Copyright 1998, 1999 , 2000 ASET, M. Mbulu All rights to everything on this web site are reserved.

Title of Course: Profiles In Black Mba Mbulu, Instructor

Textbook: None. Selected writings found online will constitute the textbook.

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Read the following information on Marcus Mosiah Garvey. Relate the information to the following questions to the best of your ability.

(1) What did Marcus Garvey mean when he said he wanted to "unite all the Negro peoples of the world into one great body"?

(2) Marcus Garvey received little, if any, formal schooling. Was he any less intelligent because of that?

(3) Do you think Garvey's distrust of "educated" Blacks was justified?

(4) What did Garvey teach Black People about themselves that separated him from other Black "leaders" of his time?

(5) Marcus Garvey stated, "A race without authority and power is a race without respect." Was that true in his time? Is it true now?

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Class #11: MARCUS MOSIAH GARVEY (1887-1940)

Agitator-Organizer, Black Nationalist

Marcus Garvey was one of the greatest mass leaders of all time. He was misunderstood and ridiculed, but brought to the African People of America a sense of pride in being Black.

Born in Jamaica in 1887, Garvey traveled throughout the West Indies. In 1909 he was arrested because of his involvement in a Costa Rican labor movement. Three years later, in 1912, he travelled to London and developed close ties with Duse Muhammad Ali, the Sudanese scholar and nationalist. It was during this period that many of Garvey's ideas about Africa were given form.

In 1914, Garvey returned to Jamaica and founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association and the African Communities League, whose combined purpose was to "unite all the Negro peoples of the world into one great body" which would "establish a country and government absolutely their own." For nearly two years he struggled to organize Jamaicans and make the educated classes conscious of the needs of poor people. The failure of the educated classes to respond led to Garvey's overall distrust of such Negroes, a distrust which, more often than not, proved valid.

In his Philosophy and Opinions, Garvey asks: "Where is the Black man's government? Where is his king and kingdom? Where is his president, his country and his ambassador; his army, his navy, his men of big affairs?" Garvey could not answer these questions affirmatively, so he decided to make Black People's government, king, kingdom, president and men of big affairs. In the process, he taught his people to dream big again. He reminded Black People that they had once been kings and queens and rulers of great nations and would be again. The cry "Up you mighty race, you can accomplish what you will" was a call to Black People to reclaim their best selves and re-enter the mainstream of world history.

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In 1916, Garvey entered the United States. World War I had started and the migration of Blacks from southern towns to northern cities was in full swing. The dissatisfaction, discontent and frustration felt by most of these Black had them searching for a Moses, and Garvey, with his emphasis on Black nationalism and Black pride, proved to be that man. Garvey went to the heart of the problem and Black People by ripping away the shame and feelings of inferiority that were stunting the spiritual growth of Black People.

Garvey established a branch of the UNIA in New York and, by 1919, had set up branches throughout the world. The UNIA steadily grew in membership and support. Garvey's persuasive voice and writings and his effective use of pageantry and showmanship struck a chord among Black People in America and abroad, and his mass protest crusade, the first of its kind in the United States since slavery, posed very serious problems for white America.

Garvey's emphasis was on African Nationalism, and he gave a clear and loud expression to that doctrine. "The first dying that is to be done by the Black man in the future," Garvey warned, "will be done to make himself free." Though largely self-educated, Garvey was supremely confident in his basic commitment and dedication to the total liberation of Africa, and of the eventual establishment of a united and powerful AFrican state. Every other activity was either secondary or directly linked to this basic goal. Garvey firmly believed that until Africa was liberated, there was no real hope for Black People anywhere.

Marcus Garvey was an international leader of the greatest movement of the African race in modern times. He revived the African past and thrived on independence and self-determination. In his own words: "Races and people are only safeguarded when they are strong enough to protect themselves..." To insure this protection and preservation, Black People must do whatever is necessary "to get what has belonged to us politically, socially, economically, and in every way."

"A race without authority and power is a race without respect." Those are the words of Marcus Mosiah Garvey, and they help one understand why Garvey is a Profile in Black.

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