Marcus Garvey and the crisis of black leadership


Men who are in earnest are not afraid of consequences.

Marcus Garvey presiding at 1922 UNIA convention

After posting the last video on the 100th anniversary of the convention of the negro peoples of the world,  I remembered in my research on the topic, several disturbing statements made by different people, claiming to be scholars on Marcus Garvey.  It is a sad testament about us, that a people at one time well known for keeping impeccable records, including oral ones, that tend to go by the narratives of people who follow and embrace the enemy’s coloration, than our own. Those who do have an inkling of who Marcus Garvey was, and what his impact continues to be on the mind of black people presently, whether they know it or not, may only remember him as a “great race leader” who inspired feelings of self-pride and a want for self-determination of the Afurakan people, by the imperial minded United States government, who seriously viewed him as a threat.

He was called a “Negro Agitator” in the long tradition of “Negro Agitators” that came before him and after him such as Ida B. Wells, The Black Panthers and Malcolm X. The government even included Martin Luther King in their pantheon of negro agitators. A true testament as to how even the most compliant kneegrow who questions their savagery, can be included in their language as enemy combatants. His organization, the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), was labeled “an (un)American organization” that incited racial violence. Sections of the United States government watched everyone and everything connected to him. The Records of the Department of State (RG 59) contain quite a few records of his and his wife’s activity within the United States and throughout the US sphere of influence. Government workers followed his activity and sometimes went as far to request other countries not to allow him into their country. The predecessor of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (The predecessor of the FBI was a section of the Department of Justice called the Bureau of Investigation (BOI). Within the BOI there was a General Intelligence Division called the “anti-racial division” which was headed by J. Edgar Hoover.) also followed his activities closely in an effort to shut down his organization. There are five different court cases that the United States waged against Marcus Garvey. United States of America v. Marcus Garvey, Elie Garcia, Orlando M. Thompson and George Tobias (NAID 7388866) would prove to be the one that effectively weakened his organization’s power within the United States. As a result of the court case, he was convicted, jailed and then eventually deported.  After his deportation in 1927, the organization rapidly lost membership and influence.

Note: This section of the government of the day, the predecessor of the modern FBI, was originally set up specifically to ensure that Garvey’s influence can never grow to “dangerous level”. The wealth and success of the western hegemonies, depended largely and in many cases on the compliance and mental enslavement of the stolen people of Afuraka and her descendants.

Initially, Garvey kept very much in line with Washington by encouraging his fellow Jamaicans of Afurakan descent to “work hard, demonstrate good morals and a strong character, and not worry about politics as a tool to advance their cause”. Something straight out of the slave making bible of the western colonizers. Garvey did not make much headway in Jamaica and decided to visit amurdikkka in order to meet Booker T. Washington and learn more about the situation of Afurakan’s in amurdikkka. By the time Garvey arrived in amurdikkka in 1916, Washington had died, and was rejected by his successor, Robert Moton, someone you could say was an original ADOS practitioner. This was why Garvey decided to travel around the country and observe Afurakans in the colonial amurdikkka and their struggle for equal rights.

A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.

What Garvey saw was a shifting population and a diminishing hope in Jim Crow’s demise. Afurakan people in amurdikkka, were moving in large numbers out of the rural South and into the urban areas of both North and South. As the first major European tribal war came to an end, disillusionment was beginning to take hold. Not only was the optimism in the continuing improvement of humanity and society broken apart, but so was any hope on the part of Afurakan’s in amurdikkka, that they would gain the rights enjoyed by every white amurdikkklan citizen. Afurakan’s had served in large numbers in the first major European tribal war, and many expected some kind of respect and acknowledgment that they too were “equal citizens”. Indeed, the first major European tribal war, was the perfect opportunity for Afurakans to fulfill Booker T. Washington’s requirement for “equality and freedom”. Through dedicated service in the armed forces, they could prove their worth and show they deserved the same rights as whites. However, as black soldiers returned from the war, and more and more Afurakan’s living in amurdikkka, moved into the urban areas, racial tensions grew. Between 1917 and 1919 race riots erupted in East St. Louis, Chicago, Tulsa, and other cities, in what ourstory and history called the  Red Summer, demonstrating that whites did not intend to treat Afurakans in amurdikkka any differently than they had before the war.

