Marcus Garvey | A Visionary Voice | OneUnited Bank

During Caribbean American Heritage Month, and in honor of his passing on June 10, 1940, it is befitting to honor Marcus Garvey, a Jamaican born political activist, journalist, entrepreneur, and leader of the Black Nationalist and Pan-Africanist Movement. In the 1920s, he was a visionary voice who sought to unify and empower people of African descent worldwide.

Garvey was born in Saint Ann Parish in Jamaica on August 17, 1887. He became involved in the print trade and later a trade union in Kingston, Jamaica. He founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL, commonly known as UNIA) in 1914 in Kingston and then founded a branch in Harlem, New York City when he moved to the U.S. in 1916 at 29 years old. He also founded the Negro World newspaper and a shipping company called the Black Star Line.

Garvey promoted unity between Black people throughout the African diaspora and an end to European colonial rule across Africa. He also promoted Black Americans move back to Africa and establish independent Black states around the world, notably in Liberia on the west coast of Africa. UNIA became increasingly popular and grew in membership. However, Garvey’s separatist views were opposed by other civil rights activists such as W. E. B. Du Bois, who promoted integration.

Marcus Garvey is celebrated because he encouraged a sense of pride and self-worth among Africans and the African diaspora in the 1920’s, amid widespread poverty, discrimination, and colonialism. He was a visionary who sought the end of European colonial rule and was one of the strongest voices of Black Nationalism in history. He is Jamaica’s first National Hero, where he was finally laid to rest in 1964 and his ideas exerted a considerable influence on such movements as Rastafari, the Nation of Islam, the Black Power Movement, the #BankBlack and #BuyBlack Movements and #BlackOutDay2020.

Famous quotes from Marcus Garvey:
We are going to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery, for though others may free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind. Mind is our only ruler; sovereign.
Do not remove the kinks from your hair - remove them from your brain.
A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.
Intelligence rules the world, ignorance carries the burden...
The pen is mightier than the sword, but the tongue is mightier than them both put together.
You at this time can only be destroyed by yourselves, from within and not from without. You have reached the point where the victory is to be won from within and can only be lost from within.
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