An evaluation of the Garvey movement (Episode 2 of 14); Black power origins
Pro-American militancy. Tonight the Garvey movement. Since this is primarily a series of studies of individuals it would be imagine that. Marcus Garvey would be included as an individual study. One of the purposes of this series is to present. People who haven't been studied before lives of individuals who've. Been omitted from history who deserve some credit. Garvey has been treated as an individual most of the treatments of the Garvey movement treat him as the great charismatic individual leader. Rather I would prefer to look at the movement as a whole to give some credit to the others who participated the grassroots who helped to make the Garveys movement what it was. His role will be apparent. The Garvey
movement was many things to many people. The rank and file member saw it as something of a way of life able to gain recognition in a white dominated world the average Garvie created his own world. Wherever there was a sizable following there were liberty halls which serve the needs of Garvey ites Mrs. Amy Jax Garvey. Rota description of Liberty Hall's quote Sunday concerts and dances were held there especially on holidays and Saturday nights noticeboards were put up where one could look for a room a job or a last article and localities where there were many members out of work the Black Cross nurses would organize soup kitchens and give them a warm daily meal. There were portable screens in the corner of the hall where men who could not be temporarily housed with fellow members could sleep on benches at night in the freezing winter days. Stoves had to be kept going to accommodate the cold and homeless until they got on their feet again.
For the average guy the movement was much more than allegiance to its charismatic leader. The leader Marcus Garvey spoke of racial glory of nationhood of black presidents generals armies navies and of a large liberated African nation. His critics said he was all hot air bombast. However through Liberty halls through his co-operative stores businesses. And through social meetings of local memberships the Garvey movement created a feeling of nationhood wherever large numbers of garbage gathered together. In acting to achieve racial pride and glory the Garvey ites were engaging in a group psychotherapy which counteracted group inferiority complexes. Here Garvey as him was performing a vital service for black people. Racist oppression has always relied heavily on psychological slavery to maintain dominance in Garvey as a the humblest act was part of the larger vision of future
greatness. The international conventions of Garvey heights were the greatest displays of the movement. And they ran the entire month of August and were held in one thousand twenty 21 22 24 26 29 in one thousand thirty four. The 1920 convention will deal with in detail. This was of particular importance. It was this convention which drew up a permanent constitution and bill of rights for the Negrito. 2000 official delegates were in attendance from you and I. Branches representing 25 countries. The convention opened on Sunday August 1st with three religious services followed by a silent march through the streets of Harlem. Monday afternoon it became the major opening a massive parade which brought business in Harlem to a virtual standstill. A platoon of Darby Police were
followed by a 50 piece band and then the African Legionnaires with their dark blue uniforms and red striped trousers the Legionnaire of the symbolic army of liberation for Africa. The hide behind the Legionnaires where the neatly marched groups of other Garvey enterprises there were two hundred black Cross nurses attired white to convey both the image of medical aid and eye height and dignity for the profession of domestic service of which many of the onlookers on the Harlem streets were employed. Children marched along with their elders choristers sang new songs of the whole blab. All in all it was quite an occasion. That Eve day get Madison Square Garden 25000 gross gathered at one of the largest meat eggs ever held in that arena. The 20 convention was organized in such a way that there were day sessions held at the 6000 seat Liberty Hall of Harlem during the first week. During these day sessions
every delegate was allowed 50 bets to speak. Conditions of degrowth in his community. These reports were designed as for make the basis for building a grow bill of rights a constitution. Big sessions at Liberty Hall were given to addresses by prominent delegates. Now many local chapters. Of Garvey ites of the Universal the group association had been organized without direction from above brought to the convention. Whatever ideas held forth of the Local Group Deborah branches particularly the busted days were run by socialists. There was widespread feeling to this convention for back to Africa and also expressions of deep concern over discrimination and problems at home. The delegate from Atlanta told of an attempt by racists to press a version of the grandfather clause through the Georgia
