Special Tribute To Marcus Garvey


By: Olimatta Taal

marcus garvey 1.jpgMarcus Garvey, father of panafricanism, is being honored throughout the world, celebrating his 120th birthday. In 1962, Jamaica gave him the distinction of being a National Hero in conjunction with world wide acknowledgement of his accomplishments through the work done under the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA).

The impact of Garvey's work laid the foundation for leadership throughout the world which gave birth to greats like Kwame N'krumah, Malcolm X, Kwame Toure, Angela Davis, Martin Luther King, Connie Tucker, Mukasa Dada, Rose Sanders and others.

Garvey's unique ability to build an organization on every continent with millions of people has been difficult to duplicate by other leaders. He instilled values and principles that taught African people that they are powerless until they identify and empower themselves in Africa and where ever African people may be, at home and abroad.

According to Garvey, "If 400,000,000 Negroes can only get to know themselves, to know that in them is a sovereign power, is an authority that is absolute, then in the next twenty-four hours we would have a new race, we would have a nation, an empire, - resurrected, not from the will of others to see us rise, - but from our own determination to rise, irrespective of what the world thinks."

Beginning his work as an apprentice in St. Ann, Jamaica, Marcus Garvey worked in a number of Caribbean countries before migrating to the U.S. and building the leadership of the UNIA. He was one of the most
disciplined and organized leaders African people have ever had.

Marcus Garvey developed programs of empowerment that taught
Black people to not only organize themselves but to also become self sufficient by building and owning their own businesses, educational facilities, hospitals and other structures. His continual promotion of repatriation to Africa has built a Back To Africa movement that continues to grow.

One of the most important concepts that Garvey pushed was the idea of African people controlling their own destiny and seeing the concept of spirituality and God in their own image. He also encouraged people of
African descent to love themselves, embrace their culture, and know their history to ensure a secure future.

While organizing in the U.S. Garvey gained the scrutiny of the U.S. Government and was arrested on mail fraud charges while he attempted to organize Black people's return to African on his Black Starliner Ships.

Garvey was deported to Jamaica where his honor and work was questioned. After a lack of support, he moved to England where he died without any acknowledgement of the work he had done which currently has impacted generations of people of color and poor whites internationally.

After his death, Garvey's body was returned to Jamaica and the people restored his honor and respect that was taken away during his propaganda driven deportation to Jamaica.

"That issue of racial pride whereby you are proud to be a black man, that is the overall factor. When you are proud to walk this earth and you realize that black people have given so many great things to this
earth and... you don't start the history from slavery, that would be the first Garvey principle that I would want every black person to embrace," Garvey taught.

The world honors and celebrates the life of a great man who has laid the foundation for generations of African people to come. No longer will his work be in vain as millions of people world wide study his life and philosophies that continue to be relevant as the issues of oppressed people are dealt with today.

Happy Earth Strong Papa Marcus Garvey!