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Marcus Garvey and Economic Independence

August is an important month in the worldwide African Liberation Movement. This is the month we pay tribute to the legacy of one of our greatest organizers and leaders who served the African World Community—the Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey. Garvey was born August 17, 1887 in St. Ann’s Bay, Jamaica. The organization he founded, the Universal Negro Improvement Association, in Kingston, Jamaica, 1914 will again pay tribute this month to the great legacy of this giant in our struggle.

In this present era of economic and educational onslaught against the Black community in America, it is important that we understand that the rise of the African Centered Education Movement should be linked to our quest for economic independence.

We must free the “African mind” through African Centered Educational activities so that we might better understand the importance of economic self-reliance.

One model that we draw strength from in pursuing economic and educational liberation is the model established by Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) in the 1920s.

The more I read and study about Garvey, the more I am amazed at the great contributions he made for Black people to become a self-reliant and self-sufficient people. At the core of Garvey’s program was his urging of Black people to acquire education and economic power. As he always stated, “A race without power is a race without respect.”

When we examine the economic condition of Blacks in America, and throughout the world, we find one glaring problem—Black people do not control their economic resources at the level they should. This is primarily due to our miseducation as a people. In a disproportionate manner, Black people depend on the European and Asian world for food, clothing, and shelter. More often than not, the European and Asian worlds are the producers, processors, distributors, and wholesalers. Black people are the consumers.

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