frances Benjamin Johnston, photographer 1902 Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-120532
  4. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/47690/booker-t-and-web
  5. https://naacp.org/find-resources/history-explained/history-crisis
  6. Jamaican immigrant