legislature that's prohibited most all the growth of that state from voting. At another bay the delegate from Virginia took his quarter hour to explain to the audience that grows in his state were treated better than at any other state of the South. In the intervals of the reports and after the beatings. Little groups gathered to discuss the possibility of liberating Africa. It was noted that talk of war and what must be done to England was general. It was felt that Liberia would be the foothold for working to redeem the father lad. Mayor Johnson but Robey a Liberia they started Garvey EIT told a convention of vast resources that his country out of possibilities for development there. The pitch of excitement came at the Madison Square Garden meeting as Marcus Garvey mounted the speakers stand in ovation began and it was better than five minutes before he could speak. He began by reading a telegram which the U.N. IAEA had just that day sent to him and De Valera the leader of the Irish freedom fighters then
battling for independence from England. Quote 25000 Negra delegates assembled in Madison Square Garden in mass meeting. Representing 400 million negroes of the world send you greetings as president of the Irish Republic. Please accept the sympathy of negroes of the world for your cause we believe Ireland should be free even as Africa shall be free for the negroes of the world. Keep up the fight for a free Ireland. End quote. The message was answered by another five minutes of applause. Garvey then launched into a call for a liberation of Africa. He told the delegates to be prepared to shed blood for this ideal. We knew negroes. We men who have returned from World War 1 we will dispute every inch of the way until we win. We will begin by framing a bill of rights for the nigra race and then a constitution. Continuing the Constitution of the United States means that every white American should shed his blood to defend that Constitution the Constitution of the Negril race will
mean that every Negra will shed his blood to defend his constitution. If Europe is for the Europeans then Africa shall be for the black people of the world. We say it we mean it. Negro in the audience yelled out at the top of his voice. No more lynchings. He went on. Wherever I go whether it be France Germany England or Spain I find that I am told that this is a white man's country and there is no room for a nigger. The other races have countries of their own and it is time for the 400 million Negroes to claim Africa for themselves. Speaker after speaker accented the theme of liberation. The Reverend James H E said the rising figure in the movement followed Garvey in praise of the demand for African freedom and concluded whereas previously the black man quote has been a serf a tool a slave for all the world and has been regarded as less than a man. That day has ceased and so forth the Shelby standing by himself.
Another minister Reverend James Brooks Brooks voiced a rather humble request quote. We're mighty grateful for all the white man has done for us. But we want to go home now. You brought us over to be manly and let us go back and quote This brought a prolonged standing ovation from the packed audience. Another quick reference Sgarbi made at the at his in his talk. Quote We are going home after a long vacation and are giving notice to the tenant to get out. If he doesn't there is such a thing as forcible eviction. Behind the rhetoric on redemption of the Fatherland has unfortunately little in the way of a well-rounded program for attaining that goal. The movement had grown so fast in a year and a half that by 1920 it had purchased two old ships to take people back to Africa. But they were of dubious see where they miss. And when and if Afro-Americans did get to Africa the question remained. European
domination of the Fatherland. How Africa was to be redeemed might have been spelled out at the 1020 convention but the ideas bandied about in cloak rooms were not resolved in the official proceedings. The apparent openness and exchanging ideas was really but a cover over for rapidly growing fissures among delegates of conservative and radical persuasions. That is. There were among the Garvey ites delegates who would create a black copy of established white social systems using a copy of white establishment methods. And there were other delegates who were willing to try any and all methods including perhaps those of socialism. These differences were becoming ever more apparent. It was around the time of the convention that Garvey dismissed the radical west in the NWA Domingo as editor of the negro world because of quote socialist and allied leanings. A feud between the militant Dr de Boys and Garvey was already in the open. To reports that the boys had been among the
25000 at the garden Darby told the next night's meeting at Liberty Hall. Quote If Dr The boys were in new Nigro working for the freedom of his race we would have been glad to know that he was there and quote. But his association quote with an alien race did not atone for the writing of a few books favorable to the Negrito. Then added a double entendre reference to Dubois's light complection quote. He must be a hundred percent Negra. We do not care two pins for Dr de boys when we think of big Negroes we do not think of him. The growing schisms within the U.N. I threaten to wreck the most potentially powerful and radical movement ever seen in black America. The broad nationalistic slogans of the UN I had attracted the working classes of black people. The structure of the association was designed to attract the black masses rather than the more conservative middle classes. There was potential power in the