Chance has never yet satisfied the hope of a suffering people.

After surveying the racial situation in America, Garvey was convinced that integration would never happen and that only economic, political, and cultural success on the part of Afurakans in amurdikkka, would bring about equality and respect. With this goal he established the headquarters of the UNIA in New York in 1917 and began to spread a message of black nationalism and the eventual return to Africa of all people of African descent. His brand of black nationalism had three components—unity, pride in the African cultural heritage, and complete autonomy. This sounds much like todays sovereign movement, before the government decided to lock people into a straw man status, via their birth certificate and SSN designation as slaves. Garvey believed people of Afurakan descent could establish a great independent nation in their ancient homeland of Afuraka. He took the self-help message of Washington and adapted it to the situation he saw in amurdikkka, taking a somewhat individualistic, integrationist philosophy and turning it into a more corporate, politically-minded, nation-building message. 

If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life.
 

To promote unity, Garvey encouraged Afurakans in amurdikkka to be concerned with themselves first. He stated after the first European tribal war, that “[t]he first dying that is to be done by the black man in the future will be done to make himself free. And then when we are finished, if we have any charity to bestow, we may die for the white man. But as for me, I think I have stopped dying for him.” Black people had to do the work that success and independence demanded, and, most important, they had to do that work for themselves. “If you want liberty,” claimed Garvey to a meeting held in 1921, “you yourselves must strike the blow. If you must be free, you must become so through your own effort.”

But Garvey knew African Americans would not take action if they did not change their perceptions of themselves. He hammered home the idea of racial pride by celebrating the Afurakan past and encouraging Afurakans in amurdikkka to be proud of their heritage and proud of the way they looked. Garvey proclaimed “black is beautiful” long before it became popular in the 1960s. He wanted African Americans to see themselves as members of a mighty race. “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.” He encouraged parents to give their children “dolls that look like them to play with and cuddle,” and he did not want black people thinking of themselves in a defeatist way. “I am the equal of any white man; I want you to feel the same way.

Unfortunately for Marcus Garvey, opposition to his message rose up among the very same group he wished to liberate, and continues till this day, to be the detriment of all qualified leaders, wishing to gather up the lost and stolen people into an effective working entity. Garvey’s message of black nationalism and a free black Africa met considerable resistance from other kneegrow leaders, led by W.E.B. DuBois and James Weldon Johnson of the NAACP, and Chandler Owen and A. Philip Randolph of the publication Messenger, who had their doubts about Garvey. By 1922 his rhetoric shifted away from a confrontational stance against white amurdikkklans to a position of separatism mixed with just enough cooperation. He applauded whites who promoted the idea of sending Afurakans in amurdikkka back to Africa. He even met with a prominent leader of the Ku Klux Klan in Atlanta in 1922 to discuss their views on miscegenation and social equality. That meeting only gave more fuel to his critics. In 1924 DuBois claimed that “Marcus Garvey is the most dangerous enemy of the Negro race in America and in the world.” Owen and Randolph, whose paper saw the race issue as one of class more than skin color, called Garvey the “messenger boy of the Klan” and a “Supreme Negro Jamaican jackass” while labeling his organization the “Uninformed Negroes Infamous Association.” The federal government, in 1922 indicted him for mail fraud. He was eventually sentenced to prison and began serving his sentence in 1925. When his sentence was commuted two years later, Garvey was deported to Jamaica. With his imprisonment and deportation, his organization in the United States lost much of its momentum. Garvey spent the last years of his life in London and died in 1940. Scholars have debated the influence and relevance of Garvey, with assessments ranging from Garvey as little more than a demagogue whose uniqueness points to his irrelevance, to Garvey and his organization as earlier embodiments of the political battles of the 1960s. This debate is partly due to the fact that, until quite recently, sources for any study of the Garvey movement were difficult to obtain. Many were destroyed when the government deported Garvey, and some were lost in the air raids in London where Garvey spent the last years of his life.

