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What was Marcus Garvey’s Views on Race in America?

Updated: May 4, 2021

In November 2019, I was elected President of the Triangle Universal Negro Improvement Association. Our motto is “One God—One Aim—One Destiny”. This organization was started by Mr. Marcus Garvey in 1914. The organization was primarily in the United States, it was dedicated to racial pride, economic self-sufficiency, and the formation of an independent black nation in Africa. Though Mr. Garvey had founded the UNIA in Jamaica in 1914, its main influence was felt in the principal urban black neighborhoods of the U.S. North after his arrival in Harlem, in New York City, in 1916.

Mr. Garvey had a strong appeal to poor blacks in urban ghettos, but most black leaders in the U.S, criticized him as an imposter, particularly after he announced, in New York, the founding of the Empire of Africa, with himself as provisional president.

Mr. Garvey denounced the National Association for the Advancement of colored People (NAACP) which was founded by white and black people and many black leaders, asserting that they sought only assimilation into white society.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am going to share some quotes with you by Mr. Marcus Garvey, who was ahead of his time:

  1. “If we as a people realized the greatness from which we came, we would be less likely to disrespect ourselves.

  2. “I trust that you will so live today as to realize that you are masters of your fate; if there is anything you want In this world, it is for you to strike out with confidence and faith in self and reach for it.”

  3. “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds.

  4. “A people without the knowledge of their history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”

  5. “Take advantage of every opportunity; where there is none, make it for yourself.”

  6. “I have no desire to take all black people back to Africa; there are blacks who are no good here and will likewise be no good there.”

  7. “If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life.”

  8. “Liberate the minds of men and ultimately you will liberate the bodies of men.”

  9. “The Black skin is not a badge of shame, but rather a glorious symbol of national greatness.”

  10. “With confidence, you have won before you have started.”

Ladies and Gentlemen, after this pandemic is over I am going to share with you situations that you are not going to believe. We are living in a time of uncertainty, that was fueled by a president who was causing another pandemic in itself. He incited hatred, division, no love, and furthermore he has pitted whites against blacks in a way that I never saw in the 50's or 60's. You see Ladies and Gentlemen, I grew up in that almighty “VILLAGE”. I guess the younger generation asks the question: What was a “Village”? Well let me tell you. A “VILLAGE” was a place that we, “baby boomers” grew up in that had so much love, compassion, and wisdom. We were taught that we were smart, unique, and we could accomplish anything that we set our minds to. I was never taught the word “can’t.”

My father was a brilliant man. The reason I say this is because my father didn’t finish the 8th grade, but guess what, he was very mechanically inclined and he was my hero and mentor. He was a diesel mechanic for the Greyhound Bus Garage back in the 40s and 50s. He had his own three bay garage at home where he took care of all the cars in the community. We had a community store, and we lived in the largest house in the community, and we had land. Maybe that is why I am so outspoken about situations that affect our lives because of a situation that happened to my father that I saw in the 50s.

A white man came to our house and asked my father to patch an engine in a car that he was going to sell that was knocking. My father told the white man he didn’t patch engines. Well back in the day you could put a shoe tongue in the place of a rod bearing, and you could not hear the engine run. Well my father repaired the man’s car and a month later the man came back. He wanted my father to repair the car again. My father said no, the white man called my father a “Nigger.” My father slapped that white man so hard I thought the black came off my father’s hand. The white man left and about an hour later the white man came back with the sheriff. The sheriff asked my father if he was Ed Manning, my father said yes. He asked if he had slapped this man, My father said yes. He asked my father why he had slapped the man. My father stated, “if you call me a nigger I’ll slap you to.” The sheriff asked the man if he had called my father a nigger? He said yes, and the sheriff asked the man to leave. A month later the man came back and apologized to my father. The reason I share this is because it is time that we stood up as black men in our communities and let the world know that we are here to “STAY” and we are the caretakers of our families and our communities..

Ladies and Gentlemen, the legacy that Mr. Marcus Garvey left us is thriving today. Be safe, pray and keep the faith. “One God—One Aim—One Destiny”

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