Marcus Mosiah Garvey Jr. was born in St. Ann’s Bay, Jamaica, on August 17, 1887. In 1910, he began traveling throughout Central America, the Caribbean and Europe. Wherever he went in the world, he saw that Black people at that time owned very little and were not united. He was determined to do something about it.
So in 1914, he returned to Jamaica and founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association. The purpose of the organization was “to unite all people of African ancestry of the world to one great body to establish a country and absolute government of their own.”
Garvey moved to Harlem in 1916. He started speaking on street corners at night and lecturing in halls and churches, spreading his powerful message of unity and social, political and economic freedom for Black people. Garvey had an amazing ability to communicate his ideas in a way that Black people could relate to and connect with emotionally. In May 1916, Garvey began a historic 38-state tour and took the United States by storm.
In May 1917, Garvey started the New York Division of the U.N.I.A. with 13 members. After only three months, the organization’s dues-paying membership reached 3,500. By June 1919, the membership of the U.N.I.A. had grown to over 2 million members. By 1920, the U.N.I.A. had 1,100 chapters in 40 countries around the world. By 1926, the membership of the U.N.I.A. had grown to over 6 million members. Marcus Garvey built the largest Black organization in history.
Garvey built huge businesses, encouraged entrepreneurship, and urged millions of people to buy from Black-owned businesses. He taught us all to be proud of our race and unite as a people. In his own words, “Be Black, Buy Black, Think Black, and all else will take care of itself!” Those words have become a motto for the Black Business Network, almost a century later.
The impact of Marcus Garvey has been huge. Inspired by his ideas, over 30 African countries have declared their freedom from colonizers, and many sport Garvey’s red, black and green colors in their flags. Black leaders such as the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., Minister Louis Farrakhan and more, have all publicly stated that they were inspired by Garvey. In 1969, the parliament of Jamaica proclaimed Marcus Garvey the country’s first national hero.
Marcus Garvey: Look For Me In The Whirlwind – Part 1
Marcus Garvey: Look For Me In The Whirlwind – Part 2