spirit of economic cooperation seen in the Black Star Line Negril factories Corporation and other Garvie enterprises. Ownership rested in the hands of the race as a whole. The achievements of these enterprises were to be sources of pride to all black people. Functions of local You and I branches stimulated a fraternal cohesiveness cohesiveness similar to a working class lodge a system of death benefits for us members enhance the fraternal feelings. And all told had the government decided to follow through with a militant political program it could have drawn upon the power of a membership already divorced from the American establishment and membership with its own social world and sense of unity and purpose. The elaborate concoction of ranks and titles with splendors uniforms and regalia offered a group definition of status and prestige. And there were honors and titles for even the most nominal member. While some might join the
elite African Legion others could find a place as a UN I branch chief of police or one of the branch patrolmen and workers in US factories were thought of as fighters in the cause as were the Black Cross nurses who work mainly in domestic service. The drivers of a fleet of moving vans were known as members of the universal African motor Corps. In a movement based on support of a large number of deeply religious followers and with a leadership which included more than its share of ex preachers it was to be expected that overtones of evangelical fervor would be present in the way the spirit of Christian brotherhood had its place in the black nationalist Darby AI philosophy. Intrinsically mixed with slogans of power and pride were expressions of desire for peace between the races man branch letterheads of the U.N. I carried the biblical reminder quote he created of one blood all nations to dwell
upon the face of the earth and quote. The distinguished themselves from the empty religiosity of a stablished Christian denominations by forming their own church commented Brown one of the editors of the negro world quote Africans at home like Africans a broad have grown weary and tired of that false brand of Christianity which teaches you military and subjection to the white usurper an exploiter who at the same time is demonstrating an aggressiveness and overlordship that is bewildering and disillusioning. The U.N. I founded a new African Orthodox Church under the leadership of a former political clergyman from Boston George Alexander McGuire who urged Garvey ites to forget white gods of race the white gods from your hearts. We must go back to the native Church to our own true God. To Garvey ites God was a Negrito proof was provided by a variety of Old Testament references to dark skin matted hair Hebrews and into mixtures by the Ethiopians. The
result being according to Bishop McGuire that if Christ came to New York he would have come to Harlem. He would have to come to Harlem. Quote because all the darker peoples live here in Harlem. One of the businesses was. Selling Black Madonna Christmas cards. Quite aside from the official orthodox African church some consider Darby ism itself to be a new religion. Quote To me a Darby ism as religion wrote Rev. R. porter in the ne ne ne great world. As with any devout. Believer a true Garvey ite holds fast to that which he believes is best. Darby as he is true to himself others and his religion to the right understanding of the human eye. Motto. One God one aim one destiny. He too shall enjoy life and live abundantly in the kingdom of heaven on earth and know that Africa shall once more become the land of the good the strong and the wise.
It is significant that in the 1930s a large percentage of garbage went over to the communitarian heavens Father Divine. Well you know what I I did not realize its potential for radicalism but it certainly realized its potential for rallying the masses there were anywhere from. 100000 to 6 million followers depending on which sources one chooses to believe. The potential for radicalism. Was fortunately never really borne out in actuality. The broad radical statements such as the darbies comment of the 1020 convention. QUOTE Why should we not seek an alliance with Lenin and Trotsky were not tied down with any political program. Darby did have one extremely radical idea and indirectly it got him into his greatest support. This was the concept of a world citizen
ship for Afro-Americans. It's indirect application was the back to Africa scheme which found unexpected support among black Americans. Critics cried that a return to Africa was an impossibility. Saturday answered that the plan called only for a minority to actually leave America. That minority would legitimize the claims of those remaining claims that they too were citizens of a Free Africa and a world wide black brotherhood in the Garvey view George Nigro harassed by white citizens or police. What appealed to his ambassador or consulate. Rather than plead for justice from the dominant white society the Negra would go over the head of his national government to an international authority in justice to any Negra was injustice to a citizen of a Free Africa and would be treated much as mistreatment of a Frenchman in America who would be treated by the French at least so ran the theory.
- Black power origins
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- Ted Vincent examines the Garvey Movement, the largest mass nationalistic movement in African-American history.
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- Garvey, Marcus, 1887-1940; Black nationalism--United States--History--20th century; African Americans--Civil rights--History
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