If there is one thing I can say about Marcus Garvey, that would be misconstrued as negative, it would be that of naivety. He was naïve to the effectiveness of the willie lynch syndrome, that while it was not labeled that at the time, it certainly went along way to ensure enmity between him as a “field nigger” and the opposition as wanna be “house niggers”! It was this same opposition, that turned Denmark Vesey over to the government, before potentially, the largest slave revolt in the country’s history, would have got started. The same opposition that betrayed Nat Turner and countless others that were quickly suppressed due to sambos alerting the other plantations and marauders. It was also the same opposition why Harriette choose, to carry a gun, warning that one either go forward or die right where they stood. This opposition is the pavlovian reaction, I mention in the previous article, where the kneegrow becomes completely identified with the colonizer, that he would even question the leadership of someone who wanted to pull them out of the dung pile of amurdikkklan history.

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.
 
“While Marcus Garvey’s views were unorthodox for the time, his influence ultimately declined when he began to engage in questionable business dealings to fund his various enterprises. He was indicted for mail fraud in 1922 and served part of a five-year prison term before being deported in 1927.”

This is what disturbed me about certain narrative in the documentary at the end of the last post. Numerous “scholars” who see the world through blue eyes, despite their best intentions, often say that Garvey was a poor leader and a egotist. Its difficult to align the two, when you consider that his organization, till this day, galvanized the largest bodies of Afurakans across the planet, prior to social media. That he was able to inspire people to create businesses, that even today people still riminess about. The questionable business dealing mentioned about, was transferring money from one business source to keep another afloat. This is a common practice today and is encouraged by so called business experts. It was also practiced back in the 1920s by Robber Barons, such as Carnegie, Ford and Rockefeller. But because it was done by a sovereign Afurakan, scared kneegrows started regulating themselves and started to question his leadership. The questioning of black leadership is one of the treasons I view, limiting myself around too many kneegrows today. If its not out right jealousy, it is fear of the white man, that has caused many past, present and will cause many future businesses and organizations to fail. I often dream of leading my own country, with the mindset of Idi Amin, or former Ghanaian president, Jerry Rawlings, who once pistol whipped a cabinet member who dared to challenge his authority in parliament. The kneegrow has no fear submitting to and subordinating himself to the white man. On the job, in his own kneegrow organization, in the schools, in a department store or in he bedroom. But they will question every single move and Afurakan makes, that would liberate them from slavery status. And before you mentioned that their are undependable and criminally minded kneegrows who have shafted us, I will say yes to that. But Have you also noted that the kneegrow gets duped by those criminals WILLINGLY! While somebody with a provable blue print will have to climb a steep mountain with a boulder on his shoulder, just to get an audience with kneegrows? That’s because those other criminals provide theater in the form of entertainment, politics and religion, all theater and entertainment that sells them dreams, instead of hard work and responsibility. I mean forty years after Jim Jones, kneegrows still attend white lead churches and institutions. yet barley any, would want to revive the 10 point plan of the Black Panther Party. Even without the rhetoric and guns.

It is one thing to hear about how much of an impact Garvey had on people and how widespread his organization’s influence was and it is another thing to see it. He was watched by the government but he was also watched by the masses. In Records of the Office of the Pardon Attorney from 1846 – 1989 (RG 24) there are records relating to requests for the pardon of Marcus Garvey. Many groups of people sent letters and signed petitions pleading the pardon office for clemency on Garvey’s behalf. These petitions came from places such as New York, Panama, Cuba and Mississippi. Note that the one nation, that has never officially entertained the thought of pardoning Marcus Garvey, was Jamaica itself. Because Jamaica remains a colony of the Brutish Empire and a protectorate of amurdikkka. Plus Jamaicans a majority of Jamaicans are embarrassed, lazy and paralyzed ( all three in one), to actually do for self instead of waiting for handouts from massa, like a good little pet does. All these pardon files show the impact his organization had on the masses. Although files from the United States government might have painted Garvey and his organization as a threat to amurdikkklan security, people of today remember him much as those that petitioned for his release back in the 1920’s. They viewed him as a leader. And only the ignorant or those who have not yet exorcised the white man out of their system, views him otherwise.

Africa for the Africans… at home and abroad!

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